A Winter Wonderland with Whitney

Tastemaker: Whitney McGregor

India Amory Linens used
Forest Trelliage Tablecloth and Dinner Napkins

How has southern culture shaped your design techniques? Comfort directs every design decision that I make. I strive to create spaces that are, above all, warm and inviting, which is the essence of Southern culture. Entertaining is a close second. I am always mindful of where people will sit in a room to converse and how homeowners and their guests will move from space to space.

How important is budget when furnishing and decorating a home? Budgets are what I call a narrowing factor. There is so much available to us right now in the world of decor and design- more than ever. Budgets help me to narrow all of the options and really help to focus the design. 

What’s your favorite part of being an interior designer? I moved a lot growing up and home became sacred to me. I love the process of helping someone make their house into a home. Above all, I'm a collaborator. I really enjoy the dialogue that happens between me and my clients from start to finish. The finished product is far more dynamic when there is more than one perspective.

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? Usually we travel to my husband’s family home outside of DC. I love hitting all the museums and galleries up there and then my husband and I always go to the same French restaurant in Georgetown for New Year’s Eve. It's such a refreshing way to start a new year - inspired and well fed!

If you could spend a day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why? So hard to answer this one! I have some close family members that I would love to see but I know that a day wouldn't be enough. I'm thinking you mean someone famous or in the design world!! I never worked for a big designer so all of what I've had to learn in this business has been trial and error. I would love to have a day with someone like Charlotte Moss or Jeffrey Bilhuber. I'd come equipped with a long list of questions!!

What’s your favorite color? I could never pick just one. Right now I'm having a moment with brown. I can't get enough!!

What’s your favorite India Amory print? Well I have quite a few in my repertoire but I've had my eye on the Big Sky tablecloth so I think that will be my next purchase!

What did you find most challenging this year? The uncertainty coupled with fear was the most difficult thing for me to handle. The not knowing what was next or how things were going to pan out. Obviously we never really know what's going to happen next but it's usually easier to falsely believe that we have some control!  I’m also a bit of a gypsy soul. I have to move and travel and see new things so feeling stuck has been a challenge.

What are three things you’re grateful for? I feel grateful every day to be where I am, doing what I do with three beautiful children and a supportive husband. It’s also a blessing to have so many amazing clients keeping my life full of beauty and creativity. Professionally, I’m busier than ever and I’m constantly pinching myself. How did I get so lucky?

What are two things you learned while at Marchutz? Most of all, the French taught me the art of living well- and beautifully. While there, I realized that I absolutely had to follow my creative pursuits because it was the only way I’d be happy and fulfilled. The Marchutz School laid the foundation for how I still create my spaces today- treating each one like a blank canvas and building it stroke after stroke.  

Can you tell us about your journey with the Halsted House and what it’s been like renovating it? The Halsted House has been a most beautiful distraction and escape during such a wild time! We purchased the home in February and renovations started in March. The house had sat on the market for almost a year until one day it popped up on my real estate search alerts and I knew immediately- it was just my kind of house- built in the 50s and never touched. I worked with a small local contractor up in Highlands and I designed everything from start to finish. We completed it in October in time for Southern Living to come and photograph, so keep an eye out for it in a Fall 2021 issue.