Mrs. Howard, My Inspiration

Every now and then a designer comes along whose eye for detail and mindful visions truly inspire me in my line of work. One designer who has always been a true source of inspiration for me is Phoebe Howard. I picked up her book The Joy of Decorating last year and have lost count how many times I’ve flipped through its pages–I never get tired of looking at it!

Here’s a snippet of a bio about Mrs. Howard (the full biography, which I recommend you read! can be found on her blog):

In 1996, Phoebe and Jim Howard opened the doors to their first store, Mrs. Howard, in Jacksonville, Florida, hoping to demystify the decorating process for their customers. The goal was simple: to create a retail space that showcased Jim’s architectural and decorating talent, and Phoebe’s natural skills for buying, decorating, and merchandising. With equal parts of exceptional customer service and a well-rounded mix of furniture, antiques and accessories, the store was an instant success […]

Over the years, Phoebe’s penchant for creating stylish spaces has evolved into her own brand of decorating […] Phoebe’s work can only be characterized by its timelessness and her mantra to “keep it pretty.”

Here are some of my favorites from her. May you find inspiration as I have!


I wanted to start off with something I absolutely love: these green velvet walls with matching curtains, and a nail-trim to mimic the sunburst mirror. Not only are the colors here beautiful, but that attention to detail really pulls the entire room together while being a tasteful addition to any formal room.

Using screens as wall panels is a really innovative idea for artwork in a large wall space that may otherwise be difficult to fill. I’ve used this idea for several projects, and it has always been a great addition to the room.

All you need to do is have a carpenter (or anyone handy!) remove the legs and hinges from a screen you find inspiring, then touch up the parts where the legs have been removed to match the rest of the screen. As you can see from the picture above, this creates a unique and wonderful piece of artwork to any room.

When using a soothing palate as seen here, a hand painted wallpaper is a smart design choice. It does not make the room feel too busy, and can be a beautiful backdrop in any room.

Faux Wall Treatment II

Faux Wall Treatment
Who could possibly look at this use of faux wall treatments and say this design is so “in the past”? This is an example of wall treatments done correctly and in an inspiring and stylish way. The French and pale color palates are really what is trending right now.

Metallic Paint_Paper

I absolutely love the way Mrs. Howard painted the molding piece in this bedroom dark, then added the silver metallic above! While I’m not crazy about the rest of the elements in the room (hey, everything’s not for everyone), I had to share how great this wall treatment was.

Dark Gloss Moldings

Another absolute delight! These dark gloss moldings are exquisite, and doing this in your own home is something you can get really creative and have fun with. Typically, people expect white or off-white moldings in a home, but adding a splash of color or tone to a room on the moldings is a great way to grab your guests’ attention and add a certain sense of out-of-the-box design work to your home.

Lacquer Wall I

Lacquer Wall III

Lacquer Wall II

When I moved into my townhouse a few years ago, it was in desperate need of a designer’s touch. One detail I wanted to include in my new home was something Mrs. Howard inspired me to do–paint the wall of my dining room a navy blue lacquer. The shocked faces I received when I told friends and family this were entertaining to say the least, but once they saw the results, the trend caught on!

Paneled Walls II

Paneled Walls

I can’t tell you how many times clients of mine have wanted to take down their wood paneling! Granted, sometimes you might move into a new home that looks like it’s stuck in 1974, but take a look at these fresh takes on wood paneling. Maybe it’s time to think twice about the possibilities in your home!

Wall Paneling

Here is another great take on wall paneling by Mrs. Howard. This one in particular I find very inspiring because it incorporates something I feel very English with something that is not: the dental molding. I’ve used this architectural detailing in many of my clients’ homes–I love it in the cream finish, but absolutely adore the dark stain as well.

Wall Paneling II

Wall Paneling III

After all this talk about Mrs. Howard, I want to know: who are you inspired by?

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One thought on “Mrs. Howard, My Inspiration

  1. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites
    really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. All the best

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