Chances are that if you’re an avid follower of all things “grandmillennial” on Instagram, you’ve heard of Anna Louise-Wolfe by now. There are only a handful of Instagram accounts I wake up and check first thing every morning and hers is one of them. Whether she’s mixing chintz and checks, creating blue and white tablescapes or vignettes for the Cathedral Antiques Show, Anna-Louise has an exquisite eye for detail and an infectiously beautiful aesthetic.
Possessing the gift to artfully layer bold and unexpected patterns with antiques and pair old with new, her interiors are traditional and timeless without feeling outdated. We hope you will read along as she sits down with us and answers some of our most burning questions.
Q: You have been one of my favorite designers for years and thank you so much for agreeing to do this Q&A with me today! I read that as a little girl you spent hours rearranging your bedroom and would make clippings from home design & decor magazines. How did this passion ultimately turn into a professional interior design career?
A: Thank you! From the time that I was very little until about 20 years old, I always said that I wanted to be an interior designer or an actress on broadway– so I now tease that I went with the more practical of my dream jobs! When I was in college, I was introduced to art history and fell in love with it; this led me down a path of thinking that I wanted to be an art history professor for a few years. I was always a very good student, but in my masters program, it was very clear that academia was not for me. The most defining moment for me that led me to go back to my love for interior design, was having my favorite grad school professor tell me that he didn’t think that this program was for me. In fact, he even asked why didn’t I pursue interiors since that is what I seemed so naturally talented & passionate about. At the time, I was of course devastated and crying in his office; however, it gave me the push that I needed from an outside perspective. After that meeting, I thought– he’s right, and I called me parents and told them that I was moving back to Atlanta and needed to find an internship with an interior designer, and the rest as they say is history.
Q: Having grown up in the South, how would you say your Southern roots have inspired your designs?
A: I would say that my Southern roots have a definite impact on my design style. I grew up with blue & white plates on the wall, a living room with pretty, breakable things that you weren’t supposed to touch, and family antiques mixed throughout the house– I think that these are probably all things that can be seen in my designs. My favorite magazine growing up was Southern Accents, and I still hate that it doesn’t exist anymore. As a result, I spent hours looking at what were beautiful, traditional, polished, and chic Southern homes and I think that is reflected in my designs.
Q: Your interiors are the perfect mix of fresh and traditional. When I learned that you are also heavily inspired by the the Northern Renaissance and Dutch Golden age, it made perfect sense and can be seen through your use of rich colors and close attention to detail. What advice do you have for designing interiors that are classic without feeling stuffy or outdated?
Yes! Looking back at my journey, I am thankful for my “distraction” of art history because it lead me down the path of graduating from School of Art vs School of Arts & Sciences. It gave me a better understanding of color theory, color combination, texture, layers and atmosphere. I think that my style is much driven my but gut instincts of what will go together and I always love traditional print fabrics and chinoiserie! Mix them with bold colors of lush velvets, always an animal print and beautiful accessories & custom lamp shades! Another big piece of advice I have for readers is do not skimp on accessories– lamps & lampshades especially are so important to elevate a room! I also have a special love of window treatments– nothing makes a room look more complete than beautiful window treatments– window treatments are the mascara to the room!
As far as how to keep things from looking dated, I try to be cognisant of the architecture of the home, the lines of the furniture, and the lighting to begin with, as many some of these might be things that are not changing. For example, if a client has a pair of antique French chairs that are fabulous in an old house with a grand chandelier, then I might try to add things other furniture pieces with cleaner lines, fabrics with a fresher color palette. In this case I’d also paint the walls a creamy white so that it doesn’t feel too stuffy or old fashioned. Side note: if you have great architecture, you can basically get away with anything!
Q: Your ability to layer patterns is absolutely incredible! What advice do you have for readers who want to add more pattern play into their homes but don’t know where to start? It can be so hard to layer without make spaces feel crammed, “overdone” or too busy.
A: I would say don’t overthink it and don’t be afraid of color! I feel like so many people are afraid of color, but color makes you feel– it makes your home happy! Decide what your favorite color(s) is/are and build from there. If you decide that you’re going to use cobalt blue and forest green, then pick a few different fabrics in these colors that are different patterns, scales, and textures to mix. It will work!
Q: What are your favorite types of design projects? Do you have an all-time favorite?
I really love out of town projects! With in town jobs, there is more of the tendency for clients to want to do little phases at a time but with an out of town job you get to bring the entire project from rug pads to picture frames and present it completed to your client. It has a much bigger “wow factor” & impact than when things are installed in phases.
Ooo, that’s so hard! I have been so blessed with the most wonderful clients, and I’m so thankful. It’s so hard to pick just one project. I get really excited about surprising my clients, so for the install, I typically ask that they not be there so that we can have the day to transform their home, and then they can come home and be surprised! It’s hard to pick just one, so I will pick a recent one that we were scrambling to get things installed before the arrival of their new baby girl. It’s always fun to do a nursery, but this house was an incredible transformation and we used many existing family pieces and gave them facelifts. They couple was so adorable and called me immediately after they got home and saw everything! The wife’s mom was also a client of mine, so we had a lot of fun working on this project together.
Q: Finally, I’ve found that so many of our readers use their Spotlights to find interior designers to hire for help with their own homes. How would you describe your overall aesthetic and design approach. Do you offer E-Design?
A: Inspired by the past, my interiors lean more traditional while bringing in modern elements to create spaces that are both beautiful and functional. I enjoy mixing pieces from different periods that work together to achieve a design that looks like it has naturally evolved over time. I believe that people truly embody the warmth and comfort of a home. So, making your home an environment that you enjoy spending time in actually improves your overall well being. I love connecting personally with individuals and families to create beautiful spaces that are unique to them and their daily lifestyle. My passion for people and beauty has enabled me to serve clients across the country. Wolfe will come to your home and assess your needs & changes you desire and then devise a plan on how to best achieve them according to the scale of the project.
Do not currently offer E-Design, but have considered it as well as other ways to expand my business . . . what do y’all think?
Me: YES! Please start offering E-Design…especially if out of town is your favorite type of projects. I can’t wait to see more of your work to come.