Podcast, Episode 53: designer Whitney Durham

Atlanta designer Whitney Durham

We love seeing the way interior designers use our products in their client’s spaces, and that’s precisely how we found interior designer Whitney Durham. Plus, her home is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine HOME. We talk to her about how she decorates with two rowdy boys at home, her love of original art, and the dreaded over-the-mantel television dilemma.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Whitney tells us how she started her design business
  • We talk about decorating with kids
  • We talk rugs and rug pags and why indoor/outdoor rugs are a staple for spaces Whitney designs for her clients
  • Why animal prints are a neutral
  • How Whitney likes to treat television in her own home and her clients’ spaces
  • Why she typically chooses neutral paint colors in her rooms
  • Whitney’s love of art and why it’s so important to a space

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi ladies, 

I hope this emails finds you all well. I’m a big fan of your podcast, I’ve listened to all the episodes! You gals are smart and funny and your guests are the best. My husband and I live on the San Francisco Peninsula with our adult daughters who recently moved back home after college, and we’re doing some upgrades to freshen up our living room. Our house is a ranch house built in 1942. My decorating dilemma is primarily furniture placement and how to make the room look balanced because the windows are all on one side of the room…and the large empty corner to the left of the fireplace. 

We plan to replace the sofa (Ballard Cameron sofa?), possibly install drapery panels around the windows, and repaint the walls a warm white and appreciate any suggestions on the color and style of the sofa and if two sofas are better than one. Currently, our dog Tilly owns the sofa, it’s her hang out spot and where she monitors what’s happening on our street. 

Just to mention we rarely use the can lights, I only used them in the photo because it was the best way to balance the lights. Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions!

Thanks again,



We love your space, and we think it’s off to a great start. We all love the character of the space and how much room you have to work with! Whitney suggests balancing out the window by moving the mirror to hang over your chest. The mirror will reflect the light across from it helping brighten the space.  Move the botanical prints over the chest. Either flank the mirror with two of those botanicals on each side, or move the botanicals to where the landscape is to the left of the fireplace. You’ve got a floor lamp to the left of your fireplace, pull that in toward your chair. Do a larger statement lamp on your chest. We all love the idea of the Cameron sofa in here. It has a great silhouette.

Consider adding a larger rug to the room, and move the console that’s currently under the window to behind the sofa. A great pair of lamps behind the sofa and on the console table will help and be a pretty focal point when you enter the room.

You definitely need some drapes. The small and large windows should coordinate.

Whenever you’ve got an asymmetrical fireplace, think of balancing the spaces on either side of the fireplace. They don’t need to be mirror images, but the visual weight should be similar on both sides. There are a number of ways you can tackle this — large art, a bookcase, or art with a console table.

Karen brings up the fact that part of what makes your fireplace wall feel off is that the landscape is horizontal, then the mirror is vertical, and then the window is vertical. That horizontal-vertical-vertical feels strange.

We also talk about not loving mirrors over a fireplace. It mostly just reflects ceiling! That’s another reason we love Whitney’s idea of moving the mirror to over your chest.


Hi Taryn, Karen, and Caroline!

I love the podcast and am so excited to be sending you a decorating dilemma 🙂 

After 4 years of living in our 1937 cottage style home my husband and I recently renovated the kitchen (and by that I mean we hired professionals to renovate).  It has been finished for about a month now and we love it, but I need help deciding if the windows should be left bare and spare or if they need roman shades.  Cafe curtains are out of the question because I have 3 dogs of my own as well as foster puppies and I know their curious little heads would always be poking through.  Above the sink I like to plant herbs/decorate the window sill and a cafe curtain would be in the  way.  

In the window seat I have a cushion made from Ballard Sunbrella spa/sand fabric.  I like the idea of matching the window fabric with the cushion fabric but also worry all those stripes could start looking like a circus theme (side note: I would LOVE to use your Mira Blue fabric on the windows but my husband says it looks like leopard print). The other fabric I’m considering is Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon in the China Blue color way (which has been husband approved).  

Also, do you think the door needs a treatment?  I lean towards uncluttered spaces and don’t want the smallish kitchen to look busy but also want it to look polished.  Notice in the photos I have the Ballard large jute basket below the window seat to hold leashes and shoes, it’s perfect!  I also use the medium jute baskets in the pantry for produce.  

So to summarize:

1. Do you think the windows/door need treatments?

2. Would you go with the matching Sunbrella fabric I already have on the window seat cushion or something else?

Thanks so much!!

We all absolutely love your kitchen and everything you chose. Whitney suggests a roman shade that’s mounted over the window moulding in a solid blue linen. Whitney says she wouldn’t match the striped window seat cushion, rather coordinate with it. She suggests all of the shades coordinate. The shade should go all the way up to the ceiling to echo the ceiling height cabinetry and have an outside mount. Whitney loves the Chang Mai fabric but suggests maybe a pillow on her window seat.

You don’t necessarily need a shade on the door, but you can if you want privacy here.

Taryn suggests maybe the solid spa Sunbrella fabric which is the same color as in your stripe. You could add a trim if you want more interest, but we all like a solid fabric.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.