southern creative: Maddie Hughes

I came across Maddie's work through instagram and have been charmed by her aesthetic ever since. She uses color in such happy, whimsical ways. I love that her designs are timeless but overflowing with fun.  Maddie worked for BISCUIT home before starting her own firm after moving to Dallas. I know Maddie has a BRIGHT future and i'm so excited to feature her here!

tell us a little bit of your background. when did you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?  I remember being a little girl with my best friend at a local bookstore attached to one of my family’s favorite restaurants in the town we grew up in, and while our parents would eat and chat the night away, we spent what seemed like hours at the time looking through all kinds books and magazines. For some reason, I always seemed to be drawn to the fancy home décor books, so I suppose interior design was something I have always loved and was passionate about.  I ended up graduating early from high school to follow my “soul mate”, who eventually would become my husband, to college and got a degree in interior design with a minor in architecture from Texas Tech. Interior design jobs were not easy to come by after graduation. They all seemed to require years of experience, which I did not have. One afternoon while I was living in Houston looking for jobs, my friend (the one that I mentioned earlier) called me and told me she saw a job listing for a new company called Biscuit Home. They were looking to hire a design intern. I landed the job with no idea of how much I would gain from my time at Biscuit. I am so grateful that Bailey McCarthy (owner of Biscuit Home) saw something special in me and gave me a chance to work for her. Eventually, I had to relocate to Dallas due to my husband’s job and could not imagine working for anyone else besides Bailey. That’s when I decided to put myself out there and give working on my own a shot. 

What inspires you?    I’m inspired by other designers and learning about their roads to success. On my hardest days, sometimes I’ll take a break just to read about what it was like for others in the beginning and what it took for them to be successful. I often think if someone else can do it, then why can’t I? At the same time, I think success can be defined in different ways depending on your situation. Success to one person may mean something completely different to another. My husband tells me to always believe in myself because if you can’t believe in yourself no one else ever will. I think it pushes me during the struggles of starting up a business to know that the goals I have set for myself and the challenges I face in achieving those goals are all just part of the journey.

How would you define your interior style?  I love mixing the new with the old. There’s definitely an art to it, and it is not always as easy as some people make it look. One of the best tips I remember getting from Bailey while I was at Biscuit was not to make a space to look “too designed.”  I love looking through different magazines and furniture catalogs to see what’s new or to try and spark some inspiration, but when a room I’m working on starts to have too much of that “catalog” look, I feel like the space begins to lose its character and personality.  

Who do you admire in design?   There really are so many designers that I admire, but definitely Miles Redd. I don’t think I have ever seen a room of his that I don’t love. His work is traditional yet quirky. I love that. 

what are your goals for the future of your design business?   Right now, I would love for my business to grow enough so that I could eventually hire an assistant and other people to work with. I’m a team player, and I love to feed off of other people’s ideas. Ultimately, I just want to look back one day and be proud of the business I built.

do you have a favorite among the rooms you’ve worked on?  I honestly cannot say that I have a favorite room. I love getting to know my clients and developing friendships with them. I try my best to capture their personality so that the space defines them, not me. I really put my heart and soul into my clients’ spaces, so nothing satisfies me more than to know my client is happy with the work I have done for them. 

advice for others who are pursuing a career in design?  You have to be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up. My generation tends to think we are all special unicorns among horses and want the recognition we feel like we deserve for our amazing talents, but in the work world a little bit of humility will go a long way. At the same time, have confidence in yourself. I feel like it’s really important to find that balance between humility and confidence. I know this is cliché, but if your dreams don’t scare you a little, then they’re not big enough. 

how do you balance your creative passions and the rest of life? This is something I am still working on. I am an all or nothing kind of person. Like I said earlier, I put my heart and soul into my projects, so if I am working on a something, it can be really tough to switch it off after 5. I have found myself lying in bed working past midnight. Sometimes I push myself too hard or I let life take over to where it can be extremely hard to get motivated again. 

describe your personal style. With interiors and fashion, I love good basics and throwing in a pop of color, fun print or accessory to take it up a notch. Sometimes when I am getting dressed, I try to get creative and mix prints like I would when I scheme a room, but my sister works in the fashion world and constantly reminds me that I cannot dress myself like pillows on a sofa. 

tea or coffee? flats or heels? dogs or cats? breakfast or dinner?  Coffee, I cannot function without it. Flats, I’m pretty casual. Both, I love animals.  Breakfast, hands down. 

Who is your style icon?Lauren Conrad. Her style seems attainable to me. Although, I’m pretty sure if I were to be photographed in an attempt to look like her it would end up on Pinterest as one of those sarcastic “nailed it” pins.

what are you looking forward to this summer? My husband and I have a trip planned to New York City. I have been quite a few times, but never just the two of us. We like to consider ourselves foodies and I cannot wait to try some new restaurants that I have been reading about.

visit Maddie's website to see more: www.maddiehughesdesigns.com