Pencil and Paper Co.

We are in awe of Pencil & Paper Co.   A design team with big and effortless style.  They are colorful and happy and inspiring.  They have been an inspiration to us since we discovered their Instagram a few years ago.  We met at an event in Atlanta shortly thereafter. We've met a couple of times now and they are as kind and fun as they are stylish.  The following are images of the dynamic duo and some of their work.  We are honored to have a conversation with Gennifer and Benjamin Sohr. 

 

 Photo: Leslee Mitchell 

Photo: Leslee Mitchell 

We like to think we have a lot in common with Pencil & Paper Co.  Not only are Gen and Ben a husband and wife design team but they also have an affinity and connection to Nashville,  they met and worked together at Gap Inc. and they left a life in San Francisco for the South.  

 Photos: Leslee Mitchell 

Photos: Leslee Mitchell 

Gen and Ben are not afraid of color and pattern.  They want the spaces they create to be happy.  We have to say that our happiness level rises just looking at their work. 

 Photos: Leslee Mitchell

Photos: Leslee Mitchell

They are media darlings.  The work of Pencil and Paper Co. has been featured in countless magazines including House Beautiful, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping and Domino Magazine. 

 Photo: Lauren Bradshaw 

Photo: Lauren Bradshaw 

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 Photo: Lauren Bradshaw 

Photo: Lauren Bradshaw 

The Conversation

M+M - As a husband and wife team, are there areas of any given project of which you work separately?

P+P - When running a small business there's so much to cover. While we overlap on big picture decisions and strategy, we typically take the "divide and conquer” approach to daily work. We have identified each of our roles based on
our strengths and how they compliment one another.

Benjamin and I both lean towards the creative at heart. Fortunately, Benjamin also has a strong analytical side too. Benjamin leads new business development, our corporate client relationships, and all things operational and financial. I lead the creative team on all projects including: residential, commercial and retail design, brand collaborations, product development, and marketing/social media.

M+M - We’ve heard you speak of your use of color and pattern as bringing “happiness” to a project. Have you always been about color? Or has your use of color evolved?

P+P - I think as creatives we are always evolving – always being influenced by new experiences. We certainly still love color and pattern and that will always be at the core of our brand DNA. Yet, I think "our style" is, of course, ever moving forward and growing. That’s what is most exciting to us!

M+M How did the two of you meet?

P+P - We met in 1995, at the start of our careers while working to help launch Old Navy brands in San Francisco.

M+M - What brought you to Nashville?

P+P - Benjamin was born and raised in Nashville. He is the youngest of 4 boys with a very large extended family that all live here. After working in corporate America and living in San Francisco for 10 years, we were ready to get back to family and start our own business. Nashville felt like the perfect move.

M+M - What are your top 5 favorite things about Nashville?

P+P - Southern Hospitality

          Knowing that you will never leave the house without running into a friend

          Wonderful and inclusive creative community

          Easy access to travel

          An abundance of old school “Meat + 3’s”

M+M - Is Nashville your forever home?

P+P  -  I think we will always have a home base here in Nashville. But, we secretly love the idea of living abroad at some point or having a little Harbor Island escape (goals!).

M+M - Every photo we see of your family is always so stylish.  It’s inspiring.  We think folks would like to know – is there ever a moment where things don’t seem so stylish?  Could you give an example?

P+P -  If only you could see my office desk right now – hello, DISASTER!  The creative process is a messy one.  Nothing is perfect all of the time. We are parents and business owners, so nearly every second of the day is filled, but, glad that’s the impression!

M+M - We’ve heard you speak of taking the leap from corporate employee to business owner – approximately how long after you started your business did you leave the corporate world?

P+P - We left corporate America in 2003 to make the move to Nashville. Initially we continued to travel and consult with big box retailers on Brand Development and Customer Experience. But, after completing several personal home renovations that we were lucky to have featured in Domino, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Garden we made the leap into a full-time design business. Pencil & Paper Co. was officially born in 2013.

M+M - It seems that your creative development company, has many creative outlets: Interior design, architecture, fashion, entertaining, lifestyle etc. What is the most inspiring to you currently?

P+P - I think we have trouble narrowing down what we love most. That’s probably why we touch so many different creative areas! I think interiors, fashion, travel, entertaining – a love of beautiful things, all go hand in hand.

M+M - You’ve had so many exciting projects and accomplishments! What’s next for you?

