One of the most frequently asked questions, “How can I pull my home together with confidence,” is what prompted me to write my book, “Secrets of Southern Design.” I sincerely believe that everyone should live beautifully no matter what their station in life.
This belief, coupled with a real desire to help people solve their own design dilemmas and feel good about creating beauty in their own spaces, was the drive that pushed me to put my thoughts and philosophies about interior design into book form.
With many years of design experience, I am constantly traveling throughout the Southeast and beyond sharing my expertise. It is in these travels that I often hear questions pertaining specifically to the lifestyle of Southerners. People seem to be fascinated with how Southerners create a lifestyle that is not only beautiful but also gracious and comfortable.
Before I began writing my book, I must say that I took this genteel approach to design for granted. Upon really studying the concept, I discovered it is not just a “look” into the design world, but rather an approach to good design. Thus, I wanted to share my knowledge, and exploration of true Southern style, with homeowners.
Battle of the sexes
Designing for the sexes is a frequently addressed topic in my design practice, and is the topic of an entire chapter in my book.
I believe that both men and women, along with children, need to have input into developing a home’s interiors as well as individual spaces. It is for this reason that I oftentimes schedule individual appointments with family members to be sure everyone is heard. Then, collectively, we set about making sure the desires of each person in the household is met.
The woman of the house needs a sense of place. Whether it is a comfy sitting area off the master suite or an office, this room should reflect her own style. To create a vibrant, inviting area, pair bold red accents with champagne-colored walls. For a cozy feel, I suggest incorporating a softer color palette of pale blues and cream.
In addition, by adding feminine touches to various rooms in the house can also make a woman feel right at home. Try adding window treatments to bedroom and living spaces with floral patterns or place a tablescape arrangement of your favorite flowers on sideboard in the dining room for a whimsical effect.
Conversely, as I explain in my book, men also have certain needs when it comes to decorating. For example, the chapter “Southern Man Spaces” addresses issues such as comfort versus beauty and how crucial this is. Dedicating a room to the man of the house is very important. He needs a place of his own to relax.
Personalization is a hot topic in “Secrets of Southern Design.” This practice is one of importance in creating a warm and welcoming interior.
A layering technique, which includes using heirloom collections and treasures, helps create a more personable atmosphere. In the chapter about designing foyers, I suggest that you begin to tell the story of your home from the very beginning, when your guests first walk in the front door. Your entryway allows people to get to know you from the onset. Southerners are masters at this, right?
A Southern home’s foyer should often contain details such as family mementos and portraits. In my own foyer, I had an artist recreate a series of gardens our family toured while vacationing in France. The muralist paid careful attention to detail and even included a subtle family tree. The tree features faintly painted leaves with each family member’s name and is depicted as if potted in a lovely blue and white porcelain container, which is a reminder of the blue and white porcelain collection I started at the age of 10.
Southerners also spend quite a bit of time on their porches and verandas. Decorating these spaces to feel like an outdoor room is a common theme throughout the South. The pleasant climate promotes a lifestyle that is inviting and luxurious. Just as an interior space is carefully planned and executed, outdoor living rooms require the same effort.
With new products on the market such as indoor-outdoor rugs and furniture sets coupled with sun-resistant fabrics, such as Sunbrella, make outdoor decorating a little easier. In addition, when an exterior space calls for it, I recommend water features, exterior fireplaces and outdoor kitchens to enable you to host elegant parties or intimate family get-togethers.
Copies of “ Secrets of Southern Design” are available for purchase at Knotting Hill Interiors.
Myrtle Beach-based interior designer KIMBERLY GRIGG is the owner of Knotting Hill Interiors and specializes in designing, renovating and redecorating homes in the South. Visit www.knottinghillinteriors.com and www.itssofabulousblog.com.