Designer duo injects classic with color

If you want quirky and a style that injects classic elements with color, talk to Atlanta’s designers Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning, the high-energy founders of Atlanta-based GordonDunning.

Designers & background:

LG: Grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, and graduated from Presbyterian College with a degree in visual arts. After working in politics and college admissions for a few years, I realized that interior design brought together my two greatest passions: art/design and people. I then earned a master of fine arts in interior design from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah.

CD: The Lawrenceville native earned a degree in interior design from Georgia Southern University. As a fit-pitching toddler, I was placed in front of a wall of wallpaper to calm down. Since those days, I have been pouring over design magazines, rearranging furniture and relishing in my passion of design and architecture.

First job together: A renovated bed and breakfast that had recently become a client’s residence. The client had/has exquisite taste. We still do design work for her.

Known for: Telling our clients’ stories; layers of color and pattern with classic pieces; being lovers of old things; and “grandma injected with color.”

Big break: Designing the loggias, terraces and pool deck at the Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens in Atlanta in May. Also being invited to be a member of the exclusive Southern Living Designer Network.

Design pet peeves: Rugs that are too small; drapes that are too short; tufts without buttons; when trend trumps individuality; poly-fill pillows; and matchy matchy décor

Current design obsession(s): Abstract art textiles; blue and white; bamboo; malachite; animal print; and anything local, especially artwork.

New (or re-emerging) designs we like: Wallpaper; brass; navy velvet; and tassels.

… and looks we are glad to see go: Neutral on neutral on neutral and chevron.

Biggest design mistake we have made: Talking while measuring! We now make a separate measuring appointment because we like our clients too much.

… and biggest mistake homeowners make: Investing too much money before calling a designer.

Every room needs: A piece with story, a place to put your drink, and at least one “boom-pow” pillow.


- Atlanta-area home/design stores: Steve McKenzie’s; Antiques & Beyond; Decades Antiques & Vintage; Nandina Home & Design; and 14th Street Antiques & Interiors.

- Blogs/websites: Emily Henderson; Lemon Stripes; and La Dolce Vita.

- Instagram: southernlivingmag; theeverygirl; emilyjmccarthy; atlantahistorycenter; schumacher1889; dearkeaton; simplifiedplanner; nashvilletash; bpatrickflynn; and cassiesugarplum

- Places for unusual (or great finds): Dear Keaton, a new online boutique. Also Thrift with Tyler. Atlanta’s Tyler Lynch leads a fabulous trip/fundraiser twice a year to hidden antique and thrift shops.

About us

Our home style:

LG: Collected, colorful and traditional with modern punches. Oh, and a layer of kiddo books and toys.

CD: Ditto. I like my home to feel like clean sheets: fresh, clean and cool while completely cozy and inviting.

Favorite pieces in our homes:

LG: Saarinen Tulip Table that my husband gave me. My grandmother’s brass lamps, plus original abstract paintings by John Ishmael, Ashley Hizer and my grandmother. A framed rug that my husband bought on his deployment in Iraq. And a collection of antique French bird prints that I purchased from a Scott’s vendor (Nostalgia Fine Art) over time.

CD: Orange mohair bamboo vintage club chairs that were an impulse buy at Scott’s that took my living room in a whole new direction. The doggie bed/window seat/storage piece that my husband and I designed and constructed in our living room. My phone nook. We live in my grandmother’s house where my mother grew up. I love imagining her sitting on the floor beside it waiting for dates to call. And over our sofa, an original painting by a college friend of our family farm. We got married there, so it has such significant meaning for us.

What we collect (or can’t stop buying):

LG: China; blue and white; antique bird prints; original artwork; and globes.

CD: Pillows; blue and white; family letters; and table linens.

Recent projects: Launched on our website The Loggia Collection, a curated collection of outdoor parasols and pillows inspired by our spaces at the designer showhouse. Also an e-design program called Room In Your Inbox.

Dream project: Historical home renovation, from space planning to final drapery details.

Find GordonDunning at:

- Website:

- Facebook: GordonDunningInteriorDesign

- Instagram: gordondunning

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