Tastemaker Tuesday – Tish Mills

She’s an interior designer with an impeccable sense of style. But, she’s also an unbelievable artist, working with natural mediums in ways we’d never imagine. Tish Mills seems to be able to do it all, and we’re thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to get to know her better over the last year!

Some of Tish’s creations grace our shelves here in the steve mckenzie’s showroom, although they never last long, catching people’s attention as soon as they’re near. Her agate accessories have been fast movers here, and some of our own, personal favorite items carried in-store.

Tish Mills’ custom creations on display at steve mckenzie’s

But, first and foremost, Tish Mills is an unbelievable designer in her own right and creates some stunning, and totally awe-inspiring spaces. We’re absolutely honored Tish agreed to let us feature her as a Tastemaker, here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s, and we’re excited to share a bit more about Tish with you today:

Tish Mills
Tish Mills

Since forming Harmonious Living in 1999, Tish Mills has become known for creating highly peaceful spaces that are a true reflection of the homeowner’s personality and the way that they live. Tish uses a mix of color and materials from the surroundings to create balanced spaces that are seamless from interior to exterior. Project results have been recognized numerous times within the design industry. Tish Mills has received 13 design excellence awards from the Georgia Chapter of the ASID; one project winning three national ASID awards. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Elle Décor, Traditional Homes, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and Atlanta Magazine as well as several books on interior design. Tish Mills is a graduate of the University of Georgia and studied Feng Shui at the American Feng Shui Institute. She is an active member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

1. Three words that describe your aesthetic? 

No Boundaries, Thoughtful, Organic

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2. Would you please share a little about your favorite space/project to date? 

It is hard for me to have one favorite project since they are all very different and a reflection of each homeowner, rather than me.  Having said that, I’m very proud of the house that was featured in the May issue of Traditional Home Magazine.  This was an especially challenging and rewarding project for me because the client pushed me more than a client ever has.  She only wanted to see the very newest and most trend-setting design in a very bold color palette.  That is very different for an Atlanta project, which tends to be much more neutral.  Coupled with this directive, the client also wanted the spaces to feel calm and soothing.  It was quite a tall order.  The outcome, speaks for itself.  It was beyond anything she had hoped for.  And, we are now working on a new ground up project for the same family.

I am also just finishing a project for a long time client that is very neutral, yet not safe at all, that I am so incredibly excited to photograph and share.  We’ve worked on this project for about four years, including a full year before we brought in an architect or builder.  By the time the team was assembled, we had an incredibly clear vision for the project.  The client and I recently pulled out the concept sketches we did at the first meeting on this project and were both amazed at how true the end product has stayed to our initial conversation.
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3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

Like almost every Designer would say, inspiration comes from everywhere.  It is almost a creative person’s curse as we look at the world differently.  Travel is always a key source.  I was in Marrakech a few years ago and that really shifted my design approach. The level of detail, patterning, and imagination in every corner of that country is breathtaking.  The flip side of that is as simple as a weekend at the beach.  I could sit every day and watch the colors shift during sunset or the tide wash over the sand.  My children tease me that I only like colors associated with an oyster shell or a sunset.  Needless to say, they were surprised by the project I mentioned above.  Cooking is another source of inspiration as I approach it from a very free space not limited by any recipe.   For me, cooking engages all of the senses to a higher level.  As I said, inspiration comes from everywhere…

4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…

My Grandmother (Gran Gran), as I miss her every day.  She was a cowgirl who lived way before her time.  If she were my age right now, watch out world;  Oprah because she is a trailblazer and shows no fear; Axel Vervoordt because studying his design approach taught me to never over think, but rather design from the deepest place in my soul.

5. A piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

I have several pieces I’ve collected over the years that mean a great deal to me, such as a pair of antique doors from Portugal.  Until recently, I would have said something like these.  But, for Christmas this past year, my now fiancé, painted a piece for me of two horses.  The emotion of the painting, the body language between them and the look in both of their eyes, spoke volumes.  I’ll love that piece of art, and the love behind it, for the rest of my life.

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6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?

I don’t really believe in rules for the most part.  I’m a firm believer in following my intuition.  If you love it and have an emotional response, buy it.  We will find a place in the home for that special item.  However, having said that, I do also believe there are  some things in a room have to be quiet and set the stage for the more special pieces in the space.  Not everything can be the star fighting for attention, or the result will be anything but peaceful.  Actually that can be quite frenetic.
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7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?” 

I’m really enjoying working with the influx of concrete tiles.  The patterning and color combinations are very inspiring and have been a great launching place for design.  In color, I’m really loving strong blues such as navy which can be very crisp.

I’m over safe design.  Seeing the spring collections from the manufacturers have been the best in years.   The industry, as a whole, is again pushing the boundaries and much stronger and creative products are hitting the market.  I’ve been adding resources and new patters/textures like crazy as a result.
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8. How does artwork fit into your designs?

Artwork is often the star or jumping off point for spaces for me.  It is typically the item in the room that really pushing the color and emotion.  I rarely shop for art without the client because they have to have an connection to the artwork in any space since it really helps push the soul of the room.

9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?

Ok, I admit it… my iPhone.  I couldn’t survive without talking to my children.  And, on the practical side, I do tend to take pictures of anything I see out in the world that I want to remember.  The creative inspiration on an deserted Island could keep me going for a long time.

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10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry. 

Get to work.  Get out and see and do everything you can.  I am immediately turned off by people who are not self-starters and are not hungry to learn.  If you are breaking into the industry, it is important to understand that design is very hard work with lots of hours.

Hard work and lots of hours indeed, Tish is spot-on with that piece of advice for up and coming designers!

And a BIG thank you to this maven of interior design for allowing us to feature her as a Tastemaker. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Tish Mills better!

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