Home Decorating Secrets of a Great Room with Phoebe Howard & Nellie Jane Howard Ossi

Secrets of a Great Room with Phoebe Howard & Nellie Jane Howard Ossi

What makes a room more than just pretty, what are the elements that make it memorable? In our Secrets of a Great Room series, we ask designers to tell us how they created their signature rooms. From decorating advice to the practical nitty-gritty of furnishings, we get their insider advice on crafting rooms to remember, like this neutral and cozy bedroom by mother-daughter interior designer duo Phoebe Howard and Nellie Howard Ossi for the Flower Magazine 2021 Showhouse.
When Flower Magazine approached Florida-based interior designer Phoebe Howard to design their 2021 showhouse in Palmetto Bluff, SC, her answer was “no.” Then, she reconsidered—how fun would it be to decorate with her daughter and business partner, Nellie Howard Ossi? “I felt like Nellie could bring in a fresher, younger perspective to keep me from being frumpy, and that I could always bring in my wisdom and guidance over what worked well and room, after doing it for years and years,” says Howard. “Then it was like a race against Nellie’s pregnancy because she was nine months pregnant at the end! And she actually missed the install because she was two weeks from her due date and then had the baby!”
Flower gave Phoebe and Nellie creative direction for the showhouse. “They asked us to create a Belgian interior to compliment the architecture of the house, which was fairly strong, very quiet, restrained way,” said Phoebe. “And so we chose mostly neutral palettes and it became about texture, the architecture, and some of the materials used in the house.” Within this neutral home sits the primary bedroom—a stunning safe haven ideal for slow living. The duo explains their formula for creating this relaxed, lived-in look:

A partner-in-crime in design is key.

Though Howard and Ossi are used to working together every single day (and hanging out most nights), they know how special it is to have someone to bounce ideas off of—and can’t stress enough how important that is. “Collaborations are always good, as long as you’re in sync with one another and you don’t have too much conflict,” says Howard. Ossi agrees. “At our firm, we have one lead designer that you work with as a client, but we all talk to each other behind the scenes and say, ‘Well, what do you think about this?’,” Ossi says. “It always helps to have fresh eyes look at something that you’ve been looking at for too long. Four eyes are better than two!”

A neutral scheme needs texture & art.

The pair knew they wanted the exteriors of the home—the lush landscape of the Lowcountry—to sing, so they decided to keep the interiors very neutral. “When you have a primarily neutral palette, you have to lean heavily into textures and surfaces so that it doesn’t fall flat,” says Ossi. They used the texture of plaster walls, wood beams, and the black iron bed paired with textiles like linen and wool creates dimension and interest. “The second thing is you have to really select your art carefully because the art really makes a difference,” says Howard. For example, the piece above the canopy bed was incredibly important. “In a canopy bed like that, you’ve got to have something really prominent, but not too big, because it’s a smaller area,” says Ossi. “It’s a complex, small area that you’re working with, so it has to be just the right thing. And that had the perfect organic shape and with a little bit of texture. So it wasn’t like a painting, it’s artwork on a different level.”

“Sleep in your uggs” with a Marshmallow Puff.

To say the duo is obsessed with our Marshmallow Ivory Puff is an understatement. “When we saw the Marshmallow Puff at the Annie Selke showroom…” Nellie began, Phoebe had to cut in: “We flipped out!” In order to lean into the relaxed, lived-in look of this bedroom, Howard and Ossi chose our Marshmallow Ivory Puff because, “it’s not overly casual, but it just looks so inviting and it literally feels delicious,” says Ossi. “We now carry it in our stores, and everybody that touches that bed will freak out,” says Howard. “One lady told me the other day, ‘This is like sleeping in my UGGs!’”

Find the bedding that’s right for you—it’s so worth it.

Howard and Ossi opted for the Marshmallow Puff in Ivory paired with our Sand Silken Solid sheets to fit the lifestyle of this primary bedroom and stress how important it is to make sure your bedding is right for you. “People underestimate bedding and its impact,” Ossi says. “When you have a bed where your sheets are itchy, your comforter’s too hot, it just doesn’t feel right to you. When you make the investment of beautiful bedding, but also appropriate bedding for your lifestyle and your wants and needs, it really can impact your sleep and your quality of life, because you spend a third of your life there. So why not make the investment and make it worth it?”

Wool Rug + Rug Pad = Bedroom Essentials.

To keep with this textured neutral scheme, Ossi and Howard chose our Niels Latte Woven Wool rug for its softness and durability. Plus, it feels good! “When you get out of bed, it’s just always nice to have something that feels good to put your bare feet on,” says Ossi. But with any stellar rug, a rug pad is a must. “I would never put a rug down without a rug pad,” says Howard. “They move around, they crawl and they don’t wear well. It compromises the integrity of the rug.”

Let your personality shine with dressmaker details.

Howard and Ossi explain that when clients love a certain fabric or trim, they incorporate it into a room in small, affordable ways so that the personality of their client can shine in their home. “We used a lot of trimmings on the drapes and pillows,” says Ossi. “It’s that little bit of extra that you can add to your fabrics and your decorative pillows. Drapes trimmings, those things take it to the next level and keep it from feeling plain and make it unique.”
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1 comment

Mary March 30, 2022 at 6:48 pm

Love your design choices. Where did you get all the pillows?


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