Designer Talks

I just wrapped up an exciting weekend at the Charleston Antiques Show. Held at the recently completed Gaillard Center, this year’s festival was bigger and better than ever before (so I’m told- this was my first year attending). I was most excited about the series of “Designer Talks”- intimate panel discussions with some of the nation’s best interior designers. As I am about to start a grad program in both art history and interior design, these talks perfectly aligned with my career aspirations. I loved that the Historical Charleston Foundation thought to incorporate interior design into the antiques show mix.

Four designers gave presentations: Tom Scheerer, Timothy Whealon, Alex Papachristidis, and Mark D. Sikes. Each had a different style, but all had an appreciation and deep respect for the past. I picked up a lot from each discussion, but will pinpoint some of the highlights here:

Tom Scheerer

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Space & Simplicity by Tom Scheerer
  • Involved in both architectural planning and interior design, and how they work together
  • Furniture planning and layouts are essential
  • Use antiques sparingly, yet as a focal point

Timothy Whealon

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Timothy Whealon: bringing the outdoors in
  • A Sotheby’s Institute grad (yay!)
  • Look outside. Your decor should compliment your window views.
  • Don’t be intimidated to start an antiques collection. Antiques, though possibly more expensive, are investment pieces that will last a lifetime. They are also eco-friendly/green, a product of reuse and recycling.

Alex Papachristidis

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Penthouse luxury designed by Alex Papachristidis
  • A decorative, narrative wall covering (such as the ones by Gracie Studio) is one of the most budget-friendly ways to decorate a room. With wallpaper like that, who needs art?
  • Octagon tables are a must
  • Animal skins are a neutral. Touches of zebra, cheetah, or any other exotic animal can be incorporated into any room.

Mark D. Sikes

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My dream room, designed by Mark D. Sikes



  • I love his style! Although I would never consider my style to be “California,” as he calls it, his bright and airy designs really resonated with me.
  • Blue and white everything. Maybe with a touch of green, or even a touch of red.
  • Be old school. Make physical mood boards. Mark starts each project by compiling inspirational tear sheets into a collage. His images are not only of interiors, but of the people (Grace Kelly, Jackie O…), places (California, Charleston…), and things (trench coats, flowers) that inspire him.

What an incredibly inspiring couple of days! The “Designer Talk” series was the perfect gateway into grad school- I am excited to start my own design career and to create my own aesthetic.

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