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Five Minutes with Lindsey Waters

18th February 2021

This week we talk to Lindsey Waters, project manager at the award-winning Atlanta and Florida based studios – James Michael Howard and Andrew Howard.

Having started her career in hospitality design, Lindsey now works closely with James and his son, Andrew Howard. This has recently included project managing James’ own Atlanta condominium.

We find out more about Lindsey’s love for characterful homes and her passion for infusing projects with the perfect combination of old and new to create a “collected” interior…

Lindsey Waters, designer and project manager at the award-winning Atlanta and Florida based studio - James Michael Howard
Lindsey Waters

The James Michael Howard and Andrew Howard studios

James Michael Howard founded his firm in Jacksonville, Florida and has been designing homes in the United States and abroad since 1988. Previously, Jim worked for multiple design firms and was trained in design at New York’s prestigious Parsons School.  He leaves no detail untouched with his meticulous understanding of architectural detailing and modern and classical design.  While designing retreats from the Hamptons to Antiqua, he also manages three showrooms which feature interior retail stores.  Him and his wife Phoebe Howard also design their personal furniture collection, “Mr. and Mrs. Howard” for Sherrill Furniture.  Last year, he published “Atmosphere: The Seven Elements of Great Design” and has been published in multiple design publications including Coastal Living, House Beautiful, and Veranda.

Jim’s son Andrew Howard followed in his parent’s footsteps and started his career working at his parent’s first Jacksonville storefront. He is best known for his colorful, fresh spaces that are carefully curated and always feature unique ceilings and tile patterns.   Named one of the Top Young Designers in America by House Beautiful and Traditional Home in 2013, Andrew has been featured in countless design publications including Veranda, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, and Luxe.  Notably, he was named a top 5 Coastal Designer by Coastal Living and listed among Sotheby’s Top 20 Designers in America in 2020.  When he is not designing, he is most likely spending time with his beautiful wife and two boys, or writing his first book which will be launching next year.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be working with two brilliant designers and will be forever grateful for all the knowledge Jim and Andrew have shared with me.

A master bedroom design by James Michael Howard
A beautiful Master Bedroom design by James Michael Howard and Lindsey Waters. Photography: Emily Followill
Andrew Howard and Lindsey Waters interior design project in Atlanta
A contemporary apartment in Atlanta, a design Lindsey worked on with Andrew Howard. Photography: Laurey Glenn

How did you become an interior designer?

From a young age, I always enjoyed being creative. My parents were quite patient with all my entrepreneurial ventures, even as I begged them to wear the paper shirts and cardboard shoes I made at our Tennessee home.  Not only did I love making “clothes”, but I also loved pouring over books on Interior Design and Entertaining.  My Pink Poodle Party Planning business never really took off, and my love of Interior Design ended up taking center stage as I learned more about the field from one of my mother’s best friends who was an Interior Designer.  Living in beautiful spaces has made an impact on my life, and I fell in love with the idea of being able to create them for other people.  After high school, I had the incredible fortune of studying Interior Design at Anderson University and haven’t looked back since.

Lindsey Waters bedroom interior design Atlanta
"Living in beautiful spaces has made an impact on my life, and I fell in love with the idea of being able to create them for other people."

Your projects

Before I worked at James Michael Howard (JMH), I specialized in hospitality design at a Top 100 Hospitality firm and had the opportunity to project manage and design many premier country clubs and hospitality properties. Managing such large projects gave me the opportunity to learn project management skills on a large scale which has really helped me be an excellent communicator and designer for our residential clients.   Currently, I am managing jobs for Andrew in Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, and the Abacos.  Having such diverse projects has taught me a lot about how interior design varies based on the style of home and location.  Andrew and I are also thrilled to be working on a commercial hospitality project on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, and I have found it rewarding watching my previous experiences come full circle.

I have enjoyed collaborating with Jim on several projects, the most challenging of which was managing his personal condominium in Atlanta.  Such an intricate, and detailed personal venture taught me an immense amount about construction, architectural detailing, and attention to detail.  I was grateful to have a gifted and patient teacher throughout the project in Jim.  In my time at JMH, my favorite type of project is typically an older or quirky home with a lot of character where we can incorporate antiques and newer pieces to make the home feel very collected over time.  What can I say…there’s something to be said of good bones!

Lindsey Walters of James Michael Howard - Atlanta interior design
"Having such diverse projects has taught me a lot about how interior design varies based on the style of home and location."

Advice for aspiring interior designers

If you want to be the best, learn from the best. Scour books, magazines, and the internet for inspiration from current and past interior designers, architects, and purveyors of all things beautiful.  Surround yourself with people who are constantly pushing the envelope and don’t be afraid to do it yourself too!.  Lastly, don’t compare your progress to someone else’s.  Comparison is not only the thief of joy, but also the thief of creativity.

Lindsey Waters and James Michael Howard interior design
"My favorite type of project is typically an older or quirky home with a lot of character where we can incorporate antiques and newer pieces to make the home feel very collected over time."

Design inspiration

Location and style of the house influence the direction of our designs the most. I would argue the conceptual design phase of the project charts the course for how successful a project will be.  We put an incredible amount of time in researching new design ideas to make every home unique and better than the one before it.  We also love to build off of client’s existing pieces or collections.  One of our current clients has a vast collection of antiques and art that we are designing her home around, and I have loved being able to find a place for each of her treasured items.

Favourite room to design

Most definitely the Living Room! As one of the largest rooms in a home, it sets the tone for the rest of the spaces that spin off of it.  It’s also likely loaded with color and beautiful upholstered furniture which I love to find special details for.  On a personal note, I have fond memories gathering in the Living Room with friends and family after supper.  Designing beautiful yet functional spaces where people can gather and make memories is my favorite part of my job.

Lindsay Walters living room interior design for a Atlanta apartment
"It’s also likely loaded with color and beautiful upholstered furniture which I love to find special details for." Lindsey on designing Living Rooms

Favorite room in your own home

My Master Bedroom which I designed around a beautiful four poster wood bed. I kept the palette soft with light greens and blues making it a perfect respite after a long day.

Home comforts

Soft lamp light and fresh flowers soften a home and make everyone feel at ease. For house guests, bedside candles, pressed linens and sumptuous towels are always a must.  I also love collecting china and art to mark special milestones.

James Michael Howard apartment in Atlanta
The Baize Door and Collier Webb Scallop Accent light in the entrance hall of James' Atlanta home

How you came to work with Collier Webb

Jim introduced me to Collier Webb when I was project managing his condo.  We completely gutted the apartment and rebuilt it designing every single piece of millwork, locating all the electrical and HVAC, and finishing with fun details like this Baize Door with nail head (pictured).  The Entry was the perfect location to showcase the Collier Webb Scallop Accent lights we purchased.  It reflects the level of detail you will encounter throughout the rest of the space!  I really enjoyed collaborating on the lighting we purchased for this project. Your Roman Lantern is also a personal favourite of mine!

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