Pfeffer Torode‘s reputation for exceptional design and quality service precedes them. From start to finish, their projects are deliberately designed and finely executed. It’s the individuals who make up their talented team, though, who build relationships with their clients and implement their wants, needs and vision into a cohesive design. Mary Fowler Howell and Evan Gibbs are two of Pfeffer Torode’s designers and our latest interior designer crushes. These two women, who lead projects at Pfeffer Torode, bring cohesiveness to each project, and each offers unique and covetable eyes for design. Introducing Mary Fowler and Evan!
Did you always have a penchant for design? Was there a moment when you realized that interior design was for you?
Mary Fowler Howell: I’ve always had creativity in my bones and spent my life channeling it through dance and the visual arts. When my ballet days came to a close, I found myself in a classroom at O’More. I remember soon into the program sitting in a Fundamentals of Design class realizing this was a perfect fit for me.
Evan Gibbs: Yes, from a very young age I’ve always been obsessed with design, fashion, and film. I grew up in a small town west of Nashville where my only exposure to other worlds was from magazines like Vogue, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor.
Describe your interior design aesthetic.
MFH: I enjoy a great mix of pieces of various styles or eras pulled together. A clean backdrop that accentuates what’s in front of it – whether beautiful antiques, custom pieces or art.
EG: I love to create spaces that embrace disparate elements and contradictions. I love the play between refinement and rusticity or traditional and contemporary. Striking a balance between the two is what is most interesting to me.
Tell us about how the two of you work together.
MFH: Evan and I have our separate clients but always bounce ideas off each other. When I’m stumped with something, it’s always great to have her fresh pair of eyes and more commonly, to tell me I’m over-analyzing. We are teaming up on an upcoming project that we’re very excited about.
EG: I’m really thankful to have Mary Fowler as a sounding board whenever I’m stuck on something. It’s always helpful to have a fresh perspective to any creative project.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
MFH: Meeting a client’s needs and making certain they’re satisfied can be a challenging yet very gratifying process. When you see a design you work countless hours on come to life and you really get it right, that’s the reward.
EG: The most challenging spaces for me are those that require a great deal of programming for the future such as closets and utility areas. Organizing spaces is also a very personal thing and everyone does it differently. Some clients hang their belts and some fold them, some clients organize vertically while others horizontally. All the while, you just pray that they are happy with the end result and can use the space the way they want.
Do you have a specific room or space you especially love to design?
MFH: I love light and bright spaces, but there’s something about that cozy study or den that I love – a quiet place to hunker down away from the hustle-bustle. I love a space that directly correlates with a client’s passion. I recently enjoyed working on a home yoga studio – a simple, zen space separate from the house surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
EG: Since Nashville is such an entertainment hub, we are able to collaborate with our clients on some unusual projects. I recently worked on a client’s tour bus, which was an amazing study in materials and composition. These types of spaces are all about high impact and drama.
Are there any interior design trends you are particularly fond of right now?
MFH: I’ve been seeing a lot of natural white oak, which brings a beautiful lightness to a home.
EG: I love how everyone is embracing really rich colors in kitchens and bathrooms. Not sure how it will date, but it’s fun to look at now.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
MFH: European architecture and design. People like Robert Adam, who designed every detail entirely and beautifully from architecture to interiors, furniture and fittings. Integrating those processes is very important for a complete design.
EG: I turn to fashion a lot for inspiration. I love to study how certain designers utilize different textures together. I’m also always intrigued at how they articulate their aesthetic on the runway to their retail spaces and advertising campaigns. I’m particularly fond of what Prada and Gucci are doing at the moment.
What is your best interior design tip that we non-designers could implement into our homes?
MFH: Find meaning in the things that surround you in your home. Whether it’s a family heirloom or an inexpensive unique find, have pride in it and give it prominence!
EG: I would say to periodically edit your space: re-arrange your furniture, make your living room your dining room (and vice versa), take away things, add things. My favorite spaces are those that can evolve over time and approach the use of space in a non-conventional way. There are no set rules, so have fun with it.
In your wildest dreams, who designs your personal home?
MFH: Atelier AM
EG: Axel Vervoordt or Tom Ford. Either one would do!
Rapid-fire … what is your go-to paint color? Coffee table book? Candle?
EG: Love all the Benjamin Moore Century colors as they are highly pigmented and have a beautiful finish. Hilma Af Klimt: Paintings for the Future has some beautiful works in it. Mad et Len’s Darkwood or Cire Tudron’s incense.
In five words, how would you describe your interior design style?
MFH: Serene, livable, elegant, discerning, artistic
EG: Comfortable, balanced, warm, refined, unexpected
For more of our latest interior designer crushes, click here!