|Text by Kristy Woodson Harvey|
|When you’re born on Christmas day, a great nickname is almost a given. So, even if your name is, say, Nancy, all your friends and family might end up calling you Holly. And, of course, Holly Hollingsworth is too charming a name to pass up. |
It actually stands to reason that Charlotte, NC interior designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips was born on December 25. Because her designs, bright, colorful and always super chic, are as beautiful as a perfectly wrapped present under the tree. “Color makes me happy,” the designer said. “I love neutral rooms; that’s just not what I personally need.” Fortunately for Phillips, she has a host of amazing role models, namely David Hicks, whose sense of color, she says “absolutely shaped me.” But, even before David Hicks, it was Holly’s mother, noted interior designer Nancy Hollingsworth that introduced her to a love of design.
Even still, she was “dead set” not to take that route and became a fine arts major instead – until she realized that she wanted to be out having fun with her friends, not working and studying all the time. A change to Art History major led to an internship at the Mint Museum, followed by an internship at Sotheby’s. But, it wasn’t until an internship at Atlanta’s Travis & Company design showroom that Holly realized she had found her niche and come full circle to the family business after all.
She knew before graduation that she would go immediately back to school for interior design, at Sotheby’s in London, no less. And, even though she learned at the knee of her mother and greatly respects and admires her style, Phillips’ “taste has always been distinctly different from [her] mother’s.”
But the mother/daughter co-owner’s of Charlotte’s The English Room have one major thing in common when it comes to their décor: their Southern sensibilities are always infused into their designs. Phillips likes homes that are easy-going, inviting, welcoming, and, of course, colorful. “My clients are young families with dogs and children, and everything we do has to work around that,” Phillips says.
|She utilizes nice furniture, high-end art, lovely gardens and gracious entertaining spaces. But, Phillips notes, the home “still has to be totally livable.” And Phillips is as real as the homes she designs. She laughs about a powder room paper that came in wrong last week. “Can’t we just restock it?” she asked one of her associates. After a long pause, she realized that the wrong paper hadn’t just come in. It had also been hung. But she can brush off the design mishaps that are a part of a business that she says is “the most detail-oriented ever.” As a designer, as a blogger and as a hostess, that attention to detail shines through at every turn – and it must be a genetic trait. This Christmas Eve she and her family will sit down to the Christmas traditions begun by her mother: dinner with a perfectly placed Christmas cracker at every plate and, even better, “every girl at the table gets a jewel at her place.” |
This will not be Phillips’ only gift, though, so don’t worry about this Christmas-born designer. Her family and friends know that the “joint present” is not acceptable. Her advice to those family and friends trying to get away with the joint gift might be just the same as her advice to the home decorator trying to reinvent his or her space with a totally neutral palette: “Don’t be so boring. You can do better.” In the home, at the table and under the tree, for this Southern designer, life is more fun in color.