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Brass hardware and lighting — the “jewelry that polishes off the space,” Thiede says — add textural contrast to the room’s subdued tones. Photo by Matteo Morris

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Catching Up With Bri Thiede

The owner of Cozy Haus Designs talks Southern hospitality, hard work and timeless design.

Everything that Bri Thiede touches exudes warmth and hospitality.

This may be attributed to her Southern roots, having been born and bred in Nashville, or the constant comings-and-goings of family and friends visiting her family, including her pastor father.

More likely, it’s simply her style — and talent. The principal designer and founder of Cozy Haus Designs, a full-service design firm in Birmingham, says she strives to create “thoughtful and approachable homes with an emphasis on livable luxury, but rooted in timeless tradition.”

Thiede has been passionate about interior design for as long as she can remember. “Even when I was young, I was always sketching, changing layouts — I would always draw it out to see how it looked before I moved anything,” she says. “As soon as I walk into a space, I’m instantly visualizing what it could be.”

After marrying her husband, also a pastor, and moving to Dallas, Thiede worked in event design, creating corporate events and conferences with an extremely high standard of excellence. “Centerpieces on a massive scale, pop-up lounges, intricate lighting, all the details,” she says. “I was stressed out of my mind, but it proved to me my skill at project management on such a large scale. With so many parts moving at once thrown in my lap, I had to rise — and I did. It taught me so much, foundationally.”

The couple moved to her husband’s native Michigan, where Thiede focused on their three young sons while working on small interior design projects. This soon evolved into full jobs, renovations, creating custom pieces and more — and the official launch of Cozy Haus Designs. With a plate overflowing as busy mom and wife, business owner, creative thinker and designer, Thiede is grateful for the ability to juggle it all, relying on her faith in God: “God is my source and where my help comes from,” she says, quoting Psalm 12121. 

Thiede, who had studied psychology in college, flexed her natural abilities at creating relationships, getting to the root of what clients desired — often without them understanding it themselves. “I’ve always loved studying people. And I love using that when working with people — putting out fires while keeping clients calm, supporting them, learning who they are. It all helps me capture them without them having to be conscious of giving all the details,” she says.

“I love getting to know my clients, getting to know the kids,” she says. “When I design, I’m thinking about the homeowners’ lifestyle — do you entertain, how are you using this space, creating a vibe for your guests. You want it to be functional but also make a statement. I’m going to be your advocate to make sure you get pieces that will transition through stages in life, kids’ ages or just in different areas of the home. 

Thiede and her team have curated a well-organized luxury design process, starting with conceptual site mapping, inspiration board review of aesthetics both liked and disliked and conceptual design presentation, including digital renderings (all created in-house) with floor plans. “We are great at space planning, maximizing seating and getting the absolute most out of each space,” Thiede says. “If we’re not able to start a project on the ground floor with the architect, even gutting a renovation doesn’t always allow for changing everything — but we are creative in how we will lay rooms out.”

From there, the detailed design phase allows clients to touch, feel and approve all samples, from wood tones to custom sofas to draperies before the final installation, end staging and photography (included in every project). “During the pandemic, it was all virtual — so we really had to fine-tune our strengths and be on top of the latest innovations and offerings,” she says.

Thiede’s work is full of neutral palettes elevated with layers of texture, pattern, material and elements of contrast. “Elevated and timeless luxury while functional, livable and comfortable — it happens to be what everybody is after right now,” Thiede says. “But this is what we’ve always done. We want clients to be able to fall into their sofa and have all the bells and whistles without having to move all the throw pillows first, or being afraid to touch anything.

“I’m looking to create timeless, organic spaces,” she says. “I love neutrals and mixing up heavy textures, wood tones, metal details. I use the seesaw effect — if I go heavy in one area, I’ll soften it in another. Have a lot of brass here, crisp it up with a bit of black. If I have modern or clean lines, I’ll incorporate a vintage piece. If a client is moving in the direction of wanting something a little more edgy or a little more modern, for example, I will incorporate elements of a style that a client wants. 

“I never want a design to be pinpointed as a specific style or period element, because it will only be identified as that,” Thiede says. This helps to keep pieces and renovations versatile, too. “You can switch out the pillows or the artwork, or move and take pieces with you, and the effect still stands on its own. 

“But in the end,” she says, “we want it to just feel like home and complete, an effect of melding styles and textures into this beautiful picture that is you.”

  • Pale wood floors and wood beams are punctuated with layers of textures, colors and patterns. Photo by Matteo Morrison.
  • Bri Thiede. Photo by Shelby Dubin.
  • Brass hardware and lighting — the “jewelry that polishes off the space,” Thiede says — add textural contrast to the room’s subdued tones. Photo by Matteo Morris
  • Sleek modern details are softened by the pale blue-gray island, stepped crown molding and terra-cotta urns. Photo by Matteo Morrison.

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