Podcast, Ep. 241: Vivian & John Bencich of Square Feet Studio

John & Vivian Bencich of design firm Square Feet Studio

Photo: Lilly Bencich. John & Vivian Bencich of Square Feet Studio

Today we welcome husband and wife team Vivian & John Bencich.  They are the founders of Square Feet Studio; an award-winning architect, planning, and design firm based in Atlanta. With Vivian’s background as an interior designer and John’s as an architect, they and their team specialize in smart, simple, and sustainable designs meant to last a long time. They have created beautiful and warm spaces throughout Atlanta including many popular restaurants like the iconic Kimball House. They give us some tips on how to recreate our favorite restaurant ambiance in the home, the importance of numbers in planning, how to use a holistic approach to design, and more!

Square Feet Studio design for Watchman's Restaurant

Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How did Vivian and John get their starts?
  • How John and Vivian take a holistic approach to design.
  • A glimpse into how they create such a warm, intimate, and hospitable space like in the Kimball House.
  • What tips & tricks do they have for narrowing down a style?
  • What small yet important adjustments do professionals bring into design plans?
  • What are their thoughts on impulse buys within the design plan?
  • How a restaurant mood can translate to residential design and how to create it.
  • How we can design a home while thinking about how we move through our space.
  • How to create a mood in an outdoor room or space.
  • Tips & tricks for choosing the right paint color (and not wasting time or money).

Decorating Dilemma


I am struggling to find a gray paint color with my North South lighting. I tried Revere Pewter, but it turned out beige. I tried Repose Gray, but it came out blue. Frustrating and expensive. I think the new BM color Seattle Mist looks beige in the photo. Your thoughts appreciated.


Hi Bev,

We like the way the color looks! But if you want to change it, I would not recommend a darker gray and would instead make it very warm. From Benjamin Moore, I would suggest using either Calm or Lacey Pearl to go with the blue furnishings. To select the right paint color in the future I would suggest getting sample pods and painting a 3’ x 3’ square on the wall.  To test how it looks in different lights you could either paint one square on every wall or use a loose piece of drywall and move it around. Always test the actual paint sample vs. pictures or swatches!

Another tip we have, even though you didn’t ask, is to pull the seating apart a bit to air out the space. Great job with the space, Bev!

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Abbey Nolte

Abbey is a homegrown Georgia peach who loves a fresh take on Southern design. When she’s not working behind the scenes of the How to Decorate blog and podcast, you can find her cheering on the Appalachian State Mountaineers and spending time with her wheaten terrier, Charlie.