This year, Slaughter's winning design was a guest bedroom featuring a four-poster pine bed. A fresh palette of colors in an elegant, yet livable design is what stands out in her winning room, along with Slaughter's use of wicker furnishings and collectable accessories. "It was kind of a sophisticated, updated, country look," she says.
"The last few years have seen a sort of relaxing of a more formal traditional look," Slaughter says. "It's a slightly more cottage look and a country look, but a sophisticated and usually more European country look," she adds.
Slaughter sees a growing interest in modern interiors as the up-and-coming decorating trend, although she says it hasn't caught on yet in the Atlanta area. "It's sometimes a retro, slightly '30's look," she says. "Probably the way we'll see it here is in a little bit more spareness in a look, a little more simplicity of line in furniture."
But as always, Slaughter's designs depend entirely on the home owner. "I try not to impose a style on someone. I really try to help them get the look they want, and fortunately I like a lot of different styles so I can get into different things. If I had 10 different houses I probably could do 10 different styles and be happy!" she says.
Slaughter's career began as the owner of "a very small decorating business" working primarily for builders. When she was offered a job with a larger firm, she turned it down because she didn't want to work for someone else. That's when Slaughter decided to check out Decorating Den Interiors. She was impressed with the franchise's concept as a way to develop her business without as much capital as she would need to open her own store. In 1986, Slaughter became one of the first Decorating Den franchises in the Atlanta area.
Based out of a small office Slaughter does most of her work-and all of her sales-in the customer's home. "We take samples to people's homes. They can look at them in their lighting. We can help them coordinate with the things that are already there, whether it's other furniture, paint colors, flooring or whatever. We can help them pull together the look they want in their homes, which is more efficient and effective then trying to go to a store and shop for things," Slaughter says.
"We work very hard not only to get the look they want-rather than imposing a signature style on them-but to work within their budgets and to concentrate on livability. I know that's something I think about with every client. Houses really should be appealing and comfortable with rooms that you just want to walk right into, sit down and live in," she says.
Decorating Den Interiors is located in Montgomery Village, MD; (800) 332-3367; www.decoratingden.com.