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2023 Design Trends with Atelier Maison & Co.'s Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan 

Image courtesy of Laura Sullivan

Western North Carolina-based interior designer Laura Sullivan has over 13 years of experience creating beautiful and intentional living spaces in her clients’ homes. Laura is the owner and operator of award-winning ID.ology Interiors & Design and co-owner of high-end home furnishing studio Atelier Maison & Co. alongside her husband Sean Sullivan, owner of award- winning Living Stone Design + Build, a luxury green custom home builder. Partnering together on many projects, they create homes and spaces that are not only stunning but help their clients live healthier lives.

Central to ID.ology’s design practices are biophilic design, indoor air quality, and aging-in-place. Laura and her team specialize in creating healthy spaces designed for long-term enjoyment and accessibility that evoke a connection to nature and utilize natural, non-toxic furnishings, paints, stains, and other materials. Their services are curated and customized uniquely to you and your project – whether you are building from the ground up, embarking on a remodel, or simply want to refresh your décor and furniture.

NC Living caught up with Laura after her recent trip to the 2023 International Builders Show for her take on green living and what’s trending this year...

NCL: What inspired you and Sean to open Atelier Maison & Co?

Laura: We opened Atelier Maison & Co. because we had been designing and building homes for our clients with a focus on health, energy efficiency, and good indoor air quality, but we also wanted to think about what we were putting in these homes. Ultimately, the homeowners breathe in everything that we use, so if we choose stains, paints, and finishes that are unhealthy and the home is airtight, those toxins get trapped inside. We decided to take this a step further with furnishings because, traditionally, many furnishings are made with a lot of chemicals like flame retardants and stain retardants – even the majority of the foams are made from chemicals.

Through ID.ology, we were able to source several lines that specialized in healthy and non-toxic furnishings, but we realized that it was too good to keep to ourselves. We really wanted to get the word out there and share not only these resources but the knowledge and importance of healthy home furnishings with the public and other industry partners like builders, realtors, and designers.

NCL: What led you to pursue aging-in-place and biophilic design practices, and how do you incorporate these into your clients’ projects?

Laura: The indoor environment has an important impact on people’s overall health and wellness, which is often overlooked in designing and building homes. With aging-in-place, we want our clients to be able to live as comfortably in their homes for as long as possible. We focus on ensuring that hallways and doorways are wide enough, installing zero-threshold showers, lever handles on doors, and easy-to-open drawers in the kitchen and cabinetry, just to name a few. These touches not only make things easier to live with in general but especially as folks age; it’s easier for them to live in their homes without having to renovate or relocate to a more accessible place.

In terms of biophilic design, studies have shown that a connection with nature, whether it’s physical or visual, is proven to improve people’s health and wellness – it can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and tension, to name a few. Many health benefits can come from having a connection to nature. When we design and build, we aim for the home to have a lot of glass to allow for natural light and the ability to connect with nature from the inside. Where possible, we love adding a full wall of sliding glass doors to allow the outside to come in and vice versa. We incorporate a lot of stone, wood, and other natural materials in addition to natural, softer textures. These design practices can be done in any style of home, so they can be adapted to the preferences and needs of our clients.

NCL:  When you have a new client come to you who doesn’t necessarily know their design aesthetic, what is the process of discovery in helping them develop those preferences?

Laura: With our clients, we always do what we call a design discovery. During this time, we have conversations about what they may or may not like regarding design and style. We will go through colors, textures, and patterns and show them images of rooms, spaces, and design styles to get a good grasp of what they are looking to accomplish. Once we have a thorough understanding of our client’s desires, we create a Design Concept Portfolio or presentation where we compile proposed and inspired images for style, fixtures, colors, countertop materials, etc., to make sure that we are always on the same page. It’s a very collaborative process.

NCL: What are some of your favorite recent design trends?

Laura: I’ve been enjoying the Mountain Modern style, which is a fusion between rustic and contemporary. I think it will continue to be popular because it’s a good blend of natural rustic elements and products that bring about that connection to nature with an overall bright, modern/contemporary and streamlined feel to the home.

NCL: What materials do you use most often in your client’s homes?

