Inspiration in the Studio

Meet Our Team: Crista

We’re continuing our “Meet The Team” series with Crista, our Studio Administrator. Find out a little more about her below!

First things first. How did you get started in the interior design world? What sparked your interest in the business?

I started as a client of Southern Studio. I enjoyed the whole process and working with everyone on the team, so when I found out there was an opening I knew I wanted to join the team. 

Give us a peak into what your career before Southern Studio. How your past work connect with what you do now?

Before staying home with my children, I was a research scientist. I worked on the Human Genome Project, Infectious Diseases and then later in the area of Metabolic Disease. The attention to detail, organization and trouble shooting needed to create and run experiments in a lab are the same skills needed to take a design all the way to installation in a client’s home.   

Your responsibilities at the studio are:

I am responsible for the daily operations of the studio, which includes accounting and human resource duties, as well as placing all orders and reviewing acknowledgements. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people – The people I work with, the people that we design for, the people that we buy from, the people that deliver our product. I love installations too! Seeing the finished product and how all of the pieces come together to create a beautiful space is quite satisfying.

What’s your morning routine?

I get up at 5:30am to run with my dog, Riggins. I love running in the morning because I already feel so accomplished and my day has barely begun. I usually see my son for a few minutes before I head out. I have to stretch when I get home so I try to catch the news and then I get ready for work and head out by 8:00am. If it’s a really good day I  have thrown in a load of laundry and started the dishwasher on my way out!

What’s currently sitting on your nightstand?

Lotion, a candle and books. Right now, I am reading The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

Your design style in three words:

Comfortable, functional and collected.

Describe your dream home…

Anywhere my family can gather…a villa in Tuscany or a lake house close by as long as it’s filled with family and friends and designed by Southern Studio. Then it’s my dream home! 

If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be, where would you go, and what would you order?

I am very fond of this question … I answered it once in an interview and my answer is what got me the job. I wonder what I will get this time…right now, I would love to have lunch at the Willow Inn on Lummi Island with the chef Blaine Wetzel, and I would eat what ever he was serving. I love food!



Meet Our Team. Welcome, Elizabeth!

Our team is growing and the energy is exciting! Over the next few weeks, we want to introduce the incredible people who make the magic happen at Southern Studio.

We are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth as an Interior Designer on our Southern Studio team!

First things first. How did you get started in the interior design world? What sparked your interest in the business?

Do you remember Trading Spaces? From a young age, I remember watching the show, and my interest in design grew from there! In high school, I took an interior design class, then focusing on only looking at colleges with an accredited interior design program. I followed the footsteps of both my aunts and my great-grandmother, attending Meredith College in Raleigh.

How would you describe your design style in three words?

Classic with a twist. I know, that’s four words!

Your go-to color palette (maybe one in your personal home)? Is there a specific color that you think withstands “trends”?

I gravitate toward cool grays and whites with dark black accents. There’s something about the combination of a cooler-toned color palette accented by dark black hues that I love.

To me, greige will remain a versatile neutral that withstands trends. Somewhere between gray and beige, greige can span many different tastes and interior styles, allowing it to work well in many spaces.

Your favorite white paint color?

“Aesthetic White” by Sherwin-Williams. It always feels fresh, yet it can go warm or cool in different light.

An interior design tip that can make all the difference?

If you love something, it will always be in style. Save and splurge on one item you absolutely love, rather than just filling a space with things you like.

What is your favorite interior design / coffee table book?

Elements of Style by Erin Gates.

What’s currently sitting on your nightstand?

My lamp, a phone charger, and a pink hair bow courtesy of my 15-month-old daughter.

What is your favorite source for inspiration?


What catches your eye first, stripes or florals?

Hands-down, stripes.

Your advice for transforming a “house” into a “home”?

Personalization. Making your space yours. Fill your space with meaning by carefully selecting personal family heirlooms, items from your travels, or pieces that tell a resonating story.

Has motherhood changed your outlook on designing spaces? If so, how?

I would say both yes and no. I believe you can still achieve highly-curated design in your home along with having young ones around. With the advances in fabrics and materials today, style and durability can go hand-in-hand.

Do you have an “essential” accessory in your home that you just can’t live without?

Oh, I love including lamps all over my home. They’re double-purpose too – lamps are practical and they can serve as conversation-starting works of art.

A Guest Chat with Triangle Tile and Stone

We’re introducing a new blog series….Guest Chats! Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some excellent craftsmen and suppliers. Any interior design project requires a team effort to achieve the best results. This series will focus on our partners…the businesses and people that I’m fortunate enough to work with every day.

