Ep. 177: designer Debbie Mathews


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Our guest today has been in the antique business for over 30 years. Debbie Mathews owns Nashville-based antique shop, Debbie Mathews Antiques and Design, and also created an interior design portion of the business in 2012. We talk all about Debbie’s love of antiques, why people shouldn’t be afraid to purchase them, and the best pieces to look for. Plus, Debbie weighs in on some Decorating Dilemmas about accent walls and mixing silver and gold!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How Debbie got started in antiques and design in childhood and how it evolved.
  • Why Debbie thinks people shouldn’t be “afraid” of antiques and how every room should have one.
  • Tips for falling in love again with pieces you’ve had for a long time.
  • Why Debbie is always on the hunt for a writing desk both for her shop and her clients.
  • Debbie’s love of a Louis Philippe chest and mirrors.
  • Which professionals to look for when restoring antiques.
  • How to know when to leave an antique “as is”.
  • Tips for feeling comfortable when buying an antique.
  • Online sites for purchasing antiques.
  • One of Debbie’s biggest goals is to make antiques more approachable.

Decorating Dilemma(s)

Hi Sheryl,

First, I love accent walls! Nothing can quite transform a space like paint. Your focal point wall with the fireplace has too many different paint colors, and I definitely think you should paint the whole wall and cubbies one color. Leave the fireplace and the mantle as they are. I think it will make it more impactful and also more cohesive. This will also highlight that beautiful Oriental rug you’ve inherited. We all agree that we like the warm brown accent color so use that for the whole wall.

We can’t wait to see it!


Absolutely I think you can mix this china with gold. One of the reasons I say this is because many of us, including myself, have china with a gold rim and we’re using silverware! Also, so many of the kitchens we are designing now have stainless steel appliances, but I’ll still use brass hardware and plumbing fixtures. I actually really like mixing metals, but I don’t like going beyond 2 metals. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules in creating a tablescape, and I like mixing silver and gold. I think of it as creating a painting. When you have a white plate, you could start with a colorful tablecloth or placemat and think of the other layers as accents that work with your “painting”. I’m also okay with mixing patterns. I’m personally a big fan, especially as we struggle for normalcy in 2020, of using a family heirloom in my tablescape. You can also search for older pieces in antique shops or garage sales. Karen says go ahead and stick a salad plate in your bag and carry it around with you so you can layer it up with what you find and see how it looks and feels. She also thinks you can add some more gold accent pieces like these gold partridge salt and pepper shakers!

Thank you, Jamie!

Mentioned in This Episode:

Debbie Mathews Website

Debbie Mathews on Instagram

Debbie Mathews Antiques on Instagram

Debbie Mathews on Chairish

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