Q. What are your favorite space-defining elements that you see consistently running through Southern interiors?
A. There's a pivotal part of every Southern house and that is a sunroom or a loggia. So much of our design hinges around that outdoor room because we spend a great deal of time there, except around late August and early September, though we do spend time there at night. And because we live in a town that has four real seasons, you can literally have the living room outdoors if you have an outdoor fireplace.
I get invited to more people's homes here than anywhere else I've lived. The dinner party is a dying art, but I consider it the greatest luxury in the world to have my friends over for dinner. I love to cook and I especially love to do Sunday supper. I prefer a round dining table and comfortable dining chairs are a must. I think that’s part of Southern hospitality.
Again, I'll stress the comfort factor. Southerners don't like things to be forbidding. You go to a Park Avenue house in New York and you're afraid to sit down on the sofa. But in almost all of the Atlanta homes I visit, there's not a room that you walk into, even a formal living room, that isn’t comfortable.
My mother hosts Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. She has 50 guests for lunch on Christmas Day. I grew up in Tennessee and we have a farm in Alabama. The two most important parts of the farm are the screened porch and the huge, long dining table. The table is the heart of the home, where all the conversations happen and where all the stories are told.