Amy Osaba”¨ Osaba grew up playing with the flowers in her grandmother“s daylily farm in Arkansas, and now her innovative, yet natural creations have people rethinking floral design. Without formal training, Osaba, a former ballerina, saw a sense of movement in the flowers. “It came, really, organically.” Since starting Amy Osaba Event.Floral.Design, her style has blossomed into what she describes as loose sophistication, unexpected colors and asymmetrical shapes. Her work is expanding to weddings across the Southeast and interior design. “A lot of times people will come to me and say, “I really love your style, and I like your eye for design. I just want you to go with it.“”
Michel Boyd Boyd, who works in Atlanta, New York, Martha“s Vineyard and his native Louisiana, follows this mantra: more is more. “I always say when another designer would stop, I am sure to add one more layer.” Case in point: A fearless color sense brought chartreuse and grasscloth walls into Boyd“s nursery for the recent Christmas House, and at another home tour last spring, malachite prints and gold accessories filled a residence that he designed. “I want to push the envelope just a little bit,” says Boyd, owner and principal designer of SMITHBOYDInteriors and a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta. While wall coverings and color (ceilings are never left white) are two of his signatures, Boyd isn’t one to underestimate the power of what“s underfoot; in turn, a new line of rugs is in the works.
Hillary Linthicum During the height of the recession, Linthicum sat around with colleagues brainstorming how to energize the design community. She remembers thinking, “Everybody is a little down. What can we do to get the energy level back up and to give something back to our fellow designers and artisans?” Those conversations birthed Design Collective, which brings together designers, architects, artisans, students and others for networking opportunities and to influence what“s next in local design. The group has grown to 130 members in just two years. Linthicum credits members“ willingness to share resources and ideas a bit of “Southern hospitality in the business world.” She graduated from the University of Kentucky, where she met her mentor and employer, William Peace of Peace Design (a fellow Kentucky alum).
Sarah Dorio As a commercial photographer who travels the country up to 28 days each month for work, Dorio has had insider access into an array of businesses, including some of the country“s best restaurants. “Just capturing the essence of a restaurant is so fun. You have to walk in and sort of get the emotional grasp of a space, from the interiors, to the exteriors, to the food, and then capturing the chefs and their mood.” Dorio, who graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta, remained here after meeting her husband, Michael, a musician. She shoots interiors, exteriors, people and places for clients including HGTV and Jamestown Properties, whose projects include Chelsea Market in New York City and Atlanta“s White Provision. Her passion for photography began with a subscription to Life magazine as a child. “I want someone“s eye to look at an interior shot and to never want to leave the page.”
Kevin Gillespie As Gillespie prepares to open his new restaurant, Gunshow, in Glenwood Park this spring, he realizes that this “opportunity to do what I love” stems from his award-winning work at Woodfire Grill and on Bravo“s Top Chef. The pork-loving Gillespie, an Art Institute of Atlanta graduate, simmered and stirred his way into fans“ hearts on Season 6. He represented Atlanta well“as a finalist and voted “fan favorite”“and diners showed their appreciation by packing Woodfire Grill. His new book, Fire in My Belly, seeks to boost the skills and confidence of home cooks. “My family didn“t have a lot of money. One thing we always had was a full table of food. Food has this ability to unite people and to make them all around happier.”
Tucker Berta An affinity for Atlanta began as a child, when Berta“s grandmother would take her to the Fox Theatre and High Museum of Art. “As soon as you could see the skyline, I would press my face up to the window and point out buildings and say, “I“m going to work there.“” Berta, director of marketing for W Atlanta-Midtown, is a cheerleader for the city“s culinary and performing and visual arts scene. Her endless efforts include concepting and hosting WonderGlo, producing the first PopUp shops in Midtown, creating Street Food Thursdays, and concepting the opening events for “Skate It or Hang It” at Museum of Design Atlanta. Berta, former director of communications at Serenbe, seeks to bring media and public attention to Atlanta. “I don“t think Atlanta gets the recognition that it deserves. This place is stunning, and it“s filled with really creative people.”
Amy Musarra Musarra took charge of the 2012 Atlanta Symphony Associates“ Decorators“ Show House & Gardens with what she calls an “old school” approach, securing Knollwood, a 1929 English Georgian-style home by architect Philip Trammell Shutze. “When the project started 43 years ago, it was always in an old or historic Buckhead estate. There is something fascinating about those estates that were built in the “20s and “30s.” As one of the youngest“if not the youngest“chairpersons of one of the county“s longest-running show houses, Musarra drew from her experience in the design, retail and antique industries to galvanize the design community around the show house. Musarra, a University of Georgia grad who manages special events and projects for ADAC, is also now serving as the design chair for the 2013 show house. “I have had the pleasure of working with truly the best of the best when it comes to interior design talent here.”
James Farmer From sharing tablescape tips on NBC“s Today show, to authoring numerous books inspired by his life growing up on a middle Georgia farm, including the upcoming A Time To Cook, Farmer lives out this philosophy: “Once the Georgia red clay stains your hands, it never leaves.” Farmer“a gardener, floral and interior designer, cook and garden-to-table lifestyle expert“is reaching a generation of city dwellers yearning for a connection to nature. “You may have a pot or plot, whatever you“ve got, you can grow something,” he says. Farmer hopes to empower people to embrace garden living as a part of Southern culture. “My generation needs a voice to say, “All right y“all, you plant it, you grow it, you cook it like this.“”
Garnie Nygren Nygren was on a run with her father, former restaurateur Steve Nygren, when he got the inspiration for Serenbe. As a Woodward Academy student, she was training for cross country on trails in Palmetto, where her family owned about 300 acres. They stopped running when they noticed 20 acres being clear cut. Fearful of sprawl, a plan was hatched for the new community where land conservation is top of mind. While her dad talked about “building houses in the woods,” Nygren graduated from Cornell in 2005 and planned to open hotels around the world. “I came back from college to see Serenbe grow from the ground up.” She is the director of operations, head of real estate sales and co-owner of Resource, a home decor and gift store offering interior design, personal shopping and organization services. “It“s amazing to be part of something that changes people“s lives.”
Kelly Ottinger Ottinger had an interesting childhood hobby: rearranging furniture. Now, she does it virtually, offering e-design services (through kellyathomedesign.com) and serving as an arbiter of style through her chic style and design blog, kellymarket.com. Social media“particularly her blog and Pinterest“has proven to be a way for Ottinger to connect with interior design clients, as well as editors, artists and other designers. Ottinger describes her style as “younger traditional with a twist,” by focusing on pattern and color but incorporating heirlooms and antiques. Ottinger is inspired by fashion and art history, and believes people shouldn“t be intimated by bringing art into their homes. “It makes a difference between a room that has been professionally done and one that hasn“t.”