It doesn't happen often.
But when it does, it's a gut reaction, like knowing I want to buy a house.
I just know.
One of those designers that I had "that feeling" about from the beginning is Erika McPherson Powell of Urban Grace Interiors (photo below) in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
I've mentioned my friend and former Cottage Living magazine colleague Turner Carroll here before but Turner is the reason I know about Powell, and in turn, the reason why a lot of folks know about her.
Turner brought Powell's work to the attention of everyone at Cottage Living almost seven years ago. It was one of Powell's first projects—an amazing kitchen.
Since that Cottage Living staff meeting, Powell has attracted a passionate, loyal following on her blog, designed a Coastal Living magazine idea house, and been written about in many, many shelter pubs.
In addition to being a talented designer, Powell is also funny, warm, and a devoted Mom, wife, daughter, gardner, foodie, and fearless leader to her staff of five. I love that she posts photos of her neighborhood rabbit, Smoky (who shows up at her door every night wanting carrots), as much as she does fabric and furniture.
Powell is DEFINITELY a house romantic like moi and just a general romantic too, thanks to parents that taught her to seek out beauty every single day, whether that beauty is an early morning walk-and-talk with her little girl, Sloane, new blooms in her garden, or a room done right. I'm thrilled that she stopped by to take us all on a photo tour of the things she loves most in her house. That tour follows below. Enjoy.
—Her garden. "I really believe a garden makes a house come to life. If I wasn't a designer, I think I'd have a nursery or garden shop. I love having access to veggies and fresh, cut flowers in the summer and lemons in the winter. It's truly a passion and I hope one day when I retire I can literally spend all my time in my garden. It's such a joy playing in the backyard surrounded by blooms and butterflies and hummingbirds! and I know it's absurd that we have a tame rabbit who runs free in the neighborhood. I don't take it for granted. My heart skips a beat every single time I see that fur-ball making its way up my driveway."
—Her paint-by-number dog portraits over the daybed in her den. "I can't imagine not having collections. That's what I was thinking about when I photographed them for this post. I was thinking back on all the memories and antique shows and flea markets and shops where I found those dogs. Having a collection makes shopping exciting."
—Her daughter Sloane's room. "My house is not very big, so when it came time to move Sloane to a bigger bed I decided to design a custom daybed that fit her crib mattress. It leaves plenty of floor space for us to play and created a cozy little nook for bedtime stories. Her paper doll decoupaged plates were created by a dear friend as a gift when she was born. Her monogrammed pillow was custom designed by Gramercy Home in Atlanta. And I'll be honest, if the house was on fire (after making sure my family was safe) it's probably one of the things I'd grab to save."
—Her bedside table. "The John Derian quote postcard is one of my favorites ('Sorry to appear insistent, but I must have my trinkets. This is my last chance.'). I love my trinkets. They're little reminders of trips and people and experiences. I know it's cliche to say fill your house with things you love and you'll love your house, but it's so true. I buy things I love. It's a bonus if they look good and work together."
—The desk area in her family room. "I can recall when I bought every piece on this table, who I was with, and why I bought them. I thought the oil painting looked like my husband. I loved the dark storminess of it. See the lamp cords of my gallery lights between the paintings? Everything doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, I get so tired of trying to perfect things for my clients that it's kind of a relief to let the quirkiness of imperfect resound through my house."