We had the pleasure of chatting with Ramey Caulkins, principle designer at Griffin Design Source. We chatted about her career, her favorite parts of her work, and got a peek into how she would design two dream bathrooms!
Have you always loved interior design? What led you to launch Griffin Design Source in 2003?
My design career was born into the kitchen and bath industry so to speak. I began working for Ann Sacks Tile and Stone and later The Kohler Company. Many interior designers do not have a deep understanding of architectural elements and I am grateful for the invaluable time spent learning the in’s and out’s of natural stone, ceramic tile, and plumbing.
I was born in Buffalo, NY. While known for its snowy winters and lousy football team, Buffalo actually has some of the country’s most incredible architecture. I wouldn’t realize any of this until I crossed paths with an architect who told me that I was from one of the most important architectural cities in America! It was one of those profound conversations that have stayed with me for over 24 years.
As I look back over my past, I think I have always loved the design. While working at Ann Sacks I was fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented architects and designers. When I married and had children and my life of exciting travel proved too much, I launched Griffin Design.
What is your favorite part of your job as an interior designer?
I actually really enjoy the process of being part of a construction and architectural team. When there is synchronicity between the architect, the builder and the designer the end result is far greater than the individuals. Together, we all bring something valuable to the conversation and keep each other in check. Architects like to think from the outside in, while designers look more at how space is actually lived in from the inside out. Both disciplines need each other and heaven knows we won’t be the ones to put it all together, so a good builder is our best asset!
You split your time between two idyllic states, Colorado and Maine. How do both locations inspire your designs?
Maine is full of nooks and crannies. The houses in Maine are, for the most part, very old and designed for living in a very different time. I love that the rooms in old houses are just that, individual rooms. They are not huge, wide-open “great rooms” like we tend to see in more modern structures.
The architecture in Maine tends to be more thoughtful than what I typically see in Colorado. My projects in Colorado are absolutely influenced by the homes in Maine. I like that both Colorado and Maine embody casual ease of living. People in Colorado don’t seem to take their homes nearly as seriously as they take their sporting equipment. It’s about the functionality of furnishings and the reality of having enough space to store all the ski equipment and bikes and finding the balance of a bit of grit, and a bit of grace in both locations.
What are your greatest sources of design inspiration? What are your current brand crushes / favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
I still love World of Interiors and referring to my stacks of House Beautiful magazines from the late ’60s and ’70s. My pile of original Domino magazines is also highly coveted. I loved those stickers that came inside the magazine so you could mark your favorite pages. Genius!
My go-to books at the moment are:
- Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors: Things We Made- Robin and Stephen are amazing storytellers. I love their theatrical approach to design and the end result which is richly curated layers of made and found objects and interiors.
- David Hicks on bathrooms c. 1970 – I love designing bathrooms. Sourcing ceramic tile, limestone and beautiful bathroom hardware keeps me up at night!
My coffee table at the office is piled high with design books. Billy Baldwin Decorates is filled with sage, timeless advice on curating interiors. It’s funny how good design really does stand the test of time. Some of his iconic interiors are just as relevant today as they were in the 1970s!
How do you make sure you’re enjoying the stay on the daily?
#enjoythestay for me is daily meditation. It’s good for the soul and energizes my mind. It’s like a big hug for my mind, body, and spirit!
Take a peek at Ramey's first dream bathroom:
Vintage Cabana Bath: Newport, RI
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this space!
Fling open your doors and invite your friends for a pool party! I adore the newly released CW Stockwell wallpaper “million flowers.” It’s a complete throwback. I am a tile junkie and would love a jewel-box of a bathroom with floor to ceiling green tile.
A pool party is not complete without the well-designed short sleeve Weezie robes. A perfect luxury gift for the graduate, newly engaged, or “just because” for your girlfriends.
- CW Stockwell Million Flowers Wallpaper
- Green Sister Parish Fabric
- Schumacher Green Stripe Fabric
- Urban Outfitters Wall Hooks
- Serena & Lily Console
- Serena & Lily Rug
- Frog Planter
- Herrin Painting
Ski Chalet, Guest Bathroom: Big Sky, MT
Tell us a little bit about this bathroom!
I love this cream and blue bathroom. Think about hitting the slopes all day and coming home to a hot bath and plush towels in this cozy bathroom. Yes! It’s possible to have a cozy bathroom, especially with a pile of luxury bath towels (Weezie please!) piled high on the waterfall bench adorned in the stripe Namay Samy woven textile.
- Watercolor Painting
- Green Glass
- Society Social Lamp
- Waterfall Bench
- Blue Side Table
- Sink Hardware
- Farrow & Ball Paint
- Arcadia Fabric
- Floral Fabric
On the hunt for more bathroom inspiration? Check out a recent Bathroom Diaries with Interior Designer Elizabeth Stuart who knows how to make a home for her luxury bath towels.