How Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters formed an unlikely— and winning—partnership
Interior designers Monet Masters’ and Tavia Forbes’ relationship didn’t have the most auspicious beginning. “[In 2013] I had my first large commercial project, and it wasn’t going well,” Masters recalls. “The client was frustrated, and so was I. They brought Tavia in to mediate the situation.” The salon owner ended up hiring Forbes to complete the project, a twist that initiated “a sigh of relief” for Masters.
Against all odds, the two saw and appreciated each other’s strengths, forging a friendship and, eventually, a partnership that became official with the launch of Forbes+Masters in 2017. The pair are regular contributors to events and industry panels at Buckhead’s Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC)—so often that they joke they “should just have an office there.”
From the projects showcased on your site, everything seems to flow.
How would you describe your design style?
MM: [It has] complementing and consistent elements that represent where we are, which is going to be very bold. There’s always going to be a ‘wow’ moment in the design.
Why does the partnership continue to work and to be such a good thing for both of you, creatively and professionally?
TF: I think what’s wonderful about our partnership is that we’re so different. We have a similar design style, but we’re very different in our strengths. We always say that we’re yin and yang, and we’re able to balance each other out. It took us a while to get to the point where we honored each other’s strengths. In a partnership, you’re not looking for another you; that’s not productive.
Do you have any favorite ADAC showrooms you tap for cool pieces?
TF: We love Showroom 58. We spend a lot of time in the fabric showrooms like Jim Thompson. Habachy Design + Atelier is always very inspiring.
Describe your ideal client. What do you look for in that relationship?
MM: [We like working with clients] who are able to communicate their style and what they like. Even being able to communicate what they don’t like can be just as helpful. [We love] clients who understand the design process and art. When you bring art into interior design, it raises the caliber. Those are some of the things that indicate the perfect client.
How do you approach new clients, and where do you find inspiration?
MM: Once we get to know our clients, we know what era, what portion of art history, what design style, what colors scheme or what country we’re looking to for inspiration. Aside from the formality of finding inspiration, just the other night I was watching an adult cartoon with my boyfriend, and I zoned in on the application and mixture of colors. That was so inspiring to me. Whenever our minds turn on to design, it doesn’t matter what we’re looking at. That’s why we’re designers.
What’s next for you and your company?
TF: We’re happy to work on new construction homes, dealing with the architectural elements and working with the architect on the layout, and even some exterior elements in the home. We have three of those projects going right now. We are also working on a wallpaper line with Mitchell Black.
Senior Contributing Editor and Beauty Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Travel, Food and Design Writer and Author.