Podcast, Ep. 87: designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips

Designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips joins the podcast to talk color, antiques, and 'wow' moments 

Antiques expert and color lover Holly Hollingsworth Phillips sits down with us to talk about ‘Wow’ moments, breathing fresh life into antiques, and the challenges of decorating her childhood home!


What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Her work in the world of design from an early age, and how her mother inspired her to develop a passion for all things antique.
  • Ways we can be confident about mixing it up with colors and patterns in our homes.
  • Using art as an accent, and why what’s popular and trendy in the moment isn’t always right for us.
  • How she loves to take antiques and make them modern with a playful twist.
  • How Holly renovated her own home and even got to keep what’s known as “the naughty chair.”
  • Advice on when to shop for antiques, and where to begin bringing them in the home.
  • How she came to be the brand ambassador for Florence Broadhurst.
  • Her opportunity in the fall to do a room in a showhouse as Florence Broadhurst using her new rug collection, furniture, fabric and wallpaper.
  • Her personal use of “crazy” pattern and color.
  • The importance of looking at measurements before you buy anything.
  • How to balance finding great antiques with longevity, even though you know it may not be your forever home.
  • Why a great sofa could (and should) last you several decades.
  • It’s okay to change up your color, and realize it’s the layers and the mix that makes it interesting, rather than matching everything and achieving perfection.
  • How Holly decides what spaces call for drapery vs. Roman shades, and her love of a blackout curtains.
  • Why you may want to rethink painting your nursery yellow.

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi Ladies, big fan!

My husband and I are renovating the raised ranch we bought in the suburbs of Boston. We are creating an open concept kitchen, living & dining area with vaulted ceilings.

While the idea of renovation has been rainbows and butterflies until now, when I actually have to pull the trigger on decisions for my contractor.

There are two “non-negotiable” fixtures for the space:

1. BM Hale Navy Kitchen Island Base
2. The Rosewell Sectional & Ottoman we purchased from Ballard in the Boost Indigo Sunbrealla Fabric. #swoon

My question for you is can I do hale navy cabinets too? Or will this be navy overload? If not, what cabinet color would you recommend?

I’ve attached a drawing of the kitchen plans along with a few photos of the space now (judge free zone – we were lucky enough to buy my grandmother’s home, furniture included until we renovate) As you can see we are not doing any upper cabinets and will be having back splash go all the way up (STYLE TBD SO I AM VERY OPEN FOR SUGGESTIONS HERE ALSO!)

Also, what is your favorite BM white for walls?


As far as favorite Benjamin Moore White paint color goes, it is for sure White Dove. We recommend doing the hale navy on all the bottoms of the cabinets, and doing the countertops in a white color or quartz. We also would recommend putting hardwood on the floor, adding some chairs and possibly some fun patterned pillows. You are off to a good start!

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.