It is truly remarkable to witness a showhouse coming together and the village of volunteers, artisans, and designers that donate their time and talent to make it all happen. We have just returned from installing our space at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Showhouse which opens this week and I cannot wait to get back to the lowcountry in a few short days. The timeline of a showhouse is intense.  From start to finish, we only have a few weeks to conceive, implement and install our visions. My favorite part of working on these are the friendships formed with other designers. We ended our installation by christening our Veranda with afternoon cocktails with our new Charleston design friends.

I had to really flex my creative muscles to figure out how to decorate an outdoor space without any walls as well as design around Mother Nature. We spent last Spring Break in the Bahamas and that provided the spark to begin designing this exterior room. Inspired by the coral pinks and emerald sea greens of Harbour Island, the Veranda is a throw back to grand old school Bahamian houses. A long banquette piled with pillows offers seating to accommodate many guests for Happy Hour or the perfect spot to curl up for an afternoon nap. Whimsical hanging chairs add another spot to perch with a Goombay Smash in hand. Drapery panels can be pulled to block the sun and rattan accent pieces add more dimensions to this outdoor room. A painted floor adds an unexpected touch underfoot while potted palms and hanging flowering baskets provide the finishing touches to this lovely haven.


Every designer in the Southeast would be lost if it were not for the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. In addition to providing the design community with extraordinary showrooms and resources, the center also had an incredible lineup of programming that covers just about any topic a designer could imagine. Whether you need inspiration from one of industry icons, or need advice on how to run your design practice, there is always an event to address your needs. 

In the ever changing world of design, ADAC’s Digital Day has become one of their most popular events. It is annual event that teaches designers how to define their brands, maximize their presence, and achieve greater creative success in a digital economy. Learn how technology is permanently changing the entire design industry, discover how widely-respected designers are harnessing the power of technology to grow their brands and execute luxury design projects around the world, and finally gain invaluable advice every creative person needs to cultivate a successful and sustainable business model that will carry them into the future.

I am delighted to be participating in Digtial Day next week with Elizebth Brown, CEO of Viyet, and two of my favorite designers…Beth Webb and Tami Ramsay of Cloth and Kind.  We will be sharing our tips and tricks of the trade on how we use technology to broaden our practices and work more efficiently. Space is limited so be sure to click HERE to register if you would like to attend. 


The mesmerizing new work of Cristina Toro is on view at LaCa Projects. Her exhibition, Strike a Match to Hear My Sound  is up through April 7, 2017. Pictures do not come close to doing these brilliant works justice. The indescribable vibrant colors, rhythmic imagery, and impressive scale can only be fully appreciated in person. 

The works represent the artist’s ongoing dialogue with humanity and the natural world. Toro addresses natural and supernatural phenomena related to fire and light. The inspiration for the works began in the artist’s kitchen, where she experienced the phenomenon of luminous plasma from static electricity creating a glowing light, or Saint Elmo’s Fire. This exhibition shares a number of examples related to energy and luminosity: ritual bonfires, polaroids, candles inside of kettles, phosphorescence, human energy fields, and the various properties of light, real and imagined, that come from the sun and the moon in relationship to one’s body.


I always look forward to seeing what Jim Thompson reveals in each new fabric collection.  Like Cole and Son, they execute their spark of inspiration beautifully in everything from their presentation and window display to their marketing in how to use their brilliant textiles in a variety of interiors. 

For their DecoOff 2017 reveal, Jim Thompson surprised spectators with Chinese Lions doing a brilliant dance celebrating the new line “Leo Dejenero.” Stunning window displays created by branding visionary Douglas Little included a menagerie of fantastic beasts all set in a silk velvet jungle. Click on the image to see the lions come to life!


