Natural woman: Cotton, linen, and wool are interior designer Kori Messinger’s favored materials

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"I tell all my clients that they have to be happy with the concept because at the end of the day, I go home and they have to live with the choices," said interior designer Kori Messinger. Photo: Brianna Larocco "I tell all my clients that they have to be happy with the concept because at the end of the day, I go home and they have to live with the choices," said interior designer Kori Messinger. Photo: Brianna Larocco

Stedman House designer Kori Messinger talked to us about designing a room at age 10, the color red, and being authentic to yourself while breaking the rules.

Have you ever had a change of heart about an object or style? Of course! As our household has grown with four kids and lots of animals, so have our priorities. Practical is now a key word.

Does your home look like the one you grew up in? Yes, touches of it do throughout. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to choose the pieces that I wanted to bring into my home. Thank you mom for downsizing!

What is your first design memory? Picking out wallpaper when I was 10 years old. My mom’s decorator brought over samples and I was a part of the design process. I chose a Carleton Varney all over floral, which was bright and bold for my age.

What’s your favorite room in your house? Our large covered front porch. The space is much like an additional family room.

Your most treasured possessions? The ones I hold close, or at least those that have made the cut during moves, usually have a story behind them: a wooden rocker that was made for my dad by a West Virginia artisan or my desk chair, which I picked up at an estate sale for $25.

What do you wish you couldn’t live without? Probably my computer.

What are your preferred materials or textures? Natural materials. I prefer linen, cotton, and wool. They are beautiful on upholstery and draperies.

Go-to colors? Blue ceiling paint from Benjamin Moore, cream for the walls, and a touch of red somewhere in the house. Red never goes out of style. It is a classic for interiors and nail polish.

Best design-related word? Comfortably-elegant.

Favorite designer? Bunny Williams [a New York City-based tastemaker]. I love that she chose to live without a key piece until she found the right one for the space she was working on. Design does not have to happen overnight but rather over time.

What’s a design rule you like to break? Any rule that does not allow you to be authentic—I think that we have to be true to ourselves. I tell all of my clients that they have to be happy with the concept because at the end of the day, I go home and they have to live with the choices.

Is there anything you’re afraid to DIY? Upholstery. I am thankful that I have a talented resource.

Name some things that can really transform a room. Large-scaled accessories.

What should a homeowner never scrimp on? A sofa. It is usually the biggest piece in most spaces. Buying good quality will pay off since it is a piece that you sit on every day.

Is there a design blog, website, TV show, or magazine that you look at all the time? House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Garden & Gun. I love to dog-ear inspirations and then go back and tear out what I truly love.

Antique or modern? Antique with a touch of whimsical thrown in here and there.

City or country? Country to live, city to visit.

If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be? Dorothy Draper. She was one of the first influential women in design. The interior decor of The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia is a prime example of her bold ideas.

On what film set would you like to live? Something’s Gotta Give.

If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be? I would want to be an English antique 17th century hall chest. Imagine the people you could see coming and going. I love the stories behind pieces of furniture that have been passed down through generations.

Want to know more? Visit stedmanhouse.com or call 295-0671 to get in touch.

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