Nancy Rhodes Harper art

Just say NO to Catalog decorating!

Cheryl Kees Clendenon Details, In Detail Says, Interior design 4 Comments

We love it when you share!

But why?

Design trends and style historically are heavily influenced by society as a whole and what is happening in the world-and a response to how people are “feeling” about their lives. But in today’s saturated media onslaught of what is currently “in” and what some “tastemakers” dictate is the look du jour- ( think Magnolia Home- ugh) I  think people are losing their ability to really create their own ideas of what they want their environment to be- and most importantly how they want it to make them feel.

It is not about us- it is about you

We are fortunate to get many clients who trust our process of helping them uncover what their style truly is and doing the discovery work of discerning  how they want to experience their personal home- this is a critical step to our creative work when working on the decor aspects of a design project. Decor is much more subjective than other elements of design- where function and architectural elements may follow more classic rules of interpretation.

Nancy Rhodes Harper art

Our beloved Nancy Rhodes Harper- gallery artist at In Detail Interiors (and this mixed media painting is available HERE too:)

We just installed a cute little downtown cottage- the clients from Atlanta loved color and specifically purple- they hired us to integrate their desires and wants/needs into a cohesive style and give them a home they felt good in- this is the real value of design and there is nothing better than to see these clients happy with the outcome! 

Catalog decorating- living on Page 7- ewwwww!

But many potential decor clients express right out of the chute– we want the white sofa slipcover/gray walls/rustic old coffee table design- and then of course I wonder why are they even hiring a designer in the first place if they already know they want page 7 out of Resto catalog! Oy vey.

Our job is to help you discover the best style and design for you- but too often we battle preconceived ideas of style from popular media- which really slays me. Who wants to be a sheeple?

just say no to catalog decorating

The goal is to help you design a home with colors, patterns, textures and creative detail that resonate personally and uplift you in some way. We do not really give a hoot about what others are doing or what is on trend. Sure there are many fun trendy aspects to design- this is all fine and good but it is only a part of the design process. And some so called “trends” are nothing but tacky interpretations of some idea gone terribly wrong- almost always a catalog is the guilty influencing party! 

What is your style?

How do you create your own style? Where does it come from for any one individual? My theory -totally scientific you know 🙂 – is that it is from one of three main paths and is often dictated to you -whether you realize it or not-

— From friends, keeping up with the Jones’ theory

–Your “history”…what they grew up in and around and what makes you comfortable..

–Consumer catalogs. This is the worst group think in my opinion.

The Pottery Barn style or the Restoration Hardware shtick is designed to make you think this is design. It is not. And really, who wants to have their home look like everyone else’s or worse yet, replicate the style down to the accessories?

Bunny williams quote

Simple words by the inimitable Bunny Williams but oh so true!

Real style begins with good room structure,layering and visual interest- but is fluid to some extent so that layers can be cultivated over time.

You might begin with simple comfort- this is important! Then move into comfort plus items you love, that speak to you. Pieces you have picked up in travel or gifts from friends. Layering these beloved items is key to your home reflecting your personality. Designers come in when you want to maximize your space and comfort so you can enjoy it more along with helping you find the story you want to tell in your room.

real style

So what about just really bad design? Does this exist?

Ya- sure does. But it does not mean the intent is bad design– perhaps just execution or the mix or what I find most often is the most egregious error- really bad architectural details and proportion as well as WTF details that are simply gratuitous embellishments added to give a realtor something to talk about.

bad columns interior

A great example of gratuitous columns in this million dollar condo we redid last year- someone was out to lunch when proposing this design.


This is when designers who are honest to their craft and care about you and your style can really help find creative solutions.

If you want to learn more about our process and how we can help you discover your own style- call us! Read more about our services here!



Comments 4

  1. You are hitting all the nails on the all the heads. And luckily, you’re attracting the clients that know you are going to give them a unique, colorful, tasteful space not found anywhere else!

    1. Post

      Thanks Christine for the support! And yes we typically do attract our ideal clients and grateful for this- but sometimes we have to meet first to really explain how the process should work- if going to be the best outcome.

  2. Amen to this post, Cheryl! I could not imagine wanting my home to look like it *came out of a catalog* because of exactly the reason you stated: it would look so similar to someone else’s home. One piece or two? Maybe, but the entire room? Not ever.

    I don’t even want it to look overly designed. I just want it to make me happy and comfortable every time I walk back in from a trip…and I want my guests and family to be comfortable when they visit.

    I don’t need them to *ooh and ahh*…what I enjoy is when they ask me, “I’ve never seen something like that before — “Where did you find that? “or “What’s the story behind that?”

    Thanks for always writing what needs to be said. I hope it’s making a difference in how people perceive the value of hiring a designer like yourself to give them a home individualized to their tastes.

    1. Post

      Thanks Leslie! We do really want people to know we give 150 percent on all jobs big and small- but the outcome should be unique to that client and never look like it was duplicated. I do not get why anyone wants to do this- but it reminds me we are “spoken to” constantly via media and much of it is telling us what to think, how to act, what to like. Tired of it!

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