( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Young Interior Designer Leah Atkins Discusses Personal Passion Projects and Offers Designs Tips and Insights
ENSPIRE Contributor: Claya Davis
As a young interior designer, Leah Atkins’ public perception as one of Atlanta’s most sought-after designers among particularly discerning homeowners is certainly remarkable. While her 4-year-degree in interior design certainly prepared her for a career in the field, her attention to detail, natural intuition, and desire to put a twist on classic styles are what truly catch the attention of potential clients.
“Many of my clients are traditionalists, but they also want something highly personal,” Atkins explains. “It’s more than just the iconic pillars and the graceful front porches and the formal dining rooms with the great chandeliers. I help my clients really get at what makes them happy.”
Atkins also possesses an exceptional understanding of the psychological effect of various lighting and color conditions, which allows her to create spaces that are conducive to positive emotions and encourage inner peace. She attributes her ability to use this insight in her designs to her mental health therapist husband, whom she lovingly refers to as the “marriage counselor” of her business.
When making design decisions regarding wall color specifically, Atkins argues that bravery is essential. Although she personally claims to be in a “white wall” phase herself, she firmly believes that her clients can and should experiment and play with color in their spaces. She even encourages many of her clients to consider using black, whether as trim or the main color in their space. “Every single time, they question the choice,” says Atkins, “but every single time, they fall in love with the final product.” Her ability to ease homeowners out of their comfort zones and expand their aesthetic preferences is certainly one of her personal trademarks and claim to Southern homeowner fame.
Much like her calming, bold, and vibrant design decisions, Atkins’ love of family serves as a unifying force in her career and personal life. While she appreciates the community-driven, familial-focused, designs that are indicative of Southern Architecture and design aesthetic, Atkins describes her love for her own family as her primary motivation and guiding North Light.
“I have a deep passion for open, child-centered adoption. I have two children, a 2-year-old boy, and a 3-month-old girl, who are both adopted. We were chosen by their birth mothers while they were each pregnant, and we adopted our children at birth. We talk to the birth mothers every day, and they have become two of our closest friends, as well as becoming amazing friends with each other! It truly is a beautiful story about adoption and motherhood and how yes, it does take a village. My husband and I always want our children to know their stories, and to hopefully always have relationships with their birth mothers and biological families. Adoption can definitely be a difficult thing for any child, but this approach has been proven to be the healthiest for everyone involved. A lot of people act shocked and surprised when I casually mention their birth mothers, but open adoptions are starting to become the norm. There are still a lot of things that need to be repaired within the adoption industry, but we love our story of open adoption and feel so lucky to have both of our children and their birth mothers in our lives.”
In her own home, Atkins achieves a rare balance between comfort, convenience, and sentimentality. While she describes her house as a “smart home” in which “computers do everything,” she is also incredibly fond of furnishing her space with unique pieces that are rooted in history and lend uniqueness and personality to each individual room. “For my clients, modern means easy to use and discreet in terms of any ugly hardware,” says Atkins. “But it does not mean sterile, cold, or minimalist. My clients like warmth and comfort, which to me means well-being.”
Atkins’ designs have been featured on HGTV House Hunters Renovation, and in design publications like Architectural Digest, Modern Luxury, Style Blueprint, Explore Gwinnett, and Houzz.
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