P+P - Ah, thank you! It's been a whirl wind couple of years. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that our team has grown to 10 full time employees in such a short amount of time. In addition to a packed schedule of design projects from Kentucky to NYC, we're particularly focused on getting out there to meet people face to face! We have a crazy travel schedule this year, filled with some really fun design events and speaking engagements!

M+M - What are your goals for the company?

P+P - So many (mostly top secret)! At the top of our list this year? Delving into into Pencil & Paper Co. product! Be on the look out later this year!

 Photo: Tec Petaja 

Photo: Tec Petaja 

Behind the Scenes: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Show House

We were thrilled to be a part of the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Designer Showhouse, right here in our own neighborhood of Serenbe.

 A fabric tape balanced this bold wallpaper to a comfortable, preppy glamour.  Custom abaca rug by Mary McDonald from Patterson Flynn Martin.  All Photos by J Ashley Photography.

A fabric tape balanced this bold wallpaper to a comfortable, preppy glamour.  Custom abaca rug by Mary McDonald from Patterson Flynn Martin.  All Photos by J Ashley Photography.

Set on a European-inspired square in Serenbe’s newest neighborhood, the showhouse featured the amazing work of 12 Atlanta designers. Each individual space had its own designer. We had the privilege of styling the downstairs hall and powder room – areas of the home that are often forgotten or under-designed. Not this time.

 The wallpaper is Schumacher Iconic Leopard and the art is by San Francisco artist Chloe Meyer. 

The wallpaper is Schumacher Iconic Leopard and the art is by San Francisco artist Chloe Meyer. 

For us, it was all about making a big impact in a small space. We used bold pattern, texture and accessories to make a statement from the front door. 

 We added an antique knife holder from William Word Antiques atop a simple white pedestal as the centerpiece of the space.

We added an antique knife holder from William Word Antiques atop a simple white pedestal as the centerpiece of the space.

 Open shelving was used as a beverage station.  We decked it out with home accessories from Bungalow Classic and barware from Dixon Rye.

Open shelving was used as a beverage station.  We decked it out with home accessories from Bungalow Classic and barware from Dixon Rye.

 In the powder we added a Miles Redd for Ballard Designs mirror and an Eames walnut stool.

In the powder we added a Miles Redd for Ballard Designs mirror and an Eames walnut stool.

 This handsome fellow made a big impact and reflected the nature just steps away. 

This handsome fellow made a big impact and reflected the nature just steps away. 

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Check out this video to see the before-and-after details.

Set The Holiday Table

The holidays are a time we gather around the table with friends and family.  Make it special.  Here is some inspiration. 

 Gwyneth Paltrow - Elina P for Fashiongoesrock.blogspot.com

Gwyneth Paltrow - Elina P for Fashiongoesrock.blogspot.com

Gwyneth goes natural with pinecones. Silver trimmed dishes keep it festive. 

  Mark D Sikes - Photo:  Joe Schmelzer for OneKingsLane.com

Mark D Sikes - Photo: Joe Schmelzer for OneKingsLane.com

The king of blue and white keeps true to form for the holidays.  Add some red flowers and viola. 

 Danielle D Rollins - Photo by Sara Hanna for danielledrollins.com

Danielle D Rollins - Photo by Sara Hanna for danielledrollins.com

For Thanksgiving we love this plaid table cloth chosen by local tastemaker and one of Southern Livings Most Stylish 50 People, Danielle D Rollins.

 Nina Holst for Stylizmo

Nina Holst for Stylizmo

White works for every season.  Nina Holst shows us how to keep it simple with a single wreath at every setting. 

 Mister + Mrs Sharp - Photo by Patrick William Sharp for misterandmrssharp.com

Mister + Mrs Sharp - Photo by Patrick William Sharp for misterandmrssharp.com

Martha Stuart says, "Nothing is difficult if you have the proper tools."  The same could be said about setting a proper table.  Our friends at Hudson Grace have made it easy.  They have beautiful things.  All the tableware pictured above and in the video below came from their beautiful new store in the Westside Provisions District of Atlanta.   We've been shopping with them since our time in San Francisco and are thrilled they are down south.  

Black and White Forever

If you follow our Instagram, you know that we are fans of working with neutrals.  Today, we celebrate our favorites:  Black and white.  It always works and it will never go out of style.  Exterior or Interior. The combination is both easy and dramatic.  Formal, yet comfortable. 

 

 Photo: Paul Burk

Photo: Paul Burk

A big white house has become a full tilt fascination (Thanks, Mark D Sikes).  Add black windows and all of the sudden,  it's very now.  The black iron window trend continues and some folks aren't insisting on the iron.  Black painted wood framed windows get the look for far less cost than Iron.  Above is one of our favorite exteriors in Georgetown.

