As an interior designer, Anita Holland has a genuine passion for her work. Enlivened by the challenges that each project brings and buoyed by the excitement of every client, her work reflects a strong commitment to traditional styling and classic detail. Anita was recently interviewed by Liz Hughes, the Publisher of North Carolina Design. In this interview, Anita shares her thoughts on her career and how interior design continues to evolve.
You have been a designer for more than thirty years. What is it that keeps you excited about your job?
I like the trends and I like how design continues to change and evolve. Throughout my career, I have always loved working with my clients. We form great relationships. I very much enjoy the fact that no two days are the same and no two projects are the same.
I find that today, there are so many more resources available to me as a designer, and that these resources continue to get better and better. I source these patterns, textures and colors, creating an authentic reflection of my clients’ personal style. With these new product introductions and the ease of access through the Internet, it’s very exciting – I am able to give my clients an up to date look of the very best of what the design industry has to offer.
Have you seen a change in how people use interior designers during this time?
The media has really put the spotlight on interior designers in recent years and because of this, I think we have more value than we used to have. I also think that with couples today who are both working, they don’t have the time to make their home look the way they want it to, and they really need to depend on a professional interior designer. Other people may have the time, but they struggle with the vision of how it should all come together.
People used to say,, “Oh I can’t work with an interior designer. I can’t afford that.” Now they recognize the value that comes with it. They used to think it was an instant thing and you had to do everything all at once. Some of my clients still do it that way today, but very often we create a plan where we phase things in over time. They enjoy the process, and they understand that they do not have to do everything at once. We might do one room or one floor at a time.
These are exciting times in the realm of interior design. What are you seeing right now in color, pattern and texture?
As a designer, I have always liked neutrals. This past furniture market, we did see a lot of neutrals. Shades of grays and beautiful blues abounded. I think that grays are somewhat hard to work with because they are so cool, but I am seeing a lot of it. If I am in a gray color palette because my client prefers that, then one of my goals is to warm it up some – either with a punch of color or with texture or perhaps a fabulous rug that shows texture and color.
As designers, we really are presented a bit of everything. I’m seeing a lot of pretty neutrals with splashes of color. I’m also seeing bold color as well as all shades of blue. Many of these fabrics have an organic look right now – nubby textures. What it comes down to is this – based on the client, the resources are there to really make what you want to make of it.
You are a designer who has always been known for classic detail. When it comes to furniture and fabric, have we seen a return to classic patterns over the past few years?
We probably have seen a return to it. There’s a lot of frette work patterns and a lot of geometric prints that are coming back in. I am not seeing so many florals, but I am seeing a lot of geometrics. The color range for these is all over the place from neutrals to classic colors like greens, blues, reds and corals.
Are there any aspects of design that are currently peaking your interest?
I spoke earlier about the abundance of outstanding products that are available today, and that includes lighting. There is a lot of very pretty crystal available that’s not overdone which really enhances the design of a space. The crystal carries over into lamps that are sleek with simple lines. I am seeing lots of lanterns. I just put two in a very large dining room, in bronze. I did a white one in a master bedroom that had a shade with it. You’ll see beautiful lighting products today that can work equally well in various rooms and in contemporary, transitional or formal settings.
You’re known for your classic and traditional style of design. We have seen traditional design change over the past 15 years. How would you describe the transformation?
I think classic design has changed drastically. What many people may still call traditional design really is transitional, where it mixes traditional and contemporary furniture, fabric and architectural details to create today’s classic timeless design. It is understated.
I like blending old with new and transitional design allows for me to do that. I like how I can work in one gorgeous antique with a contemporary painting. I can work the design around the client’s personal preferences because there are so many options out there. Seldom do I see anything that is the old traditional. Clients I have with homes full of antiques are now pairing down and editing out selections so that their favorite items show well in a space.
Whether I call this transitional or today’s new traditional – these interiors are warm, inviting, and comfortable. Fifteen years ago, traditional interiors were beautiful and elegant, but they weren’t necessarily meant to be comfortable or enjoyed. An absence in heaviness in detail is apparent. Cleaned up across the board are chests, tables, chairs, sofas, carpet and lighting. The lines are beautiful but they are simpler.
In creating this desired timeless look, neutral tones are an integral part of the design. I will say that when I am sometimes showing a client a light colored fabric, they may be hesitant because of the color. I’ll say to them it’s a lot about attitude – if you will demonstrate that you are not afraid to sit on the light colored sofa, people will follow you. They will take your lead that everything does not have to be brown.
People have a more relaxed attitude today. We want to enjoy our day. We want to enjoy our homes. Life is short. This relaxed attitude about life is across the board. It is reflected in design. It’s in fashion. We want to embrace comfort. We want to use our things, and we want the design to be beautiful, but when we walk into a room, we want for it to convey the feeling that everything is right in our world – and everything in the room should speak to that.