We recently caught up with this lovely Mississippi gal who now calls Memphis her home. Lana Zepponi is busy transforming homes for her clients at Chestnut Hall Furniture & Interiors and has loads of experience and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds her. Her day job affords her the rare fortune of expressing herself and her clients’ own unique personalities creatively every day. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know Lana as much as I have!
Hometown: Clarksdale, Mississippi
Education: Ole Miss and Parsons The New School for Design
Occupation: Interior Designer at Chestnut Hall
How did we get so lucky to have you settle in Memphis?
Moving to Memphis was like coming home for me. I love city life and I also love the South. A unique arts and culture scene is accessible here, and so is my family, just an hour or so away at Moon Lake in Mississippi. It’s so relaxing there on the weekend.
Tell me about your NYC experience?
I moved to New York right after graduation to work in the art world. I worked for an art fair production firm producing events at the Park Avenue Armory and the Puck Building for several years. These fairs included The Art Show for the Art Dealers Association of America and The Outsider Art Fair among others. When I decided to change paths and pursue Interior Design, I enrolled in Parsons, then designed for an architecture/interior design firm. In New York, I learned to love food, that diversity is much more fun, and that I love to walk miles and miles at a time. I found that New Yorkers are much more hospitable than they get credit for. I knew I eventually wanted to be closer to home and my family, and moved when the time was right. I do miss it, so maybe someday I can be a Southerner and a New Yorker at the same time!
When did you know that interior design was what you wanted to do when you “grew up?”
After working around so much amazing art, it hit me that what I really wanted to do was to be creating something myself. I chose Interior Design as it’s not only creative, but experiential, emotional, and directly impacts each of us every day whether we think about it or not.
What inspires you?
Looking outside my daily life helps me think outside the box. I recently took a trip to Italy and was inspired not only by ancient architecture and decorative arts, but by watching the way people live differently – eating less but better, driving smaller cars with better gas mileage, and then there’s that four hour break in the middle of the work day…
Describe your design aesthetic.
Clean, calm, eclectic, and artful. I like surprises and humor in design as well. Often, I’ll think in terms of curating while designing a room, with a homeowner’s furniture and objects being their collection. My philosophy is that the things we surround ourselves with should be important and inspiring to us, and finding a hierarchy among those objects always informs the design.
What has been one of your most favorite projects to work on and why?
Recently I designed for an artist with a wonderful collection of Southern pottery and folk art. We decided that highlighting her art collection would both reflect her personality and bring joy to her and her family. We made all design choices keeping in mind our goal to compliment her collection without competing with it.
So, what comes next for you? What are your goals?
I hope to continue building a clientele in Memphis. Designing from Chestnut Hall has given me access to a wealth of resources, and also experiences. I wear a lot of hats there, from designer to liaison for freelance designers to being a part of the management team. This is my first position in a retail setting and I’ve found that I enjoy it even more than I thought I would. I meet new people every day, get to help people design their homes on both small and large scales, and one of my favorite parts of the job is going to market to buy for the showroom.
What are your hobbies?
Lately I’ve been into cooking and doing “yard work” on my balcony. I get into DIY projects in my condo, and am thankful to have a DIY Queen for a mother who helps me. I’ve also enjoyed volunteering in Memphis through the Junior League of Memphis and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. But when it’s time to relax, you can find me at Moon Lake.
A cheese plate at Bari.
Favorite product line that you work with?
Lillian August no doubt. All her products are timelessly elegant, sophisticated and polished, just like she is in person. Her pieces draw from European antiques but have nuances that make them current and modern. Surrounded by so much inspiration, are you constantly redecorating your own home? As much as time and money will allow, it does morph.
Where do you take your out of town friends/family when they come to visit you in Memphis?
Drinks with a view of the mighty Mississippi on the roof at The River Inn, and Memphis’s most famous and grooviest residence – Graceland!
What does your ideal Saturday look like?
Now that the weather is nice, on Saturdays I like to be outside. Ideally, I’d start the day off with a run, work in my plants, spend some time in the park with a book, and then I’d top it off with a late afternoon cocktail on a patio with my friends.
Do you have any secret talents?
Superstar car singer.
What one word best describes you?
Usually bathing suits are not my favorite thing to shop for, but I’m dying for a retro swimsuit this year. J.Crew and Anthropologie have some that are adorable and I’ve found some truly unique ones on Etsy.
Would you share with us your ideal dinner party play list?
Because I currently see everything through a lens of Spring Fever, I’m imagining this dinner is happening around a farm table, outdoors at sunset. There are fireflies! On the iPod are Al Green, Otis Redding, Etta James, Marvin Gaye, and Van Morrison.
What are three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God):
- Black eyeliner
- Betsy & Iya earrings from Hoot + Louise
Thanks Lana! For more information on Chestnut Hall, click here.
A special thanks to our amazing photographer, Christen (Jones) Morrison, for her fabulous work featured on StyleBlueprint Memphis today. Be sure to check out her website here: www.christenjones.com