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.
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: www.gordondunning.com
- Facebook: GordonDunningInteriorDesign
- Instagram: gordondunning
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