Sean Anderson: The Best of Memphis
Sean Anderson is a designer based out of Memphis, Tennessee. He began his design career in 2013 with the formation of his namesake firm and since its inception, Sean and his team have transformed spaces around the country. His design philosophy is rooted in the pursuit of creating customized, soulful spaces that tell the unique story of those who inhabit them.
I first fell in love with Sean’s design work when I saw his use of dark paint to create dramatic, moody interiors and I have been a fan ever since. Not only is Sean a talented designer, he has excellent recommendations for the best Memphis has to offer. Read on for Sean’s insider tips on visiting Memphis, TN.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What path brought you to your design career? What brought you to Memphis?
SEAN ANDERSON: I grew up in a small town in Mississippi with a tight knit family. My mother is the type of person who always encouraged my siblings and I to do our best. I knew early that any type of traditional corporate job was not in the cards for me, so I spent several years doing this and that, and wandered up to Memphis while trying to find my purpose. You name it, I’ve done it. I’ve bussed tables as a waiter, scrubbed toilets as a janitor, the list goes on and on…It wasn’t until my early thirties that I began discovering, after doing several design projects at my own home, that I had a certain way of viewing things differently and how people responded to it. My career path grew from a small group of loyal friends and word of mouth. Here we are today, some 8 years later, and I couldn’t be happier with where I currently find myself.
What are some of your favorite spots for dining in Memphis?
SEAN ANDERSON: I love the Andrew Michael family of restaurants here in town – Hog & Hominy, Bishop, and The Gray Canary are all fantastic. Beauty Shop in Cooper-Young is another longtime favorite (fun fact – Elvis got his hair cut here). Of course, you can’t talk about the Memphis food scene without talking BBQ. Central BBQ has a few locations around town, and they’re known for their pulled pork nachos (10/10). However, if you’re looking to go where the local’s go, Payne’s on Lamar is a must.
Do you have any recommendations for great boutiques in Memphis? Or a clothing designer/brand that you are particularly excited about right now?
SEAN ANDERSON: The Joseph stores do a great job of bringing some high street names to town. Oak Hall has been around for over a hundred years and is a generational staple for many Memphians. Stock & Belle in South Main offers a broad variety of items. They carry some really great emerging local and regional brands as well.
What are your recommendations for experiencing unique Memphis culture? Nightlife spots, beautiful hotels, museums?
SEAN ANDERSON: Nightlife – Memphis is a city of “districts” rather than one central core, so your options are broad and varied. Overton Square has multiple venues with live music, a great selection of restaurants, several theaters and performing arts centers and regular events throughout the year. Cooper-Young is another pocket, although it’s more lowkey and centric towards spaces like intimate cocktail bars and specialty shops. For a classic Memphis blues experience, you can’t miss Beale Street.
Hotels – The Arrive on South Main is one of my favorites. It’s small but well-appointed and has great local character. Right down the road you have Central Station Hotel in one direction and the famed Peabody in the other. If you’re headed to midtown, The Memphian has a great rooftop bar.
Museums – The National Civil Rights Museum is an absolute must, as is the Stax Museum. I also enjoy checking out the exhibitions at The Brooks Museum of Art while I’m in town. Graceland is worth the trip, as well.
Let’s talk design! Are there any buildings or spaces you draw inspiration from in Memphis?
SEAN ANDERSON: This city has a strong architectural heritage, and there’s an abundance of wonderfully inspired buildings here in town. Memphis is also one of the greenest major cities in the country, so even though you’re in an urban setting, you never feel too far removed from the outdoors. So much of my work is organically inspired, so it’s nice to be in an environment where that inspiration can be found in relative abundance and with a broad variety – wetlands, fields, hills, forests, rivers and streams – it’s always just around the corner from wherever you are here.
What interior design trends are you eyeing currently?
SEAN ANDERSON: I’m loving the abundance of texture in building finishes right now. Leathered stone, plastered and cement walls, tumbled floors, living finishes – all the texture gives the structure a story. The trend of having your space tell your story is one that continues to grow, and it is the only trend that I’m interested in. I love the process of telling my clients’ stories in my work.
Pulling from your work, past or current, do you have any projects you particularly love or you are excited to talk about?
SEAN ANDERSON: As happy as I am about the work I’ve completed, I feel like the work coming up is just as exciting! I’ve got a handful of projects scattered throughout the country, and have just recently picked up my first international project. I’ve also started to explore other avenues within the interiors industry and look forward to seeing where those paths lead. What I’m most excited about is for the continued opportunity to learn about this industry, my business and myself.
What is next for you?
You’ll have to stay tuned and see 😉
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