Monday, October 12, 2009

Meeting Mrs. Howard

Phoebe WAS there. And I met her. And she was delightful.

Designer Phoebe Howard
image via

We had a wonderful weekend in Atlanta - I spent some quality time with my sister before the arrival of her little one, went to a great party in a beautiful home, and got to visit Mrs. Howard and Max and Company AND meet Phoebe Howard. Not bad for two days.

Stepping inside Mrs. Howard, you are transported into a design-savvy parallel after room after beautifully appointed room. I walked around, mouth agape, in a design stupor taking it all in. Everything was so striking, elegant, detailed. Mrs. Howard is much more than a store. It is an exhibition of beautiful design spread out over three floors; a glamorous home tour - except you can take the stuff.

The store is the creation of Phoebe and Jim Howard who started the retail business twelve years ago in Jacksonville, Florida. The Howards are quite the dynamic duo sharing talents in architecture, custom furniture design, decorating and merchandising. They wanted a shop to not only showcase their passion for interiors, but to also help "demystify the decorating process for their customers."

At the Atlanta location, Mrs. Howard (the designer) and her staff have created a collection of rooms that showcase an aesthetic that has become recognizable as Phoebe's - neutral and often monochromatic palettes punctuated by beautiful accessories like sunburst mirrors and exaggerated chandeliers that bring a touch of whimsy (and sometimes Chinoiserie) to her elegant rooms. Every detail is considered and nothing overlooked. I think that is what strikes me most about her designs.

Saturday was my lucky day. Phoebe is based out of Jacksonville, but happened to be in the Atlanta store to meet a client. I thought I walked by her as I entered one of the rooms, so I slyly asked the kind sales associate if that was her (lest I fawn over a woman other than Phoebe). And it was...and as I was talking to said kind sales associate Phoebe popped in and joined the conversation.

I introduced myself, told her about the blog and how much I admired her work. We then chatted about the recent article about her in the Washington Post and the online Q&A that followed. She was very gracious throughout and offered to walk us over to Max and Company when we were done. So we finished meandering through the loveliness that was Mrs. Howard and then Phoebe walked us down to Max and Company, the sister store that is just as beautiful as Mrs. Howard with a slightly more relaxed feel - think beach house chic.

So, that was my design adventure for the weekend. I took in a ton of inspiration and met one of my favorite designers who was perfectly lovely. I unfortunately have no photos of my own to share, but below is a sampling of Phoebe's work - some of these images are from the store in Atlanta.

Phoebe's motto is "Keep it Pretty"...and you'll see that she does.

all images via


she's not always neutral...


  1. Your stars aligned! You didn't mention buying anything...did you leave empty handed? Or is that stuff of future blog content?

  2. They did align! Sadly, I did leave empty handed. I was so busy taking in the rooms that I couldn't focus on actually shopping for time.


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