Urban Electric lighting

Words of Wisdom from Seven of Charleston’s Top Tastemakers

In the recently released Volume 3 of The Current, our annual publication, we mined the homes and minds of seven women whose styles represent the multiplicity of interior design in Charleston (and whose visions have shaped the looks of countless high-profile properties throughout the US and abroad). The resulting profiles comprised a feature-length tribute to their collective strength—but, of course, there’s always more to the story. And with this lot, that old trope rings especially true; their expertise and insights could fill an entire publication and then some, nevermind a single story. In an effort to lend a bit more daylight to their wisdom, we’ve revisited the transcripts to compile some of the choicest pearls that haven’t yet been published. Enjoy.

Kate Towill on Hospitality Design ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“Even though you always want people to be comfortable, hotels and restaurants aren’t like homes. People aren't in there forever; they’re in there for a few hours, and they want to be whisked away to another world during that time. It's like theatre: You are on, and on stage, so you can have more fun with light fixtures, and textures and patterns. I love that feeling. And then when I'm home, I love that it’s a break from that. But I also don’t want things to be so minimal that it’s like I can't touch anything. Because even at home, I think it's so nice to have little moments and vignettes.”

Tammy Connor on Organization ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“I’m not the neatest person in the world, but I do enjoy using order as a weapon against chaos. Take my kitchen pantry, for example: There's a part of it that is built a little like a ship with these funny areas, so I leaned into that.  Now those weird spots hold my canisters with flour and stuff. Seeing my spices all in the same kind of container makes the whole thing feel balanced and organized—just opening it makes me so happy! The order of it makes me comfortable, and I would say that our clients are very much like that, too. The linens are in a certain spot for each bathroom, and there are candles and matches nearby. A lot of them have multiple houses so things need to be intuitive and translate from place to place. That’s the secret to livability, in my opinion."

Amelia Handegan on Peripheral Vision ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older alongside my business is this: There is only so much you can say about your aesthetic or how much things influence you. Eventually, it just is. I have this peripheral vision idea of design and influence now—you pick up things you don't even know you picked or liked but still they spoke to something within you and that matters. I like this coral artwork in my house on Folly Beach because I saw a piece of coral somewhere and thought it should be in my house, and now I have it in a painting on the wall. I don't even think you are conscious of some of the things that you end up with. And isn’t that so great?”

ANGIE HRANOWSKY ON AMELIA HANDEGAN ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“Amelia influenced all of us, and is generous and kind and such an inspiring presence. I bought the couch in my living room from her when she was selling pieces from her office. Charleston is pretty great that way, especially when it comes to women and design. We don’t hoard ideas or resources. We trust our individual talents and support each other. I just wish Amelia would get rid of more things for me to buy!”

Jen Langston on Tomboy Style ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“I am a girly girl with the soul of a sailor—kind of a Huck Finn in heels type. My dad took me out on the boat fishing as early as I can remember and I’m still wild at heart. At the same time, I love elegance and high style—just done quietly, with confidence, in an effortless, almost beside the point kind of way. Like a classy dinner party with a healthy mix of mischief thrown in.”

Allison Abney on Confidence ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“I’ve never not known exactly what I wanted or liked, so being a designer is literally the ideal job for me. People come to me and I just know. I know what they don’t know they want. I see what they don’t know they see. I get to bring out the vision that’s waiting behind the scenes in other people and that is pretty awesome.”

Cortney Bishop on the Importance of a Nook ...

Urban Electric lighting
Urban Electric lighting

“Listen, when we redesigned our kitchen, we knew we wanted a space to be together and it turned out to be this little carved out nook. It’s small, but also so big in terms of its ability to connect with the action happening throughout the rest of the room. And it has so much light that comes in from the windows that, along with the view of the pool, make it feel more spacious. We all huddle together in here, but we also each claim it for ourselves when necessary. It’s a shape shifter, this little carved out corner of our world.”