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Designer Spotlight: Emily Wallace Wood

Designer Spotlight: Emily Wallace Wood

Emily Wallace Wood, owner of Wallace Wood Interiors, is best known for designing interiors that achieve a “perfectly imperfect” mix of art, accessories and furnishings.  She combines the more traditional East Coast style of her childhood with the more laid-back vibe acquired from her years living and working in Australia to achieve balanced and liveable spaces. A mix of high-end and low-end pieces allows her rooms to feel elegant and refreshingly casual at the same time. Read on to learn more about Emily’s background and approach to decorating.

How did your childhood influence your love of interior design?

 So many ways, but being instilled with a love of textiles, art and travel from an early age are some common threads.  
My grandmother co-owned a fabric shop in Roanoke where I grew up, so some of my earliest memories involved playing hide-and-seek amidst beautiful bolts of chintz, checks, and stripes!  
My aunt is a talented artist, so the walls of my childhood home were covered in still-life watercolors + oil landscapes. It was a blessing and a curse- I am so grateful to have been exposed to gorgeous art from day one, but I now have high expectations -- to me, a room never feels complete without original artwork! But it doesn't have to be expensive nor straight from a gallery. Some of my favorite art is that of my toddler; it's always so expressive and fun.  
My parents always took my siblings and I on a big summer trip - favorites being British Columbia, Scotland, California, and Montana- so being exposed to a variety of landscapes, lifestyles, museums, and b&bs from an early age certainly helped develop appreciation for art, a love for historic architecture, and the yearning for a home to feel welcoming and comfortable.

How did your years living in Australia change your design aesthetic?

I was so lucky to work with Kate Nixon - everything she touched was exquisite yet felt so effortless; a need for things to feel more lived-in, layered, and loved, less perfect, was good for me. Especially during House & Garden shoots, I was trained to have an editing eye, understanding that taking something away is just as important as adding to. The Aussies are also so adept at providing seamless transitions from interior and exterior spaces. Even living in a climate not as conducive to year-round outdoor entertaining, it has made me consider outdoor spaces as additional "rooms" for a home.

Has becoming a mom changed the way you design?

Absolutely. There is so much chaos (visually and mentally!) involved in life with young kids, so I try to create rooms that feel carefree and kid-friendly during the day while also offering a place to relax and rewind post bedtime. Hide the "stuff" with builtin storage, baskets, and storage ottomans. Add custom pillows in gorgeous prints on pieces upholstered in practical, stain resistant fabrics. I am a huge fan of indoor/outdoor vendors like Perennials. One of my favorite things to do is "spill tests" to show clients how ketchup, coffee, crayons, and mud wipes off easily!

Should art inform design or should design inform the art?

It can go either way. There's nothing better than having a piece of art as inspiration for a room. Yet, it is also very special when the perfect piece lands in a room organically after a trip to a gallery while on vacation. The only instance that does NOT work is when art is not considered whatsoever. My goal for every project is for art to be a comprehensive part of the space and to make the selection process less daunting for clients.

What makes a house a home?

A collection of favorite things- art, photos, books, flowers, candles. It should feel like you from the front door knocker to the soap in the powder room.

Your designs are beautiful, yet liveable. How do you balance the two?

My work largely revolves around juxtaposition- I love to find the sweet spot between high/low, patterned/plain, complex/simple, shiny/matte , new/old, original pieces/off-the-shelf finds. It's a constant effort to make sure there is a healthy combination of comfort + beauty depending on how the room is used. Even spaces where kids roam free can feel sophisticated and pulled together-- keep the ginger jars on the top shelf; use an ottoman instead of a glass coffee table. It's simple changes that can make a world of difference.


To see more of Emily’s masterful use of art in designing the perfect spaces, click here.  We can’t wait to see more from this talented designer!  

Photos taken by Betty Clicker Photography

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