Inspiration in the Studio

Community Partnership Spotlight :: The Templeton of Cary

During the height of the statewide shut down we received a call about a new hospitality project! We are thrilled to work with community partners whenever we get the chance so we were honored to work with The Templeton of Cary in the designing of two model homes.

The Templeton of Cary is a brand new assisted living community not far from our studio! Our goal was to provide an inviting space to ease the transition from independent living to the community for new residents.

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Read All About It :: STYLE + SOURCE

2020 is definitely the year of adapting and innovating!

The innovation has resulted in many new ideas and the one we are most excited about is the launch of our new interactive digital magazine, STYLE + SOURCE. Our hope is to help grow and nurture our local community, as well as the design industry by uniting design enthusiasts, artists, chefs, and vendors by spreading joy and celebrating the beauty in life through inspiring content.

Within the pages, you’ll find anything from our favorite local businesses to favorite design sources. Our interactive digital format even allows you to shop our favorite finds (it really is Southern Studio Simplified)! We look forward to becoming your SOURCE for STYLE.

Click HERE to Read the Full Issue!


Photography: Dustin Peck Photography

Builder: New Old Custom Homes


The Green Chair Project :: CHAIRity Event

Earlier this year, Elizabeth O’Neal, our Senior Designer, was chosen to design a custom chair to auction off to benefit the Green Chair Project as part of their Chairity event! The Green Chair Project is a non-profit organization that re-homes any home furnishings item from those that no longer need it to those that have a need. This is the definition of community and one of our favorite organizations to support!

It was such an honor to participate in this mission, but unfortunately, the actual in-person spring event was rescheduled and has now morphed into the new virtual world (thank you, Covid). The Green Chair Project will be auctioning off ten chairs created by local designers. The on-line auction begins on August 27th at 5pm and we wanted to give you a sneak peek of our own!


Elizabeth took a well-loved, traditional style chair and updated it by painting the legs, adding a modern fun fabric by Windy O’Connor and finishing the trim with a greek key detail above the legs.  The before and after photos are impressive!

Check out all of the chairs and register to bid through this link. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to find that unique piece to add character to your home AND support a great cause at the same time!

Special thanks to our special friends at FinishPros, FiberSeal of the Triangle, and A. Hoke for sponsoring the project and helping bring Elizabeth’s vision to life!

Southern Studio Gives Back -- the interior design program at Wake Technical Community College

We began our Southern Studio Simplified journey in March with the idea of helping the community where we could during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Anyone that consulted us for a Simplified project, we in turn volunteered our time as a team as our way of saying thank you!

What did this look like? After a bit of brainstorming, we decided to partner with the interior design program at Wake Technical Community College.

Our team was recruited to assist with the final evaluation for the student’s Capstone projects. The students had to complete a presentation and were evaluated on the elements of visual presentation, construction documents, and a virtual presentation.  Let’s just say these projects were impressive — especially since they were completed during the quarantine period of the pandemic.

Check out just one sampling of a project created by one of the highly talented students!

We were thrilled to “give back” in such a meaningful way for our industry.  Bravo to the students and instructors who never gave up on the semester!  As we are getting ready to begin a new school year, we are wishing all of our educators and students a successful year.

New Year, New Spark

Another year of design is behind us, and a new decade fueled by fresh ambition is now in full swing!  Our team is feeling a new “spark” that will propel us as we design some of our biggest and best projects yet.  The designers of Southern Studio are sharing the current inspirations that are igniting their spark as we enter into the 2020s.

What is one word or phrase that describes your design inspiration for 2020?  How do you think it will be represented in your work this year?

Elizabeth O'Neal


ELEVATE.  As we begin a new year, I’m feeling inspired to challenge my creativity and elevate each design to the next level. I always want our clients to feel they are receiving the best design solution, while pushing creative limits to achieve the perfect collaboration. Specifically, I’m excited to see our designs elevated by incorporating fun ceiling treatments, bold patterns and colorfully, curated furnishings.

What do you hope to have accomplished professionally by the end of this year?  How will you make it happen?

Vicky Serany


My biggest goals for 2020 include mentoring and giving back. We have an incredibly talented design team and collaboration is our strength. I look forward to seeing our team thrive and push the limits of design with some amazing projects slated for 2020. I also look forward to mentoring opportunities that support and give back to our design community both locally and nationally. 

Who, of the Southern Studio team, inspires you? How do you plan to continue learning from them in 2020?

Crista Davis


Vicky inspires me because she is a true visionary.  She is a visionary for design, for the business and for people in her community. She has a ferocious desire for learning in every aspect of her life. She is full of ideas, thinks strategically and is always looking at the big picture.  She stays connected and engaged with the design community, with people and she is always looking for the possibilities.  She is definitely a visionary extraordinaire!  I hope to continue learning from her by more openly embracing her ideas, seeing the possibilities and reading more!

What is one word or phrase that describes your design inspiration for 2020?  How do you think it will be represented in your work this year?

Paige Rhinehalt


Fresh. A new year is always a kick start for new and inspiring things!  This year I aspire to bring fresh ideas to our team, clients, and community; whether it’s with outside the box thinking to tackle a new design challenge or while brainstorming our next fabulous studio event.

What do you hope to have accomplished professionally by the end of this year?  How will you make it happen?

Haley Daber


By the end of this year, I hope to hone my skills so that I can continue to take on more responsibility in the studio. I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to set myself and my team up for success. I’ll be keeping an eye out for opportunities to shadow members of our design team and attend events that relate to my long term goals to continue my education in design. 

What is your color inspiration for 2020?  How do you hope to incorporate it this year?

Kayla Cook


Blue.  We use blue often in our designs, but I’m always inspired to find new and refreshing ways to incorporate it. I love Windmill Wings by Benjamin Moore, which has been named as a color trend of the year.  The perfect piece to me would be a custom colored console in a blue raffia with gold accents.  With coastal projects, it’s always fun to pull blue into cabinetry or even the kitchen backsplash.

We are excited to look back at the end of 2020 and see all the beautiful projects we will complete this year.  If we stay inspired and work together collaboratively, this will be Southern Studio’s most rewarding year yet.