Laura: We love to use wood in our clients’ homes; however, to keep it fresh and updated regardless of the style, we also like to include contemporary- colored plasters. We love tile and tile fireplaces, in addition to stone. For countertops, our go-to is usually quartz because it’s healthy and durable, and it’s also stain and heat-resistant while giving great imagery that looks like natural stone. We will also use marble and granite for countertops depending on how much movement our clients want.

NCL: In your opinion, what are some interior design trends to watch for in 2023?

Laura: We are seeing a lot more of a focus on home health and wellness spaces. After COVID, a lot of people are spending more time at home, and while they may be getting out and about more, there is a trend toward people really wanting to be home and enjoy what they have in their own spaces. We are seeing saunas becoming more prevalent and much more attainable for home use than they used to be. Personal meditation and yoga spaces are becoming more popular, as are home gyms. For several years there was a movement away from home gyms because many people had access to all of these other facilities that they could use, but now we are noticing more of a resurgence in people desiring these recreational spaces in their own homes. Additionally, we have seen scullery kitchens making a comeback as people want to entertain more at home, and they want their kitchens to serve as entertaining spaces rather than spaces where all the dirty work happens.

NCL: Are you seeing more of a lean towards minimalism or maximalism?

Laura: When it comes to the actual building, materials, and construction design, it leans more towards maximalism; however, when it comes to decorating, it’s the middle of the road. We don’t want it to be too sparse because it can feel cold and uninviting, but we see more accessorizing and layering with fabrics, pillows, and softer pieces.

NCL: What décor trends and focus pieces do you think will be popular this year?

Laura: We are still seeing golds and brasses, which have become popular recently. I was also just at the furniture market while in Las Vegas, and we noticed a lot more subdued rose tones, and gem tones like emerald greens and blues that are more subtle and not as sharp and bright. In terms of furniture and decor, we are seeing more fullness and curves in pieces. If it’s a piece that’s more streamlined and not curved, it usually has a textured fabric on it. Overall, there’s just a lot more softness in the pieces’ curves or textures.

NCL: We’ve seen a lot of gray tones used in homes in recent years. Are we moving away from gray? If so, what colors do you think will be trending in 2023?

Laura: Whites and grays were trending for a long time, but now we are seeing a revival of warmer, more nurturing, and rich colors like creams, taupe’s, tans, canvas colors, subdued terracotta, and browns, and I see this continuing over the next year or two years.

NCL: Wallpaper has made a recent comeback; what are your thoughts?

Laura: We love wallpaper. It allows you to add an extra layer of visual interest to a space rather than leaving the walls flat. We are even seeing it added to ceilings now, and over the past few years, ceilings have really been forgotten. Compared to what they used to be, wallpapers now are much more refined – there are so many more options when it comes to color and pattern, and many of them are much more contemporary than the traditional floral patterns that we used to see. People are more open to it because it can now be used in more modern spaces. We also see more mural wallpapers - where rather than a repeating pattern, you can have an abstract image or impressionist-style landscape incorporated into the entire wall. When done tastefully, it can be very intriguing.

NCL: You recently visited the 2023 International Builders Show in Las Vegas. Were there any new products or trends you saw there that you were excited about in terms of building or design?

Laura: Definitely. We saw a vendor that was doing induction cooktop burners and gas burners that are built directly into the countertop, so the countertop essentially becomes your stovetop. It’s very seamless and makes for a clean surface. We saw some interesting wall panels with different appeals to them – like a stone or a wood slat look – and we saw more large slab tiles that give off the appearance of quartz, marble, and porcelain. These tiles are about three feet wide by ten feet tall and can be used in showers for a more seamless and streamlined appearance. So rather than having all of the grout lines, you get that natural stone look with a cleaner finish.

While at the International Builders Show, we also got to tour the New American Home, which is a home built yearly for this show that showcases the latest in trending technologies, products, design trends, and more. One thing I noticed about the home was that many of the materials were tone- on-tone – so there was not a lot of visual busyness, which was interesting.

To learn more about ID.ology Interiors & Design and Atelier Maison & Co., or to get in contact for your next design project, you can visit their websites at and You can also visit the Atelier Maison & Co. Studio in Cashiers or Asheville to browse their incredible selection of furnishings and decor and speak with one of their professional designers/ consultants.


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