Life can be a winding road. Sometimes it involves career paths that don't resonate with you or kindle passion. At the same time, reinventing yourself isn't easy either, especially the older one gets. Yet recently I was introduced to Phara Queen, whose personal story changed my entire perspective on starting over. At 50, she picked up, moved to a new state, and embarked on a new career in interior design. The most inspirational part of her story? Her first client was Miranda Lambert and her new bed & breakfast called The Ladysmith.
Located in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, The Ladysmith Bed & Breakfast embodies a rock-n-roll meets shabby chic vibe that blends original architectural details, salvaged materials, Miranda's own personal collection of antiques, and modern, eye-popping design elements. Once a dilapidated relic of Tishomingo's deteriorating historic downtown, the original 1901 structure was completely renovated and reopened in 2014 with the help of Phara's bold design sense.
The Ladysmith is a revitalization success story not only for the town of Tishomingo, but for Phara Queen herself (yes, that is her real name). Her willingness to follow her true calling landed her just the opportunity at just the right time. And working with Miranda wasn't such a bad first gig on her own either.
What caught our eye the most about Phara's aesthetic was the boldness of her design choices. Shabby-chic, old-meets-new design is not an easy balance to execute. So when the opportunity to talk to Phara arose, I wanted to get her design tips for any homeowner out there looking to rock out their own space with a little bit of pistol.
As Miranda so eloquently stated about working with Phara, "Phara Queen is a rock star. She brings something unique and edgy to the table and pushes you out of your comfort zone in the most creative ways! Her last name says it all. Queen. That she is."
Be Bold With Textiles
As a designer, Phara is known for taking her clients where they are comfortable and then pushing them one step further aesthetically speaking. Phara suggests anyone looking to go "bold" with their interior design (without a major commitment) turn to textiles to add color and texture to their space. Textiles can be used for pillows, curtains, wall coverings, or to transform an existing piece of furniture in need of refreshing. Don't be scared to mix patterns, colors, or styles.
A couple of Phara's favorite places to find unique and luxurious textiles are Schumacher, established in 1889 and known for their iconic designs with a modern twist, and Maxwell Fabrics for sumptuous faux leathers and mohair textiles to add a little rock-n-roll oomph to your space! Schumacher textiles were used for drapes and pillows at The Ladysmith and Maxwell Fabrics products were used for the curtains in the inn's Curtain Call guest room.
Get Wild About Wallpaper
We love wallpaper at Find Everything Historic and so does Phara Queen. For those looking to completely transform a room (and not scared to commit), Phara suggests folks look to wallpaper to add mood, drama, color, texture, graphics and prints to a space for instant glamour. With wallpaper all the rage these days and endless design options your newly papered walls will make you the envy of all your friends.
A few of Phara's favorite go-to wallcovering suppliers are Clarke & Clarke, who offer a huge selection of modern, traditional and eclectic styles, and Eijffinger, founded in 1875 and where they design and develop some of most luxurious wallpaper and fabric collections in the world. Phara incorporated Eijffinger Club Collection wallpaper for The Ladysmith's Lossa Lounge.
Miranda's personal favorite wallpaper incorporated into the design of her beloved inn is a wallcovering from Cole and Son and designed by Michael Clark called Woods that adds and earthy yet sophisticated feel to the room with its metallic finish and nature-inspired graphic in The Ladysmith's Knaughty Pine guest room.
Before You Toss It
Phara's other great piece of interior design advice? Before you toss furniture out ask yourself can it be re-purposed?
One of Phara's favorite up-cycle items at The Ladysmith was a set of old dining chairs that Miranda had in storage. Phara cleverly suggested cutting off the backs of the existing chairs and making them into benches, which were then reupholstered in a S. Harris's fabric Brushstroke Velvet in Pink Sky sourced from Tulsa-based distributor, Fabricut. The once tired looking dining chairs now provide a hip seating solution with a fresh new aesthetic.
For more design inspiration from Phara Queen visit her website.
All images courtesy of Phara Queen and The Ladysmith Bed & Breakfast