Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Mrs. Howard, I believe you’re trying to seduce me….

In my opinion, nobody does bedrooms better than Phoebe Howard. When I was in Atlanta earlier this month, I was so excited to have the opportunity to visit her beautiful store at the Galleries at Peachtree Hills—the eponymous Mrs. Howard. My initial thoughts were: “How can I pack this all up and get it back to California?!” (The next thought was how to explain to my husband the Visa bill that would follow.)

The entire shop is gorgeous, but the bedrooms are to die for.


This serpentine stairway connects three floors of delightful vignettes. (My husband called to check in on me while I was standing on the landing to the left—I told him I had found my new home!)


This photo from Phoebe Howard’s website illustrates some of what I love about the bedrooms she designs….

The color palette is kept very tight, with layers of neutral ivory, oatmeal and sage green. Although there is a good deal of pattern in the fabric-the checked upholstered walls, the bed hangings, the accent pillows--it is done so subtly and kept within that tight color palette, that instead of appearing distracting or cluttered, it acts more like texture than color and adds interest while supporting the overall design. Metal accents are either patinaed gold or iron.

james 1

Here, Ms. Howard uses mismatched bedside tables, but unifies the design by: (1) keeping them in the same wood tone, (2) keeping the height uniform and (3) by placing matching lamps on top. The table on the left is given a bit of added “visual” weight by the addition of two candlesticks. I always love a sunburst mirror above a headboard and the setee/sofa at the foot of the bed is a design solution to remember when space permits.


Instead of one large piece of artwork a grouped collection of smaller pieces fill the wall space above the bedside table.

081031_HowardBedrm_06 atlanta showhouse

These photos of the bedroom done for the Atlanta Showhouse show how details really make the difference. The scallop on that fabulous bed valance, though slightly different, is mimicked in the scalloped edge on the quilted coverlet and euro- shams. And, although it’s a bit difficult to see in the photos, there is a lovely beaded edge detail on both the valance and the bed skirt. Notice that the pale gold of the lampshade is repeated in the piping on the duvet all of which complement the gilded frames and accessories.


And, I don’t even know where to begin with the monogrammed pillows…. The oatmeal colored linen, the micro-flange, the ivory inset banding, the large scrolled initials—perfection!


Though this room is more country in feeling, the design process is the same—mismatched tables of similar height with matching lamps, a swedish bench instead of a setee at the foot of the bed. As always, beautiful detailing in the soft finishes-note how the ruffled skirt puddles. White or ivory sheeting, always. Very subtle pattern on the window treatments adds texture. Rather than a using sunburst mirror here, she uses another grouping of smaller framed pieces.

Following, are a few more photos of her work for you to enjoy….


Slightly more “cluttered” and decidedly English in feeling, this room has double box pleating on the bed skirt and window valance.

from mrs. h blog3

I am lusting after a chandelier like this.

from mrs. h blog

L.O.V.E. the shape of the headboard and I spy those delicious monogrammed pillows.

james 6

This is how I wish my boys room looked. So sweet.

james 2

Stronger colors and more contrast but equally beautiful.

These photos represent a just small sampling of what can be found on her website here, and on her partner in life and design-- James Michael Howard’s site here as well as on the Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper blog where you can also find photos of items for sale in her stores.

If you find yourself in Atlanta or Jacksonville, be sure to include a visit to one of her stores, you won’t be disappointed.


  1. Stunning, I would so love to go to one of her stores, I really admire her work!

  2. Mrs. Howard is one of the best stores in Atlanta - did you visit the 'little brother' store Max & Company? It is slightly more youthful, a little more streamlined, and just as beautiful. I love them both.

    I too think that PH is a master at bedrooms. I loved seeing these familiar pictures through your eyes - you pointed out some details that I had never noticed.

    Great post!

  3. phoebe is a genius! she's a good friend of ours! loved this post!

    Eddie + Jaithan

  4. I love her bedrooms too -- the first one is a favorite of mine!
    thanks for your comment today.

  5. What a stunning staircase. Love the bedrooms too.

    Paula M


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