Brian Watford’s innovative designs are classic and sophisticated, yet warm and highly livable.
The designer: The Georgia native grew up in Marietta and graduated with an interior design degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. He worked and trained for 10 years with Suzanne Kasler Interiors before starting his own firm.
The company: Atlanta-based Brian Watford Interiors started in 2006.
First design job: Worked with a young, spirited couple in Ansley Park, with a 2-year-old son and another one on the way, who were building a new house from the ground up. He later did their lake house, the husband’s corporate offices and his mother’s townhome when she moved to Atlanta from Nashville.
Big break: Created a profile showcasing his work on houzz.com and was contacted (and hired) by the wife of a pro golfer to do the interiors of their 20,000-square-foot home on 50 acres in Auburn, Alabama.
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Where you have seen his work: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and The Atlantan magazines. Also the 2016 Southeastern Designer Showhouse and Gardens for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.
Design pet peeves: Countertop side splashes; six-inch recessed can lights; interiors or objects described as whimsical or “classic with a twist,” whatever that means; and powder room/bathrooms off the kitchen. Who would ever think that was a good idea?
Current design obsession(s): Hermes Promenade Au Faubourg fabric and wallcovering and Kyle Bunting hide rugs
New (or re-emerging) designs I like: Brass (not the shiny brass from the 1980s that turned green); woven metal on furniture (Ironies does this beautifully); and grass cloth, which has evolved over the last 30-plus years. Digital grass cloth is amazing.
… and looks/designs I am glad to see go: Pretentious grand “style” that has often dominated the South.
Most unusual request: A disco ball hanging from the center of a client’s open-air cabana.
Biggest design mistake I have made: Painting an entire room without putting up paint samples first.
… and biggest (or common) mistake homeowners make: Not hiring a designer at the beginning of a project, or during the architectural phase if building a new home. Designers can save clients money by helping them avoid costly mistakes throughout the process.
Favorite design trick: Finding small prints, postcards, anything that has meaning to you and framing it in a store-bought gallery frame with an oversized mat. The payoff: You get art that is affordable, has meaning and looks expensive.
Favorite room to design: Entry foyer. It is the first thing people see and sets the tone for the house. Also powder rooms, because they don’t have to relate to any other room.
… and hardest room to design: Dining rooms because they’re filled with furniture, including chairs, table and a buffet. So it is important to add interest to the walls, ceiling and drapery.
Biggest challenges a designer faces: Becoming a “therapist” for clients, especially between spouses. Also drawing a line between business and friendship with clients.
- Atlanta-area home stores/showrooms: Bungalow Classic and Dixon Rye. At ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center): R Hughes, Jerry Pair, Ainsworth-Noah, Bradley and Moattar.
- Blogs/websites: Scandinavian Collectors and Bungalow Classic.
- Instagram: tomdixonstudio; obsoleteinc; apparatusstudio; kylebunting; Aerostudios; and therhugheslifestyle.
- Magazines: Luxe; Architectural Digest; Elle Décor; and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.
- Places for unusual (or great finds): City Issue and 1stdibs.com.
My home style: Mid-century modern and classic clean lines mixed with vintage pieces in a monochromatic envelope and bursts of color.
Favorite pieces in my house: A vintage bronze console with cobalt mirror top. Also my Eames lounge chair and ottoman (walnut and white leather) by Charles & Ray Eames for Herman Miller.
What I collect or can’t stop buying: Lamps, pillows and texturized pottery.
Latest project: In Buckhead, a classic Italian residence with a tile roof and a sophisticated modern interior. Also a white on white interior for a client’s new home in Palm Beach.
Up next: Dutch Colonial style new build on West Andrews in Buckhead; a boutique training gym (Body + Fuel) in Boston; and a new custom furniture and accessories line to be sold online and locally late next year.
Find Brian Watford Interiors at:
- website: www.brianwatford.com
- facebook: brianwatfordinteriors
- instagram: brianwatfordinteriors