Southeast Designers On What Makes The Ideal Home


Southeast designers reflect on the simple luxuries of home and designing for the moment.

Cortney Bishop
“Quality is everything. I encourage clients to invest in thoughtfully made furniture that will withstand more than everyday wear-and-tear and also ride out the design trends.” 

Dana Wolter
“A recent renovation had me drooling over the kitchen, with its beautiful waxed-oak finishes, slabs of marble on the walls and a Château range by La Cornue.”

Andrew Brown
“The ultimate luxury for me would be the iconic Cocodoll bed by Claude and Francois Xavier Lalanne. I’ve always been obsessed with that bed. And maybe an original Dalí to hang next to it to complete the Surrealist experience.”

Melanie Turner
“To spur creativity, I’ve been creating collages, riding my Peloton and listening to Surf Mesa’s “ily (i love you baby)” (feat. Emilee).”

Lisa Mende
“For me, lighting plays an important role in the mood and feel of a room. I recently replaced the chandelier in my stairwell with Circa Lighting’s beautiful Julie Neill white plaster Alberto chandelier. It’s amazing what a difference it makes in creating a happy moment.”

Monet Masters and Tavia Forbes
“Colors inspired by nature—beiges, greens and warm tones—tend to be more calming. A bright yellow accent or a fuchsia color in contrast can be fun.”

Chuck Chewning
“Clients want comfort and places to gather, so we are doing more sectional sofas and lounge chairs such as Travis Upholstery and Hickory Chair with plush seats and back cushions in Great Plains fabrics.”

Melanie Milner
“A bathroom with a proper soaking tub is ideal for a quiet sanctuary. It gives us the comfort and relaxation to unplug for a brief moment so we can refresh and rejuvenate. Our top picks are from Waterworks, Albert + Victoria and Drummonds.”

Nina Nash Long and Don Easterling
“My ultimate material palette is beautiful printed linen, sumptuous velvet, hand-plastered walls, antique French oak floors, paneled scenic wallpaper, hand-forged iron, unlacquered brass and a marble.”

Michel Smith Boyd
“Green represents life and since I don’t have a green thumb, paints and fabrics are my go-to mediums. Sherwin-Williams Garden Spot is currently my favorite.”

Ray Booth
“Working on my landscape, trail running, long bike rides and walks on the beach allow my mind to let go and free-form new thoughts and ideas. I then draw on those experiences to drive my design.”

Phoebe Howard
“Nothing can make you feel more pampered or rested than a wonderful night’s sleep in a perfectly appointed bed. Invest in pillow stuffers and your mattress pad, too. All the layers matter!”

Rachel Halvorson
“Now more than ever I want to support small businesses where I can see the people behind the process, like Dumais Made lamps. I came across the company via Instagram and fell in love with their handmade ceramics.”

Robert Brown
“As a former menswear designer, the hand of fabrics is very important to me. We mix them with stone and wood, layered with art and objects and a mix of periods for spaces that are tailored but interesting.”

Barrie Benson
“Things every home needs: Good art—my Holly Coulis piece sparks a lot of joy. Wine glasses…my favorites are Lobmeyr. And dogs! Our labs, Merle and Otto, have been the best company during isolation.”