Abby Simmons’s love for design started early. She recalls a moment when it dawned on her that something so creative and beautiful could be a job, and she was hooked. She pursued design at Auburn University then made her way to Music City. Today, she works alongside her father-in-law as a designer at Mark Simmons Interiors. Her designs are inviting and livable while stylish and chic. Today, she shares more about her path to interior design, her style, her best tip, and some of her favorite trends and inspiration. Needless to say, Abby Simmons is our current interior designer crush! Find out why.
Have you always had a penchant for design? Was there a moment when you realized that interior design was for you?
You can ask my family, but I can safely say I’ve been borderline obsessed with interiors since I was a kid. I remember watching a Nate Berkus segment on “Oprah” with my mom and asking her, “He gets to do that for his job? I’m going to do that!” After that, I truly never changed my mind — just my bedroom decor every year.
What is your background in design?
I got my design education at Auburn University — War Eagle! While in school, I interned in Atlanta at The Design Atelier with the lovely Melanie Millner, where I learned what it really took to be a boss lady and get a project to the finish line. I then got my designer wings and started what I like to call “real life design school.” While working simultaneously under local Nashville architect and interior designer, Terry Bates and Mark Simmons (respectively), I got a grasp on construction knowledge and quality finish selections. I have been honing those skills since, on projects with Mark and on my own.
Describe your interior design aesthetic.
Stylishly comfortable. I love rooms that have a layered style while also having a welcoming, approachable feel … rooms that you enjoy being in without worrying about setting your drink down. I’ll provide coasters where needed.
Do you have a project you’re most proud of?
Hard question! I take pride in every project I am trusted to work on and really work to make it something my clients are proud of. I do love how the white kitchen pictured turned out, with the most trusting, sweetest clients.
What has been your most challenging project to date, and why?
Out-of-town projects are often most challenging yet rewarding at the same time. While site visits and logistics are more difficult, it often gets put together in one swoop — which is fun to be a part of!
Do you have a specific room or space you especially love to design?
Kitchens are a no-brainer as the hub of the home. I really love an entryway; it allows you to set a mood for the rest of the home, and any visitor gets to have a glimpse into your style.
What’s it like working with your father-in-law? How do you two balance or complement each other?
I get this question a lot! After five years of projects together, we have developed a great work relationship. He has taught me countless tricks and lessons that you simply cannot learn without experience like his — like the importance of pillow trim and full draperies. I have taught him a lot about technology for design (wink). Apple pencils are used daily around here now. I would also say our styles complement each other pretty seamlessly, which has resulted in some great projects we are both proud of — like The Nashville Symphony Showhouse by Castle Homes.
Are there any interior design trends you are particularly fond of right now?
BRASS everything, although I could argue that it is actually the most timeless finish.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Gil Schafer’s books and Nancy Meyer’s movies. The Parent Trap and Father of the Bride sets may be the reason I went into residential design.
What is your best interior design tip that we non-designers could implement into our homes?
When hanging art, stack a few items that complement each other instead of just putting one picture per wall. It sounds simple, but it is an easy way to add interest to smaller pieces.
In your wildest dreams, who designs your personal home?
Architect Gil Schafer with interior designer Rita Konig.
Rapid-fire … what is your go-to paint color? Coffee table book? Candle?
- Paint: Farrow and Ball — all of them.
- Book: India Hicks’s A Slice of England
- Candle: Nest, Moroccan Amber
In five words, how would you describe your interior design style?
Dog-friendly, comfortable, layered, classic, affordable!
Thank you, Abby! For more of our interior designer crushes, click HERE!