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As I prepare for the holidays this year, I am inspired by the Atlanta-based design team of Lance Jackson and David Ecton, cofounders of Parker Kennedy Living. I love their take on home design, along with their southern style spin on holiday decorating. It’s full of charm, tradition, and cozy comfort – exactly what the holidays should be. 

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Founded in 2011, Parker Kennedy Living focuses on high-end residential interior design, vintage furniture restoration, and product development. Their look is “Preppy on the Edge” – Southern Regency is what Lance calls it – taking a traditional interior and elevating it to an updated look using lacquer finishes, and mixing textures and vintage details with young colors and patterns. The interiors are fresh, while maintaining deep roots in the traditional and exhibiting Palm Beach overtones.

I sat down with the men behind the brand to find out what inspires them, and how we can give our metropolitan homes more of a small-town feel this holiday season and beyond.

What are your top tips for making your home “holiday ready”?

Go for a classic and timeless look in your holiday decorating:

  • Fill your silver bowls and containers with fresh fruit like pineapples, lemons, and limes to give a classic look to your interior.
  • Put money in your holiday decorating budget for high-end candles, and use the same scent for your entire house to unify your interior.
  • Get out your china – all patterns to mix and match – and have your dining room table set for last-minute holiday dinner parties.

What is your one must-have holiday décor item?

A fresh green wreath on your front door to welcome guests is a must-have. A boxwood wreath with a red velvet bow is my favorite – it’s a timeless classic.

How do you make a magical holiday mantle?

I love to use fresh magnolia garland and big red classic velvet bows.

What does the perfect holiday table look like? 

The perfect holiday table needs to look timeless and classic. Go big on your dining table scape. Mix tone-on-tone colors in different patterns; include nametags and a handwritten dinner menu for your guests at each setting. Use fresh greenery in a big way for your centerpieces, with fresh citrus mixed in.

How do you keep your décor ideas so fresh and current?

I keep them classic and timeless with fresh young touches through color, pattern, materials, and styles.

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What are the key elements of a well-designed room?

  • Having the proper scale of furniture in the room
  • Investing in an amazing chandelier – it is a focal point
  • Ensuring that color and pattern are unified and play well off each other – one constant with Parker Kennedy Living is the use of bold colors

What is the secret of mixing colors in a space? How many colors can work within a room?

The secret of mixing colors in a space is balance. The design can be bold, but it has to be balanced with a neutral. You can use as many colors as you like, as long as they complement each other on the color scale. There really is no rule for the number, but as I design a room it usually evolves into four major colors.

What is the secret to mixing prints in a space?

When I design a room I like to start with one pattern that will be the focal point, like a chinoiserie, for example, and then mix in patterns like an animal print, a solid texture, and/or a stripe. As long as they coordinate with one another, it will work.

What is the one must-have item that completes a space?

For me, the must-have item in a space is usually the drapes or walls. I like to draw major attention to drapery panels with big, bold patterns. When I use bold patterns on walls, I tone down the drapes.

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What is one thing that can completely transform a room?

The proper-scale lamps and tabletop accessories, and a good, overscaled mirror on the wall can transform a room.

How do you incorporate southern charm into a space?

I am deeply rooted in southern traditional interior design – it’s what I grew up with. Chinoiserie is a timeless southern design element that reignites with me in my spaces, whether in fabrics, accessories, a floor screen, or lamps.

What is most rewarding about your job?

Getting to be creative and using my design mind constantly

What is your definition of beauty within a space?

I think a beautiful space is classic and timeless, and looks effortless.

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