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Meet the 2017 Southern Style Now Showhouse Designers

Get to know the fab designers at the 2017 Southern Style Now Showhouse in Savannah

Ben Johnston

Q. Where does the inspiration for your room come from?

A. “Our concept in entitled ‘Midnight in the Garden,’ and the dressing room looks upon classic films such as ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ and ‘Mommie Dearest’ for inspiration to conjure a space that is part Southern Gothic and part old Hollywood. Set upon the moody backdrop of Paul Montgomery’s ‘Floridana’ mural, the elements in the space stand in vivid contrast to the scene to create a look that is atmospheric, fresh, and photogenic.”

Betsy Berry

Q. Where is your favorite place to shop in the South? 

A. “Scott's Antique Market is always an excuse to visit Atlanta and explore for hours. I love taking the time to dig and shop in unexpected antiques stores and salvage shops to integrate vintage finds into my projects.”

Brockschmidt & Coleman

Q. What is your favorite Southern city?

A. “Assuming you're not holding us to a strict limit of one: Memphis for its gritty soul. Nashville for its stately houses and civic buildings and its buzz. Birmingham for its lovely neighborhoods and the coconut cake at Bottega. Charleston for its refined style. Baltimore for its monumentality and quirky charm. Savannah for its numerous leafy squares. New Orleans...for obvious reasons. Houston for its iconic 20th-century houses and its divinely beautiful live oaks.”

Chad James

Q. Where does the inspiration for your room come from?

A. “My inspiration came from the tree branches that I once played in as a child. The Fourth Floor Bathroom needed to have a moment of being in the top of a tree."

Cloth & Kind

Q. When you think of Southern design who is the first person to come to mind? {not exclusively interior design}

A. “Honestly, it can’t be one person. Those who immediately come to mind are Lewis Grizzard, Mark Twain, Carson McCullers, and Eudora Whelty, all great Southern writers who so illustratively described the South in a way that put hair on your chin. There is something very specific about growing up and living in the South, and each of those observers designed their words and phrases in such a way that it is forever and always a Southern Thing.”

Denise McGaha

Q. What does Southern Style Now mean to you?

A. “Bringing the beauty and grace taught to me by my mother and grandmothers to what feels right now. Gracious homes are often not large, but rather warm and inviting. There is always a glass of tea in the refrigerator with a large glass of ice—in a Waterford glass, of course.”

Gwyn Duggan

Q. What is your favorite part of Savannah?

A. “My favorite part of the city is the Historic District between Forsyth Park and Broughton Street. The architecture is outstanding, the landscaping is inspirational, and it has the best people-watching anywhere in the city!”

Jared Hughes

Q. Can you tell us a little about your hometown?

A. “Atlanta, Georgia! The capital of the South. I love living here—the city is constantly changing and growing, and the immense resources we have as decorators in Atlanta are unparalleled in the South. Also, can we please discuss the food scene? Perfection.”

Kara Cox

Q. What is your favorite Southern movie?

A. “Hands down 'Steel Magnolias.' Relationships between Southern women are complicated and beautiful. My dog is even named for Julia Roberts' character, Shelby.”

Kevin Walsh

Q. What other designers’ rooms are you most looking forward to?

A. “The Master Bedroom. I have a huge design crush on Melanie Turner and l am a huge fan of her work.”

Lily Brown

Q. Can you tell us about your hometown?

A. “I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, at the end of an incredible canopy road. North Florida is a particularly beautiful area close to the coast but also very much inundated with forests and in my area rolling hills. Tallahassee benefits from a lot about what the South is known and loved for like Apalachicola oysters, live oaks, and college football. Although, admittedly, I’m still learning to appreciate the football.” 

Linda Eyles

Q. When you think of Southern design who is the first person to come to mind? {not exclusively interior design}

A. “Bobby McAlpine! His ability to craft spaces that reflect the way you want to live is intuitive and inspiring. I also adore Hugh Acheson for his culinary creativity. The flavors of the South embody the region’s spirit in a fresh way.”

Lisa Mende

Q. Where does the inspiration for your room come from?

A. “I took my inspiration from Miles Redd, whom I have admired for years. Miles is from Atlanta but now resides in New York and has made a name for himself in the design world. I decided to pay tribute to him so I choose to use his fabrics from Schumacher. I love the drama he creates in a space, and while I would never presume to emulate Miles Redd, I have tried to interject a little 'Miles drama' in my kitchen design.”

MA Allen

Q. What is your favorite Southern movie?

A. “When I learned that Savannah would be the location for the 2017 Southern Style Now Festival my mind immediately tracked back to reading ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,’ set in Savannah, as a young girl and devouring each detail. When it was released as a movie, I couldn't see it quick enough! The Italianate mansion, almost a character in the plot itself, is the epitome of Southern style and filled with jaw dropping antiques.”

Mary Jo Bochner

Q. Where does the inspiration for your room come from?

A. “The inspiration for my room comes from living in a coastal town. Albeit a soft nod, my design still harkens the clarity and calmness of being close to water.”

Melanie Turner

Q. What is your favorite Southern movie?

A. “‘Gone with the Wind.’ My mom was pregnant with me in South Wales, UK, while watching ‘Gone with the Wind.’ I’m named after Melanie—crazy that I ended up in Atlanta!”

Meredith Ellis

Q. Where does the inspiration for your room come from? 

A. “The horse farm I always dream about and will own some day! I love tradition—traditional events, traditional holidays, etc. I love the four prints that are displayed in the room. Whether you agree with fox hunting or not, I love that the horses are beautifully groomed, the sophisticated top hats, tall boots, and the hunting jackets. Details matter.”

Michelle Nussbaumer

Q. When you think about Southern design, who is the first person to come to mind? (not exclusively interior design)

A. “Scarlett O’Hara. This lady designed a dress out of drapes when everything else had burned around her. What’s not to love about strong, Southern women?”

Patrick Hamilton

Q. What room are you designing in the 2017 Southern Style Now showhouse?

A. “I’m designing a woman’s office on the garden level. A small, layered space meant for writing, conversation, and gin and tonics. Not necessarily in that order!”

Paper & Pencil Co.

Q. What does Southern Style Now mean to you?

A. “We love a nod to the classics of the past, but with an unexpected modern twist. It's all about the juxtaposition of things you love, old and new!”

Sally King Benedict

Q. Can you tell us a little about your hometown? 

A. “Atlanta, Georgia, a city that has it all: Southern charm, enriched culture, history, and beauty.”

Summer Loftin

Q. What is your favorite Southern city?

A. “There will always be a special place in my heart for New Orleans. Growing up just over the state line in Mississippi, so to me, Nola has always been a place of rich indulgence: delicious food, great music, lovely architecture, fine antiques, and of course, the flamboyant and beautiful celebrations of Mardi Gras! Galatoire's Friday Brunch is my happy place!”

Susan Jamieson

Q. What is your favorite Southern movie?

A. “‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is the perfect movie that shows no matter how far away you move from the South, you can never lose that Southern style.”