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Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon paid homage to her southern roots with the opening of her Draper James Nashville flagship store this past Wednesday, Oct. 28. Local music from Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow and Lee Ann Womack played at the Southern style soiree, which was filled with sweet tea and Tito’s cocktails, biscuits, shrimp and grits and grilled cheese appetizers.
Launched online in May, the store features timeless and contemporary clothing, accessories, home décor and gifts, all with a southern flair. And who better to design the 3,000-square-foot space than Los Angeles interior designer Mark D. Sikes, who is also designing the actress’s digs in Music City.
Sikes, who grew up in the Midwest and the South, is known for his relaxed and elegant California interiors and has drawn a legion of fans with his eponymous lifestyle blog which captures “chic people, glamorous places” and “stylish things.”
The designer started with the brand’s signature blue (best described as a custom Wedgewood Blue) which is used everywhere from the crisp striped awning and wallpaper to the blue lacquered doors. Designed to resemble a home, Sikes details, “It was my intention to bring in influences and references of Southern homes by designing the windows to make the room feel like a porch and adding a beautiful damask wallpaper on the walls that makes it feel like an entry or dining room. The white marble island used for the cash wrap feels like a kitchen while the back of the store is like a mudroom.”
The design scheme translated into stripes and paisleys from a variety of to-the-trade classic fabric lines such as Rose Tarlow, Quadrille and Carolina Irving, while blue wicker chairs from Bielecky, brass étagères, sisal area rugs on bleached floors and blue and white sectional sofas complete the look. The multi-faceted designer (he is currently working on his first book) also added a pop of yellow to the room’s primary wall with a bright yellow abstract painting from Richmond artist Lindsay Cowles. “It literally welcomes you and along with everything else, feels happy. When I think about Nashville, it’s sunny and bright.”
The room’s traditional moldings, brass sconces and materials (think paisley on the walls, and brass and walnut finishes) were contrasted with the addition of a contemporary Lindsey Adelman chandelier.
He also looked to a variety of southern artists such as Nashville’s Kayce Hughes and Chelsea Peteja and Georgia’s Susan Hablas, while the work of LA photographer Amy Neunsinger provides a touch of the West Coast. “Editorial moments like these define the room and make it feel comfortable and cozy,” notes Sikes. “The interior design is intended for people to be inspired and feel like they are in someone’s home, looking for a place to sit down and drink a glass of sweet Southern tea.”
Witherspoon, who named the store after her grandparents, shares Sikes’ sentiments and wanted her new store to feel like her home — comfortable, inviting and inspiring. “This is the foundation for the brand and we didn’t want the interiors to necessarily go with the clothing. We made sure the patterns and textures of the line didn’t clash with the interiors,” she details.
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