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February 15, 2012

Howard’s End

Phoebe Howard puts her Southern savvy into print

By Nancy Staab

  • Photos by Josh Gibson and others courtesy of Abrams Books/ Stewart, Tabori & Chang

Atlanta designer Phoebe Howard encapsulates her interior design polish in a new coffee table book out next month. Here’s a sneak peek.

A master bedroom interior by Phoebe Howard from Joy of Decorating A master bedroom interior by Phoebe Howard from Joy of Decorating

The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard by Phoebe Howard with Susan Sully  [Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $50]

Who hasn’t walked into one of Phoebe Howard’s design emporiums, either Mrs. Howard or the slightly more modern and youthful Max & Company (located in Atlanta, Charlotte and Jacksonville) and not wanted to scoop up one of her inviting interiors lock, stock and barrel—from the sofa and wall hangings to the charming accessories and tassel trim on the perfectly coordinated throw pillow. Her retail stores are kitted out like gracious manors and betray the signature and, yes, southern grace that she has cultivated alongside her husband and design partner Jim Howard (he specializes in the architectural bones of a room and the space planning). Their projects are located throughout the South, in Bermuda and New York City.

Designer Phoebe Howard Designer Phoebe Howard

That same gracious style—southern traditionalism purged of its granny-like frippery and filtered through an easy, modern lens---has graced many a glossy magazine, including Elle Décor, Veranda, House Beautiful, InStyle and Southern Accents. Phoebe has also dispensed her sage design advice in her popular blog: www.MrsHowardpersonalshopper.com and now in her book:  i.e. use high gloss lacquer on a ceiling, place Lucite and glass next to a window to catch the light, try floating a bed in the middle of the room, repeat colors in different tones, mix old and new, and when in doubt, add paneling.

The Joy of Decorating boasts interiors that are as breezy, elegant and joyful as the book title suggests. Chapters are divided into the following seven themes: Inviting, Inspiring, Timeless, Graceful, Tranquil, Casual and Comfortable. Likewise, projects range from a sea captain’s retreat on the beach, a timeless Charlotte estate, and a Hamptons second home, to a sophisticated Atlanta high rise.  In short, a woman who dares to place a subtle leopard-print runner up the curving, classical staircase of one of her Atlanta shops, is a decorator after our own heart!

Mrs. Howard and Max & Comany, 425 Peachtree Hills Ave, Suite 23, 404.816.3830 or  http://www.phoebehoward.net ">www.phoebehoward.net