A few of my favorite things: Designers share items in their homes that spark joy
A house is not a home until it is filled with the things you love. Whether it’s people, pets, memories, art or knick-knacks, we all have that one thing that brings a smile to our face when we are reminded of its presence and how it made its way into our lives. And while interior designers and decorators make it their job to incorporate these items into other people’s spaces, they have their own happy place waiting for them at home. But what is it that makes these masterminds of design fall in love with these items in their own homes? To find out, we asked a few of Baton Rouge’s interior decorating pros what items they have in their homes that never fail to spark joy.
“My absolute favorite item in my home is my Wassily chair,” says Allyson Hicks of Allyson Hicks Design Consulting. Though designed in the 1920s, Hicks notes that the chair appears as though it could have been made yesterday. The chair was given to her by her parents 24 years ago as a college graduation gift.
“They thought it was an odd gift, but it’s what I wanted more than anything else,” recalls Hicks. “I have always had it front and center wherever I’ve lived, and it is always a topic of conversation. People are usually surprised by how comfortable it is,” says Hicks. Originally designed by Marcel Breuer, the Wassily Chair has remained fairly popular over the years. “It’s fun to find it in magazines and movies,” adds Hicks.
While Shane Griffin of Shane Griffin Designs has little explanation for why his Asian man lamp is his favorite item, it’s an excellent example of how the most unique and unsuspecting things can spark joy. “It just makes me happy for whatever reason,” says Griffin.
Fifteen years ago, while living in Tampa, Florida, Griffin and came across the lamp while with his wife. “There was a little antique shop in downtown St. Pete that we used to frequent. One day while in there I spotted this lamp and had to have it,” says Griffin. The heart wants what it wants, and Griffin says there’s just something about it that he loves. “It is the one thing I would be very upset about something happening to. My kids know they better not be running through the house and break this little lamp,” adds Griffin.
It’s not always tangible items that spark joy, and for Andi Holliday, owner of Stage Presence, the way she has transformed her home to make it more enjoyable for her and her family is what makes her happiest. “My favorites, I suppose, are the effects that came with painting our built-in fireplace and adding floor-to-ceiling glass windows,” says Holliday. The built-in fireplace being the same color as the walls brightened up the living space with a casual and elegant appeal, according to Holliday, and the room and windows beckon more natural light than ever before. “It even inspired me to paint a huge abstract to go with our color scheme,” adds Holliday.
Buying things on a whim for our homes sometimes feels risky, but for Erin Mixson of Erin Mixson Interiors, this was not the case when she purchased her Burts Cason bowl. “It was a splurge when I purchased it many years ago, but one that I will never regret,” says Mixson. The uniqueness of the bowl makes Mixson love and appreciate it even more. “From the pottery to the hand-painted detail and gilt, I love that it is entirely handmade,” she adds.
Regardless of how much an item costs or where it came from, if it has sentimental value it immediately moves up in importance. For Carrie Griffin of Carrie Griffin Design, her favorite item is a sketch her dad did in college. “It reminds me of sitting with him when I was little and learning to draw,” says Griffin. The sketch is a constant reminder of why she fell in love with what she does today. “He always encouraged me to do what I love, and gave me an appreciation for art and design. Sketching is still my favorite thing to do,” adds Griffin.