Last week I was down in Atlanta starting off the New Year scouring antique markets, local shops and the Home and Gift Market at America's Mart. A dose of good ol' Southern Hospitality sure has a way of brightening the grey days that follow the holidays. Atlanta is truly a hub of design inspiration. Creativity and style abound and are embraced in a variety of applications. From product to merchandising and graphic design there is an eye for detail at every turn. To me, consistency and quality might be the two most important factors in creating enticing and successful retail. It's a tough task to perfect the delicate balance between unique and useful with price and availability. It was reassuring to see so many local independent retailers (both new & antique!) who really seem to have a knack for product desirability and selection.
We kept noticing the use of antique shutters to frame artwork & add architectural detail.
Not to mention, when you are a house guest, as opposed to a hotel guest, you get to wake up with these irresistible faces.
Design is one of my favorite things about traveling. Every region owns its vibe. California is inherently laid back cool. New York distinctively perpetuates us towards new trends and modern ideas. Atlanta is rooted in the traditional, but with a modern day crispness. I like to think of Atlanta as well edited. Southern style has a fundamental flair and risks are embraced when there aren't competing elements. I like this rule. It forces good design to stand on it's own and prohibits eye catching details from getting lost in chaos. Materials might be antique in patina, but fresh in installation. You might look twice at a traditional English arm sofa because you're drawn a new way to apply trim. Antique prints are given a new life when appropriately framed and displayed in the right light. Leather might suddenly seem more appealing when woven and and you might realize an octagonal dining top is way cooler than the typical round top. Lastly, when in doubt, natural linen and sisal to freshen up any room.
It's wonderful to leave a trip and feel so inspired by people's creativity and excited about design. I left the week with a notebook full of concepts, a folder full of business cards and tons of new ideas to keep the wheels turning through 2014.