Timeless Style and Interior Design with Annie Anderson
Photo by Kansas City Spaces
We sat down with tastemaker, interior designer, and all-around beautiful person, Annie Anderson, to learn more about how she creates such utterly beautiful spaces.
It’s almost fall. As a designer who is known for a classic and timeless style, do you do anything in particular to transition your home into a new season?
I really like to create a feel in a home that doesn’t take a nod to the actual season; I prefer living in a space that is beautiful and appropriate year-round. And, in fact, I find that most people don’t actually “transition” their home from season to season – at least not in any substantial way. We may open magazines and see pictures that evoke fall, for instance, but in real time, most of us live in our homes and love them as they are.
There are little things here and there – like changing out plants and greenery – that I like to play with to complement the seasons. Bittersweet is one of my favorites for fall. I buy these fresh from a local florist and add them to orchids throughout my house. I love them for their color and texture, and they last all the way through Thanksgiving. I also like to switch out my ferns for boxwoods or topiaries.
Your aesthetic eschews the notion of “here today, gone tomorrow.” We love how you encourage your clients to buy quality pieces they will enjoy and use for years and years. That said, what are your recommended top two “investment pieces?”
I love encouraging my clients to explore the possibilities of investing in pieces that are meant to be enjoyed during the every-day moments as well as for the extra-special. Something that is 100% trend-proof, timeless and luxurious – yet made to be enjoyed and lived with. Here are my two favorite directions for foundational yet utterly-special investment pieces:
Invest in a statement wallpaper. De Gournay hand painted and hand embroidered wallpapers top my list for the ultimate investment piece. They are so gorgeous – imaginative and unique, with a depth and vibrancy of color I just can’t say enough about. A true classic, this wallpaper speaks for itself and allows for you to use simpler tables, chairs and other surrounding pieces. Never will this go out of style.
The other investment piece would be, actually, two. I encourage my clients to invest in two great sofas. One might be a little more practical and in a more family-centered room. To this, I would add beautiful pillows to elevate it. For the other, I would cover it in a pattern or add trim, bouillon fringe, or pipe in another color. More is definitely more on some things!
Photo by Nicki Griffith Photography
Your projects are never derivative, each has its own personality, energy, and feel. Is there anything that you find you always will use, no matter the project, as a for-sure and a go-to?
Yes! There are three things that I use in every project:
A good seagrass rug because it adds texture, works well in high-traffic areas and with kids, and will never go out of style -- Stark has great ones. A handy hack or tip for keeping your rug clean is have a scrub brush handy to remove any stains that pets, kids or life might serve up. This one from IKEA is my favorite.
A reasonably priced vinyl grasscloth wallpaper, like this one from Thibaut. They bring in a natural feeling, they’re classic, serene and coordinate beautifully with other textures and patterns.
Excellent quality sheets and linens: Matouk is among my favorites for sheets. And a little known fact about me – I love a nap – yes, and I absolutely love wonderful, soft pajamas. Perennial favorite: Marigot. As for linens and guest towels, Sharyn Blond Linens are my go-to. I think my favorite design of hers is Simian, so fun and mischievous, but you really can’t go wrong with anything of hers.
Photo by Nicki Griffith Photography
Do you have a paint or color that you love most?
Anything from the Farrow and Ball deck; they have some of the prettiest paints. And I love Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White.
What is your best design tip for getting the “biggest bang for your buck?”
Use great, beautiful fabrics for pillows. Splurge on these to dress up and elevate a room.
Your sense of style feels utterly innate. When did you know that this was what you wanted to do as a career?
I love doing what I do. It’s funny because when I was a little girl, I would daydream about working at Ralph Lauren and becoming an interior designer. I was lucky enough to do and be both. I became one of the top-sellers of women’s clothes at Ralph Lauren in Chicago, and I remember as I would walk through the Home Department, I would find myself lingering there as long as I could, among the sheets, the towels, the silver bowls, imagining a future home of my own. To me, fashion and home are intrinsically linked. I’ve always been drawn to both. It’s easy for me to look at something and “know” if I like it and if it’s “good,” regardless of price.
But I think the answer goes even further back in time. As a little girl, I loved looking through design and fashion magazines, tearing out pages to make story boards of rooms and looks I loved.
And probably most important: my mom. I watched her be her, moving through life, always making things more beautiful. She would set our table with beautiful things and fresh flowers. She had a simple, elegant style that influenced and touched me. She was so cool – and did not even know it. I carry her with me in all the things I do.
There’s an ease to your spaces, elegant, but never pinched. Is there an element or look that you’re especially drawn to right now?
I love color and pattern – and pattern on pattern. I especially love blues and whites and stripes. Lately, I feel a pull to be even more traditional, less on-trend than ever. Plaids, herringbone, timeless looks inspire me.
Photo by Nicki Griffith Photography
Before we let you go, tell us, what is your favorite beach and has it inspired your design acumen?
Yes, Lyford Cay in the Bahamas is my absolute favorite, and my interiors are most definitely influenced by it. Our closest family friends would bring us here every year, starting about 20 years ago, and I fell in love. And now our families – still together but with children and husbands now of our own – continue the tradition. I cannot tell you how much I love introducing my three kids to this special place.
Annie's three children: Fletcher, Ivy and Morley
Incidentally, it’s the ideal place to bring my favorite Helen Jon tote. The tote is honestly my favorite – it’s easy to throw over my shoulder and carry through the airports – and, of course, perfect for the beach too.
What do you put in your favorite tote?
I always have lots of sunscreen, goggles for my kids, sunglasses and a pareo. You probably will find a copy of Veranda or House Beautiful tucked in there too.
Thank you, Annie! We have loved talking with you.
Follow Annie on Instagram at @annieandersondesign to see more of the interiors she creates, her beautiful “finds,” and to soak up her timeless and fresh style and designs.