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Inside The World of Interior Design With Heather Bates

Here to join me today, the talented Heather Bates -- an award-winning Virginia interior designer. Her projects are intricate, full of texture, depth, and unforgettable colors. Heather and her team have an unusual eye for design, often merging sophisticated with playful, and adept to taking on a versatile range of design styles.

With interiors that boast artisanal accents, bold prints, and vivid hues, Heather magnificently infuses her projects with transitional and contemporary styles all the while honoring the traditional Virginian architecture. Known for designing showstopping homes of the utmost quality, Heather Bates Design is exemplary at opening up her client's artistic mind and bringing to life a whimsical interior that is unique, intriguing, and utterly luxurious.

So, without further ado, please welcome Heather Bates of Heather Bates Design!


Q: Hi, Heather - welcome! I’ve recently been introduced to your work, and I’m glad I have! Your designs are so multi-faceted and artful. The layers, scale, and color combinations are truly unique. How would you describe your journey to finding such a beautiful and original style?

Heather: I grew up in a family with a long history of military service, which means posting to areas all over the world; pretty much was surrounded by the British Colonial/Traditional style. British Colonial style is a mashup of traditional British style (lots of layering) with bits of Asia and the South Pacific built into it -- adding only the best quality of eclectic elements picked up through travels. This usually includes jewel tones, such as the ones found in Chinese Art Deco Rugs. My grandparents picked them up in Shanghai in the late 1920’s from Walter Nichols. This is what informs my unique design style.

sharron-living-room-fire-place-designImage Source : Heather Bates Design

Q: That’s a lovely place for you to find color inspiration from! For those of us less color savvy but still wanting beautiful hues in our homes, what are a few of your go-to color combinations that never fail?

Heather: Well, you may not believe this, but I consider black, gold, and magenta neutrals in my world! Every color on the color wheel works with these three; black & gold play nicely with white and accents of magenta - you see this all the time on blogs and instagram posts, right? Add navy blue to gold and magenta and you've got the trifecta (and the colors in my logo). Gold and magenta will also go well with green, right?

See where I'm going with this? I once saw an elegant room with creamy walls and sofas in the same color. Brass accents (gold) with glass as table tops. On each side of the fireplace were twin pieces modern art, with a riot of colors, including magenta. So you can do lots of color with what other people consider "normal neutrals."

Q: An exciting color palette that I'm sure everyone will be intrigued to try out, I know I am. Aside from your expertise in color, as an interior designer, you’re also quite present during the building process. Can you talk a bit about your design-build process and how hiring a full-service studio, such as yours, benefits your clients?

Heather: Well, it's important to be a part of the process from the initial "blueprint" stage all the way up to opening the door when the home is completed. We see things that can be improved on, which clients often miss. We can also suggest items that will elevate the experience they have in their homes.
Client’s are busy and need to have someone they trust, who can oversee the myriad and intricately moving parts of the project. And, also handle issues that will come up in an efficient manner. This is a collaboration with our clients, for the entire time we work with them.

heather-bates-kitchen-interior-designsImage Source : Heather Bates Design

Q: And, with all that said, what is your favorite part of the design process? The part you always look forward too.

Heather: Honestly? For me, and my team, it’s seeing the happy tears of our satisfied clients. 90% of our work is behind the scenes whereas 10% is making the client's ideas come to fruition. The sleuthing to find what they need and want is a rewarding experience. They don’t have the time, and these days time has become our most valuable commodity.

Q: When reflecting on the past few years of interior design, what design trends are you ready to say goodbye to? And, which trends are you excited to see more of?

Heather: That would be Rose Blush...and grey. Notice I don't include grey earlier, though it also works with my three neutrals. I do see browns coming back into play, in fabrics and antiques. Velvet is still solid, I've been seeing it at Markets for the last two years. I have it in every room of my house- in drapes, on pillows and furniture. Jewel tones are here to stay, since people are tired of grey, white, and beige. Dramatic florals - like Dutch Masters paintings (which I adore). I'm also seeing lots of new and different wallpapers - yes, wallpaper is roaring back in - and for renters who want that, Tempaper and other companies have the stick on and removable papers that won't damage walls.

heather-bates-sharron-study-room-designImage Source : Heather Bates Design

Q: Great styling advice. All stunning looks that I, too, am happy to see more of -- which brings me to my last question: can you tell us about an exciting design project you’re currently working on?

Heather: That would be 14,000 square foot Historic Selma Mansion outside of Leesburg, Virginia. Built in 1902 with superior quality.and materials, the Selma Mansion has been undergoing renovations for a year and a half, and finally has livable spaces inside. We still have the three story addition and pool house to build, when March arrives.

sharron-sitting-area-designImage Source : Heather Bates Design

Sounds like a magnificent project, one of which will undoubtedly be full of character and finesse. Thank you for answering all of my questions, Heather -- I have learned so much from your thoughtful answers and unparalleled expertise. You also create great and informative design videos, including topics such as kid-friendly design, furniture placement, and how to find one's style -- which I will link for the readers' reference.

Stay tuned for more interviews with today’s hottest interior designers!