There were so many amazing new introductions at DecoOff that it is hard to know where to begin! One of the most whimsical and charming collections was “Ardmore” by Cole & Son based on Ardmore Ceramic Art celebrating African traditions and culture. Cole & Son describes the collection:

“Drawing inspiration from Ardmore’s colorful and quirky ceramics the collection explores Africa’s exotic flora and majestic fauna: from rare birds to big cats, elephants, rhinos and mischievous monkeys; as well as the beautiful patterns of Zulu beadwork and woven basket ware.Color palettes are drawn from the natural landscape: from the chalky, ochred desert plains and sun-bleached shimmering outcrops to the vibrant fresh greens of water-kissed rain forests and exotic coloring’s of native flora and fauna. The result, a strikingly sophisticated collection of wallpapers that includes soft and subtle explorations of the majestic landscape as well as colorful creations capturing the vibrancy of traditional African culture.”

Cole & Son always does an incredible job teaching the designer about the inspiration behind each of their creations. Every paper tells a story. In addition to their fabulous story telling skills, they also do a fabulous job showcasing their papers in a variety of interiors from traditional to contemporary and the varied methods in which their papers can be applied. 


“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.” – Henri Matisse

My head is still spinning from my Parisian design adventure filled with inspiration, ideas, and awe. What began as an initial visit to see Deco-Off, Maison et Objet and shopping the Marche aux Puces turned into a full fled art immersion with so many amazing exhibits taking place in Paris at one time.  It was truly an art lover’s dream and I have never felt pulled in so many directions! 


2016 has been an emotional roller coaster to say the very least…From the desert of Las Vegas to the sand hills of Marrakech, I have had so many extraordinary experiences, but dealing with the grief of losing my mother this year has changed me in ways I never quite imagined.  My mother had a zest for life that was contagious….she made our childhood incredibly magical with her sense of adventure and creativity. From dance parties to treasure hunts, she made everyday a celebration that I only hope I can emulate to carry on her memory. 

Thank you to all of the stars who shined so brightly in my little world this year to help me through the rough spots…You will never know how much I appreciate your friendship and kindness! Many of you appear in the video below…

Life is short….be grateful, forgive a grudge, tell your loved ones you adore them, take the trip, take a risk, don’t wait for tomorrow!


Click HERE to see the video above…


Rounding out the Charlotte galleries showing at Untitled, Art in  Miami next week is SOCO Gallery which has become a leader in our arts community for their programming, lectures and events representing artists working locally, nationally and internationally at the highest levels. SOCO Gallery excels at connecting artists with their viewers. Getting to know the artists makes experiencing their work that much more personal. I have had the pleasure to meet some of the artists they are bringing to Miami and could not be more excited to see their dynamic works hang alongside one another. 


Untitled, Art is an international, curated art fair founded in 2012 that focuses on curatorial balance and integrity across all disciplines of contemporary art. Untitled, Art innovates the standard fair model by selecting a curatorial team to identify, and curate a selection of galleries, artist-run exhibition spaces, and non-profit institutions and organizations, in dialogue with an architecturally designed venue. Since 2014 the curatorial team has consisted of Artistic Director Omar López-Chahoud with curators Christophe Boutin and Melanie Scarciglia. The next edition of Untitled, Miami Beach will take place on the beach at Ocean Drive and 12th Street, November 30 – December 4, 2016.

SOCO Gallery is a contemporary art space based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The gallery specializes in assisting private collectors, institutions, and corporations to build their collections with museum-quality artworks, from emerging to established artists. Community engagement and education are central to the mission of the gallery. Each exhibition includes artist talks, book signings, and related programming. SOCO Gallery is located in a renovated 1920’s bungalow in historic Myers Park in Charlotte.

Sign up for Bespoke Banter

* = required field


  • Happy #NationalPuppyDay 🐾#TBT to sweet Georgia exactly one year and 35 lbs ago 🐾#goldenretrieverpuppy #goldenretrieversofinstagram
  • The things we do for our daughters...bought matching wetsuits so we could brave the 61 degree water! 🏄‍♀️🏄‍♀️🏄‍♀️@_evelynaustin #coldbuthappy #oneillwetsuits #islandvibes #ameliaisland #surfing #surftrip #springbreak #lasolas
  • Morning light in the marsh under the #spanishmoss #springbreak #ameliaisland #happyspring #natureinspiration

Follow Me!


One Comment

  1. […] Cathy Austin […]

Leave a Reply