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Trendsetting & Traditional Interior Design Advice with Kristy Cronin

Trendsetting & Traditional Interior Design Advice with Kristy Cronin, Jenny Cox Holman writer

Kristy Cronin, wife and mother of three, left her full-time career in sales to do what she does best, interior design. Kristy has a knack for bright, simple, and clean aesthetics. She is passionate about spending her time being involved in home design, building, and remodeling projects. Kristy launched her business, Bungalow South, in 2016 with a dream and a vision for what she could accomplish. Kristy and her husband, Brian, recently built their own home which they designed and built together. Over the last decade, they have renovated many homes together as a team.

Kristy Cronin, Interior Designer & Owner of Bungalow South

Kristy considers herself a “home stylist,” in which she creates timeless spaces with a touch of trendy styles. Whether your style is farmhouse, modern, eclectic or traditional, she can create and personalize the space while staying on budget. Kristy is available by consultation and willing to assist from a entire design build to a simple room change.

Jenny Cox Holman, Lifestyle | Travel Editor for Mississippi Matters, visited with Kristy Cronin, owner and interior designer with Bungalow South Design, for trendsetting and traditional interior design advice for remodels and custom built homes.

Kristy, tell our readers about yourself – what brought you to your career as an interior designer? How did you get started?

It’s funny how you switch gears in life sometimes more than once until you find what your true passion is. I started college with a major in fashion merchandising and marketing. In a way, it is similar to what I do now with putting various pieces together in a home and making a room come together much like all the elements of a wardrobe.

My grandfather, W.A. Passons, was a home-builder for over 40 years all over Mississippi. I spent many weekends with my family pitching in on the project site to help get a home finished, so I think it was intriguing for me at such a young age to watch the walls go up and all the many details of constructing and designing a house.

Interior design was not something I pursued as a full-time career until several years ago. I bought my first home when I was 21 years old and started fixing things up here and there, painting walls on weekends and doing what I could on my own by adding furniture pieces on a very tight budget. Later, I went through the process of working with builders on two more of my personal homes which were design builds. From there I knew I had found my real passion in design. Over the last ten years my husband, Brian, who is the Head Varsity Basketball coach at St. Andrew’s and owner of Prosperity Construction, have worked together on several home flips.

We thrive on projects involving as little as flipping a room or an entire house and spend our free time finding the perfect pieces to make a space in our projects. With encouragement of Brian and others to do this full time, I finally decided to take a leap of faith and go for it. I believe you either have an eye for design of any kind or you don’t, and I truly feel inspired in creating beautiful functional spaces on any budget.

What special services do you offer to clients?

Bungalow South offers hourly consultations and services ranging from all design elements of a house, regardless of a new build or renovations. Bungalow South will also offer interior furnishings design consultations to fit any style of the client.

With the beginning of the new year, people are inspired to change or have a time for refreshment, even in their apartments, homes or vacation getaways. What advice would you give a client with the daunting task of where to begin with interior design overhaul?

I would say room by room is definitely the best way to start a project. The most conventional way of freshening up a space is with a change up in pillows, rugs, curtains or even bed linens. Throwing out everything you own and starting over is just not practical when deciding you need a change at home or see that a trend has changed. It can be so overwhelming and financially draining to redo an entire house, so starting with small pieces and going from there is usually the most economical way to achieve a fresh new look. Even with a renovation, start small with replacing an appliance to upgrade the look of the room before ripping out all the walls and embarking on a total remodel.

When browsing through home magazines, there is an emphasis on kitchen and bathroom design and renovations. What are your favorite looks for these areas of the home? Living Room/Keeping Room/Dining Room?

I am a big fan of a “Gathering” room these days more than a separate dining and living room. I do believe the gathering room should have the feeling of being cozy and intimate because families are now spending more time hanging out and eating in more casual open spaces.

When it comes down to the details of the room, I love the look of neutral palettes. I have found that being more classic and timeless in the actual floors and walls with your big furniture pieces allows you the opportunity to get creative with the accent pieces to bring in your color or styles, as the trends are evolving daily.

What do you like most about what you do?

I love the opportunity of seeing how far I can push myself to getting creative on every detail in a project. It’s an adrenaline rush, designing from the beginning and seeing every project come to life at the end. The details can make or break the look you are trying to achieve and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing my clients fall in love with the space as I have.

What are the current trends in interior design? Remolding or home building?

I see the trends moving toward leather, natural wood, and metals. As far as the new paint trends, you may see darker colors on cabinets and trim work. White, creams, black and greys are all still very much a big part of a designer's tools with a pop here and there. Blush pink and gold seems to be the new color trend.

What are faux pas in interior design do you see most often and could you give some advice to avoid commonly seen design blunders?

I find that both the homes being built and design are so much alike locally. Some builders get caught up in the same traditional trends of the past. I think now is a time to get creative and think outside the box from the exterior style down to the interior elements. We are seeing different styles, such as: Cottage, Tudor, Farmhouse, Bungalows, and even Barn homes being built and designed all over the country. I would love to see more of these style homes in our area.

What tips do you have for a family looking to put their home on the market?

I also am a licensed real estate agent, so I can assist in doing a walk through to see what needs to be done to get the home ready to show. I also recommend things they could do to fix up the home to get the most out of the house, depending on their budget.

What are some of your favorite places to find staple furniture pieces? Do you have any advice when people go to thrift shops for fun vintage pieces?

Two of my favorite local shops for staple pieces which I call my “splurge” furniture over the years are Relish, Casa Bella, and the Outlet, former Country Originals. My husband and I are big fans of taking day trips to Memphis to visit Ikea and Stash Home. There are pieces at Ikea I find to be perfect for apartments, small spaces, college kids, and even playrooms. Pottery Barn and West Elm are two of my favorite online places I visit often. Home-Goods and Target are weekly visits for me to find new things that are fun and practical.

How would you describe yourself as an interior designer?

I think the key to creating a beautiful yet comfortable space is by mixing the classic staples of furniture alongside the trendy pieces. The same goes for building a home and picking out the aesthetics of each room, ceiling to floors. Whether I am working with a small or large budget makes no difference to me. I believe these days there are so many options not only locally but online to create the space you are trying to achieve. Even if it has to be in baby steps, that’s okay! Part of the fun is making progress over time.

How far in advance do you need a client to schedule your services?

If it is a design build then I would look to consult my clients a few months in advance to give us time to pick out all the fundamentals needed and to order materials, choose colors, hardware and plumbing. Remodels vary on size of projects. On the interior, I can design a room within a few weeks given we have a clear game plan for the space.

What do you see on the horizon for up and coming trends in interior design and home building for 2018?

I hope to see a wider range of materials used this year. Incorporating the new modern kitchen and bathroom styles are at the top of my list with open shelving, pattern tiles, gold fixtures; and don’t be surprised if half “pony walls” make a small comeback as well. You may not be wanting to take part in all the new trends at once but take a deep breath and embrace the ever-changing world of interior design. I will help you along!

Can you tell us how to reach you through social media?

I can be reached on social media on Instagram, @bungalow_southdesign and also on Facebook at Bungalow South Design.


{Blog by: Jenny Cox Holman}

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