Tastemaker: Allison Allen

India Amory Linens used: Matisse Placemats & Napkins

Southern Living Magazine included you in their list of best new tastemakers for 2018. Congratulations! What can we expect to see from Allison Allen Design this spring and summer? Excited to be back to work after a few months of maternity leave. So many fun projects in the works, lots of color and wallpaper. Also looking forward to lots of beach time with little Beau.

How would you describe the overall sentiment and aesthetic approach of Allison Allen Design? Being from the south, I really love traditional, classic design and encourage my clients to collect pieces that will be with them for many years to come. That being said, I don’t ever want a space to feel too formal. Fresh color combinations and updated silhouettes are important to provide a good balance.

You trained with the likes of Ashley Whittaker and J.D. Bell in New York before starting your own firm. What were some of the biggest lessons you learned from them about the design business? How important it is to only present your best work, even if you only have a few pictures. Quality over quantity! And always professionally shot by a photographer­ it makes a huge difference and is worth the cost.

You incorporated our Matisse Placemats and Napkins into a breakfast scheme in your beautiful home. Can you share with us a bit about the occasion? I love the Matisse print! I thought it was perfect for a family Sunday breakfast at home after church. Henry (our Maltese) was happy to be included.

What makes for a memorable tablescape? Are there certain elements you consider your “signature” elements? I love incorporating ferns into a tablescape. They are inexpensive and last longer than flowers. A pretty maidenhair fern in an antique blue and white container always looks fabulous.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to create a beautiful table like yours? Are there foundational pieces they should consider? It’s important to collect vases and containers in all shapes and sizes. I love scouring antique shops for different pieces but places like Jamali in NYC have a great selection too (and a good website!). Votive holders can double as bud vases for smaller arrangements and are always good to have on hand. Also a great pair of hurricanes - you can move them around, from the mantle to your dining table depending on the occasion.

How does interior design in Atlanta differ from interior design in New York, if at all? (i.e. are there more traditionalists or risk takers? New construction vs. family homes?) One thing that drives me crazy in Atlanta is that everyone now wants “open concept” homes. While I can see that this is convenient for families, it is a nightmare from a decorating standpoint!

 What is your entertaining philosophy? Do you and your husband entertain at your home very often? We love entertaining at home! We recently moved into my husband’s grandparents house and it was designed with hosting in mind. Their dining room table has 8 leaves and seats 60. We are lucky to have a butler’s pantry that doubles as a bar/breakfast nook, which makes party set up so much easier. I have everything set up in here so guests can serve themselves easily. That being said, I think the most important elements of a good party are a fabulous playlist and great lighting which anyone can do.

Favorite wallpaper print? So hard to pick a favorite! I love Scalamandre’s new Botanica collection, especially the Jardin de Chine print and Luoyang Garden Sisal in Porcelain. All of Meg Braff’s papers are fabulous, especially her silver mylars.

We love the special dining nook in your kitchen that showcases a mid century tulip-style table paired with Chinese chippendale chairs. What should one consider when selecting dining furniture, formal or otherwise? I love using this table because it is virtually indestructible, which is so nice for children and not-so-careful husbands! The chairs are actually from Ballard but I didn't love the finish, so I had my painter spray them a crisp, high gloss white. I think that made all the difference. Since our dining room is more formal, I wanted a fun, casual spot where we could enjoy meals together without any fuss.