Sharon Allard and Talli Roberts form an undeniably charismatic design and project-management team, whether creating interior spaces for a newly constructed house or tackling a remodel. It works best, they’ve found, to be involved from concept to completion as they approach client projects.
Roberts is especially skilled at making architectural selections and choosing finishes that unify the indoor with the outdoor, as well as uniting interior spaces, while Allard works a lot with color, furniture, and other décor choices. Their team approach enriches their projects’ end results considerably, hastens project progress, and injects an intangible but vital component into diverse client relationships — a spirit of fun.
Roberts’ career started in Florida, after she graduated from Sarasota’s Ringling College of Art and Design, while Allard’s done everything from a stint as a hotel executive for Ritz-Carlton to being a buyer for a local high-end furniture showroom.
Here, they share some of their killer design chops (with a slew of awards to show for it).
Carolina Home + Garden: Do either of you have early life experiences that contributed to your choice of design as a career?
Talli Roberts: I was actually treated for cancer as a child, and because I grew up living on 100 acres, it was hard to be confined indoors, in often sterile hospital environments. I remember seeing cartoon characters on the wall as I awoke from a procedure, and that intentional design element gave me comfort and improved my experience.
Sharon Allard: I developed a love of photography very early on; I much preferred being behind the lens as opposed to in front of it, so I began to experience the world from a visual perspective. I especially love black-and-white photography, because it allows us to see nuances and create a story, unlike when color is involved.
How do these experiences inform your current work?
TR: Sharon and I really connect over the concept of how things feel in a space, and how much that feeling can impact one’s overall sense of wellbeing; how clients interact in a space — whether entertaining, being with family, or working.
SA: I love to capture feelings in images and through visual means, so our work is a natural extension of that.
Your team approach sounds unique. What’s great about it for you, and for your clients?
TR: Sharon and I work as a team, but the larger team is us, the architect, the builder, and of course the client. We truly complement each other by filling in the blanks, so to speak, of the process. For example, on a recent project, we needed to learn some details the architect had not yet provided, which included trim finishes and interior door profiles. I learned these specifications, which allowed me to make other important choices on lighting fixtures and cabinetry hardware.
SA: The fun factor is also important in the creative process, in developing ideas, and in the dynamic we create with our clients.
How do you incorporate Western North Carolina’s stunning natural surroundings into your projects?
SA: We always try to bring nature into our spaces; we design around the outdoors, if you will. Our goal is to make the indoor and outdoor spaces almost seem as one, to create equilibrium, and do that through the use of color, sustainable materials, and other means.
We’re committed to locally sourcing as much as possible, which is also more sustainable — there’s a story behind each handmade piece. Salvaged wood is often used for flooring or for fashioning rustic outdoor furniture, and I’m thinking of one client in particular who we worked with to reuse trees that had fallen on her property.
Do you have a favorite recent project?
SA: We recently completed a huge remodel in North Asheville. The home has beautiful long-range views, starting from the golf course to downtown Asheville and beyond. This home was a study in neutrals and textures. The interior was intentionally designed not to detract from the spectacular views.
TR: We had to marry this traditional home to a modern aesthetic, and we had some tricks up our sleeves to get there without gutting it — like using modern, flat cabinets and painting the molding and walls the same color, in order to make the moldings recede visually.
Name your favorite guilty-pleasure “shelter” magazine.
SA: Locally, of course, Carolina Home + Garden is a wonderful resource for what’s happening in Western North Carolina. Nationally, Architectural Digest, because it shows more modern interiors, which I love, and it has a global perspective.
TR: Even though it’s a website, I am a major houzz.com fan — it’s the best one-stop site. And my guiltiest pleasure is HGTV’s House Hunters International.
Visit allardandroberts.com or call 828-271-4350 to learn more about Allard & Roberts Interior Design.