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Q&A with Designer Beth Webb

We spoke with Atlanta-based home interior designer Beth Webb about what inspires her every day, the “sensory-driven” design process she writes about in her new book An Eye For Beauty: Rooms That Speak to the Senses, and the best advice she’s ever received.

Q.

You started as an art dealer and eventually moved into interior design. What motivated that shift?

A.

I had been dealing art privately and using our house to show the artists I was representing at the time. We were hosting a dinner party one night and one of our friends attending was vice-president of the Lyndhurst Foundation (Coca- Cola Bottling). He announced they were purchasing an 1892 house for their new offices and were looking for a designer to make the house look more like a home than a corporate entity. I asked whom they were considering, and he turned to me and said, “I think you should do it.” To which I replied, “But I’m not an interior designer.” His retort was, “No, but you should be.” The rest is history.

I continued to do both art and interiors for a while until eventually, I found I was doing much more with interiors than art. With decorating, you are always able, and must, incorporate art. So even though I no longer represented artists, I was still, in the end, buying art for my clients – the very best of both worlds.

Q.

What inspires you every day?

 

A.

As designers or creative people, we are all seeking inspiration daily, aren’t we? One word – wanderlust – I think says it all. Travel, above all else, is forever my number one answer as far as inspiration goes. When I reflect on my life thus far, all of it has revolved around travel, including my career trajectories. It’s all been one big excuse to fuel that passion. I share that with all of you at Wisteria as I often travel vicariously and virtually through you and many others on Instagram. I call it “going down the rabbit hole.” I’ve found the most amazing people, places and things through all I follow and those that follow me. I could wander aimlessly from one feed to another on a quiet Sunday afternoon, couldn’t you? It’s truly become a global world – the modern day National Geographic or Town & Country Travel. Oh the places you’ll go.

Q.

You’re known for “sensory-driven” design. Can you speak about how you incorporate the five senses in your work? 

A.

When you embark on writing a book, you spend quite a lot of time dissecting the why’s and what’s of your work. The idea of home to me is a multi-sensory experience, and it’s every bit an altogether visceral encounter. We recently put our house on the market, and as I was getting it ready to show, I could not stop thinking about the overall perception that the complete stranger would have stepping through the front door.

So I proceeded to go through all of their senses in my own mind, one by one. What is the first thing you see? Is it a beautiful floral arrangement on the foyer table? Are there roses in the vase paired with tuberose for scent? Are the lamps on in every room with sunlight streaming through the windows? Are the linens on the bed starched and ironed and the pillows fluffed? Is there Sinatra playing in the background? More importantly, does this home welcome you on every level and invite you to stay?

Q.

What trends do you see coming this fall?

A.

Well I’m not particularly interested in that word, and it’s actually somewhat of a four-letter word for me. I think the globalization of social media has everything all over the place. I love the word catawampus, and that’s how it all feels at the moment. Interiors, fashion, art, everything. However, shoulder pads seem to be making a comeback – hello, ‘80s. Everything old is new again!

Q.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

A.

My grandfather used to say, “Honey, everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.” He was a gentleman and a scholar, a man of great integrity. What he meant by that was, we are all just people doing our best every day to get through life – no better, no worse than the other guy.

Images // @bethwebb

Join us on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a book signing and presentation by Beth Webb at our Wisteria Dallas store.

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