Melody Richardson Posts

Beauty in Our Community

By Stephanie Andrews

As we near the end of week #2 of social distancing in Atlanta, we’ve found we’ve had more time to reflect on our lives, our health, our homes, our finances, and the possible ramifications of this giant shut down while being at home. At Balance Design, community has always played a very important role in our designs- from supporting local contractors, artisans, and vendors to primarily working within 5 miles of our studio so that we have an easy connection with our clients. Now in this time of uncertainty, I thought I would share a few beautiful works of art that we have seen recently in the community- ones you might not have taken the time to look at or even notice 3 weeks ago amidst the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Neuburger

I recently picked up this poster from Citizen Supply at Ponce City Market. The illustrator, Sarah Neuburger, shows the vernacular of the homes in each neighborhood. I loved the fun and colorful vibe that this poster added to our home in Candler Park!


Photo Courtesy of Rob Geirsch

With the roads empty and spring in full bloom, I have truly appreciated the ability to walk with my husband and dog every day, usually twice a day. This photo is by our good friend and photographer, Rob Giersch. It shows a car-less stretch of Dekalb Avenue with the MARTA tracks above at sunset. It is usually a rare sight to see, and yet recently, not so rare.


Photo Courtesy of Greg Mike

Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has given us a 2 week shelter-in-place decree. The funny part is, she is allowing us to walk on the Atlanta Beltline as a part of her tweet of “essential places” that we are allowed to visit. Due to my family’s ample dog walking, I have been immersed in the work of Greg Mike. Though you are probably familiar with his art (this guy’s work is everywhere), I am constantly surprised by his delightful play of ultra-realism mixed with colorful whimsy.


Photo Courtesy of Penny Treese

Since I am still working virtually, I get the joy of seeing the encaustic art of Penny Treese, right here in our Candler Park studio. The team is all working from their homes, but I have found working in the studio to be a refuge with all of Penny’s art around me.

I hope that you will share the beauty of your community with us. Although we may be isolated to our own neighborhoods and roads, we are all one community working to pull through this and come back together. (Speaking of community, our landlord gave us a rent free April, due to the crisis. Blessings indeed- Thank you!) We are looking forward to hearing how you are feeling, and we are looking forward to seeing you soon (at a safe distance). Take care.

Mindful at Home: 6 Ways to Enhance Your Time and Space

By: Stephanie Andrews

There’s no getting around how important it is right now to keep safety at the forefront of our minds– safety for ourselves and for others.  As so many of us stay indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it may feel unsettling to have your daily routine turned upside down and your physical world reduced. If you’re a creature of habit looking for ways to create a new schedule or just need help taking a step back from a stream of constant uncertainty, we have a few suggestions that you can do in your own home

1. Read (or re-read) and implement: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo


Photo Courtesy of Amazon

I read this book in one sitting when it first came out, and I think it’s time for another go with it. Organizing, taking stock of what I have, and donating things I do not want or need isn’t something I usually make time for. Now as I am forced to pause and simply BE in my space with everything, I find myself more open to the process. Plus, I love the feeling of opening a freshly cleaned and sorted closet, fridge, and pantry.

2. Finally read that pile of books.

Here in Atlanta it has become porch weather, although the pollen has also joined the party. After giving my outdoor spaces a good sweeping (and maybe a bit of hosing down), I’m dedicating some time to get comfy on my porch swing and settle in with a good book. This world is tough right now; spend some time in another world instead.

3. Edit your bookshelves, give a room an accent wall, or create a new art wall.

Take on a small project you can be proud of. We’re happy to consult remotely if you have a question or need a suggestion! I had a moment of pure bliss when I removed everything from my dining room bookshelf, edited down the books and accessories, and color coded the remaining items. With less of a rush to get everything done, allow yourself to enjoy the process as much as the result.

4. Do a puzzle, play a card game, draw in your sketchbook.

Images Courtesy of Courtney Khail

This works whether you’re solo in a studio apartment or navigating a home full of family. One of our favorite artists, Courtney Khail says “People constantly tell me that they are not creative . . . but I have NEVER once heard someone tell me that they can’t color. So . . . I made y’all a few coloring book pages.” Take this time to explore your own creativity! For me, it’s a way to reconnect with my husband and teenage daughter by doing some fun activities as a family. We choose one activity each day so it’s not overwhelming –  it’s enjoyable!

5. Make your bed!

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Clockel

Little rituals give structure to daily life, and making the bed is one of the simplest ways to signify the start of another day. I find serenity in turning tousled sheets and blankets into a neat and tidy display of crisp bedding and comfortable pillows. Plus, what greater reward at the end of the day than pulling back a tightly tucked corner and sliding into an envelope of soft sheets?

