A beautiful blend of New York Modern and Southern Charm, the work of designer Allison Allen is warm, vibrant, welcoming and oh so chic. After studying design at both the University of Georgia and Parsons in NYC, she spent six years working in New York before opening her namesake firm in Atlanta. Since then she has earned a loyal following by creating homes for her clients that can be described as “effortlessly sophisticated” with her unique take on traditional design.
“Because I grew up in the South but spent seven years working in New York, I think of myself as a mix of the two. In the south there is a wonderful tradition of passing down special pieces within families and I love that. It brings warmth to a space.” Beloved by not only her clients, she has received recognition from the design community as well, and in 2017 was named one of House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers.
Her designs are a delight to the eye with layers of texture, color and pattern expertly mixed together in a visually cohesive way that feels so natural and organic to a space that it seems almost meant to be. “I never want anything to look too perfect or feel overly decorated. In our current world of click here to purchase, I love using pieces that are one of a kind and that I won’t see coming and going (which is why I love TLV!). I love coming in towards the end of a project and adding some of a client’s personal pieces that are completely unexpected – that’s what makes it feel like a home!” Looking at her body of work, it is clear that she has mastered the art of the mix. Classic silhouettes reupholstered in modern fabrics, traditional rich dark walnut pieces topped with vibrant and colorful modern accessories and all blended together with a client’s personal style.
This idea of mixing and matching, with old and new is a concept she loves using in her own home’s design as well. “My house is ever-evolving, a mix of inherited pieces, favorite finds, and custom pieces from my amazing upholsterer. We inherited our house from my husband’s grandparents and we still use their beautiful dining room table and hutch which I love.”
Allison Allen has a particular fondness for Mid Century vintage pieces inspired by her love of designers of that era. “[I am inspired by] the late 1950’s and 60’s. Billy Baldwin in NYC and Betsy Bloomingdale’s home in LA by William Haines. Coincidentally, this is when my own house was designed and built.” While she has an eye on the future, her designs are made to last with a touch of the traditional that will stand the test of time. “I never want a space to feel trendy and in my mind, the opposite of trendy is traditional. A well placed piece of brown furniture usually gets the job done!”
Indeed, a dose of grounding black or brown pieces can often be found in her work playing nicely alongside mixed prints and bright colors for a cheerful yet balanced look. “As a child of the 1980’s I believe in the “Color Me Beautiful” philosophy – people are drawn to colors that look good on them. That being said, I think it’s always very important to have a good dose of black or brown in a room to keep it sophisticated.”
Three Questions with Designer Allison Allen
TLV: Can you tell us about a recent project that you especially loved?
AA: A client inherited her grandmother’s beautiful Georgian home and we had so much fun bringing it back to life. I love being able to incorporate meaningful antiques with fresh new pieces.
TLV: What is a dream project would love to work on?
TLV: What are three words you would use to describe your work?
AA: Classic, Layered, Fresh
Photos by Heidi Harris / Text by Liana Hayles Newton