1) What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm not sure if our family has had a "typical" day yet! Between my business, the farm, four teenagers (and all of their games, practices, and music lessons), and my husband's full-time job, each day brings on a whole new adventure. My husband and I make a great team, so we try to switch off which mornings we do the "chores" at home - feeding the animals (some are more picky than others - like those teenagers - and getting those teens on their bus. On the mornings that I don't do the routine at home, I usually try to hit the gym bright and early before work.
As far as the design business goes, every day really does look different. My studio is located in an adorable downtown area near my house, so I will often go there to work on bids and designs and I also meet with a lot of clients! The traffic in Atlanta is absolutely crazy, so I try to work in the office for the first part of the morning - starting the day organized and grounded helps so much!
After the traffic slows down, I'll head out for appointments with contractors and clients, shopping for materials, and inspecting projects. During this time, my husband is at work and the kids are at school. We all try to meet up back at home around 4:30 p.m.
Once the work day is over, I really try to embrace my role as a mom and wife. We do supper together and spend time as a family (even if it's just doing music practices and homework). Supper is very important to us - we put our phones away so we can connect, hear about each others’ days, and swap funny stories! Between the six of us, there is never a dull moment!
2) Which of your personality traits is most helpful for your work as an interior designer?
It's always awkward to talk about yourself, so I asked one of my friends what she thought. She said, "Without a doubt, the personality trait that has made Tori excel is her design work is her adventurous spirit. Just a few years ago, this was a part-time hobby - where many people are when they start a business. But because she was not afraid to put herself out there, to learn the tricks of the trade, and to take risks, she's taken her business from flipping old pieces of furniture to flipping multiple houses! I think her confidence attracts those who want to invest their money, and need someone who's sure they can make their vision happen - and that's Tori!"
3) Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Without a doubt, a night owl! I get so much done after everyone is tucked into bed - the house is quiet and I can curl up on the couch with my laptop. No one is usually calling or texting to interrupt my time. I'm definitely not a morning person - my family is very familiar with my morning "wave" which they know means "good morning...I love you...but don't talk to me!"
4) What is your favorite Atlanta-area restaurant and why?
This is a hard question because I love eating out and trying different foods! Atlanta has so many things to offer! Probably my most frequented restaurant would be one in the Avalon, a fun outdoor shopping center not to far from us. It's got stores, great restaurants, and a movie theater. El Felix is my favorite - great steak tacos, homemade tortillas (!!), and chunky guacamole. Right across the street is Cafe Intermezzo, a beautiful little European cafe with decadent desserts and great espresso. The combination makes a great girls’ night or date night with my husband!
5) Have you always wanted to be in the interior design business or is this a career path that has caught you by surprise?
Yes and no. I grew up as the daughter of a contractor so I was constantly around the building or rebuilding of homes, making them beautiful and functional. Around college, I decided I didn't want to be a part of that industry. I guess when it came time to "grow up,” I wanted to try something totally different than I was used to at home.
After going to college, getting married, and starting a family, I just started being pulled back to design. Like my friend mentioned, I started buying furniture pieces from local yard sales, refinishing them, marketing them online, and selling them. Then, I started consulting for my friends who wanted to redesign their homes, refinishing kitchens. The next thing I knew, I was designing spaces, then whole houses! While I love interior design, I also love the architectural design side of things. It's fun to remodel or build onto a home to make it the perfect space for its family, and I feel like this expertise helps me when working with contractors and builders.
6) What is your favorite room in a house to design?
Whichever one I'm currently doing! I love all the rooms and the unique challenges they offer. But, if I had to choose, it's probably a tie between kitchens and a master suite.
For me, the kitchen is the heartbeat of my home. It's the place I gather most often with family and friends. So when I design that space, I want it to be the most functional room in the house, but also create an atmosphere that everyone wants to be in.
I'm a huge romantic, so of course the master suite appeals to me also. I think every couple needs an oasis, where they can go to relax and rejuvenate together. Those moments are helped by simple luxuries, good design, and organization - and of course I always want to throw in some great spa-like features in the bathroom for those busy moms!
7) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
Definitely Europe - I love the culture and the centuries-old beauty in the simplest of places. I have a painting in my living room that reminds me of a cottage in the French countryside! That's my happy place!
8) What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Each year, our kids get a special ornament that kind of encapsulates their year or achievements. My mom did that for us, and it's so fun to have a tree full of memories. I also host a Christmas tea each year for the wives of the other pastors that my husband works with. We often don't get a lot of time to spend together because of all our busy schedules, so it's always fun to set a beautiful table, gather all the teapots, and enjoy food like scones and clotted cream together.
9) What's your favorite recipe to cook for your family?
We are big fans of Mexican food! I grew up in Texas, so of course my entire family has been taught to love Tex-Mex. I like that it's quick and easy to prepare, and everyone can customize it to their liking!
10) What is the most rewarding part of your work as owner of Farm Chic Design?
When we've taken a project from start to finish, and I get to see the client's face when they see the finished project! I put all my effort into each one of my projects, so there's a lot of joy in giving that finished project back to the clients I've grown to love!