Double Take: Design Duo

Ivy Elrod

A former Rockette, actress and playwright in New York City, Ivy is now the co-owner of Wilder, a design showroom and lifestyle shop in Germantown, with her husband, Josh, and together they shape spaces as Wilder Design.

Josh Elrod

Josh is a painter and a co-owner of Wilder with his wife, Ivy. An actor and performer, he spent a decade as a member of the Blue Man Group. 

Midcentury Modern

Bringing back the sought-after design

Ivy: There's a reason this movement perseveres. Many of its core tenants — integrating interiors with nature, clean lines, holistic design (blurring boundaries between architecture and furniture) — are also core Wilder values. That said, I'm more inspired by finding new ways to articulate these ideas; I don't really ever go for a 360 retro look. The future is brighter.

Josh: I'm not the most knowledgeable, but I see a cohesive apex in design, fabrication and accessibility that has been unparalleled since. Perhaps fascination around the possibilities of the future? That being said, a lot of it doesn't light me up, unless it's really pared down or visionary. I am, however, typing this while sitting in a Paul McCobb for Planner Group chair, so make what you will of that.

Reclaiming Barnwood

To reclaim or not reclaim?

Ivy: OK, I get it — we live in Tennessee, but I've been over reclaimed wood in pretty much every setting since ... always. Just not my vibe. I can definitely get behind reclaiming from an eco standpoint, and we've worked with some designers who do this brilliantly, where they use old wood but refinish it and renew it, and that's always going to be more exciting in my opinion.

Josh: When I get really stoked on something, I use a lot of expletives and feel an agonizing sense of desire. Barnwood is whatever the polar opposite of that is. Even worse is its use as a signifier of authentic anti-design or nostalgia. Slapping barnwood up on a wall in a new apartment building or a restaurant is aggressively basic unless you are Uncle Bud's Catfish in Donelson (which is a great restaurant, by the way).

Going All Neutral

And when to add color to the palette

Ivy: So the neurotic beast in me is very calmed and impressed by this restraint. The creative rabble-rouser in me, however, wants to throw red paint across all these rooms (strategically of course). It's a delicate balance, but the zen neutral room with wood flutes playing in the background and red paint splashed down the center wins out for me. What can I say? I'm theatrical.

Josh: I think it's a response to the insanity of the image-fray world we live in. It makes me think of Lee Hazlewood and the desert. It's fun to get a mustard-colored couch or a purple shaggy pillow for your neutral room.

Potting Up Plants

Bringing life indoors

Ivy: It's an addiction, and I proudly possess it. From a design standpoint, however, I find bigger but fewer, bolder moves are the most effective.

Josh: I hope plants take over and enslave us all.

Talk Is Cheap

What to do about those stock slogans

Ivy: I can only get behind this if the sayings are utterly obscene. Otherwise, burn them all.

Josh: Nobody needs a "But First Coffee" or "Waiting for Friyay" cursive sign, T-shirt, mug or whatever as a décor choice. For every purchase of one of these things, everyone should be made to buy a Jenny Holzer piece. Wouldn't you rather stare at "Protect Me From What I Want" or "Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise"?

Wallpaper of Choice

Decking the halls

Ivy: It is cruel to make me pick. Calico's Oceania Siren haunts my dreams.

Josh: New Hat's Above Below in metallic — which will be gracing our bathroom real soon