This year’s 2016 Southern Living Idea House is a celebration of the magazine’s 50th anniversary. Set in Southern Living’s hometown of Birmingham, AL, and built from the ground up by a team of designers with roots in the south, this year’s house celebrates traditional southern design with modern detail.
We got to speak with Dallas-based interior designer, Amy Berry, to find out how the history of the iconic magazine inspired her designs.
Ballard Designs: What rooms were you assigned and how do you envision a homeowner using this space?
Amy Berry: I had a guest bedroom upstairs and a room that they designated as a pajama lounge, which was a fun one to do. I always envisioned the pajama lounge as a space where a bunch of girls could hang out. I wanted it to be kind of girly and fun. I think both spaces work well together. There’s just kind of a comfortable and happy feel we were going for.
BD: You were given archival photos from past issues for inspiration. How did you reflect the history of the magazine in your rooms?
AB: The images we got were from a Dallas house from the 70’s. It was overloaded with pattern and color — gingham on the walls, floral on the bed and tons of color. I think it was obvious the house was family-friendly and happy and comfortable. So with the guest bedroom, I took a lot of the pattern play that was happening in our inspiration picture and used it in different ways: a little stripe on the wall in the bedroom, the fun, neutral animal print in the pajama lounge, the floral on the valances and bedskirts, the animal print on the bench and the gingham on the chair. I used a lot of color in the rooms, but in a way that it’s not too loud or overwhelming.
BD: How did you go about designing for the specific parameters of the project while adding your own signature stamp?
AB: Beyond giving us the inspirational photos, they really let us run with it. Really, I took what was in the pictures and reinterpreted it in a way I would actually use them. I really wanted to showcase the fabrics and really worked on getting the right colors and scale.
BD: What are the hallmarks of every southern house that you felt compelled to include?
AB: Living comfortably and entertaining are what I wanted to express. Also, I think layering and attention to detail is very southern, such as the trimwork, the tiny pinstripe wallpaper. The details are important!
BD: How did Ballard fit into your vision for your space?
AB: Ballard helped us tie it all together and gave it that finished feel. The upholstery from Ballard is great. We used a great little bench in the vestibule outside the bedroom. We incorporated a few accessories, such as blankets and baskets.
BD: Was there anything you learned with this project or you had fun with that might influence your next project?
AB: I think the architect, Bill, did an incredible job on the architecture. I loved what he did with the details in the house. The interesting roofline and ceilings upstairs were executed beautifully. I was the first to install, so by the time I got back to see the house, everything was in and it looked so great. We all worked really well together when we were pitching our ideas. It was pretty cohesive, which I think is unusual on a project like this. I think it speaks to the strength of the brand of Southern Living.
Take the full tour of the 2016 Southern Living Idea House, see more interviews with the designers, or shop all of the products featured in the house.
See the last two Southern Living Idea Houses: the 2014 Idea House at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina designed by Suzanne Kasler or 2015 Idea House designed by Bunny Williams in Charlottesville, Virginia.