Design for all

Giving Home + Garden

September 28, 2023

10 Charlotte designers team up for Furnished, an annual design competition supporting Furnish For Good.

Families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness aren’t always able to afford basic needs to make their new homes comfortable and livable. That’s where Furnish For Good steps in. The nonprofit organization started in 2019 by Priscilla Chapman, Mary Beth Hollett and Lesley Faulkner, is rooted in the belief that the physical environment of a family’s home can greatly impact their daily life, ultimately improving housing stability. Teaming with local partner organizations, Furnish For Good provides new and gently used furniture, dishes and cookware, bathroom essentials and more, allowing their clients to choose which living room, kitchen table and chairs, or other furnishings they want for their new homes. 

In the last year, Furnish For Good served 576 people, including 248 children. Since its inception, the nonprofit has served more than 1,300 people and repurposed more than 13,000 furnishings. 

Furnished, the organization’s annual design competition, takes place Nov. 2-5. Interior designers are given two days to create a vignette; the public is invited to vote online for their favorites. Select furnishings, accessories and artwork also will be available for purchase in a silent auction. In anticipation of this year’s event, we invite you to get to know this year’s talented slate of Furnished designers. 

— Cathy Martin

Responses have been lightly edited.

DONNA WERNER, International Kitchen and Bath, Davidson

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Light-filled, airy, classic

Favorite design decade: The current decade. I think we have been embracing and mixing several decades and styles currently, and I enjoy that.

Current design obsessions: Color on cabinets, pattern in tile, natural materials.

Dream job: To design and remodel a historic Victorian or Craftsman-style home. As a kitchen and bath designer, I have worked mostly in remodeling and get such joy from seeing a transformed space. Add to that a love of architecture, and I would love to work on a historic home and honor its history while giving it new life.

My Furnished design is going to be … a little different than my usual aesthetic — think dark and moody.

ANGIE PERSSON, right, Swell Decor

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Curated, collected and cultured.

Favorite design decade: We love the ’20s for the lavish design. There is so much inspiration with bold, dramatic color palettes, unique Art Deco lighting and geometric patterns.

Current design obsessions: We are obsessed with dark, moody spaces with a touch of glam. We are leaning into the modern take on trims — the new trends are more playful and used in unexpected ways. It makes each piece feel one of a kind!

Dream job: Every designer’s dream is a project with zero boundaries or budget, and ours would be located in the mountains — more specifically with amazing views, no cell service and an abundance of plaids/furs/cowhides/antiques and antlers.

My Furnished design is going to … take you back in time to a world with festive parties and celebrating life in a beautiful space. Prepare to crave a glass of Champagne!

SACITA BRITO, Sacita Interiors

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Multicultural, minimalist, and earthy.

Favorite design decade: 2000s.

Current design obsessions: Boho, minimalism and nature.

Dream job: A beach house in Puerto Rico.

My Furnished design is going to be … minimalist, colorful and cultural.


Three words that describe your aesthetic: Personalized, liveable, joyful.

Favorite design decade: I’m torn between the late ’80s and the ’90s.

Current design obsessions: Montessori-style design, tone-on-tone color, shape and pattern play.

Dream job: A day care/preschool or transitional housing that serves families with young children needing a safe space to learn, grow, play and find their joy.

My Furnished design is going to be … a contemporary kid space with a FUNky twist!


Three words that describe your aesthetic: Thoughtful, colorful and collected.

Favorite design decade: The 1950s — I love color!

Current design obsessions: Stained wood, wallpaper and vintage lighting/furniture finds.

Dream job: I have been so fortunate to check off a few of my “Dream Project” boxes, but since starting my own firm, I have been hoping to do a project drawn by my father-in-law (Rodney Ward at Ward Design Group in Durham). Specifically, a mountain home with a view for clients with a love of art, antiques and warm textiles.

My Furnished design is going to be … an unexpected color combination, but very playful and fun!


Three words that describe your aesthetic: Personal, layered, colorful.

Favorite design decade: Really, we are inspired by every decade — CHD has a heavy dose of nostalgia in our designs. If we had to pick our favorite decade, how could it not be the ’70s? We are both circa-1967, so shelter and fashion magazines of the ’70s and our southern mothers were our first memories of what was pretty, fancy and cool.

Current design obsession: ART, ART ART — all of it.

Dream job: A Harbour Island bungalow … it’s the pink sand.

My Furnished design is going to be … for the LADIES!

TIFFANY BROWN, Brown Builders Design

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Clean, classic and contemporary.

Favorite design decade: The 1920s carried several of my favorite style houses, such as the Spanish bungalow and Tudor Revival along with the western Craftsman and bungalow. Each brings a timeless component with character, classic details and added depth with the exterior elevations.

Current design obsessions: Quiet luxury — a combination of elevated materials, intentional and impactful design elements with warmer hues. I often love to incorporate aged brass, marble or honed porcelain with warm wood tones. Biophilic design is an important aspect which feeds into a love for plants and nature.

Dream job: To travel abroad to design a boutique hotel and/or custom vacation homes. Travel keeps me young, inspired and open-minded.

My Furnished design is going to … bring in warm olive green tones, which is ideal for the design space I created to maintain focus and relieve stress. 

ASHLEY ROSS, Muse Noire Interiors

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Tactile, global, wellness.

Favorite design decade: The 1970s for the birth of contemporary design.

Current design obsessions: Landscape mural wallpaper and the return of accordion lamp shades.

Dream job: Beyond the obvious boutique hotel project, I would have to say a second home in the South of France — Monaco, to be exact.

My Furnished design is going to be … a master class in moody interiors.

ALEXIS WARREN, Alexis Warren Designs

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Collected, comfortable and colorful.

Favorite design decade: The 1960s — so full of self-expression and pattern play! While I can’t say I would bring any lava lamps into my designs, I do love incorporating lucite and acrylic accent pieces. The ’60s taught us how to break away from traditional design and make homes our own.

Current design obsession: Experimenting with color floor to ceiling — especially with rich, saturated hues that give a room a true jewel box feel.

Dream job: A traditional home in Palm Beach — think all things lattice, color and texture. Large rooms with multiple conversation areas that make you want to put on a La Vie Style House caftan and throw a big cocktail party!

My Furnished design is going to be … a game player’s jewel box.

KRISTINE FRANZ, Kristine Design

Three words that describe your aesthetic: Sophisticated, personal and timeless.

Favorite design decade: I love the decade of design we’re in right now, because we can pull the best elements of the past. I like the quirky creativity of the ’60s. I like the funky colors and textures of the ’70s. Today, we can embrace the best of the past and make a new modern statement.

Current design obsession: Saturated color — I enjoy layering a space with the same color to create texture, depth, and a juxtaposition of materials and finishes.

Dream job: Designing a tiki bar on the island of Korcula in Croatia. It’s a vacation destination on my bucket list. I could dream, soak in the sun and drink wine for inspiration.

My Furnished design is going to be … a serene and soothing space where one can relax and unwind.  SP

For the third year, SouthPark Magazine is the media sponsor for Furnished, which takes place online Nov. 2-5 at Learn more about Furnish For Good at and follow on Instagram @furnishforgoodorg.


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