Inspiration in the Studio

STYLE + SOURCE :: Winter 2021 Issue

We’re thrilled to share that the latest issue of Style + Source is officially LIVE! Inside the first issue of 2021, we highlight a recent Cary project—recognizing the hardworking spaces in your home—and share our current design favorites and must-have products this Winter! You also won’t want to miss our chef highlight, featuring Kate Jackson with Framed Cooks. (Warning: the selected recipe will leave you hungry!)


Take a peek at some of our favorites finds for keeping your home (and yourself!) comfortable and stylish in 2021!

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.

Meet Our Team: Paige

Our Meet Our Team series continues this week and it is time to introduce Paige!   Her organization and calm poise allow her to juggle many balls, keeping us all on track behind the scenes.

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

I’ve always had a love for fashion and design since I can remember. Growing up I spent every “take your daughter to work day” at engineering and design firms, which lead me to the College of Textiles at NC State. Once I met the SSID team in Apex, I knew it would be the perfect place to combine my passions for customer service and design!

How would you describe your role at Southern Studio? What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I am the Project Coordinator, so I track and receive orders for our clients (and try to make it look so easy). I love being able to see the design work into a full install and a happy client! You’ll also find me helping with our studio events, keeping up with the marketing calendar, and styling our photo shoots.

Your design style in three words:

Industrial meets Coastal

Describe where you feel most inspired.

Anywhere at the coast. From sitting on the beach to strolling through unique, local shops, it’s one of my favorite places for inspiration and relaxation.

Do you have any words you “live by”? If so, what are they?

Do what you love, love what you do. It’s the motto from where I worked in college, that I truly believe in and always try to live by. Because like they say, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Solids, stripes, or florals?

Is all an option?! I love to mix patterns, whether it’s in my wardrobe or at home, especially just the right combination of florals and stripes.

What items are always in your fridge?

The honest answer is wine and cheese!

What is your favorite room in your own home and why?

Without a doubt the master bedroom. We recently bought a fixer upper and this was our first project. It’s filled with all my favorite things; accessories from adventures (like our antique door headboard), reclaimed barnwood ceiling, and usually my golden retriever, Nash, right in the middle of the bed.

Meet Our Team: Kayla


Next up on our “Meet Our Team” series is Kayla. Her positive energy is refreshing and her behind-the-scenes support is invaluable to our team.

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

From a very young age my sister and I had an obsession with playing house, so much so, that we used to print out floor plans of homes off the internet and tear out photos of rooms from my mom’s magazines to design a house for our future families. I also grew up with influence from two Aunts that are interior designers and spent time shadowing and eventually interning for them as I got older, which added to my interest. Even though I wound up falling in love with NC State’s College of Textiles and majored in Textile Design, when it came time to look for a job I was still so interested in interior design that I branched out.

Do you gravitate toward bold prints or softer, more subtle pattern?

Can I say both? I love a bold, playful pattern that makes a statement in a room. But I have an appreciation for softer, more subtle patterns because they add texture to a space. I also really enjoy when a fabric has very bold print or pattern but in a soft, subtle colorway. Kari Fisher has AWESOME fabrics!

What’s on your nightstand?

A lamp, a jewelry dish, the current book I am reading, and a picture of my family.

Your design style in three words:

Classic, yet playful.

Describe a favorite moment of your job. 

I absolutely LOVE installs. Seeing a design come to life and the reaction of the client is priceless. There really isn’t anything better than install day!

Your ideal weekend plans consist of:

Ideally, I would travel every weekend if I could. But realistically, it’s spent watching or going to sporting events with my family, getting together with friends, or spending time with my boyfriend.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I don’t have normal/typical day, which is exciting. But a few things my days sometimes consist of are: planning our next install, preparing design presentations, and sometimes even day-tripping it to High Point to pick up the perfect piece for a client.


Meet Our Team: Julia

From intern to a leader at Southern Studio, Julia is next up in our “Meet Our Team” series. Recently, Julia was promoted to Lead Designer – discover a little more about her below!

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

When I was little, I loved playing with different textures and patterns, mixing and matching them together. One of my family friends was actually an interior designer and I had the opportunity to shadow her at the Design Center in Charlotte, which was my first real-life exposure to interior design. From then on, I knew I wanted to pursue design as a career, so I chose Meredith College for its accredited interior design program. During my senior year, I interned at Southern Studio, eventually leading me to a full-time position on the team.

Describe a project you would jump for joy to do.

That’s an easy question, I would love to design a nursery! I imagine a neutral color palette to keep the room gender neutral. Stray Dog Designs has an exquisite white on white pendant chandelier that is embroidered with an animal pattern – I’ve been dreaming of using the piece in a design. From the furnishings, window treatments, and artwork to even the books and toys, I would love to have a hand of putting the entire nursery together.

What is your favorite shade of white paint color?

“Snowbound” by Sherwin-Williams. I use this color often, as it’s a beautiful white that doesn’t feel stark. I love the color’s subtle gray undertone.

What’s on your nightstand? 

I have a simple white lamp with a gray shade, a current book I’m reading, and a mango and papaya scented candle from Candlefish – the perfect summertime scent.

Your design style in three words:

Sophisticated. Inviting. Cozy.

We love your knack for organization. Any design tips you can share for keeping your home tidy while still “livable”?

It’s easy to keep things just to have them – my tip would be to only keep the things you love. Less is more. Also, I have to mention using trays to keep things organized  – I love using them when styling a coffee table or tidying up bathroom items.

Where do you find inspiration for designing something new?

I love scrolling through Instagram, particularly to discover new textile patterns color combinations. Finding new-to-me fabric lines and designs by textile artists spark my creativity.

Do you gravitate toward bold prints or softer, more subtle pattern?

Personally, I’m drawn to softer, more subtle pattern, and I enjoy incorporating tone-on-tone prints. However, I have to say I would love to use a pop of the bright, leafy green color I’m seeing everywhere this season, and I’m waiting on that perfect project!

What’s the best piece of design advice you’ve ever been given?

Function and aesthetic must work together. Nail down the function of the space first, and then layer the aesthetic. 

Your dream party to host?

A backyard, poolside Cinco de Mayo party! It would be super colorful and bright with lots of confetti. Not to mention, it would have to include margaritas and a festive table setting.