Written by Natalie Aldridge.
Since founding her eponymous firm, South Carolina based interior designer Whitney McGregor has been a favorite follow of The Glam Pad. McGregor came onto our radar in 2019 when her cozy cottage full of color and charm was featured in Southern Living.
Having studied fine art and plein air painting in Provence, McGregor’s classical training and eye for extraordinary informs her interiors. She has been called a “Grandmillennial” by The Wall Street Journal, but her ability to translate client needs into superb interiors extends far beyond this label. By honoring tradition, origin, history – and with an added hint of whimsy – each space she creates fully delights the senses.
Today we are thrilled to welcome McGregor for a Style Profile Q&A!
Images courtesy of Whitney McGregor.
Q: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in interior design?
A: At some point early in my college career – I was at Clemson studying French and International Trade – my mom brought me a stack of domino magazines. She said she had this new subscription and was loving them. It was like a whole world opened up. I was always dabbling in interiors by my moms side. I have memories of spaces from a very young age, my parents renovated houses, I had an aunt who was Martha before there was Martha, as we know her anyway. But my point is – I was around it constantly. And it was just so much a part of my every day that I didn’t really think it was something that you DID for a career. I think it wasn’t until I saw that domino and thought Holy Shit. People do this! WHOA!
Q: What is one fail-safe design element that every room should have?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is the old wedding day instruction – Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. But I might change the blue to yellow! But if I look at my own spaces, I would say almost every room has some manner of Louis chair – every room needs a little bit of French!
Q: You have described yourself as a Grandmillennial. What does this term mean to you?
A: Grandmillenial is sort of my modus operandi in all parts of life! I’m a grandma in a 30-something container!
But really, so many people right now are looking for something familiar, nostalgic and comforting. Whereas with baby boomer clients pre-2020, I would hear a lot of “I just don’t want this to look like my mother’s house!”- said with disdain. Now I hear millennial clients say to me – “I remember something like this in my grandmother’s house and it always made me feel so happy; I want it in my own home.” Aside from just the visual return to tradition and the classics, for me it’s also about a more sustainable approach to design. Using antiques found locally and/or things passed down is so much better for our environment.
Q: Describe a defining moment of your career.
A: For me, my first Southern Living feature felt like such a huge accomplishment. I didn’t get a lot of clients from it, but I got ‘street cred’ and a lot of visibility. I am so grateful for that opportunity still to this day and the people that made it happen and wouldn’t let me say no!
Q: Designer dream team dead or alive?
A: I am not sure I understand the question, but I think Parish Hadley was the OG, the forever dream team. We are still referencing and copying so much of what they created, not to mention their design “descendants” are still reigning and ruling the design world. And then for good measure, I might throw Bunny Mellon in the mix!
Q: Who or what has been the greatest influence on your personal style?
A: My mom was the original coastal grandma. She has always had such confidence in her own personal style and what motivates her aesthetically. It was fun to grow up with that, and her unerring confidence in my design eye since I was young. She also dragged me to museums, theatrical performances, tastings, live music – you name it. My childhood was an immersive art experience!
Q: What has been your favorite project to date?
A: I could certainly never play favorites. But I would say the timing of Halsted House – our family home in Highlands NC was an important one. I was able to focus all of my attention on it during 2020 while the pandemic was raging and it was such a welcome distraction. I also think what I did there was different than anything I had done previous to that.
Q: What are five (material) possessions you could not live without?
A: This is sort of a hard question for me because I struggle with the overemphasis on material possessions – especially with the rise of the influencers and how we are constantly being pushed to buy buy buy. I also BASICALLY encourage people to buy things for a living. SO there’s that. But I have to remind myself that if the ‘stuff’ is useful and beautiful and meaningful, then it is less frivolous. And what I do is like making art- which is a noble endeavor. So that’s my 30 second pep talk that I frequently give myself!
Q: If my house is on fire and I am allowed to grab five items- it’s the painting of my grandmother, a box of old photographs, and the journals I’ve been writing to each of my children since they were born.
A: If it’s just five things I enjoy every day and super love, then probably number one is MY PHONE which I hate that but it is what it is! My CROCS – I am so embarrassed but I gotta keep it real. I have multiple pairs and they are my go to! I have an Adina Reytor (sp?) chain link bracelet that I bought for myself as a gift and it’s a favorite. I love to cook and use my VitaMix daily – smoothies, soups, dips, etc. And last but certainly not least, my tennis racquet. Tennis is my obsession and it’s how I destress. I would be lost without it.
Q: A design movement or period you feel most closely connected to?
A: As much as I admire and strive to emulate 1930s design icons like Elsie deWolfe and Madeleine Castaing, it’s the fashion and interiors of the 1960s that always tug at my heart strings.
Q: Where do you see Whitney McGregor in five years time?
A: Sometimes it feels scary to say out loud what our five year plans are! Whew. Okay. I see my firm growing to take on more larger scale projects in the US and abroad. I’d also like to be designing furniture, lighting and potentially fabrics at that point.
Thank you, Whitney, for your incredible insight, stories, and inspiring work. To learn more about Whitney McGregor, visit her website here and follow her on Instagram for ongoing inspiration.
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Follow Natalie on Instagram: @natalieealdridge
Can you please tell me the name of the wallpaper and who it’s by in the bathroom with the blue floor tile? It is gorgeous
COLE & SON SWEET PEA BLUE WALLPAPER?
Who makes the antelope rug in the bed room w/blue stripe wall covering… thank you … such a pretty space
Just do some search on Google with your description or use google lens. You will find things that you can imagine unless you want the exact one. Ballard eisng has some rugs with different sizes. Etsy has some rugs so as Amazon. Good luck and cheers