Grisham Tolbert Interiors – Designer Spotlight

These young designers met early in their career paths while working at Cantley & Company. Opportunities took them in different directions, each one offering new experiences while honing their eye under some of Birmingham’s top talent. Now, the two have partnered to create Grisham Tolbert Interiors, and they are on the rise. Here, they share what’s in store for their new business and what inspires them.

Eleanor Tolbert, Virginia Grisham, and sidekick Milo of Grisham Tolbert Interiors.
Eleanor Tolbert (left) and Virginia Grisham (right) Sidekick: Milo – Photography by Mary Fehr

“Life should be a celebration and the home is often its main stage. We strive to create timeless, elegant, and pleasing designs that will make a home more inviting, more comfortable, and more nurturing.”

Grisham Tolbert Interiors

Personal style?

Eleanor: I enjoy mixing modern and traditional pieces. I love color, a good stripe, and floral prints. I am obsessed with wallpaper! If I could wallpaper my entire house, I would.

Virginia: I love pops of color, dark wood, antiques, and upholstered pieces in natural linen. I like mixing genres, such as a great grandmother’s table with a new white sofa. And wallpaper is always fun!

How do you approach a project for a client?

Eleanor: We love taking our client’s personal style and helping elevate it to the next level. We work hard to bring clients’ dreams for their homes into stunning or understated reality. Typically, that includes adding fresh new pieces with clean lines alongside existing furniture or antiques and then slowly adding layers of texture through lighting, artwork, drapery, and rugs. We love playing
with scale, form, and texture to bring interest to each room or space. And we love working our way through an entire home, one room at a time, starting with just a single room and then moving on to the next space whenever the client is ready to proceed. Remember, design is a process, not a sprint.

Virginia: I am not going to advise a client to spend money on something unless it’s important to them. If we need the budget to cover an expensive fabric that the client loves, we like balancing it out with some less expensive items that are good quality and well-priced so we stay within budget.

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Cannot wait to use…

Chelwood Wallpaper in green from the Ashdown Collection by Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little. It’s classic and timeless and one of our favorite colors. We also love the Cora Sofa from the Bunny Williams Home collection. It’s a fun piece that would add a statement to

any room. Mizzle by Farrow & Ball is a go-to color for us. It’s a soft green that looks great on everything from a front door to cabinets—even a whole room.

Local mentors:

Cyndy Cantley, Cantley & Company, Mary Evelyn Interiors, Jan Ware Designs, Sallie Aman with Ruby Ansley Interiors, Allene Neighbors (Virginia’s aunt)

Best Advice:

Starting out:

Virginia: Graciously accept any furniture that your family is willing to give you. Then, if you can, purchase one antique or one piece of furniture that you really love every year. Over time, you will build a collection of furnishings and family history that reflects your personal style as it evolves naturally.

For downsizing:

Eleanor: Choose your most favorite furniture pieces and take those to
your new home first. Then, fill in the space with other less-favorite items if necessary. Typically, once a homeowner has taken all their favorite pieces and staged them in their home, they realize what’s truly important to them and are then more willing to part with items left behind.


Grisham Tolbert Interiors: Instagram –

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