Hi Friends! I recently asked Danielle Rollins a few questions about her fabulous new home that was featured in this month’s Veranda Magazine. If you aren’t familiar with Rollins, she is a tastemaker of every category- lifestyle, design, and now fashion. She is the ideal example that when the going gets tough, the tough get going (and even stronger than ever before). Her Atlanta home reflects her chic vibrancy and colorful demeanor, which is always tasteful. I hope you enjoy these images of her home and her insightful responses to creating beauty everywhere.
To see my post of her former home (one of my very first blog posts): click here
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic in your new home?
I joke that it is Nancy Lancaster meets Wes Anderson because it is such a blend of old school antiques with traditional fabrics and wallpapers, but it is all mixed in an off-the-wall, quirky and bohemian way. I wanted a home that was warm, welcoming and filled with my favorite pieces of art and objects, but always comfortable with a certain barefoot elegance that makes you want to kick off your shoes, curl up on a plush sofa and read a book or enjoy a cocktail, whether alone or with family and friends. I put a lot of thought into how the house would function and operate during the renovation period, like the supporting and storage areas, the China Pantry and linen closets that make the house as functional as it is beautiful. I also planned out the color flow of the home with military precision so that one room transitioned to the next, drawing your eye in and inviting you to venture forward.
What is your philosophy for mixing color and pattern so beautifully?
It is all about scale, and finding the right harmony for the tonality of the color strengths. You can easily mix both of those if you find the right balance and mix, with unifying pieces to tie them all together. A lot of it has to do with the art on the walls. If you have priceless Picassos, then you can have a white wall. Otherwise, the vibrancy of a background color or pattern can make your art come really come alive. I think it is important to get your backgrounds right, then all the personality of a place really shines!
What, if any, current trends are you embracing?
I am loving seeing a return to color and pattern! I am so tired of boring, blah, bland and beige – a home should make you feel happy and express the personality of the inhabitant! I am not a trend follower in design, rather I try to do what is best suited for the project and the personality of the client.
What are your design pet peeves?
My pet peeve is interiors that have absolutely no context to the exteriors or interiors that are pinpoint designer done cookie cutter recognizable. I dislike “instant interiors” and I don’t really like the giant ‘aha’ grand reveals & now you have a decorated house because to me, decorating a home is very much a reflection of a life, and life is not instant. Life is about learning to enjoy the journey, so I strive to have my clients as much as part of the process as possible and teach them to be curators and collectors, not consumers.
Best advice you ever received about designing?
If you buy the best, you only cry once and it’s better to buy less, but buy better. The main thing I learned from Miles Redd is the notion that ‘it’s only decorating.” If you don’t like something, you can always change it. And if you buy good pieces that you love, you’re always going to find a place for them. But then again, Miles repeatedly tried to fire me because he said I didn’t need a decorator. Having a decorator isn’t really about having someone do the work for you, Bunny Mellon or Marcella Agnelli certainly never “needed” a decorator. It is about having someone with taste to help you to make appropriate purchases, edited choices, educating your eye, and in the end creating a cohesive edited unifying home that reflects the owner’s personality.
Who inspires you?
I would be remiss to mention the individuals rather than the whole of the design industry in my success. There have been a number of designers and industry professionals who have given me invaluable advice, encouragement and support as well as shared their sources and services. I think good people are not afraid to help good people, rather than fear their presence. A mark of a true leader is building other leaders. I have had to work harder than some others maybe, because I came into the game a bit later in life, during a difficult period rather somewhat out of the blue and with out “training” but I have never once complained about it or regretted it, nor ever forgotten those who pulled me up when I was too intimidated or scared or the ones who literally pushed me to keep going when I was too tired or beaten down. The design industry is filled with beautiful souls who do this job for a reason other than monetary gratification or self accolades – I think we all want to see beauty survive in a tumultuous world and that’s been a major drive since the beginning of time.
I would also be remiss to fail mentioning my biggest cheerleader – my mother. While she doesn’t share my inherent eye for design, she is who taught me the value of hard work, independence, self reliance and perseverance at all costs.
Oscar de la Renta will probably be my aesthetic guidepost forever. He was an incredible designer, tastemaker and style setter but he had an even bigger heart with an unquenchable thirst for learning which is really what I loved about him. To this day, his kind words, his encouragement and his quiet and subtle recognition of what I did right, at an early age and during a difficult period in my life, still carry me through a lot of my decision making now.
I really admire Miles Redd, whom I think has a particular knack for pushing his baby birds from the nest when they are just this side of shy about flying & encouraging them to keep flapping until they realize they have had the ability to soar all along.
What is on your nightstand?
A custom chinoiserie lamp and shade, some kind of fresh flower or potted plant, a monogrammed silver tray with my nightly medications, a vintage silver rimmed glass coaster and a glass of ice water, three Silver Julie cups containing colored pencils, sharpened number 2 pencils, writing pens and several sketch pads, my laptop computer, whatever book I’m reading before bed and usually multiple color coded folders filled with the checks I need to sign, correspondence, financial statements, itineraries and all the other necessities to keep me on track from my assistant who has a hard time holding me down!