Interview with Designer Mallori Hamilton; images from Mallori's designs

Mallori Hamilton is the owner of Uncommon Studios, a full-service Atlanta-based design firm specializing in hospitality, multi-family and high-end residential interior solutions. Spaulding Communications wanted to know more about Mallori, what makes her firm unique, and what’s on her mind with interior design these days. 

Matt: Your firm’s name is called Uncommon Studios. I’m sure there’s meaning and intention with that name. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Interview with Designer Mallori Hamilton; Mallori's headshotMallori: We approach the design process very differently than most firms. We think outside the box. We don’t design with trends. Our focus is on our relationships with our clients and team.

We also have some unique principles that guide each of our projects. First, we pull design inspiration from all types of applications, not just similar projects. We also build all of our designs around a story. We feel that every project has a story, and as long as you’re sticking to that, then your project will be successful. 

“We feel that every project has a story, and as long as you’re sticking to that, then your project will be successful.”

It’s also very important for us to focus on how the built environment affects the end-user. There’s a lot of psychology behind design that I think, too often, gets missed. For example, you can walk into a space and feel anxious, and not even realize it’s from your environment. There’s a lot that goes into this, like basic theories of  rhythm, repetition, and proportion. You can also go deeper into things like lighting levels or the color temperature of lighting. We think a lot about how users sit, and move, and interact in a space. So we are creating beautiful designs, but in order to do that we need to focus on these other items that are more important first.

Matt: Tell us more about how you pull from different market sectors for your project design inspiration.

Carpentry Hotel in Dalton, GA

Photo above from the Carpentry Hotel: Accessories thoughtfully curated for the lobby along with custom rug artwork from local artist showing a map of Dalton’s downtown

Mallori: We work on a lot of different project types. We don’t just stick to one sector. One of the biggest reasons for this is because we can be better designers if we’ve done multiple types of jobs. It expands your design approach. For example, on a hotel project, I may pull from residential case studies. Or I might use a single textile as inspiration for something completely unrelated, like a layout or a custom light fixture. 

“We can be better designers if we’ve done multiple types of jobs. It expands your design approach.”

Travel is also a big source of inspiration. I see the world through patterns created in nature and in different environments I visit. Like in Europe, there are so many different architectural motifs, it’s mind blowing. Or in South Africa, you’re getting patterns from the animals, the foliage, the rocks, and the desert. When you start to see that way, you’re now pulling from all of these different sources instead of staying inside the box.

Matt: What is a recent project your firm has worked on that you’re proud of?

Mallori: The most recent one is a boutique hotel in Dalton, GA called the Carpentry Hotel. That one was a really cool project because Dalton is the center of the carpet industry, with multiple massive manufacturers located there. We decided we wanted to highlight the history and artistry of the carpet industry and how it got started in Dalton.

Carpentry Hotel in Dalton, GA; includes the bedroom, front desk, and decor

Photos above from the Carpentry Hotel: (First image) The carpet backing used to produce a custom wallpaper texture with vintage carpet yarn spools displayed; (Second image) Guest rooms displaying a collage of historical photos of different carpet mills with custom peacock pillows and carpet to nod to the textile artistry story; (Third image) Custom designed wallpaper specifically touching on how the industry got started in Dalton along with a feather tile cladded check-in desk

We dedicated a whole team of our designers to this project, and we were able to create a lot of unique pieces for the hotel. We used carpet backing from a local manufacturer and made it into wallpaper. We did custom carpets to custom wall coverings. We used local artists for artwork. We felt this project really helped celebrate the town.

Matt: How did you get into interior design, and what do you love most about your job?

Mallori: Looking back, it was ingrained in me since I was a kid. I have always been obsessed with interior design. I started college as a music major, but quickly switched to interior design after taking a couple of classes.

And I love every phase of our projects and every part of my job, because it’s not a job. It’s a career. I love the creativity and the construction process, but the best part of what I do is the relationships. I get to build relationships with so many people across the country and impact so many lives through my work.

Bathroom in the Carpentry Hotel in Dalton, GA; it features a blue tiled shower, blue walls, and green peacock wall art

Photo above from the Carpentry Hotel: Guest room bathroom featuring custom peacock artwork with the peacock blue color prominent

Matt: Is there any advice you’d give to manufacturers when it comes to how they market their products or their brands to you?

Mallori: I think when you’re in a more speciality hospitality market, that designer is going to want a story with the product. The story is our foundation for every single job. We don’t just want a product because it’s pretty. We want to know your inspiration because we can pull from our manufacturers’ stories, and tie them back to the bigger story we’re trying to tell with our design projects.

I think when you’re in a more speciality hospitality market, that designer is going to want a story with the product.. We want to know your inspiration.”

In addition, the presentation of products is key. If your packaging is terrible, I’m not going to look at it. What that tells me is it hasn’t been thought through. And everything we do at my firm is thoughtful. So I’m going to gravitate towards manufacturers that put thought into their product, no matter what that is.

Matt: Mallori, thank you so much for your time and sharing your insights with us!

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