The Style Files: Anne Wagoner

I first came across Anne Wagoner, a talented interior designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina on Instagram about a year ago. I instantly identified with her refined, traditional, and pretty aesthetic. Anne believes in feminine details, the power of a beautiful chandelier, a perfectly executed drape, and a stunning wallpaper. This Fall, Anne and I became fast friends on an antiques shopping trip to Paris with Huff Harrington. We bonded over our love of classic, timeless details and quickly learned what each of us gravitated to as we shopped our way across Paris’s flea markets. Anne finds small, old paintings in gilt frames impossible to resist, in case you were wondering!

Anne’s love of antiques spans her entire life as she grew up admiring her grandmother, who owned a very well known antiques shop in Raleigh, North Carolina and would take Anne along with her on shopping trips to England when Anne was a teenager. Prior to opening her eponymous design firm in 2010, Anne worked for Ainsworth-Noah in Atlanta and for two interior designers in the Southeast. In the time since, Anne’s work has been featured by Architectural Digest and Traditional Home. Anne is kind and thoughtful, but she is also driven and incredibly passionate about her work. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Anne Wagoner: Classic, timeless, refined, inviting, curated. And most important of all, thought-provoking.

PC: How has living in Raleigh influenced your style?

AW: Living in the South has influenced me tremendously. I was exposed to Otto Zenke’s work at an early age and learned that antiques and architectural details add soul to any space. In the South, hospitality is paramount, so a well-appointed home means open doors for family and friends.

PC: What does your home say about you?

AW: Currently, it says we’re on the heels of a major, year-long renovation. It also says we value entertaining and spending time together as a family. We completely redesigned the kitchen with that in mind, transforming it from a dark galley to an open, European-inspired gathering space. Other upgrades include painted floors, bronze windows and two bluestone porches with Chippendale fretwork. I’m looking forward to furnishing the new spaces, but somehow my house always ends up last on the priority list. I pour my heart and soul into my clients’ homes, and when I return home, I pour my heart and soul into my family. Stay tuned for the install, which will finally happen in the new year.

{A Shot of the Pretty Exterior of Anne’s House via her Instagram @annewagonerinteriors}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AW: I transport myself into the past through design and architecture books. I search for unique elements that stand the test of time. I also look for opportunities to reinvent a historic element through modern interpretation.

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AW: My grandmother. She’s a true Southern spitfire, but she also epitomizes class and elegance. This question sparked my curiosity about her personal style icons, so I called her and guessed Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly and Scarlett O’Hara. “No! Absolutely not!” she said, horrified. “My mother always had good taste. She had a great eye for proportion and scale and she always knew the right thing to do. But when it came to style, I just stepped right out and took over.” All along, I assumed she had been influenced by famous tastemakers. As it turns out, confidence and a strong sense of self was her recipe for style.

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

AW: A sense of humor

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

AW: My work.

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

AW: My grandmother. She started and ran a successful antique business during a time when women’s roles were clearly defined within the home. She broke that boundary in pursuit of her passion.

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

AW: My husband often reminds me how lucky I am that my profession and my passion are one and the same. I suppose that’s my idea of “la dolce vita”.

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

AW: We have several exciting full-house projects starting in the new year, including a historic renovation in Chapel Hill, a new construction in Raleigh, a makeover on the North Carolina coast and — when I find the time — my own house! I’m looking forward to making it all happen in 2018.

Go-To Outfit: Black pants and top, a camel wrap, gold jewelry

Style Mantra: “In a world full of trends, I want to remain a classic.”

Scent: Alaïa or Chanel Sensuelle

Piece of Jewelry: Sheila Fajl hoops

Color I Never Tire Of: Black and ivory

Flower: Ranunculus

Indispensable Design Element: Thoughtful architecture

Era for Design: 1920’s

Dream Project: Clients who trust me and a space that challenges me

Fabric/Textile: Wool sateen

Hostess Gift: Wine

Meal: Traditional caviar service followed by Dover sole

Drink: Chardonnay

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Sitting by the fire with a glass of wine, laughing with my husband

3 Things I Love About My City: Proximity to the beach, amazing people, direct flight to Paris

Weekend Destination: Charleston

Hotel: Zero George

City: Chicago

Museum: The Met

Artist: John Singer Sargent

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: RENT “Seasons of Love”

Actor/Actress: Bradley Cooper & Catherine O’Hara

Prized Possession: My daughters’ portraits by California-based artist Jennifer Welty

Risk Worth Taking: A new interpretation of the past

Greatest Extravagance: Hotels

Go-To Color Palette: Layers of neutrals with a pop of color and an accent of black

Rule to Break: Mixing new and old

Movie Set Design: It’s Complicated

I can never have too many…pieces of art


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  1. Being a native North Carolinian, I found your interview with Anne very interesting. I am not at all surprised she was most influenced by her mother and grandmother! She doesn’t look old enough to have known Otto Zenke from Greensboro but perhaps her motherusedhim? Loved what I saw from your blog of Anne’s taste.

    Thank you for introducing us to Anne Wagoner.