The Style Files: Bill Ingram

Bill Ingram Portrait 2Since founding his eponymous architecture firm in 1995, Bill Ingram has created countless timeless homes and has had his work featured in top publications including Veranda, House Beautiful, Southern Accents, and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Over the last twenty years, Bill’s work has come to exemplify modern Southern style and he has cemented his role as one of the most important architects working in the South today. Bill’s design philosophy is rooted in beautiful simplicity and executed with an approach that brings together the organic with the elegant, pairing traditional and modern; and opulence with simplicity to achieve harmony and balance in every aspect.

I have enjoyed Bill’s work for several years now– I truly believe that he is designing some of the most significant architecture in the South during our time. We were introduced by our mutual friend, Mark D. Sikes in High Point last fall and I have since enjoyed following Bill on social media which is how I learned that he just received the Philip Trammell Shutze Award from The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art– congratulations, Bill! I recently had a conversation with Bill about his approach to architecture and design; the things that most inspire him; and some of his favorite things and places. Enjoy!


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Bill Ingram: I think I’m all American in spirit with traditional roots with an eye toward simplicity & longevity.

Bill Ingram Entry

PC: What does your home say about you?

BI: Right now it says that I’m not there much! But when I am it says that I like order, light & comfort. I like for people to be at ease and they can see immediately that I have old and new things and I’m not afraid to use them. It’s not a museum.

Bill Ingram ATL Condo

PC: How is design different in the South than in other parts of the country?

BI: I think people here do like to entertain at home and the best houses here are personal reflections of their southern owners. I recently owned an old house in Atlanta that only had two bedrooms, yet it had immense formal entertaining rooms. My kind of house for gracious living!

Bill Ingram Lake House
PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

BI:  Honestly, other than the vibe I pick up and bring back with me from going to other places, I am a slave to my many architecture and design books in which I can be immersed without leaving my chair.

Bill Ingram Exterior

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

BI: Old characters from the past like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Elsie de Wolfe certainly had it going on, but I don’t discount someone like Craig Ellwood in LA. His purity of design in architecture really holds an appeal to me, but I could sure fuss it up a just little with some stylish antiques.

duke duchess windsor

{The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at their Country Home near Paris | Image via Vogue}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

BI: Hiding out somewhere without anyone knowing where I am.

Bill Ingram Bedroom
PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

BI: A client once told me “no one likes surprises”. It resonated with me as he was generally right.

Bill Ingram Pool
PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

BI: An “Old Birmingham” architect, Mr. Fred Renneker, with whom I worked during college summers. He was unapologetically strict with us all, but always a true southern gentleman as well as witty and humorous.

bill ingram door
PC: What is your idea of “living la dolce vita”?

BI: Being in the sun on an island with just a few close friends basically acting much younger than our age.

Bill Ingram Harbour Island

{Paradise in Harbour Island via Bill’s Instagram}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

BI: Aside from my architectural practice in Birmingham where we provide the best in combining residential architecture, interiors and gardens, I am opening a second office in Atlanta where I already spend most of my time. I’ll continue that same work there as well as sharing heads with my close friend Danielle Rollins, the south’s foremost hostess and style maven, where we will team up on given projects to offer the full spectrum of living through gracious and chic design.

Bill Ingram Studio



Go-to Outfit: anything sock-less with blue gingham & a navy blazer.

Style Mantra: Just do a good job of being you.

Scent: salt air

Piece of Jewelry: Does my classic Cartier tank watch count?

Current Obsession: Amassing an embarrassing number of Belgian loafers.

Color I Never Tire of: Blue

Flower: Hydrangea of any color

Indispensable Design Element: painted floors

Era for Design: either the 1760’s or the 1960’s

Dream Project: one with a super chic client who cares more about getting it right than what it costs and is willing to turn over complete trust in me to do it. Those are the ones you work hardest for and that have the happiest outcome.

Fabric/Textile: Any scale of gingham or stripe. Cotton, linen or silk will do.

Hostess Gift: bourbon

Meal: comfort food

Drink: bourbon, see hostess gift.

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: in my bed

3 things I love about my City: Old school 1920’s setting, good food, the airport


Weekend Destination: Palm Springs

Hotel: The staff at Rock House Harbour Island, Bahamas

City: Charleston

Museum: All of Colonial Williamsburg

Artist: Mark Rothko

Song that Always Puts Me in a Good Mood: “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals

Actor: Cary Grant

Prized Possession: My rickety silver bouillotte lamp from the Duke & Duchess of Windsor. I’m sure it was knocked off a table a few times, but it is beautiful and still has the original light bulb & braided silk cord. It could probably tell some stories if it could talk.

Risk Worth Taking: Not asking the price for something you really want.

Greatest Extravagance: My signature black Bentley

Go-To Color Palette: A mixture of clashing greens with a good measure of white and some pop of color like blue, orange or coral along with natural cane, wicker, rattan, rope

Rule to Break: All of them if you do it with complete confidence & panache.

Movie Set Design: North by Northwest & Reversal of Fortune

3 Dream Dinner Party Guests: How about the combination of Alfred Hitchcock, Grace Kelly & Dame Edna? Would be wicked fun, elegant, and outrageous.

Paloma Signature


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