southern creatives: virginia cheek

tell us a little bit of your background. when did you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer? I was always drawing and crafting as a child. My mom recognized this early and encouraged me to take art classes growing up. I minored in Studio Art and Art History in college, but I didn’t realize I wanted to pursue interior design as a career until I moved to Atlanta for graduate school. 

What inspires you? So many things – the creative people I work with, the outdoors, bustling cities, historic architecture, different cultures, an empty sketchbook. 

Where do you feel most inspired?  When I travel.

How would you define your interior style?  My work is very client-focused, so I can typically adopt my client’s style and reinterpret everything into a cohesive design. There are some common threads, however. I always incorporate some natural materials and textures. I like a room to feel balanced … an equilibrium of hard and soft, dark and light.

Who do you admire in design?  Thomas O’Brien, Axel Vervoordt, Alabama natives like Bobby McAlpine and Bill Ingram for their clean lines and soothing palettes. I also love Suzanne Kasler (think Blackberry Farm). I recently discovered Charleston designer Angie Hranowsky - she has an amazing talent for mixing bold colors. I also admire Jane Hoke, a Birmingham-based designer who has worked with my mom for years. She can create the most beautiful traditional spaces that look fresh, not stuffy. I’ll stop myself here, but those are just a few of the residential designers I like – the list goes on. 

What are your goals for the future of your design business?  Right now, to continue working with good people who inspire me to grow creatively. For the future, I have thoughts about dabbling in products, maybe fabrics. But that’s a long way off. 

Advice for others who are pursuing a career in design?  Gather as much experience as possible. You’ll figure out the best path for yourself as you go along.

How do you balance your creative passions and the rest of life? That’s a constant battle, especially when working from home. I block out my workdays just as I would in a “normal” office environment. I typically answer emails in the morning and try to run errands before traffic gets bad during lunch. The afternoons can vary – I’m either having client meetings or calls, sourcing, or doing other design work. Bookkeeping and invoicing usually happen after normal business hours. 

Does the South have an influence on your design? Absolutely. I grew up in the South so it definitely influences my work. I would say a commitment to quality, which surprisingly is not valued everywhere, and an appreciation for antiques are the two biggest influences.

Describe your personal style. Personally, I like easy and comfortable (but let’s call it effortless and chic ;)  

Tea or coffee? Tea

Flats or heels?  I’m 5’2” so I have to go with heels, but only the shockingly comfortable ones.

Dogs or cats? Dogs

Breakfast or dinner? Breakfast

Favorite vacation spot.  Cashiers, North Carolina

What are you looking forward to this summer?  June and July are crazy busy with traveling for work and weddings. I’m looking forward to getting a lot done during the first half and relaxing a bit toward the end. 


To learn more about Virginia's design work, go here!