The 2019 Birmingham Home & Garden Inspiration Home, located at The Willows, a new Russell Lands On Lake Martin neighborhood, is making headway. Situated on a gently sloping lot, the home will exhibit all the charms of lake house style and showcase the best of lakefront living. As we get closer to the September opening, we want you to get to know the designers working on this year’s Inspiration Home. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Conner of Lauren Conner Interiors and Ashley Gallion of Ashley Gallion Interiors.
Why do you do what you do?
LC: I have been designing since I was a child, rearranging my friends’ rooms and my own countless times. Design is what I have always wanted to do and I have officially been in this field since graduating from the Univ of Alabama with an interior design degree, but took some years off to raise my family. I have done space planning, commercial design, residential design, you name it! If I can help someone live a higher quality of life by improving the space them, then I feel like I have done my job.
AG: I love creating and design gives me the opportunity to do that every day! I enjoy helping our clients (who always become friends!) discover their style and how to express it through their homes and workspaces. I get so much satisfaction from hearing my clients say, “I love coming home every day”, because of how we worked together to transform their home into a space that they love!
Favorite local resources:
LC: Paige Albright Orientals, Circa, At Home
AG: I am a huge advocate of supporting local businesses so we definitely utilize them and they are amazing! Phillips Metal Works produces wonderful iron drapery hardware that we love. We work with Stonehenge to design custom light fixtures from old architectural pieces/fragments, etc. as well as rewiring light fixtures that we source. King Cotton Fabrics is a wonderful go-to in Montgomery that offers a wide variety of beautiful fabrics. We also work with DSR in Birmingham and ADAC in Atlanta to source our fabrics. Montgomery has a wonderful artist community and we steer our clients to purchase original artwork. Gallery One features many of these artists right here in our shop’s charming neighborhood. Another that we enjoy is the Montgomery Curb Market which has been around for years. It is such a gem in our area for beautiful greenery and flowers that we use in our design work during the holiday season. These are just a few of the local design resources that we love!
Go to paint colors:
LC: Benjamin Moore China White, Simply White, Summer Shower
AG: Definitely White Dove by Benjamin Moore along with Revere Pewter and Kendall Charcoal. Another go-to is Shoji White by Sherwin Williams.
Trendy or Timeless:
LC: I don’t do trendy because then I would just have to redo it! My first job out of college was for the US Dept of State designing the US embassies overseas, so timeless design was ingrained in me early in my career. I prefer classic design with fresh influences so it doesn’t get dated or boring. I especially like incorporating antiques or organic pieces in modern spaces to give an unexpected layer of interest.
AG: I definitely tend to gravitate towards an overall timeless look, although I like to layer in subtle trends through interchangeable pieces such as pillows and accessories. I want my clients to enjoy being surrounded by the timeless pieces but feel up to date in a fresh and tasteful way.
IG accounts I follow:
What is your favorite space to design?
LC: Hard to say because I like every project to be unique and very personal, and I really enjoy renovations. The goal for me is to interpret what the client wants so well that the space reflects the client, not me. And when I’m doing a major renovation or fixer upper, I like to start from scratch, the uglier the better!
AG: I am a huge fan of a master bedroom. In my personal home, this is the most important space to me. It is where you begin and end your day so I strongly believe it should be calming and serene with elements that are personal to you. A bedroom is a place of retreat and should be one that you enjoy walking into at the end of every day.
Tell us a little about the space you are designing for the inspiration home:
LC: Let’s just say I grew up spending summers in a Russell cabin on Lake Martin so that simplicity is my inspiration.
AG: I’m designing a bedroom for the Inspiration House. Again, bedrooms are very important retreats to me. We are designing it as a space that can be utilized as a children’s bedroom or a guest bedroom. The look is more transitional with clean lines and layered textures throughout – distressed wooden twin beds, aged brass, irons, linens, velvets, sisals, and a hide will come together well to create a space where it feels as though textures are standing in the place of color. Subtle pops of color will be drawn into the room through the pillows and artwork. A few contemporary artwork pieces along with prints, mirrors and lighting will pull the space together.
Do you have a design motto you live by:
LC: Love the one you’re with. Sometimes a complete overhaul is necessary, but any space can be improved upon!
AG: “Less is more” is something I say almost every day to my clients. I love simplicity. I also ran across this quote many years ago: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” That is so perfectly put to me.