From the Ground Up

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by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

Just joining the party? Read Robin Waldrip’s story first to get to know this home’s decorator better.

At Auburn, one of Waldrip’s areas of study was interior furnishings and equipment. At night, she doodles floor plans and exterior designs. She designed a home for their family from the ground up; when she had her son she did not want to work every day, but instead liked to have a schedule she could control. So, when people approached her about designing their homes from the ground up too, it all lined up perfectly for her to start a business designing homes.

When Julie Douglas and her husband Jay decided to look into downsizing their home as their two sons were going off to college, they knew exactly who to call: Robin Waldrip. She and Waldrip have been close friends for more than 25 years, and Waldrip actually designed the Douglas’ last home, too. For that one, the Douglas’ son really wanted a secret room, and Waldrip was able to include one in the floor plan.

She found a place for the things that were important to us,” Douglas said. “Things that I wouldn’t have thought about, she thinks about.” 

For their current home, Waldrip brought Douglas a few mockups, and she really liked different aspects of two sketches. They took the plans to an architect, who mashed the favorite pieces together, and got started on the build.

Douglas was born in Gulfport and spent her summers there with her grandparents. Each year, family vacations and trips are spent somewhere on a beach.

“I guess it just becomes part of you,” she said.

To no one’s surprise, the beach is her favorite place; naturally, she wanted to bring those elements into her home. So, with Waldrip’s help, she did. The two took a trip to Memphis, and as they were looking at countertop options, one slab stuck out. For Douglas, it was the perfect swirling of colors to remind her of the beach. Douglas and Waldrip joked that the rest of the house was essentially designed around that one slab for the kitchen’s island.

Light, clean colors with a lot of neutrals are what Douglas naturally prefers, so Waldrip leaned into it.

The most incredible thing about her is color — she is so good” Douglas said of Waldrip. “There’s nobody better with color.”

When Douglas was visiting the beach and shopping for a couch fabric, she FaceTimed Waldrip to get her opinion, and she knew exactly what color would work best. Waldrip picked other colors for the home, too, like the walls, shutters and doors. From light fixtures and fans, helping direct furniture and décor on move-in day, Waldrip is hands-on with her business to ensure her clients have their version of their perfect home.

The floor plan is incredibly open, which is what Douglas loves. She said she loves when her boys are home or she hosts guests, and she can still be a part of the conversation, even if she’s cooking in the kitchen while they’re in the living room. For Douglas, family is important, and that’s why most of the wall décor in the her home is family photos instead of art.

“I’d rather see the pictures of my boys’ faces and the memories that those hold instead of just plain artwork,” Douglas said.

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