15 under 40: Margaret Kirkland


Interior designer Margaret Kirkland’s graceful and timeless design style has always struck a chord with clients near and abroad. Whether working on a home in Buckhead, a Park Avenue apartment in New York or a farmhouse in Provence, France, the award-winning designer infuses each space with a deft dose of elegance. Kirkland got her start working for an interiors firm in New York while taking classes at Parsons School of Design. She then returned to her native Atlanta, working with design icon Dan Carithers for six years before striking out on her own.

What is your favorite design object of all time? I have a weakness for porcelain, so there is usually at least one piece in every room I design.

Do you have a signature look and how would you define it? Classic, elegant design with a southern twist. I am a traditionalist at heart.

Do you have a favorite pattern or print you return to? I love a good chintz and my favorite pattern is probably “The Setter” by Cowtan & Tout. The fabric’s scale, color, and liveliness always put a smile on my face, plus who doesn’t love a dog?

What do you think is next regarding trends in color, material and style. Cotton prints in vivid colors are coming back around. We have clients who want traditional design with more than just beige, which indicates a shift in the visual landscape that people are not afraid to live with color.

What is on your coffee table right now? A collection of wooden boxes with design magazines and books marked with loads of sticky notes for inspiration.

How do you combat creative blocks? I get out of the office and go shopping. Atlanta has absolute gems at ADAC, The Galleries, Miami Circle, Bennett Street and the Westside. I’m always inspired by independent stores that have their own personalities.

What is the most practical knowledge you learned from working with Dan Carithers? You can’t design from behind a desk.

What advice would you give to young designers trying to break into the industry? Don’t second guess yourself. If you feel passionate about something, you will find a way to make it work.

To view more of Kirkland’s work, visit margaretkirklandinteriors.com.

{This year’s 15 under 40 class is presented by Mathews’ Furniture Galleries}