Today I am so excited to introduce to you Rachel Cannon Lewis from RCL Interiors.
Funny story about Rachel & I, we actually met via Instagram through our love of fashion & JCrew outfits! I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel last year at the Design Bloggers conference in LA and it was her extreme enthusiasm and encouragement that lead me to sign up for the Tobi Fairley Designer MBA. Rachel has been a great inspiration & encouragement to me on my journey to grow my business and I am grateful that our paths have crossed!
Before we get started on her “Coffee With” questions- let me share some of Rachel’s beautiful work with you (get ready to Pin your heart out!)
Q. When did you know that Interior Design was your passion?
A. Early. When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents hired an interior designer (Cindy Maughan, whose daughter Reagan – also an interior designer – has a stunning line of to-the-trade furniture called Reagan Hayes) to help them redesign our house. I’d always had a natural artistic ability, and observing our designer transform our home fascinated me. I knew at about age 15 that this is what I’d do with my life.
Q. Where do you find your inspiration?
A. Everywhere. In design school, we were encouraged to keep a notebook handy so we could record moments of inspiration, interesting color combinations, textures, etc. Today, all of those ideas are recorded on the camera roll of my phone. Once, I was chopping shallots for dinner and noticed that the way the color and line of a halved shallot was especially beautiful. I’ve wished a million times that I’d stopped long enough to take a picture of that image for future reference!
Q. What is your favorite book/magazine on design? How about your favorite site?
A. I have so many favorites. Barbara Barry’s book, Around Beauty, really speaks to me. It was a nice surprise when I realized that she also finds design inspiration in unusual places. I also refer to many of my college textbooks, especially the art history books, because so much of my work is a reference to classic design. Kelly Wearstler’s books are stunning, and they always inspire me to work with color, and of course Suzanne Kasler and Phoebe Howard both have a gracious, Southern style that I identify with on a deep level.
For magazines, I love House Beautiful, Veranda, Traditional Home, and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Those are the ones I read most regularly.
Q. What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?
A. The most frustrating part of being a designer is the nit-picky things: backordered fabrics, long lead times, damaged items that have to be returned. Basically anything that prolongs the process that I don’t have any control over!
My clients are typically professionals with very demanding schedules, so the most rewarding part is the moment when a they see their finished space for the first time, and then when I see the realization spread across their face that all they have to do is just enjoy it!
Q. What decorating techniques/ideas/projects would you recommend to a homeowner who wants a quick update to their space?
A. Never underestimate the power of a great throw pillow. It can instantly perk up a piece of furniture, as well as kickstarting a fresh new color palette if you decide to paint. Break up sets of matching furniture, and even consider painting some of it. My core philosophy is about having fewer, but better quality things, so I stress the importance of editing. If you were out shopping today, and you wouldn’t buy it, it’s probably time to donate it.
Q. What’s something you should never skimp on when decorating your home?
A. Light fixtures. They are so often considered to be non-essential to a design, when really, they are just like the shoes you choose to complete an outfit. How many women do you know with multiple pairs of black shoes that work with different outfits? The same goes for lighting. Buying one package of matching lighting for a whole home is like wearing the same black shoes with every outfit. It offers a solution in that it directly answers a need, but it doesn’t do anything to define your unique style.
Q. What’s your favorite color combination lately?
A. I’m really on a blush, white, and gold kick lately. I’m also having a strong need to work in analogous color schemes too. Maybe I’m craving low-contrast as a way to create serenity in a space!
Q. What is your most cherished possession?
A. An 18th century English armoire my parents gave me for my 21st birthday. They are so important to me, and they’ve always supported and encouraged me – so this particular gift was their way of letting me know that if the history of art and design was important to me, it was important to them.
Q. What would your dream project be?
A. I really, really love boutique hotels. The Kimpton group of hotels is a favorite for my husband and me when we travel. Each hotel is designed with its city’s history in mind, but with expressive and bold aesthetic choices. It always comes back to blending old and new for me!