All photos courtesy of “AB Home Interiors”

Today, talented Interior Designer expert and Feng Shui Master Amanda Gates from “AB Home Interiors – A Home and Lifestyle Blog” will be joining us for an inspiring and insightful look at her work and life.
Her decorating approach to a room is focused on “bringing you beautiful interiors, no matter what the budget“.

Words that define her style( but not limited) include elegant, relaxed, easy, fresh, timeless, inviting. Throughout her website and blog she gracefully shares with on-line readers a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Over her distinguished career, Amanda completed projects across the United States and has been recognized as a trusted designer; she was selected by prestigious Nashville Home and Garden magazine as one of the top designers to watch in 2009.

Her design projects have appeared in several publications including Nashville Home and Garden, At Home Tennessee, Greater Nashville House and Home, and The Brentwood Home magazine.

Please have a seat and let’s welcome Amanda!

1. Hi Amanda, thanks for joining us today and welcome to “Art For Your Walls”.

Your designs are beautiful and elegant. When did you know you wanted to become an interior designer and decided that interior design is what you want to do for the rest of your life?

It wasn’t my first choice. I was in Med school, and after working at a prestigious out patient surgical firm I realized I didn’t do well with all the structure and wanted more creative freedom.
I blew off med school for a boy, got married and by sheer luck fell into an interview for a well respected design school in California and the rest is history!

2. Do you remember your first project as an interior designer? How was the experience?

I really don’t remember my first design project. It’s a culmination of two or three projects that I remember most. I never had a mentor and never worked under anyone so my designs have always been truly my own, the good and the bad ones!

3. After graduating with honors from the California College of Design, you relocated to Las Vegas and then, moved to Tennessee where you began your own design firm “AB Home Interiors”. What type of architecture and decorating style are you personally drawn to?

I am Californian to my toes. The south has definitely had an influence on me, however my style and education are deeply rooted in California design. I was born and raised there and it shows in my designs.

4. In 2008 you launched your own design blog “AB Home Interiors” – A Home and Lifestyle Blog”. How did you enjoy the experience of sharing your creativity with the world?

At first it was my corner of the world to rant and rave about things I liked. I treated it more like an online diary of sorts.

Then it gained in popularity and I realized that people were actually reading it which was an odd experience.
Knowing that people were really enjoying it and learning from it was surreal.

But as a blog author and now having it done it for so many years it has really evolved and I love that it puts me in touch with so many across the world. Many of my readers have become dear friends!

5. You also introduced informative classes Design Strategies 101 and live tutorials for DIY-ers.Can you expand on that?

Because the blog was gaining so much attention and popularity we noticed that a lot of readers and avid DIYers were really talented at design but lacked the right tools to really take it to the next level.

Originally the class was a group of six local women who I helped consult on their homes (and many of them lived on the same street!) Word got out that these six women and myself were getting together for a design “pow-Wow” and others wanted in.

We added more women to the group, talking about design while sipping a great merlot….the problem was the group was getting really large and there wasn’t enough of “me” to go around….and thus the design class was born.
All of the women in the group had the same concerns and issues when decorating their homes, as my blog readers. It was an aha moment. So my team and I developed a class that focuses on the four major hiccups that every homeowner faces when designing or building their home.

6. What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Working with the clients and seeing them get a space that elevates them in every way possible…beyond anything they can imagine and seeing the joy that it is THEIR space to enjoy!

7. What are your favourite interior design shops and inspiration sources?

It really depends on the client and budget. One of my favorite places to shop is Atlanta Georgia. They have incredible vintage shops and I love repurposing furniture from the 60’s and 70’s.

8. Can you share some simple design tips for readers to implement in their own homes?

Oh there are so many. The best place to start would really be my blog. There is years worth of information on how to start a project down to picking the perfect accessory. But if it had to be one thing it would be paint. It can completely change a space and transform your mood in an instant!

9. How do you manage to be so creative and what is it that inspires you to create?

As a business owner being creative can be a challenge. It would be lovely if I were able to “create” 8 hours a day, but it is also a business.
Peoples livelihoods are at stake so there is a responsibility to owning a design business. Creativity comes naturally to me, however it does not have an “on or off” switch. When inspiration hits I have to run with it while it’s hot.

I think a lot of people think it is something that we can instantly tap into on a moments notice, and while I can roll things off my head pretty quickly, design is all about careful consideration, immersion and time. I like to call it the marination process. Initially I have good ideas, but as I sit on the project longer, and allow my creativity to take flight the inspiration turns into design magic!

10. For our last question, please tell us about any exciting projects you have on the horizon that you’d like us to know about?

I am currently working on a 50’s ranch house that is being completely remodeled down to the studs. Everything is being remodeled with a cool vintage vibe and modern amenities. The clients are great to work with, super cool and the project reflects it.

“Everyone needs to live a glamourous lifestyle. A true lifestyle is a home that surrounds you with things of meaning, and effortless luxuries. Luxury is not about money, it is about the simple pleasures in life that influence your mood. A good night’s sleep on sumptuous linens, a wonderful cup of coffee in your favorite chair, or fresh flowers on your vintage nightstand. When the things that surround you bring you ultimate joy, that is living graciously and that is a lifestyle!”
~Amanda Gates~

We want to thank Amanda Gates again for taking the time out to speak with us at Art For Your Walls!
I’m sure her website and blog will inspire you towards beautiful interior decors, so don’t forget to stop by and find out what is inspiring her up today! If you’re far away from Nashville, consider her Virtual Design Services and get some expert design assistance to your design questions!