She moved her business to The Refinery in Charleston in 2021
The designer moved her business and studio to The Refinery in August 2021 after 12 years in New York to be closer to her family.
Rebecca Atwood is an artist of ambiance. She’s a master of the most elemental aspect, the fundamental truth of decorating: that our environments convey feeling, and our home environments are the most personal. That’s why her eponymous line of wallpapers and fabrics are infused with personality, each based on her hand-painted original designs. There’s an aliveness, an organic playfulness, in an Atwood pattern that is different from the mass-produced roll you’d find at Lowes or Wayfair. An Atwood design is bespoke—not because that’s hip (and yes, also a cliché), but because her designs speak. They tell a story of her coastal-inspired creativity and her intuitive sense of how a space can be transformed by color, texture, and pattern.
“I grew up in a small town on Cape Cod, so the ocean and marsh really speak to me,” says the designer, who moved her studio and business to Charleston in August 2021, after 12 years in Brooklyn. Her parents and older sister, blogger Grace Atwood, were already here, and Atwood’s husband, a former patent lawyer, had left his job to help with the finance and business side of her operation. “We were ready for the next chapter and to be closer to family, especially after the pandemic.”
A Rhode Island School of Design graduate and lifelong painter, Atwood worked as a product designer for Anthropologie and a design consultant for US- and UK-based brands before starting her business in 2013. “I was dealing with finished goods for these other companies, and realized I wanted to be more hands-on,” she says. Atwood got her wish. She launched with 60 pillows, which she “hand-painted, dyed, and printed in my little apartment,” says Atwood, who sold out in three months. If you need a tutorial in washing silk screens in a shower, she’s your girl.
(Left) Rebecca Atwood’s ”Arches” wallpaper in ”grass” is intended to evoke a comforting landscape of hills and fields; (Right) The texture of Atwood’s ”Blocks” fabric in ”pink/dusk” is reminiscent of her grandmother’s needlepoint cushions.
Today, Atwood introduces two to four collections every year, each with multiple colorways, and sells her expanding line of wallpapers and fabrics directly to interior designers in the US and abroad. Her fresh, lively, painterly patterns—some bold and graphic and others with a soft, gestural feel evoking the sea and nature—are a favorite among design locals like Cortney Bishop, Jenny Keenan, and Allison Elebash. “I love how Rebecca draws so much inspiration from nature and that her patterns feel handcrafted.
Plus, every new collection comes with a handwritten note explaining the process and inspiration behind it,” Elebash says.
“Charleston is a great creative community, with so many terrific interior designers. People here take design and decorating their homes seriously, so it’s been a good move business-wise for us,” Atwood says. Having more space in her office/atelier at The Refinery also means she has room for an on-site art studio, where she carves out time for painting. “I really need that creative practice. That act of putting a brush to paper is a big part of where inspiration comes from for me. It’s also the discipline of noticing things, slowing down and making sure to be present with all that’s around us. Some days that means spending an hour just walking around Hampton Park, paying attention to how the light falls at a certain time, or how tree branches create a pattern.” she adds.
What she doesn’t pay attention to: industry trends. “We really strive to have a unique look, so following what may or may not be trending is not necessarily helpful for us. Our designs are much more personal,” says Atwood, who is attentive to what her interior design clients are looking for—as an example, someone might request different fibers in a fabric. “My business is based on us having a viewpoint,” she says. “Often that means me trusting my instincts and having a clear vision for what I want to put out there and how I want to do it.”
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