Sumptuous red velvet curtains in an Austrian coffeehouse grabbed Lauren Davenport Imber’s eye when she studied abroad as a college student, and everything clicked. “I said, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to do interior design,’ ” she remembers.
Years later, those dramatic drapes inspire her decisions, including statement-making curtains in a historic Brookhaven renovation. Yet unlike the rich velvet that captured her attention in Europe, Davenport Imber’s style steers toward neutral colors accentuated with texture and subtle patterns in the furnishings and fabrics. She calls her style “livable chic.”
Working at Jerry Pair at ADAC while pursuing an interior design degree from American InterContinental University in Atlanta (after earning her psychology degree at Ole Miss) introduced her to high-end furnishings and fabrics. She honed her skills at Trente Ashton Interiors, Kim Haire Interiors and Westbrook Interiors before opening Davenport Designs in 2003.
“I like to blend the clean lines, mixed in with some antiques and modern elements,” she says.
In Brookhaven, Davenport Imber loved collaborating with builder Matthew Morris and the homeowners to create breezy spaces by removing “black holes” from the previous layout, adding windows and capturing more natural light. Horizontal-striped curtains in the living room, for example, don’t weigh down the space.
Her downsizing clients envisioned an airy, uncluttered and comfortable space for entertaining. “The influences of this home were my clients—how they want to live and how they wanted the house to work for them,” Davenport Imber says.
She selected Benjamin Moore’s China White as a neutral wall color, which allowed furnishings to stand on their own. The new keeping room’s shiplap, antique horns and framed arrowheads evoke the feel of a French hunting lodge befitting the home’s architectural style, while the designer’s appreciation for the tailored look in transitional design is evident in the pieces she chose for her clients. “My design philosophy is design is only successful if it represents those who live in it,” she says.