A Soft Touch

Designer Tammy Connor's quiet approach to design brings a Buckhead residence to life.

“The best colors are the ones you can’t describe with a word,” says Birmingham-based Tammy Connor. And at the Buckhead home she designed for Rod and Linda Gray, it’s one big guessing game—at least to the untrained eye. A dreamy mix of blue-greens, soft ivories (more than half-dozen of them) and comfortable tans, browns and grays create a quiet cacophony of colors that makes for a subtle yet striking palette. But pinpointing an exact shade? Impossible.

Working with architect Norman Askins on the home’s extensive remodel—which included beefing up all of the home’s moldings, the addition of a sunroom and scaling back the double-height foyer into something more intimate—Connor chose hues that are easy on the eyes, yet offer round after round of surprises.

“We do our color schemes in a way so that rooms don’t look overly decorated or matchy-matchy,” Connor says of her firm’s philosophy. “That makes them more complex and, as a result, each room has its own personality.”

What’s more, Connor’s take on fabrics is similar. “We use more subtle fabrics than big patterns,” she explains. “In general, it’s rare for me to pick a floral pattern and match the rest of the fabrics to it. The textures that we choose make it more casual.” In the Grays’ residence, for instance, bouclés, linens and velvets are juxtaposed with wallpapers that have charming prints and antiques with rich patinas. Some rooms, such as the library, are cozy and intimate while others, like the master bedroom, are light and bright.

“The Grays had some great things to work with,” says the designer of her clients’ existing furnishings. Pieces from their previous residence on Tuxedo Road were used throughout this one, while Connor called upon her sources in Birmingham, Charleston, New Orleans and New York for other antiques, lighting and accessories. The resulting mix is a home that, in Connor’s words, is “soft and comfortable, yet sophisticated.”

Now that’s something everyone can agree on.


I GET MY BEST INSPIRATION FROM… My clients and the architecture of the spaces I design. Beyond that, I would have to say travel. Experiencing different cultures, design styles and lifestyles helps to broaden my perspective, and it makes it fun and interesting to incorporate international inspiration into my work.

MY FAVORITE MUSEUM IS… Museo Fortuny in Venice, Italy. I love the private setting, the architecture, the original interiors and the fabulous, inspiring collection of textiles and art.

MY FAVORITE PLACE FOR QUIET CONTEMPLATION IS… My bedroom. I love jumping into a well-made bed with a cup of hot tea and a meaningful book or one of the several magazines piled high on my bedside table.

MY PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL MOMENTS COME WHEN… My clients tell me things like “It makes me so happy to wake up in my house every morning!”

THE CAR I DRIVE IS… A Range Rover Sport.

MY SIGNATURE COLORS ARE… Ones that can’t be defined by a single hue. I lean toward complex colors that are more calming than severe. I prefer neutrals and cooler color schemes.

MY SUNDAY ROUTINE IS… To wake up as late as possible with my 2-year-old, have family pajama time with “Meet The Press” or “Mickey Mouse Club,” depending on who holds the remote control. We typically run late for church, with brunch following. Next, much to my husband’s dismay, I often have a Sunday afternoon house project planned. And we typically end the weekend with friends on Sunday night.

THE FIRST THING I SEE WHEN I WAKE UP IS… My Springer Spaniel’s face! She usually waits for me to stir and is immediately ready for her morning love session.


MY MUST-HAVE HOME ACCESSORY… A cashmere throw and fresh flowers.

MY FAVORITE ATLANTA SHOPPING SPOTS ARE… Parc Monceau, Edgar-Reeves, Mrs. Howard, South of Market, Foxgloves, Nicholson Gallery, Dearing Antiques and Bungalow Classic. The one piece of design advice I’d give anyone is…Be yourself.


BED LINENS: bed linens: Anichini and Matouk
DINNERWARE: Richard Ginori “Fiesole”
MUSIC: Country
WINE: Red zinfandel
ARTISANAL FOOD: Triple-cream brie
WALL COVERING: Anything with a good texture or a timeless pattern
FURNITURE STYLE: An eclectic mix of French and English—with a little Italian thrown in


Interior Design Tammy Connor, Tammy Connor Interior Design,
1809 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35209. (205) 871-9797; tammyconnorid.com
Architecture Norman Askins, Norman Davenport Askins Architects,
2995 Lookout Place, NE, Atlanta, GA 30305. (404) 233-6565; normanaskins.com