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Missy's use of symmetry, repetition and scale create visual harmony.

Featured Article

Family Planning

A collection of living spaces by Missy Steffens

Article by Amy Birdsong Golden

Photography by Julie Wage Ross

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Missy Steffens credits design legend Sister Parish with a favorite saying, “Behind every attractive room, there should be a very good reason.”

“And that reason, for me, it all goes back to planning,” Missy says. “Developing a master plan is always the first thing I do with clients. How do they live, where will they be in five or ten years, what do we prioritize now?" She adds, “You want to make the big stuff shine and last. It produces a stronger product. The layers will come.”

Missy opened her doors in 2011 with M. Steffens Interiors and has been a trusted advisor to homeowners since. A lifelong Memphian, she grew up with a deep love of art and design. Her thesis in graduate school at Vanderbilt University was on the furniture of Charles and Ray Eames. “It forced me to examine the balance between form and function,” she says. “And I keep that intention in my design work today. Blending form and function as I think through furniture plans, renovations, adding architectural details or selecting fabrics.”

“My business is client driven. I enjoy the puzzle of putting together a client’s furnishings and family heirlooms, while bringing in the new,” says Missy. She is thoughtful in her approach with clients. One particular client recently completed a renovation and addition in East Memphis. “It feels like such a tender space to invite someone in with you on the journey of creating a home,” says the pleased homeowner. “Missy really took the time to understand what that meant specifically for our family and then built – layer upon layer – in a way that is pretty profound. You look up one day and feel like your space is fresh, new, amazingly reflective of you and your people. Yet, it feels like it has always been.”  

This portfolio of family spaces ranges from Missy’s personal home she shares with her husband, Harley, and two teenage children, to a family home for younger children and then one created for a couple of newly minted empty nesters. She dials up comfort, orienting furniture around conversation. Her spaces are refined, but welcoming. “With renovations or new builds, a challenge can be countering such contemporary shells,” she says. She brings in architectural elements, uses period hardware and adds pieces from multiple eras. “My rooms always have nods to the past,” she adds.

  • Color, tone and texture complete this family den.
  • Clean lines and room to breathe are an extension of the interiors.
  • For empty nesters, Missy created a sitting room that was formerly a playroom space.
  • A mini-office takes the place of a toy closet.
  • Missy's personal home renovation with new windows - and light.
  • A mix of antique furnishings and clean upholstery grounds the space.
  • Missy's use of symmetry, repetition and scale create visual harmony.