Favorite Things

Playing Favorites

Asheboro designers Lindsey Cooper and Amy Barney dish on
some of their preferred likes, trends and inspirations

By Tracy Bulla    Photograph by Amy Freeman

Asheboro, N.C.–based Collective Interiors aims to inspire its clients to embrace their creativity by painting, making and decorating together. Co-owners Lindsey Cooper and Amy Barney (both busy moms of three) met at their children’s school and bonded over a shared love of design as well as a self-proclaimed furniture “hoarding” habit. Initially conceived as a storage and studio space to house their purchases, the designing duo’s idea transformed into a one-stop shop a year later — a fully fledged design studio and retail shop, complete with creative workshops such as furniture painting for beginners. We stopped by their design hive to suss out some of their favorite trends, likes, dislikes.

What is the design trend you’re most interested in now?
Lindsey:  I’m loving all the bamboo pieces I can get my hands on. We love to paint them in jewel-tone colors and mix them in with classic finds. To me, bamboo is timeless and simply never goes out of style.

With so many conflicting and bad design trends floating around, how do you distinguish what you have to offer?
Amy:  The beauty of our business is that we are able to incorporate many different design styles and fuse them into something special for our clients. Yes, we are over many trends, but feel that when working with our clients we must look at their pieces that are treasured and help them rethink a certain style to tie their rooms together.

What is your favorite piece of furniture?
Amy: There is nothing quite like a decorated table for seasonal gatherings and celebrations. Families gather, break bread and co
nverse at holiday tables. A festive table is one of the most important pieces you can have in your home. It is where new friends are made and old ones share memories of the past.

What is the best bargain you’ve ever run across?
Amy: One of our favorite experiences was the time we had to climb a mountain of antiques — floor to ceiling in a leaking warehouse. Raincoats were in place and we managed to pull out the most beautiful piece of furniture. From there we transformed the piece.

With the holidays right around the corner, do you have a preferred go-to holiday dish?
Lindsey:  One of my favorite things to put together is a lavish charcuterie board filled with cheese, meats, olives, capers and crackers. We love to snack and these are so easy, fun to decorate and can be styled so pretty!

Putting in so many long days, as you do, sustenance is key. Any favorite restaurants in the area that you like to frequent?
Lindsey:  Oh goodness! There are so many restaurants that are favorites. This is such a hard one to choose, but honestly all of them are located in downtown Asheboro right near our shop. We know each of the owners personally and they all have the best food. If you are looking for the best tacos, visit The Taco Loco. Want the best pastries and coffee? Visit The Table. Then there’s Magnolia 23, which offers the BEST fried chicken in the state of North Carolina.

Speaking of North Carolina, do you have a favorite local artist?
Lindsey: Katie Podracky from Greensboro has such an eye for color and capturing landscapes. Her color combinations play off each other so well and she has such an eye for capturing light. Her paintings can be found in our shop.

Much as we love N.C., are there any getaways you’re eyeing for winter?
Amy:  My favorite winter getaway is Rome, Italy. You can’t beat the brightly lit winding city streets, the importance of water to the city from all the fountains and aqueducts, handcrafted items from the Christmas markets and the rich historical architecture. Also, cafe cappuccinos will always be one of my favorite things to grab while wandering the streets.

Is there any place left in the world you’d like to visit and why?
Lindsey:  There are many places we’d love to go, but up next for us is a fun trip to Ireland. We can’t wait to visit, collect inspiration and bring back new ideas for our shop.

What about for your own home?
Amy: I enjoy a classic mixture of styles and love pops of bright color. As we have traveled the world, our family has always collected pieces of artwork and many of our walls are filled with pieces by artists from all over. Each piece has a story filled with memories. 

Info: Collectiveinteriorsnc.com

Tracy Bulla is the former senior style director of Home Accents Today magazine and is now a freelance writer specializing in all things design- and trend-related.

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