Last weekend we were delighted to participate in the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival’s “Designer Diner” sponsored by the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center and Atlanta Home magazine. This year’s theme was how Southerners do brunch in five different cities…Atlanta, Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte and Nashville. Whether it be in a French bistro, a mom and pop diner or in your own mother’s kitchen, the story of the South’s food and drink traditions would be incomplete without paying homage to these local spots. The Designer Diner concept tells the story of this favorite meal in five Southern hubs, and the changing patterns in how Southerners eat, live and interact while also showcasing the South’s design aesthetic with five city-inspired designer vignettes.

We were thrilled to be representing the Queen City alongside award-winning chefs from favorite restaurants Barrington’s and Reid’s Fine Foods with fabulous mixologist Amanda Britton of 204 North Kitchen and Cocktails.


Under a canopy of live oaks overlooking a beautiful garden, Charlotteans love to entertain outdoors and brunch is the perfect meal to take advantage of the temperate climate. The blossoming “Queen City” continues to attract new residents who have fallen in love with its eclectic, cosmopolitan, and cultured Southern charm. For my vignette, I envisioned a “Modern Southern Brunch” with classic elements such as fine china and monogrammed linens mixed with modern touches including an abstract watercolor tablecloth, midcentury gold bamboo flatware, and contemporary pink Murano glassware. The palette of spring green, peony pink, and periwinkle is inspired by the colors of the garden which are depicted in a whimsical hand painted mural by artist Thomas Calvin Ard.  Along with the artistic backdrop, a modern gilt leaf chandelier and 1970s Italian painted metal chairs add unexpected details bringing interior elements to the outdoors.


My signature style always begins with an artistic gesture and personal details reflecting my clients’ tastes. The mural allowed me to create a garden fantasy to work with some of my favorite design elements.  Elsie de Wolfe said, “To be complete, all things must contain their opposite.” Here a mix of high and low is seen in the Italian chairs resting on a carpet of grass. Complementary colors in the textiles make each other more vivid. The abstract pattern of the tablecloth plays off the organized motif on the china and monogrammed linens. The whimsy of the mural juxtaposes the formal table setting.

Since I was my own client, I was delighted to reveal my own aesthetic. The use of Chinoiserie reflects my thirst for travel and all things exotic. My love of abstract art and color and working with artists is seen in the watercolor tablecloth and mural.  My fascination with mixing pieces from different design periods is displayed in the contemporary light fixture and vintage Italian chairs. By playing with opposites and using personal elements, I find the overall design is enhanced and much more interesting.


Thank you to all of our wonderful friends that helped us bring our vision of a Modern Southern Garden Brunch under the oaks to life!

Chandelier by Ironware International through Ernest Gaspard
Table Fabric by Lee Jofa
1970s Italian Painted Chairs through Travis & Company
Monogrammed Linens by Jenny Johnson Allen
Mural by Thomas Calvin Ard
China by Herend
Crystal by Baccarat
Floral Design by Canaan Marshall
Planters through The Eastover Collection
Logistics with Mackenzie Johnson and Anna Craig 
 Heartfelt thanks to Brian Carter

Barrington’s Pimento Cheese Biscuit with Southern Fried Chicken (Image via Gordon Dunning)

Amanda Britton’s Queen Charlotte Clarified Milk Punch

City: Atlanta
Company: Elizabeth Ingram Studio
Designer: Elizabeth Ingram
City: Birmingham
Company: Suzanne Humphries Design
Designer: Suzanne Humphries
City: Charlotte
Company: Catherine M. Austin Interior Design
Designer: Cathy Austin
City: Charleston
Company: Gordon Dunning
Designers: Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning
City: Nashville
Company: Ami Austin Interior Design
Designer: Ami Austin

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