Beth Haley’s use of bold color and celebration of homeowners’ taste and heritage, ASID Design award-winning spaces and fresh approach to urban living are only a few of the many reasons we can’t stop crushing on this interior designer. For nearly 20 years (since opening her full-service design firm Beth Haley Design), Beth has remodeled and renovated established homes with a modern approach. An Alabama native, Beth carries an appreciation for Southern architecture into her designs, which also showcase an appreciation for clean style free from embellishments. We are glad she finally realized her dreams and talents of working in interior design, and today we are thrilled to introduce you to her work.
Tell us about your background.
I have always loved interior design, but as a college freshman, I lacked confidence and questioned whether I had all the skills necessary to be a successful designer. Consequently, I took the safe route while attending Lipscomb University and graduated with a degree in speech communications; I held onto my design dreams by minoring in interior design and working in fashion during college. After graduation, I accepted a job in sales and marketing while attending open houses in my spare time and dreaming of how I would redesign the existing space. A few years later, after I gained a little maturity and confidence and received an a-ha moment from my husband, I chose to attend Watkins College of Art and Design, obtain a degree in interior design and open my own firm. I am now lucky enough to live my dream!
How do your Southern roots influence your aesthetic?
Growing up in Selma, Alabama, historic architecture was cherished and preserved, and I have always sought to blend this reverence for history with the livability demanded by today’s busy lifestyle. Honoring time-worn spaces while adding function and creating a nurturing, contemporary space in a sustainable manner remains the hallmark of my aesthetic to this day.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My personal aesthetic is mindful, simple, clean, colorful, earthy, playful and artistic. I love a space that is both functional and nurturing. Architecturally interesting spaces inspire and excite me.
What design services does Beth Haley Design offer?
We are a full-service design firm offering construction drawings for remodels, renovations and new builds, floorplans, cabinetry plans and elevations. In addition, we source furniture, window treatments, lighting, rugs, art and accessories. I take on projects both large and small and have extensive experience in kitchen and bath renovations.
What has been your most challenging project to date, and why?
For me, the most challenging projects are the most rewarding projects. However, finding storage for a fashion-loving client in a 100-year-old Victorian home with small and choppy rooms was an invigorating design challenge. Rooms were opened up and function was added to each space while maintaining and paying homage to the home’s transom windows, pocket doors, original flooring and vintage fireplaces. I eventually stole space from the hallways, installing custom cabinetry in the upstairs hallway for clothes, shoes and jewelry with additional storage cabinets installed in every nook and cranny available.
What has been your favorite project to date, and why?
I have favorite parts of every project I work on. Getting to know my clients, curating their style, and making their home nurturing and personalized speaks deeply to me. Knowing the space is highly functional, stimulating and nurturing for my clients while highlighting the architectural detail and adding beauty and style to their life, makes for a successful project. Having said that, I have a client that I have worked with for a decade, each year carefully and creatively fashioning a contemporary space in their West Meade home. The long-term relationship with a client that appreciates the artistry of design is profoundly meaningful to me.
What is currently inspiring you?
Diverse architecture, architecture as a sculpture and seeing how it relates and responds to its surroundings always gives me inspiration.
What design trend do you wish would go away? Any you’d like to come back?
I never believe impractical furniture is a good idea. I’ve seen a lot of tables with rough finishes lately that will probably be seen as a mistake in the future. I would love to see the happy colors from past decades come back — the vibrant hues of the mid-century modern era, Pucci designs from the 1960s, funky styles from the 1970s … unique color combinations excite me.
Do you have any go-to stores for interior design finds?
We are ready to embrace color again. Do you have any tips for livening up neutral spaces?
Forget the trends and boldly use color that speaks to you. Be bold and don’t shy away from color. Add one bold element in each room. Use paint or wallpaper in unexpected ways, put your favorite color on a sofa, and always, trendy or not, buy a large statement piece of colorful art.
Will you share one designer secret with SB readers?
Most often when a client asks, “What is my space missing?” or “Why doesn’t my space feel complete?” the answer is a lack of window treatments. The proper window treatment adds color, pattern, texture and style to the room. Consider this the icing on the cake!
How do you plan to update your home for spring?
Similar to building a perfect wardrobe, your home’s style needs seasonal updates. I love to add new art or accessories from a local art festival or from my travels. I am also fascinated with the current popular artificial succulents and the plethora of pots currently on the market. Bringing nature inside offers a powerful punch to our interiors.
If you could have one designer come redo your whole house right now, who would it be?
I would love to see what Frank Lloyd Wright would design for my mid-century ranch home. Or imagine how the founders of the Bauhaus style would reimagine my space. I can only dream of how fashion designer Emilio Pucci would splash color throughout my home.
If you could design one person’s home, who would it be?
I love Michelle Obama’s sense of style, love of family and appreciation of art. Her kindness, creativity, positive attitude and encouraging nature would make for an inspiring project. What better way to get to know someone than to design something as personal as their home? How fun would it be to get to know Michelle?
What are three household items you couldn’t live without?
I love my master bathroom vanity cabinetry and how stylish and functional it is. The vases my mom has purchased for me from local art shows have special meaning as does the art I have collected from local artists throughout the years. The colorful, patterned window treatments in my den bring me a burst of playfulness on a daily basis.
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Functional, artistic, nurturing, unexpected, personal
Thank you, Beth Haley for answer all of our burning questions!
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