We just wrapped up our latest project, the Alpha Phi house at UGA, and we are absolutely THRILLED with the final design. Mixing old with some new. We worked with the history of the house, preserving and restoring- not working against it. Each room is unique, each having their own feel and personality. Here's a little behind the scenes of designing Alpha Phi.
HOW DID YOU MIX OLD WITH NEW?
My rule of thumb is: an old house needs new things and a new house needs old things. Since the Alpha Phi house was built in the 1800s and was rather classic in design, I wanted to bring in furniture styles from different eras to ensure the interior was not stuffy. I used more modern pieces in the historic rooms to keep the vibe fresh and I mixed in Hollywood Regency style in occasional chairs and tables. I added in a few contemporary pieces to tie it all together. Keeping the patterns and textures classic, from using a ticking fabric for a drape to beautiful velvets on the sofas, the lines and hues of different times blended together beautifully.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE QUIRKS OF DESIGNING FOR A HISTORIC HOME?
Old homes have quirks and to me that is what makes them so damn beautiful. The Alpha Phi house has plaster walls in the historic rooms making it difficult to hang heavy drapes and art. The plaster just crumbles as you drill into it. It makes an install take twice as long. But there’s something beautiful about the walls as well, they are cool to the touch even in the summer heat, the corners are slightly curved and the surface has so much character.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE DESIGNING A SORORITY HOUSE?
It was such an honor to be asked to design Alpha Phi. And one of my top priorities was making sure the girls had a space that was not only beautiful, but that they could enjoy. I wanted the house to be youthful as well- not stuffy.
One funny part of designing Alpha Phi was making sure everything was stain resistant because sorority girls love their spray tans.
WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS WHEN TAKING ON THIS PROJECT?
I was actually intimidated by the whole process, and I am not one who is easily intimidated. We met with a committee who interviewed several designers before choosing us. They actually called and said, “Congratulations! You’re the UGA Alpha Phi Designer”
Since I didn’t go to University in the States, I don’t know a lot about sororities so it was like learning a new language.
WERE YOU OVERWHELMED AT THE SIZE OF THE PROJECT?
I was for sure not overwhelmed by the size. I will say there was just a lot of considerations made for this project. Who will be using these rooms? How will they be used? What will they be used for? These are questions I ask before I begin all of my designs.
WHERE DID YOU PULL INSPIRATION FOR EACH ROOM?
I wanted the house to feel modern, feminine, and playful. I borrowed inspiration from Dorothy Draper (an American interior designer who used bright colors and large prints). I am a huge Draper fan.