Lately, I have found myself gravitating more and more towards classic, timeless, ladylike design… and those are exactly the words to describe the impressive portfolio of Atlanta-based interior designer Margaret Kirkland of Margaret Kirkland Interiors. A traditionalist at heart, Margaret expertly combines layers, color, and pattern with timeless design to create the most beautiful spaces for her clients.
After working in interior design and attending Parsons School of Design in New York, Margaret moved back to Atlanta and worked for celebrated designer Dan Carithers for more than six years before starting her namesake firm in 2010. Since then, she has been recognized as one of House Beautiful’s Next Wave designers, she received the “Rising Star” award for interior design from ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center), and she was named “15 Under 40” by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine.
Intrigued to learn more about this incredibly talented young designer, I was thrilled when Margaret agreed to a Q&A! Let’s get to know more about Margaret and take a look at her beautiful work…
Q: How did your Atlanta upbringing influence your design style?
A: I was born and raised in Atlanta, so I definitely consider myself a Southerner. Atlanta is a wonderful melting pot of cultures, and it keeps getting more international, which is an exciting influence in my work because I love sprinkling exotic and bohemian elements into classic interiors. Being Southern to me means being sentimental and honoring family traditions and pieces that we have in our houses. I love to use antiques in my designs because they add instant patina and character, and they make a room feel lived in, rather than ordered somewhere all at once.
Q: When did you decide to become an interior designer?
A: I became a designer by happy accident…I have an art history background, and was running a gallery after college, when a friend recommended me to a designer in New York, we hit it off, and before I knew it, I was moving to New York to work there. I felt so lucky to attend Parsons while I was there, and to learn the trade from some very talented designers. I was attracted to the variety of work that every day brought me, and the constant challenge of decorating that feels like piecing a puzzle together.
Q: Are there any particular individuals or designers who have inspired you?
A: My old boss, Dan Carithers, was a huge inspiration, both in his aesthetic and his work ethic. I got to work for him for over six years, and I learned so much.
Q: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
A: Classic and timeless design that emphasizes in the power of pretty
Q: I think classic traditional décor is coming back in a big way, do you agree? How do you go about bringing such a fresh, modern vibe?
A: Traditional design is having a real Renaissance right now, but its allure never faded for me! I love the way traditional design speaks to all generations because it is familiar and warm. Traditional decor is wonderful because it is welcoming, and it invites you in to sit down and take in all the comfortable surroundings.
To keep spaces feeling modern, I like to use lots of pattern, color and statement art. The key to keeping things feeling fresh without seeming too busy is to use one larger scale theme fabric, and then choose different smaller scale patterns in the same color palette. I also like to mix in different textures and finishes throughout the room to achieve a layered, lived in effect.
Q: What are your favorite design elements and accessories to incorporate into a room? Do you have any particular go-to fabrics or paint colors?
A: I love to add at least one piece of porcelain, even if it is a garden stool, a bowl, or hanging plates as sculptural pieces on walls, for polished touch in every room. I also like to add something organic to every room, whether it is a beautiful piece of stone, a plant, fresh flowers…I’ll even add a bowl of fish if you’ll let me!
I love color and pattern in general, so I think that you cannot go wrong using both in great quantity! I love mixing patterned fabrics together, and there is no maximum to keep things interesting. I use florals and large scale prints alongside checks, stripes, animal prints and exotic prints all together in the same room. There are so many great classic patterns that I love to incorporate into rooms, like Les Touches from Brunschwig & Fils and Malabar from Cowtan & Tout.. I love so many patterns from those fabric houses, as well as Pierre Frey, Schumacher, and Claremont Fabrics because they all have wonderful archives that they reference to release “oldies but goodies” in modern colorways!
Q: Anything else you would like to add on a personal note?
There is not too much to add about my personal life other than I am happily married with two young children. What I have learned from living with my better half and my kiddos is that we cannot be afraid to use our nice things because life is short, and we should surround ourselves with what makes us happy! While I try to teach my children to take care of things, I have never had any rooms that are off limits to my children because quality pieces can sustain a little love and wear from all of us…that only adds character!
Don’t you just love Margaret’s style? I was delighted to see that she was selected as a featured designer for Southern Living’s 50th Anniversary idea house in Birmingham, Alabama 2016. I cannot wait to see more! To learn more about Margaret Kirkland Interiors, please visit here. And please check back tomorrow, as I will be featuring a tour of one of my favorite homes in her portfolio.