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James Michael Howard’s Attention to Detail

When considering designers I admire, Jim Howard is always at the top of the list. Howard opened his firm, James Michael Howard, Inc., in 1988, after 12 years of working with other firms. He is schooled in both architecture and design which is reflected in  his work.   He masterfully mixes both classical and modern design elements to create fresh, contemporary interiors. 
“ I begin with the interior architecture and fold the client’s existing things into that envelope and fill in the blanks”. The result never disappoints and always provides a canvas for learning and exploring.
The symmetry and balance of this room are offset by the playfulness of the leopard chairs.  I love them don’t you? Envision this room without them.

This is one of my all time favorite rooms! Notice the architectural details that he is known for.  Love that ceiling!

I adore this room.  Love the use of the “dressier” mirrors against the more rustic surfaces in this room.
James Michael Howard - Veranda
This entrance is so inviting.  I love the leopard runner climbing the stairs. I believe this is the entrance to one of the Howard’s stores Mrs. Howard.

He almost always has a soft hand when it comes to color layering textures instead to create interest. Every once in awhile you see more liberal use of color (and it is usually blue). 

This hallway fascinates me.  It is a study of the power of nature. Note the tramp art mirror and the light fixture that echoes it’s style. Sometimes the simplest details create the most impact.
james michael howard 9
Note the beautiful architectural details in this room.  The lovely paneling and dentil molding add a sense of formality, while the chair keeps it spirited.

The tongue in cheek use of this unexpected table flanking the more formal stairway is wonderful.
link to beautifully designed stair railings, newels, and ballasters / jim howard
Notice the use of a single neutral with several variations and intensities in this kitchen…lovely!!

I hope you enjoyed these images as much as I do.  I find myself studying his rooms again and again.  If you would like to see more of Jim’s wonderful work go here Of course Jim is also one of the principals (along with wife Phoebe) behind the wonderful stores Mrs. Howard and Max and Company in Jacksonville, Charlotte, and Atlanta.  He also happens to be the father of the extremely talented Andrew who I will profile in a future post.

Reader Interactions


  1. Carol Tate says

    I must say…day to day the blogoshere is saturated with those touting and glorifying the mundane, the mediocre, and the outright talent-less…the latest "wet behind the ears" cutie-pie, copy-cat, well-connected charlatan. It is almost refreshing to see posts such as this one on James Michael Howard. I do revel in his compositions, the refined yet playful aesthetic, and
    his subtle use of neutrals melded with a dusty blue, or a subdued gold, maybe a soft green (or on occasion, edgy green), then sparked by a weighty deep brown…or LEOPARD! Love it on the stairs, but am crazy over the dressmaker skirts detailed with the wide band along the bottom edge. Yes, one of the masters worth returning to frequently to absorb his vision and genius. Thank you for featuring genuine talent.

  2. Victoria says

    The third image is reminiscent of a room in Ralph Lauren's home in the Caribbean minus the huge temple jars on the dressers. Love the symmetry.

  3. miss b says

    I like the classically decorated rooms here which have a fun element such as the leopard chairs and the runner. The hallway is stunning – what a gorgeous entrance.

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