Viyet tastemaker Elizabeth Ralls of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine gives us the latest on the design scene, and her secrets on creating the perfect space in every home.
Viyet: What has been your favorite Atlanta Homes & LifestylesÂ feature?
That’s like being asked to pick your favorite child! I would have to say thatÂ most recently, my favorite feature is the highlights in our September 2016Â issue from our debut Southeastern Designer Showhouse, which features 27Â of the South’s top design talents. To me, the issue is not just an ode toÂ Southern style, but also a testament to its power and predominance on aÂ regional and national scale.
Viyet: What designers are on your radar right now?
Jonathan Savage in Nashville, Andrew Brown in Birmingham, TammyÂ Connor in Charleston, Andrew Howard in Florida, and Amy Morris inÂ Atlanta.
Viyet: How would you describe the Atlanta design scene to those notÂ from the area?
Fresh, focused, and fun. There’s a sense of community, camaraderie, andÂ support among designers here that I don’t see in many other cities. In theÂ South, our homes are the equivalent of our designer shoes orÂ handbagsâ€”it’s how we convey our status and upbringing. A love for allÂ things domestic has practically been handed down by our parents at birth,Â so there’s opportunity here for designers of many different aesthetics toÂ shine.
Viyet: What are your favorite Atlanta sources for design?
The Galleries at Peachtree Hills for antiques (don’t miss Roebuck, EdgarÂ Reeves, and Parc Monceau); ADAC for the most renowned fabric,Â furniture, and lighting showrooms in the Southeast; and Roswell Road inÂ Buckhead for boutique stores with interesting art, accessories, andÂ furnishings like Pieces, Noah J., B.D. Jeffries, and Huff Harrington.Â On the Westside, Bungalow Classic, Kolo Collection, and Dixon RyeÂ are can’t-miss stops for locals and visitors alike.
Viyet: What are some of your favorite emerging design trends?Â
Color, the movement towards makers (think highly skilled/specializedÂ artisans and craftsmenâ€”not Etsy), and customization opportunities for justÂ about everything. Also, metallic, bling-like accents on textiles, whetherÂ hand-painted or threaded.
Viyet: What is your personal approach to design?Â
Collected over time. My husband and I are fortunate to have inheritedÂ some great pieces through the years, from furniture and lighting to oysterÂ plates and various works of art. We are very choosy when it comes toÂ investments (we also have to put three children through college one day),Â so we’re not afraid to have a couple of blank walls or empty corners untilÂ we can give them the love and attention they deserve. Make a statement, or makeÂ it disappear!
Viyet: How has your personal design style evolved?
My husband and I were both raised by parents with very traditional styles,Â so our challenge is to make the pieces we’ve inherited fresh for 21st-centuryÂ living, which we accomplish by juxtaposing them with vivid color,Â upholstering with fresh fabrics, or by simply reimagining their purposeâ€”asÂ we have with an antique drop-leaf table that’s currently a breakfast tableÂ for our boys. I’m all about quality over quantity, which oftentimes equatesÂ to purchasingâ€”and searching forâ€”only older pieces.
Viyet: What are the challenges of running a magazine in the digitalÂ era?
Designers, architects, and landscape architects have gotten very savvyÂ about having their work photographed, which also means they’re in a hurryÂ to get that project published in nontraditional ways, such as on theirÂ website, or shared via social media. Few magazine editors, however, wantÂ to commit to a project that’s been â€œlikedâ€ hundreds of times on Instagram,Â shared all over Pinterest, or even published in a smaller, special interestÂ publication. Similarly, designers (and product designers) looking to getÂ maximum exposure are pitching to several editors on various platforms,Â which gets tricky when more than one editor commits to the same projectÂ or product.
Viyet: Is there a favorite season you are always looking forward to inÂ terms of design?
Spring! In addition to annual home-and-garden tours through some ofÂ Atlanta’s most beloved neighborhoods, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles hostsÂ an annual Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Buckhead, and our notedÂ decorative arts center, ADAC, puts on a week’s worth of buzz-worthyÂ programming, including the prized Southeastern Designer of the YearÂ awards. We also photograph some of the city’s most beautiful, blossomingÂ gardens in the spring, which are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Viyet: What is your most valued possession as far as furniture?
An antique carved pine credenza that has served as a media cabinet andÂ linen-and-china chest in former residences. My children love opening itsÂ drawers with the cute little keys.
Viyet: When you decide to buy furniture, what are your tips or lessonsÂ you’ve learned?
I now keep a tape measure in nearly every purse. You never know whenÂ you might stumble upon a potential gemâ€”or a great deal! BecomingÂ friends with antiques dealers, or showroom owners is also importantâ€”thatÂ relationship might result in a phone call about new arrivals that pertain toÂ your interests. When purchasing in personâ€”ask lots of questions, openÂ every drawer, and touch and feel the piece; when purchasing onlineâ€”onlyÂ buy from sites with curated inventory and a trusted reputation. It’s crazy toÂ me that consignment sites like Viyet have return policies. Take advantage!
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