2016 DHDA: Rising Star

2016 Design Awards

Judges | Details | Exteriors | Interiors | Commercial Design
Homes | Rising Star | Reader’s Choice

Homeowners working with interior designer Carly Callahan Bristol are inspired to look inward when generating new design ideas for their spaces.

“I help clients push the envelope a bit,” Bristol says. “It’s easy to see a design you like in a magazine or at your friend’s house and get stuck on it, but I try to push them a little to see what it is that they really want or need.”

Bristol, this year’s Rising Star, runs the 3-year-old Callahan Interiors, which is associated with Forest Avenue Design in Birmingham. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and an interior design degree from Parsons School of Design in New York, Bristol says her signature look “tends toward classic and a more neutral base, and my first instinct is to build color from there.”

The newlywed and her husband, a Troy-based attorney, live in a bungalow-style home in Birmingham with a somewhat transitional look. There, she mixed items from IKEA and Pottery Barn with vintage chairs and must-have “investment pieces.”

“As an example, we have a beautiful Stark rug and it will be with us for a long time,” she says. “My younger clients want a pulled-together home that’s not crazy expensive. They don’t always want to shop at places that break the bank. (Even so), I’ll recommend certain investment pieces.”

One of her favorite projects won a 2016 Detroit Home Design Award in the Screenroom/Sunroom category.

“That space, which has outdoor furniture and an adorable and durable rug, has a double-sided fireplace and heated floors, so you can be outside when the weather cools,” Bristol explains. “With three little girls and a dog, the client gets the most out of this room.” In the same home, she created a media room in the unfinished basement; it features a play space, projector screen, kitchen, and wine storage.

“And there’s great seating for kids, where they can just pile on (top of the furniture),” she says with a laugh.

Observing people’s lifestyles is key for the designer. “Since I was little, I’ve loved to see how people live,” she says. “I’d go to my friends’ houses and take it all in. It was a cool realization when I learned I could do this for a living.”

Completely Carly: The bedroom above, designed by Carly Callahan Bristol, leans toward neutral colors, but gets Bristol’s signature punch with a pop of vibrant green. The Bristol-designed room, below, is timeless but current. More information: callahaninteriors.com.