Sunday, February 22, 2009

Introducing The Howards

My favorite hallway/stairwell ever from James Michael Howard.  I saw this photo recently (here) on one of my favorite blogs, Things That Inspire, who I credit for introducing me to Mr. Howard!

In my last post, I talked about the dining room at Jim & Phoebe Howard's house in Jacksonville.  Jim Howard is the interior designer behind James Michael Howard Interiors, while his wife Phoebe is an accomplished decorator and shop keeper. Together they run the Mrs. Howard and Max & Company growing chain of stores (with locations in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlanta, and soon-to-be Charlotte).

I was going to post about Mr. Howard, whose website is rife with pictures of stunning rooms, all with lovely architecture and a quiet, historical style that reaches straight to my heart.  But the more I investigated the pair, the more I realized that Mrs. Howard often has a hand in the decoration of the rooms.  Without knowing them or spending hours decipering rooms, I cannot really separate which rooms are strictly his, which are hers, or which they did together.

What I did notice was that her style is more colourful and vibrant (at least according to the articles featuring her work alone) whereas his rooms (from his site) appear considerably more sedate.

There is no use trying to distinguish at this point.  So for now, I shall show you some rooms featured on his site, because I love so many of them.

Above: The exquisitely arranged hallway in their Atlanta apartment.  I would like to bring everything here home.  Mrs. Howard is attributed as having decorated this apartment whilst Mr. Howard looked after the architecture and interior layout.  I love the console table, the baroque mirror, the X-bench, the pair of Lucite lamps, and even the brown rug.  The walls are a greyish-blue called "Blue Hubbard" by Sherwin-Williams.

Above: The front entrance at the couple's Jacksonville riverfront home, in the historical Ortega neighborhood.

Above: A quiet and lovely transition space.  I like the use of neutrals, graceful antiques and small works of art, all in slightly different frames, for a collected-over-time feel.

Above:  A welcoming neutral bedroom (seen first on Things That Inspire, I believe).  In addition to soft browns and creams, the couple like to use pale blues.  They get my vote for their gentle colour schemes!  Again, note the glass/lucite lamp, a common feature in their rooms.

Above:  The other side of the same bedroom, almost perfectly symmetrical.

Above: I believe this is the bedroom in their Atlanta apartment.  The graceful armoire likely holds a television.  Isn't the chaise pretty?  If I lived here, I would lounge around all day feeling smug and self-satisfied.

Above:  I think this shot might be from one of their stores, but I'm not entirely certain.

Above:  This room, designed by the couple, is from the 2007 Atlanta summer showhouse.  What I like most here is the sepia-toned map of London.

Above: Another pleasing vignette with a Gustavian feel.

Above:  A gracious living room with vaulted ceiling and herringbone-tiled fireplace.  Things That Inspire posted a lovely photo essay about herringbone fireplaces here.

Another architectural detail from Mr. Howard's site.  I first saw this image on Things That Inspire. Thanks again TTI!

Above:  This exquisite living room is in the couple's Atlanta apartment.  Again, note the architectural detail, the soft neutral palette, and the use of varied antiques.  I like the simple sofa, which I believe is Danish modern.  The coffee table is rosewood.

Above:  Another pretty bedroom, in the usual colours.  Note the ubiquitous sunburst mirror and Lucite lamp.  The mirrored night table is a surprising bit of glamour.  Things That Inspire posted a beautiful feature on sunburst mirrors here.

Above: The Howard's dining room in Jacksonville, with a stunning Federal mirror and a pair of knife boxes.
Above: Another pretty passageway with a pretty brown and blue rug and what appears to be a marble-topped table.
Above: I love this vignette with its delightful display of platters.

Above: I am not terribly fond of the dark stone sink, but this mirror is to die for, darlings.  Notice also the lantern in the bathroom (reflected), a favorite fixture of Mr. Howard (and moi).

A dining room vignette (above and below), with a surprisingly modern twist.  The modern painting and styling surprised me, but I think it is quite elegant and livens up the otherwise staid room.

Above: A darling and utterly classic tiered bathroom cabinet holds plush towels.

Above: Another pretty bedroom vignette with a contemporary art work.  I am not sure of the style of this dresser, but think it might be Georgian.
Above: A very posh bedroom belies Mr. Howard's generally restrained tastes.  I think Mrs. Howard may have got her hands on this one.  Thankfully they placed a bench at the end of the bed and not the ubiquitous sofa he seems to be so fond of (a look which I dislike, sorry to say...see below!)

Above: A darling urban bedroom, but I could do without the sofa at the end of the bed.  This is a look I really dislike but which Mr. Howard seems to enjoy.  It just looks too smooshed together for me.  Otherwise, he is perfect in my book.  Perfect!  But what do I know - I didn't go to the Parsons School, now did I?

Above: The refined dining area in their Atlanta apartment.  I love the pale blue-grey velvet upholstery on the dining chairs.  The banquette seating is versatile for working and lounging.  This apartment is like being inside a cloud.

Above: One last bedroom, with Jacobean-style bed, a lofty ceiling and a cool palette.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour and please forgive any errors as I am just beginning to learn about the Howards and intend to study their styles more fully.  I have a huge design crush on this illustrious pair.  Oh, and they have a daughter who is a chemical engineer like me!  More reasons to feel kindred!


  1. Beautiful, beautiful post - and, I smiled when I read that you don't like loveseats at the end of beds, because I feel exactly the same way!

    I have an acquaintance who just finished building a house, and James Howard did the interiors. I would love to see her home, and have heard that it is spectacular, but I don't know her well enough to ask!

    What I have heard is that James is a master at architectural detail, and if you go to the Mrs. Howard and Max & Co stores in Atlanta, you will see this first hand. The architectural details in these stores is unbelievable!

    Great post, and thank you for the mentions!

  2. Wonderful images. I loved the stairways and the architectural details.

  3. I just discovered Mrs. Howard as well and love it!! I pour over their website and am currently trying to copy one of their bedrooms for myself, sans the sofa!
    I also just discovered your website and enjoy it as well.

  4. Wonderful! I really enjoy their style, too. And I am so glad that they don't have things matchy-matchy nor is it all painted. The one thing that I really, really like? That bolster pillow on the sofa.

    Oh, yes, Terri, you've got it bad and that's good.

  5. What a breath of fresh air. Thank you for such a gorgeous post. I'm going to refill my coffee and go oogle over each of them again.
    xo Isa

  6. I love Howard's. Just gorgeous!

  7. They're amazing. Just quiet beauty in every space.

  8. Anonymous12:35 am

    it’s simple and sweet… … Modern Sofa are simply amazing.

  9. Lovely, lovely, lovely!

  10. What gorgeous images! I love the calm, neutral tones everywhere.