Leigh Mowry's designs are just as colorful and sassy as she is, full of depth and life with the pop of fabulous. I can remember the first time I met Leigh, her laugh and that million dollar smile had me immediately wanting more.
Leigh is the owner of Atlanta based Olive Interiors and a dear and precious friend. Not only can she whip me in Bunco but she inspires me to always remember my faith when looking at my home. We had coffee together recently and I was touched and inspired when she shared with me why she chose the design field. "I work because I love to create. I love to make things beautiful and truly it's a spiritual thing for me". This girl is the real deal, a total girl boss with a fearless love of color and an unending work ethic.
When I asked her about her portfolio and what she would like most to share with me she quickly responded and told me it was The Palms, telling me it was the project she connected with the most. As you scroll through the photos you will see I do as well. I mean ... pink and green for days with incredible details and all of that amazing color!
I graduated from the interior design program at Auburn University. I interned with a large hospitality firm here in Atlanta and was hired there upon graduation. After working there for a year or so I was hired by Ann Platz and began designing high-end residential projects. We also designed the Southern Living Idea House in 2000. I was approached by a large property development group to work on a contract basis designing models and clubhouses. I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to start my own business. I had consistent work designing for the property development group and also had several residential clients at the time. I had always planned to own my own firm but didn’t expect to do so at only 26 years old.
How have you grown?
Time and experience teaches you efficiency. It also teaches you your strengths and weaknesses and enables you to discern where you should delegate tasks as well as how to prioritize your time.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
No. I feel like every step of my career has been exactly as it should be. I have met so many wonderful and creative people and have so many fantastic friends in the industry. I have been blessed with the most amazing clients that have enriched my life in so many ways. It has been an incredibly gratifying and exciting 19 years.
Share two people who have influenced your career and why?
Back in the days before Pinterest I kept files where I would store pages that I had cut out from Veranda, Traditional Home, Southern Accents and various other design publications. I was and am still obsessed with interiors designed by Toby West. His personal residence was featured in Veranda in 2000. This home is one of the most perfectly designed homes I have ever seen. Sixteen years have passed and it is still inspiring, relevant and unforgettable. Barbara Westbrook is another designer that I admire greatly. I had an opportunity to work with her years ago and it was such an wonderful experience. She is the epitome of professionalism and grace. Her ability to achieve perfection with scale and proportion in the spaces that she designs is truly remarkable. I have always thought that if I could be half the designer/business woman she is I would be a success. A few years ago when I was considering expanding my business I called her and asked if she would meet with me. She was so gracious to take the time to chat with me. Her advice and example have been an invaluable source of inspiration to me. There is no one in our industry I respect more than Barbara.
Name three things you thing every good design needs!
Every good design needs: 1)a conversation piece, something quirky and unexpected that makes people stop and notice it. 2) functionality-good design is more than just aesthetics. The interior design of a space has to work efficiently for those that inhabit it as well as meet their expectations and needs. 3) The elements of the the design should work together to create a cohesive and harmonious space. This can be achieved by using similar colors, styles or textures so there is an uninterrupted and consistent flow.
Any things that needs to be left out?
Clutter! I just read the best quote by Christina Scalise. “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.” I couldn’t agree more.
What inspires you to create?
Every time I install a project I am inspired to move on to the next one. I literally get giddy when I am given a new set of floor plans and begin visualizing what it will look like when I am finished. There is nothing more gratifying and fulfilling than standing in the space when you have completed a project and it looks EXACTLY like it did in your mind months before when you first unrolled the drawings on your drafting table.
Favorite item on your desk/creative area?
My baskets upon baskets of fabric swatches organized by color make me so very happy!
What is your favorite way to unwind?
I love to sit on my porch and write in my journal with a cappuccino or a glass of wine-depending on the time of day;)
Five must haves.
Quality time with my precious family and friends, fresh flowers in my home, COLOR, travel, and last, but certainly not least, lip gloss.
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” Leonardo Da Vinci