Quiet and strategic, Ann Shipp is the driving force behind R. Higgins Interiors, one of Nashville’s most successful interior design firms. Not only does she manage the business operations, she continues to impress her clients with ideas on how to approach interior decorating challenges with a sense of practicality. She understands when it makes sense to make an investment for the long term, and when an inexpensive item adds a perfect element to the final look. With tons of resources at hand, Ann’s expertise is based on years of experience in the design field. Ann is a graduate of O’More College of Design, as is her business and life partner, Roger Higgins. It is with great pleasure that StyleBlueprint introduces you to Ann Shipp.

Where did you grow up?

I am a Nashville native. One of the few left it seems. My family has been in Nashville for many generations and I cannot imagine calling anywhere else home.  Although it’s changed so much over the years, it’s still a small town at heart.

As a partner in R. Higgins Interiors, one of Nashville’s most well-regarded interior design firms, can you share a piece of valuable career advice?

Love what you do. If you love what you are doing it will rarely seem like work. Customer service is imperative. I am tirelessly devoted to making sure our clients are happy with whatever we do, every time we do it.

Where do you get your inspiration for design ideas?

Most of my inspiration comes from traveling and experiencing new environments and new people.   Every country I have traveled to introduces me to a new color palette or tradition of living that I am inspired to share with my clients in their homes.

If you were starting out with your first apartment or house, do you have a suggestion for an important first purchase?

I think it would be a beautiful wood chest. It’s a piece of furniture that you will need all of your life, that works in a thousand places. Save until you can buy a great one and it will move with you for years and be a classic staple in every home you make.

Can you share some simple advice for our readers as they decorate their homes for the holidays?

I like to decorate my home for the holidays with things that are natural, classic, and unexpected. For example a Christmas tree with bird nests, grapevine, and berries. I love to make sugared fruit for a table centerpiece. You paint a simple egg white wash on any kind of fruit and dust it with sugar. It’s simple and beautiful.

Do you have a secret go to place for inexpensive decorating finds?

I love to go to the Nashville Flea Market and rummage around for great treasures. I also love to buy great art from students, and one of my favorite places to do that is the Savannah College of Art and Design giftshop in Savannah, Georgia. You can also buy these pieces on the ShopSCAD website. It’s a great cause and motivation for someone who is starting out. I really believe in supporting younger people who are starting out, just like I did many years ago.

If you could share “3 design faux pas,” what would they be?

  • Too much stuff. (Less really is more). A lot of times, the first thing I will help a client do is just edit what they already have.
  • Silk flower arrangements.
  • Buying too heavily into a “decorating trend.” Someone really wise once told me “anything that is really in will be really out soon.”

What books do you have on your bedside table?

Right now I am reading The Last Mrs. Astor. It’s a great book about the life of the late philanthropist Brooke Astor. I am also reading Art Held Hostage about the battle over the greatest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art in America after the death of it’s collector, Dr. Albert C. Barnes. It’s absolutely fascinating!

What are some of your favorite places to eat in Nashville?

Well, we have some friends who are amazing cooks, so I would have to say the home of Jeanne Varin, and my friends Tim Butler and Jay Matheney. But if you want to know my favorite restaurant, right now that might be Whiskey Kitchen. The popovers are to die for! The best cheeseburger in town, in my opinion, is at Bricktops.

Is there an event in Nashville  you are looking forward to?

Well we always look forward to Artrageous and Dining Out For Life. We enjoy taking everyone in our office and it’s a fun night out for our staff and it supports a great cause. We also look forward to the annual Antiques and Garden Show every February.

What are three things you can’t live with out (excluding God, family and friends)?

Gosh, just three?

  1. My work.
  2. My sweet puppies. Birdie and Lily.
  3. Dessert!

Thanks, Ann! To learn more R. Higgins Interiors, visit the website: http://rhigginsinteriors.com. And thanks, also, to Ashley Hylbert for today’s beautiful photographs. For more photos from today’s shoot, visit Ashley’s blog: here.

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