Interior Designer Tracy Ann Davis Discusses Her Design Aesthetic
Tracy Ann Davis was fascinated by art as a young child. And by age 13, she had learned to hang drywall by accompanying her father to construction sites.
That appreciation for beauty combined with an understanding of the building process led her to a career in interior architectural design. In 2005, she founded the Portland, Maine-based design firm Urban Dwellings. She focuses on reinventing spaces with a 21st-century flair while creating designs that are uniquely proportioned and individually stylized for each client.
In this Designer Discourse, Maine interior designer Tracy Ann Davis talks more about her style and inspirations.
Q: Describe your style.
A: My style lends itself to a broad spectrum. I really do target each project as an individual challenge. I have done very traditional, very classic design work to transitional to contemporary. Where I’m most comfortable? I would say at each end of the spectrum, in that my emphasis of study at school was understanding the classics, but I’m very comfortable with and very connected to more contemporary design.
Q: What are your favorite colors or color combos?
A: I am very connected to a warm, white French pare palate. It creates a backdrop allowing me to put moderate splashes of color into rooms that are committed for a decade at a time.
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Q: Tell me about the project of which you’re most proud.
A: Well, I actually have several because they’re varying degrees of uniqueness.
We recently, within the last three years, completed a multimillion dollar coastal home. The vernacular of the building is very much New England, while the interiors replicate more of a luxurious, Rockefeller-esque style: hand-gilded finishes, hand-painted bow finishes, handmade tapestry specific for this project, custom furnishings that were designed by me, hand-detailed marble flooring, 24-karat gold chandeliers, and lanterns. Just exquisite detail.
We’ve got that half of the spectrum and then the pendulum swings to the other side. We’ve got this amazing, contemporary European, modern renovation that we’re on the cue of completion. It was this 1.5 level split-level ranch overlooking the ocean. When you walked into the house, you couldn’t see the ocean views. We actually did all of the interior architecture and the design for the building. We wrote down all the emotional and physical barriers to the views and brought in more light, more glazing - really optimized the view. We did it all with local craftsmen and artisans. Again, it’s a soft palate of gentle tones that blend together to create a very soft and inviting atmosphere.
Q: What are some of the major design trends for 2014?
A: The design trends for 2014 were really established a couple seasons ago. We’re looking at more organic details. Things that aren’t so matchy-matchy. Things that are a blend of subtle texture to greater-scale objects or materials. And creating that plush existence without having the high-end price tag. So we’re seeing a lot of blended-scale projects.
And I think we’re looking at the new way of living. People with young families who are looking for style and how to accommodate style and luxury in their life while raising their families, working and trying to enjoy the respite of home life.
Interior Designer Portland Maine
Q: Where do you get your design inspiration?
A: I tend to be very physically and emotionally connected to environments. And my inspiration really comes from the travel that I do throughout the world. I’m always on an airplane, whether it’s to go to a trade show, to go visit friends or to just go visit someplace that is other than here.
It’s also meeting about new people, understanding what people are looking for and what people need when they can’t express it or don’t know how to express it.
Q: How is your home decorated?
A: It’s very European contemporary lifestyle. It’s very blended. I have an old home - it’s over 100 years old - so I’ve exposed some of the old features and updated many of the features around it. The whole house is a soft white, and I’ve blended earth tones, charcoals, minimal furnishings and lots of art. I’ve surrounded myself with art.
Tracy Ann Davis can be contacted at
Portland, Maine - 422 1/2 Fore Street 2nd Floor Portland, Maine 04101
New York, New York - 419 Lafayette Street 2nd Floor New York, NY 10003