“I’m from Mississippi; we’re taught not to be self-promotional,” says Summer Loftin with a laugh. So don’t fret if you’re not already privy to her talents. The Atlanta-based designer, antiques dealer and jewelry collector in her 30s has built a reputation as a traditionalist in an era when such styles have gone the way of chintz fabrics and checkerboard floors, Deco dog statues and diagonal stripes.
With a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Mississippi, Summer, who says she “likes to look at things from every angle,” also studied appraising at the University of Georgia. But it was her adventures around the globe while managing an art and antiques gallery that would cement Summer’s love for the generational history of quality pieces.
Summer Loftin Antiques opened in 2010 and quickly became a hot spot for those looking for the unique and inspirational. Today, Summer sells items she culls from trips to Europe and U.S. auctions online through Chairish and 1stdibs.com, and she’s a sought-after speaker who hopes to serve as an ambassador of antiques.
When referencing her design work, Summer's love of antiques is on full display with a decor scheme that marries traditional style with a myriad of witty collections, whimsical and fine art, and funky Americana-style relics. She specializes in curating her clients’ collections and making them work in their space. “I feel like anyone can make a room look pretty. But I love challenges. I want to take these collections and make them feel new and fresh in their home.”
Attracted to her unique mix of classicism and eclecticism, approximately half of her interior design clients reside in Buckhead, while the rest are distributed as far afield as Savannah, Nashville, Birmingham, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Seattle.
“I decorate for entire families: daughters, mothers, sisters. It’s fun to get to know the whole bunch,” says Loftin, who is big on textiles and upholstery but remains especially sensitive to—and sentimental about—treasured family heirlooms. She champions quality but is never one to treat her acquisitions as so precious she needs to walk circles around them. Instead, she incorporates them into daily life. "It is precisely their patina, history and collective wear-and-tear that make them so prized." Loftin points out.
Summer’s "Grand Millennial" design aesthetic has caught the attention of many in the industry. She’s participated in several show houses and has been featured in magazines, including Traditional Home, House & Garden, Forbes, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Atlanta Magazine, Flavors, and Simply Buckhead.
Summer is also passionate about giving back to the artistic community. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Paradise Garden Foundation located in Summerville, Georgia. The greatest legacy of Baptist minister and folk artist Howard Finster, Paradise Gardens is now a dedicated artsite that draws thousands of visitors annually. Summer also designed the Garden’s guest cottages, which can be booked through AirBnB.
SUMMER LOFTIN'S ANTIQUING POINTERS
As published in Simply Buckhead