Chic & SMART

Editorial Director Clinton Smith talks to designer Joy McLean about the luxury of savvy spending on the home.

AH&L: Design centers are well known for carrying beautiful, high-end product lines. At the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC), you really uncovered a lot of high-style looks that won’t break the bank.

JOY  MCLEAN: My mission was to uncover products that offer “good looks for not a lot of money” that I knew ADAC has always had available to design professionals. What I discovered was how varied our design center is; there are wonderful fabrics, furniture, art and accessories that are incredibly affordable. You just have to dig a little deeper. While discussing my research with Dennis Schuhart from Travis & Company, he proceeded to show me one of the prettiest and softest fabrics that he had used as upholstery on a New York client’s sofa. They were so pleased with the velvet/suede look, and the retail price was about $30 a yard!

Design for a mountain retreat by designer Joy McClean

For her inspiration board, Designer Joy McLean created a scheme for a Highlands, North Carolina, mountain retreat. It’s the kind of space where the owners might want the same high style and quality used in their primary residence, but at a more value-conscious price point. With the exception of the small herringone fabric from Kravet, all of these fabrics are from Travis & Company (some with suggested retail prices as low as $30 per yard*). Trims are by Kravet and the wool carpet is from Stark. Custom framing is by brooks & Black Fine Framing. An economical frame and two mats dress up a prized antique print. Chandelier available through Brice Ltd. Two rich Sherwin-Williams paint colors—Stonebriar and Showstopper—round out the elegant design scheme. *To the trade only

Even now, there are certain must-have items people want, regardless of cost; however, people aren’t including as many indulgences as they once did. If you’re on a budget these days—and most people are—what should you ask yourself if you’re torn about what to splurge on?“Value” is a big buzz word these days. Whether they’re spending $2,000 or $10,000 on a sofa, people want to make sure they are getting their money’s worth. How did “value” factor in with your fabric and other selections?

Having been a loyal supporter of ADAC for more than 20 years, I feel that what is represented in the showrooms has generally been of outstanding quality. And even items that are in the lower price range seem to have been a fairly good investment for most people. Of course, it’s always important for the designer to translate to the client the pros and cons of one purchase over another. A client could certainly use a $2,000 sofa if it is in a room that does not get a lot of use. With the right guidance, the client may have to spend more for a sofa that goes in a family room, but that piece should hold up much better, and the client won’t have to buy the same piece again. This is often the situation with carpet, too. Carpet takes such a beating, so buying better quality certainly adds value and longevity.

I think we have all learned from this experience. My personal sense is that we will begin to look at our homes in a new light. Editing out the clutter, keeping only what we hold dear, buying better and smarter, and buying things that we really want and need. However, when we purchase the “want” items, they need to be special. So, I guess my philosophy hasn’t changed that much. I have always felt that it is best to wait to get the things you really want rather than buying to satisfy a short-term need. If you’re craving a great table from Holland & Company but can’t swing it right now, make an IKEA run, and then buy it when you can afford it. As the saying goes, nothing good happens fast!

Joy McLean
Joy McLean Interiors Inc.
(404) 237-8555