Interior designer Whitney Ray brings her signature style to home projects.
Atlanta native Whitney Ray’s childhood foreshadowed her interior design career. “Some of my most vivid memories are of lying on the floor of my grandmother’s house and reading her shelter magazines,” she recalls. “I was amazed that people created beautiful homes for a living.” As a partner at Buckhead-based Wyeth Ray Interiors, she’s carved out a business designing stylish, bold and livable spaces. Here, she shares her inspiration, local spots to source key decor pieces and more.
How has working for noteworthy firms such as Beth Webb Interiors and Wolf Design Group shaped you?
I learned to respect the process and the importance of connections, and to have confidence in myself. I’m thankful I was in environments where a woman’s strength was valued.
What’s your signature style?
I tend to favor neutral spaces with minimal, intentional color. I prefer to use texture and organic finishes over a lot of patterns. Whether a client’s taste is traditional or modern, I place balance and scale as the most important priorities. Nothing excites me more than contrast, not just in color but in the furniture itself. We recently finished a modern high-rise condo and incorporated the client’s incredible antique Biedermeier [furniture] collection. The juxtaposition is beautiful. I want my designs to have a feeling of comfort that is both personal and modern.
How did you come to launch Wyeth Ray in 2017?
I wanted to go out on my own but was nervous to take the leap. My business partner, Joel Kelly, was looking to expand his business but to personally focus on architectural design. He asked me to partner with him on a new interior design business, and Wyeth Ray Interiors was formed. Joel has 20 years of industry experience as well as business experience. Partnering with someone as knowledgeable as Joel, who is willing to both guide and share, is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Who are your role models and why?
First and foremost, my mother. While we joke that she doesn’t have a creative bone in her body, she is where I learned my drive and determination. Charles Ford, my favorite professor in college [at Samford University], was a stickler but taught me to take my time and get it right.
What inspires you?
Before last year, I would have said travel. Experiencing a different culture and exploring somewhere new are the ultimate luxuries and have always been where I pull inspiration. I also treasure my design books and magazines. Sundays at my house are spent poring over the latest pages with a cup of coffee. Lastly, I have to say Instagram. I have found an entire new world of inspiration in the last year by going down the rabbit hole.
What are your go-to shopping spots?
For one-of-a-kind pieces, Foxglove Antiques and A. Tyner Antiques. Every time I visit, I find something unique. Bungalow Classic is classic for a reason; they never disappoint with their furniture selection. I purchase almost all of my bedding from Gramercy. For accessories, I always find what I need at Huff Harrington Home. B.D. Jeffries is another one of my favorite places because I always walk away with something I didn’t know I needed.
What is your home like?
My home is a reflection of the things my husband and I love. It’s a mix of comfortable upholstery, black and white modern art and antique finds. It’s edited and polished but very casual. Typically, we have a revolving door of friends and family coming through; our home is the hub that everyone congregates in, and I love that. I have a book obsession that spills into every room of the house.
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Wyeth Ray is working on a modern, new construction project designed by architect Scott West, as well as another modern home designed by Plexus R+D. Both should finish in the spring, and I can’t wait to see them completed. One of the most important lessons I learned from Beth Webb is collaboration is key in this industry. There are some incredible architects and builders in this city, and I look forward to more collaborations in the future.
Senior Contributing Editor and Beauty Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Travel, Food and Design Writer and Author.