Our first guest is Triangle Tile and Stone. I guess it’s appropriate that we start with the vendor that I’ve known the longest. I first met Triangle Tile’s owner, John Narramore, over twenty years ago (yikes, that is really admitting age…John’s, not mine, of course)! Along with Kelli Narramore, they have managed to build one of the best tile showrooms in the Triangle. What sets them apart? In my opinion, it’s the comfortable and professional showroom in which every client is welcomed and gets personal attention.

Laura Olmsted, Interior Designer and Showroom Consultant Extraordinaire, manages the selections for Southern Studio. We recently discussed the business of tile design during a recent showroom visit.  Enjoy our Q&A chat….


Q: What makes Triangle Tile and Stone different?

A:  Our customer service! We strive to give each client that walks in the door personal, one-on-one attention and assistance. We feel that our complimentary professional design service and warm, welcoming atmosphere set Triangle Tile and Stone apart from other area tile showrooms.

Q: How did you partner with Southern Studio?

A:  Vicky has been bringing her clients to Triangle Tile and Stone for years! We’ve assisted her with several large remodel jobs as well as new construction and smaller kitchen and bath projects.

Q: What are the hottest trends in tile?

A:  While visiting the International Tile Show in Orlando in April, we saw a lot of new products with very clean, contemporary lines and straight edges. One of our top vendors introduced a new porcelain line that looks exactly like marble. We love it because it is less expensive and less maintenance than the real thing! Other hot trends include glass and stone mosaics, as well as hand-painted glazed lines. Glossy subway tile and mini-hexagon mosaics are also making a big comeback as the “cottage, shabby chic” look becomes increasingly popular in our area.

Q:  Before visiting the tile showroom, what should be done to prepare?

A:  I usually recommend selecting new cabinets and countertops before selecting your tile. There are so many options with tile that it is always a good idea to have those items decided first because it sets the tone for the tile selections. If you are working with existing cabinets and countertops, bring a picture or a sample of those items with you, if possible. For whole house renovations and new construction, it is very helpful to have floor plans of the space with you.


Q:  How does the tile selection and installation process work?

A:  The first step is making your tile selections with the assistance of one of our showroom designers. Walk-ins are always welcome but we do work by appointment as well. Simply come in our showroom and we will be happy to help you make your selections! We write down all the details of your project, including tile color, layout, grout color, soap dishes and we include a concept sketch with your paperwork. We also allow you to check out samples for up to one week. After the selections have been made, we pass your information on to your installer or contractor and he or she will measure your space and order the material. Because Triangle Tile and Stone does not employ tile installers, we make sure to document your selections in detail in order to communicate your expectations to your tile installer. We have a list of tile installers that we refer our clients to on a regular basis and we would be happy to give you that list when you visit our showroom.

Q: What are some unique and creative tile installations?

A:  Because Raleigh is located so close to the beach, we’ve done several applications using decorative shell, turtle, and seahorse tiles on kitchen backsplashes and shower walls. Glass mosaic tiles can also be applied to water lines in pools and jacuzzi tubs for a pop of color. We’ve used tile in decorative features in restaurants, spas, and retail shops. Recently, I assisted a client in designing a shower surround using only stone pebble mosaics in order to achieve a natural, relaxing space.

Q:  Are there any recent projects you would like to share?

A:  Vicky and I recently finished a large remodel project involving several bathrooms. We combined marble and glass tiles in the master bath in order to give a modern twist on a more traditional material.  We also introduced glass and marble mosaic borders in two of the secondary baths and added a splash of color with pink and coral penny round tiles in the fourth bath. It was a great experience to work with Vicky and her client on this project! Vicky has so many wonderful ideas and she has a great understanding of her client’s personal style.

With that introduction, I need to include a few photos of our recent remodel project. Of course, we could not have achieved the beautiful results without the craftsmanship of Santos Tile. And, never to be forgotten, our amazing clients who welcome us into their home and appreciate the creative process and great design.


I just love the classic combination of Carerra marble and glass mosaics. We even carried the design onto the backsplash.


Another bathroom with Emporador Dark marble on the floors, countertops and accent tiles. I love the contrast of the chocolate brown against the creamy cabinets.


A fun, playful shower design that incorporates another natural marble, Crema Marfil, with glass mosaic tiles.


I wish you could see the entire bathroom in each of these photos, but professional bathroom photography is an art and unfortunately, I have not quite mastered it!

Thank you, Triangle Tile and Stone, for all you do for Southern Studio and our clients! Who will we chat with next?