Howard Wiggins’ Interior Alchemy
Interview By Johnny Birdsong
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Howard Wiggins, of Howard Wiggins Interior Design in Nashville recently. Howard has been recognized as one of the world’s top thirty-five leading interior designers and is the author of What Were You Thinking? Recognizing Costly Mistakes That Everyone Makes. From his upbringing surrounded by artistic heritage, to his exceptional talent and unique approach to design, Howard has gained international recognition. It has been a fascinating experience to learn from him and delve into his perspectives on art and creating beautiful spaces.
Born and raised right here on Granny White Pike, Howard’s upbringing was surrounded by a rich artistic heritage. His father, Little Roy Wiggins, played the steel guitar for the legendary Eddy Arnold, who was also their neighbor. Howard shared: “We later moved into one of the first subdivisions in Brentwood, the Iroquois subdivision. I remember me and my little red wagon watching them build the interstate.”
After briefly considering a career in veterinary medicine, Howard’s passion for creativity led him to O’More College of Architecture & Design in Franklin. He fondly recalls, “I called my mom and she said they opened up a new design school in Franklin. She asked if I wanted to do that and I said yes, I’ll do that and that was my love. I went to O’More College of Architecture & Design when it first began with Ms. O’More at her house on West Main Street.”
In his twenties, Howard’s exceptional talent caught the attention of the design community, propelling him into the international spotlight. He was voted one of the world’s thirty-five leading designers and featured in Andrew Martin’s Interior Design Review Volume 3, alongside other renowned artists. Howard attributes his success to his unique approach, stating, “I got in there because I don’t do normal stuff. I’m not a follower, I’m a leader.”
We had the chance to visit Howard, at his magnificently designed home, where he discussed his thoughts on designing and gave us a tour of the house showing fascinating design, collections and stories that go with each as well as a few of his tips.
Do you have a favorite artist, and what makes you gravitate toward their pieces?
I love Bruce Matthews, and I have several of his pieces. I can recognize him even without looking at the signature. I can just walk in, and even no matter what he does, I can tell. And to me, that’s an artist. A great artist has the ability to evolve while maintaining a recognizable style. Even though their works may bear similarities over time, there are subtle changes in color palettes and techniques that showcase their growth.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you feel people make?
The biggest mistake that women make when they shop is they shop for what they’re looking for. That is not shopping, that’s a hindrance, and I tell my customers all the time: If you were going to a ball and looking for a red ball dress, you only looked at the red ball dresses because you got it in your mind. That’s what you want, but there might have been a blue one or a purple one that just knocked your socks off, but you’re not looking at it because you’re not looking for anything other than red. So be open-minded, discover things, and take your time doing it.
The other thing I don’t like is people working on a budget. A budget should be how much you have to spend at that time. Not to do everything at once because you continue doing it over the years. So, take your time and do it right so you don’t have to make mistakes or compromises.
Another thing I like to say is that people think they can’t live with nice things. The only thing that makes a house comfortable is how your sofas and chairs sit. That is comfort. So my chairs and my sofa are very, very comfortable. The rest is just eye candy. I don’t care how formal it is, as long as it helps you enjoy the space more.
What do you recommend for the Southern Gentleman to decorate their home?
Get major pieces you like, and then when you’re married, you can add other pieces to complement it. And the way I look at it, it’s the combination of masculine and feminine that look best together.
Definitely do one room at a time, and don’t buy apartment furniture. You will end up throwing it away because it’s of no real value. If furniture isn’t your priority, go for a big, nice piece of investment art that you can live with forever. Mine was a Velázquez assistant piece, and that started my art collection and I still love it to this day.
I understand you are currently doing a podcast. Tell us more:
Yes, it’s called @moviereviewsnmore with Brian Sebastian, CEO/Host/Producer/Creator. Movie Reviews & More is your one-stop media source for in-depth interviews with the stars that make them. If you want unique information about celebrities and questions outside of the usual fluff, then Movie Reviews & More captures just that. With fifteen million views and counting.