6. Spend time in Nature.

Photography for Plants Creative by Joel Hordyck- Cameron Street Photography

Walk, weed the garden, do yoga on the deck, whatever you need to do to get out of the house (safely), soak in the vitamin D, and move your body. This beautiful outdoor space we designed last year with a beloved Druid Hills client and Plants Creative Landscapes in Decatur. It’s quite a gift to be able to sit, eat outside, and enjoy your personal spaces.

We’ll do our part to navigate the present uncertainty with a sense of purpose and mindfulness, and we ask you to stay the course with us. Share your plans, your projects, and your thoughts with us – we’re in this together. Stay safe, stay happy, and know that this too shall pass.

Innovation In Design

By the Balance Design Team

Innovation is one of our core values, both in our process and our final designs. But what does that really mean? Shelby walks us through a few of her projects and explains how outside the box thinking led to incredible spaces for her clients.

Photo Courtesy of Gary Gomez

These clients contacted us to renovate their entryway and dining room, which are connected by a beautiful arched doorway that’s totally original to the 1910 home. They wanted the entrance to function as a study area but still feel open and connected to the dining room. The only way they could see achieving this was to demo the arched wall to open up the space. We hated the idea of getting rid of such a gorgeous and historic feature, so we suggested keeping the arch, cutting into the adjacent wall, and wrapping built-in shelving around the dining room into the entryway. It was so important for us to preserve this architectural detail in the space but still create that open and inviting vibe. Now the two spaces are configured perfectly for storage as well as a space to entertain.

Photo Courtesy of Christina Wedge

A newly purchased midtown condo with beautiful architectural details dating back to 1914 presented a challenge for the new homeowners. At the top of their wishlist was a wet room (a soaking tub in the same area as the shower, enclosed behind shower glass doors). The clients’ master bathroom was a cramped space, but we saw a lot of potential. After reviewing the floor plan, we found that we could turn the adjoining closet into a toilet room and use the entirety of the original bathroom to create a wet room with a floating bath vanity (and a floating makeup vanity!). To say we utilized every last inch of space is an understatement, but the final result was a stunning and zen like retreat.

It takes a lot of trust (and the occasional leap of faith) to let someone into your home and allow them to change things up to create your vision, and we are eternally grateful to our amazing clients who bestow this honor on us. This trust is what allows us to think outside the box and take these chances in design — we couldn’t do it without them!

5 Atlanta Artists That We Believe In

By: Stephanie Andrews

Art is an integral part of great design, and local art makes a space especially meaningful. Over the years we have featured dozens of local Atlanta artists in our studio gallery in Candler Park, but there’s always more we want to share. Here are five of our current favorites.

Briana Gordon

Photo Courtesy of bngordon

We get inspired by Briana Gordon’s art each day we pass by our designer Melody’s inspiration board. Briana’s portraits of black women are beautiful, colorful, and deeply expressive.

Yoyo Ferro

Photo Courtesy of Yoyo Ferro

Yoyo Ferro’s artwork is especially personal to me because my son went to The New School, whose exterior was transformed by the artist into a joyful, colorful masterpiece. Each painting, whether on a canvas or a brick wall, brings happiness to its environment.

Carl Linstrum 

Photo Courtesy of Carl Linstrum

A professor of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Carl’s mixed media paintings feature intriguing colors, textures, and layers with a focus on foliage and Portuguese tile inspired backgrounds. (Plus, he’s a neighbor to our Candler Park studio!)

Kat Denson

Photo Courtesy of Kat Denson

Years ago, we helped Kat Denson renovate her historic Druid Hills home and have been enamored with her art ever since. Whether she’s painting animals, abstracts, or florals, it’s her modern impressionist brushstrokes and color palette that delight us in each piece.

Helen Ferguson Crawford

Photo Courtesy of Helen Ferguson Crawford

A trained architect and artist, Helen Ferguson Crawford (another Candler Park neighbor) mixes expressive, energetic linework with vibrant and intense color blocking. Her abstract paintings are surprising and invigorating.

Atlanta’s ever-growing art scene is constantly evolving with new and exciting talent. Seen someone you think we need to know about? We are always looking for unique pieces that move us! Reach out and let us know at

Happy Holidays from Balance Design

Photo Courtesy of Liz Stubbs Photography

As we end the year, we would like to express our gratitude to you- our readers, our clients, our vendors, our friends, our families (and our pups) for your enthusiasm and collaboration.
Wishing you a holiday season full of joy, peace and unconditional love.
The Balance Design team