 Design: Mister + Mrs Sharp    Photo:  Anthony Masterson as featured in Atlanta Magazine's Home Fall 2017

Design: Mister + Mrs Sharp    Photo:  Anthony Masterson as featured in Atlanta Magazine's Home Fall 2017

On the inside, B&W works best when paired with warm natural elements like raw wood floors or thick abaca rugs.   In our own living room there's plenty of white and natural.  We've added black and white art pieces to get our B&W fix.   Photography from Rob Brinson, a painting from Kayce Hughes and other B&W photos and paintings give the entire living space a hip, lofty feeling. 

 Design: Pencil and Paper Co.  Photo: PencilandPaper.com

Design: Pencil and Paper Co.  Photo: PencilandPaper.com

Pencil & Paper Co. are famous for their colorful, happy spaces but even they fall for black and white on occasion.  The twin bed situation above takes advantage of the black, white and neutral idea with plenty of pattern and texture to spare.   Black and white and happy

 Design: Dan Mazzarini  Photo: BHDMDesign.com

Design: Dan Mazzarini  Photo: BHDMDesign.com

We've recently discovered the work of Dan Mazzarini in New York.  He is not a stranger to black and White.  If you find you need more white ... just paint the floor!  We adore this space.

 Painting: Kayce Hughes  Photo:  KayceHughes.com

Painting: Kayce Hughes  Photo:  KayceHughes.com

Perhaps the quickest and most effective way to participate in black and white is to invest in a B&W art piece.  We are crushing on the above painting from Kayce Hughes.  It's available now at KayceHughes.com

Modern in Midtown

Several of our Serenbe neighbors also have homes in Atlanta (ITP).  Meet the Olsens, a busy family of four.  Jeff (Dad) has a creative gig in Atlanta and Monica (Mom) runs marketing for Serenbe.  So if anybody needs to be in both places, it's the Olsens.

For their Atlanta home, they chose a modern townhouse in Midtown.  They needed something easy, comfortable and family friendly without sacrificing style.  We worked with them to furnish the space with modern ease. 

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A modern, minimalist vibe needs quality furnishings to work.  For the living room, two large grey flannel sofas anchor the space and a traditional rug from Moattar gives the house a sense of gravitas and history.  The oversized Random Light pendant by Bertjan Pot for Moooi is both subtle and impactful. 

 The coffee table centered between the sofas is an elegant and easy piece from Bungalow Classic. 

The coffee table centered between the sofas is an elegant and easy piece from Bungalow Classic. 

 All of the floors and wood details were finished to a matte blonde to create a fresh and bright feeling throughout.   The light wood plays nicely off the marble waterfall island.   Counter stools are Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller. 

All of the floors and wood details were finished to a matte blonde to create a fresh and bright feeling throughout.   The light wood plays nicely off the marble waterfall island.   Counter stools are Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller. 

 The dining room boasts a Moooi Heracleum Endless pendant and teak chairs by Kai Kristiansen for K.S.  Mobler of Denmark.  The Olsens found the chairs antiquing when they lived in San Francisco.

The dining room boasts a Moooi Heracleum Endless pendant and teak chairs by Kai Kristiansen for K.S.  Mobler of Denmark.  The Olsens found the chairs antiquing when they lived in San Francisco.

 The kids' rooms are playful and stylish.   One of the rooms has Miles Redd for Schumacher wallpaper on the ceiling paired with a George Nelson Crisscross Saucer pendant.

The kids' rooms are playful and stylish.   One of the rooms has Miles Redd for Schumacher wallpaper on the ceiling paired with a George Nelson Crisscross Saucer pendant.

 ... and if that's not fun enough, we hung a swinging chair by Serena and Lily from the ceiling :)

... and if that's not fun enough, we hung a swinging chair by Serena and Lily from the ceiling :)

 The other kids room has tall ceilings from which we hung a Serena & Lily wicker pendant. 

The other kids room has tall ceilings from which we hung a Serena & Lily wicker pendant. 

 The master enjoys a Schumacher natural grass cloth wallpaper as the backdrop for many modern furnishings including a Moller Model 63A Bench and a Tom Dixon Beat Pendant. 

The master enjoys a Schumacher natural grass cloth wallpaper as the backdrop for many modern furnishings including a Moller Model 63A Bench and a Tom Dixon Beat Pendant. 

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 May the Olsens nest and flourish.   

May the Olsens nest and flourish.