A designer with unequivocal style and natural given talent worthy of recognition, who also happens to be a very dear friend of mine....Simply put, Sean Anderson is an interior design mastermind. Forging the right path for himself through the freedom to be unafraid in doing his best places his taste and remarkable work ethic into a niche in and of itself. Fresh, functional, black, white, classic and contemporary — It’s a timeless mingling of the old and the new. His stunning portfolio lives on through individually unique interiors that each capture the collected beauty of the soul calling it home. No two will ever be the same.
The New Southern prides itself on collecting creatives as a part of its movement that are just as wildly talented as they are soulfully connected. Sean’s ties to his intuition and obsession with detail, keeping work personal and hands-on, allow him to stay in an abundance of liberation and inspiration. With the belief that your home houses your story, he focuses on surrounding clients with what they love — effortlessly showcasing their story and taste. No work begins until Sean has met you and understood the nature of your presence. Blending textures and hunting for the obscure. It’s a grand presentation of a life well lived, setting the stage for all that is still to come. Sean, as your friend and your photographer... it is an honor to share your most recent project and Memphis showhouse on the blog this morning. May you all be inspired by not only the layers of this home but also the layers of this talented human's soul. We are all in this together and let us continue to thread our connections for a more full and loving life.
The thing that I adore most about Sean’s design aesthetic is that it is so true to who he is — full of stories and fit with unexpected surprises. I can always spot the work of Sean Anderson without losing sight of the life which inspired the space. His ability to harness the essence of his clients and understanding of The New Southern as a moment where everyone has a place makes me proud to champion him, not only as a beloved friend but as a creative force, too!
Alyssa Rosenheck: Tell us about yourself...
Sean Anderson: I grew up in a small town in Mississippi with an incredibly tight knit family (who, to this day, are my very favorite people!). My mother was the type of person who always encouraged my siblings and I to do OUR best, not BE the best...there’s a huge difference in the two! Knowing that any type of corporate job would never work for me, I spent several years doing this and that, trying to find MY PATH. You name it, I’ve done it. I’ve bussed tables as a waiter, scrubbed toilets as a janitor, the list goes on and on...It wasn’t until my early thirties that I began discovering, after doing several design projects at my own home, that I had a certain way of viewing things differently and how people responded to it. My career path grew from a small group of loyal friends and word of mouth. Here we are today, some 5-6 years later, and I couldn’t be more happy with where I currently find myself. Not to say the path was always easy!
Self-doubt has a profound way of creeping in and making its presence known. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned the past few years is to listen to that little inner voice, to trust my own intuition. Once I was able to let go of the confines of worrying about not having all the answers, of realizing there would always be lessons to learn with each new job, that mistakes are indeed stepping stones — I found a freedom that now allows me to be unafraid of taking on a challenge, that doing MY best is always the right path.
AR: What does The New Southern mean to you?
SA: To me, the New Southern is a feeling, simple as that. I don’t believe it to necessarily be about design styles or objects. It’s about the emotion created within a space. Southerners are known for the distinct characteristics they possess, their hospitality and kindness. Its these attributes that create welcoming environments — spaces where everyone has a place.
AR: What innovative trends are you seeing with the NEW Southern style across the country?
SA: I’m seeing less focus on what’s trendy. More and more, people are incorporating things into their space that mean something, objects that have a story to tell. There’s an integration of time-honored classics into the modern mix, a fusion of past and present.
AR: What are some lessons or pivots you have learned from that you are willing to share?
SA: That there is no place for ego in this business. The moment the focus becomes about likes and recognition, you’ve begun the downward spiral — I myself am guilty of it. It's important for each creative to recognize the unique qualities they possess and to not view this as a competition with others, but rather, with ourselves. Support and recognition of others achievements, and finding the ability to be inspired and motivated by that is what truly brings about growth in this business. Keep the work the focus!
AR: What are your favorite hometown design boutiques?
SA: I’m a bit of a scavenger, I love finding unique, one of a kind pieces in the most random spots — a hidden antique shop or an estate sale. So, for me, it’s often less about sourcing at the expected spots and more about the hunt for the obscure. However, Dixon Rye in Atlanta (even though it’s not where I live), is my absolute favorite store to visit and source items. My good friend Bradley Odom* is the owner and I must say, he has created one of the most awe-inspiring, truly magical places I’ve ever seen. Dixon Rye is my little designer slice of heaven on earth.
*Bradley Odom of Dixon Rye was featured on The New Southern earlier this year! Check out their Shop Spotlight.
AR: What is your morning routine? and what life hacks make you more productive?
SA: Without fail, coffee immediately upon waking up, then time spent in front of the computer mapping out my day. I’m a list person, a planner; without which, nothing gets accomplished. My days are spent checking off the lists, my nights are when the planning occurs. My nights spent in solitude, soulful music providing the backdrop (usually a glass of wine in hand), are when I’m most open to exploring ideas and can truly allow myself to expand creatively.
AR: Favorite shade of white and black paint color?
SA: I’m known primarily for my black and white interiors. So if I tell you that, I’m out of a job.
AR: How are you living your best life right now?
SA: By finally finding myself comfortable in my own skin! The past few years have brought about many changes for me both personally and professionally, each providing countless lessons learned. It's those lessons that have lead me to this point and have given me the freedom to be open to whatever comes my way. I’m no longer afraid the unknown, of not knowing what’s coming next, it excites me. I can’t wait to see what my future holds.
AR: Where do you go to get inspired?
SA: I truly believe everywhere, every moment of every day, it just depends on how closely we are paying attention. If we allow ourselves to be open, we can find it even in the most unlikely of places. I’ve found myself inspired by a particular color-combo on a can in a grocery aisle, a combination I would’ve never thought of. What’s key for me is making a mental checklist in the moment that occurs and later finding a way in which to incorporate that idea into a design.
AR: The key to making a house a home? What does a home need more of and less of?
SA: Paramount in making a house a home is surrounding yourself with what YOU love, not things that you believe others will love. Your home is YOUR space and should reflect your individual taste. It should be filled with things that tell YOUR story, not the story you’ve been programmed to portray. Just as no two people are the same, no two interiors should ever be the same.
AR: Who are some of your favorite artists/makers? What do you love about their work?
SA: In the past couple of years I’ve begun working more and more on specially commissioned pieces of art for projects and am in complete awe of the talent the South possesses! Not only am I impressed by the ability of these artists but by their willingness to work and help execute my vision. Amongst a field of favorites, a few standouts include: Addie Chapin, McKenzie Dove, Blayne Macauley, Catherine Booker Jones, and William McClure.
AR: What’s your advice for mixing old with new?
SA: Finding that sweet spot where the juxtaposition of opposites converge is always where you’ll find that just right mix. Don’t take it all so seriously, have fun with it!
AR: My momma always said…
SA: What didn’t she say — and always ended up being 100% correct about! She prompted me to never be afraid of a challenge, to always treat others the way I’d like to be treated, to always remember that God is the reason for any blessing that comes my way.
AR: Design book you’ll always have on your shelf?
AR: What’s your dream project/client?
SA: Not that I’ve ever given this question any thought...BUT, a midwestern ranch for Sandra Bullock.
AR: The greatest color combination that ever existed?
SA: Without question, black and white. It’s THE only color combination that truly possesses endless possibilities.
A special thank you from Sean to the talented individuals and Southern artists who contributed their time and efforts to this beautiful show-house:
Catherine Erb Photography
(Also featured on TNS! Read her Spotlight.)