Friday, March 20, 2009

Southern Style Defined

If you read my profile you know that I am from the South and incorporate my heritage into my work and point of view. Recently I found an article from Southern Accents touching on this very subject. The magazine interviewed several top designers and architects about what it is that makes our region unique. I decided to share some of the article with you along with some random photos I compiled which convey the feeling of Southern design and architecture.

What do you think are the attributes that define Southern Style?

Southern style is unpretentious and extremely comfortable with an air of informality and relaxed elegance. Josie McCarthy

A sense of one's heritage and the importance of making a home welcome to family and friends. J.R. Miller

A sense of gracious invitation. Warm, personal colors. Respect and reverence of our past. Subtle intelligence. Barry Dixon

Southern style speaks of gracious living, hospitality, and restrained taste. Betty Lou Phillips

Gracious and eclectic with a strong architectural basis. John Chrestia

True "Southern style" has a subliminal sense of theatre and joie de vivre, complimented by a definite bend toward elegance. Joseph Paul Davis

Are there elements in your own work that are uniquely Southern?

I would like to think that like most Southerners, my work exudes quality and consistency with style and grace. Charles Gandy

Painting the porch ceilings sky blue. Using fine things in a relaxed way, say silver julep cups for water every night at supper. Suzanne Rheinstein

Wood floors, especially heart pine. A "generational" feel to new design; incorporating the look and feel of grandma's back porch that was enclosed to enlarge the kitchen once electricity became available in the area or to incorporate a growing family. High ceilings. Great detail on the front door. Jim Strickland

A not-too-perfect mix of new, antique, primitive, and found objects with some traditional values to create a very personal and timeless space. Never be a slave to perfection and rules. You need a little attitude! J.R. Miller

How has Southern style changed in the past 25 years?

Southern style is much more relaxed and less formal but still embraces its traditional nature. Jackye Lanham

With a clientele that has exposure, travel, and communication with Europe, Southerners have reconnected with our past. We have allowed ourselves to borrow what we feel a connection with Europe and our homes are showing a diverse, eclectic look. Cindy Smith

Southern style has been "distilled" over the last quarter century, reduced to its purist, most individual form. But it has remained warm, witty, and personal. Barry Dixon

Sparser, more pared down, and eclectic. John Chrestia

Southern style is as unique as the area. I feel it can't be reproduced anywhere else. Our heritage brings something special to the our way of living, and it shows in our homes and gardens. Several words and themes were repeated over and over in these interviews; gracious, welcoming, hospitality, refined taste, and relaxed elegance. Southern designers are adept at interpreting these qualities; combining old and new, low and high, and rustic and refined. Researching this post made me proud all over again of Southern heritage and design!


niartist said...

Oh! I SO AGREE! Having grown up in the South, I agree that southern designers have a nack on getting the gracious and welcoming interior right the first time, everytime! Great post!

Victoria said...

I live in Sydney, Australia but think I must have been Southern in a past life.

That being said, I love your blog and love the above pics.