Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Alaina Ralph

Alaina Ralph of Alaina Michelle Ralph LLC is designing a guest bedroom in the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 where she plans to incorporate a sense of history into the space with art, layering and pops of color. This is the first show house she has participated in and is especially excited to work with Design Chair Mary Douglas Drysdale again, who she interned for 15 years ago. Read more about her design concept in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


Rendering of Alaina Ralph’s guest bedroom at ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 by Alaina Ralph.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Alaina Ralph: In two words: moody maximalism. I want the guest bedroom to have a lot of attitude, but also want it to be a relaxing and inviting space. I like my projects to look like they have evolved over time, giving them a sense of history, and this room does just that, as well as have a modern feel. I started with the grisaille scenic wallpaper from Alderman Arts and layered in a contemporary neutral pattern at the windows. I added in pops of fuschia and a chartreuse yellow pulled from an abstract painting, and mixed antiques and contemporary furniture for a timeless design.


This bedroom designed by Alaina Ralph provides inspiration for her room at ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Photo by Peter Murdock.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
AR: Not sure I can choose a favorite! I am excited about a convex starburst mirror I found in the style of Line Vautrin that I think will be the jewel of the room.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
AR: I designed a bedroom in Charleston that has a similar moodiness to it, although the overall feel is more traditional than the room I am designing for the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. The use of a reproduction wallpaper and an antique American bed gave my previous project a little history, which is the goal for the show house bedroom as well.


Alaina Ralph incorporated treasured accessories into this bedroom. Photo by Peter Murdock.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
AR: This will be my first one! I love ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine and Design Chair Mary Douglas Drysdale. Fifteen years ago I got my start working as Mary’s intern so when I heard I would get to work on a project she was involved in, I jumped at the chance.

SM: What’s next for you design-wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
AR: I am wrapping up two large projects currently: one I have been working on for the last four years; and the second project is my own home. I just got married and we moved from a condo in Charleston to a house about five minutes away. The house has great bones, but needs a little added character. I am designing a colorful coral kitchen with terra cotta floors in the heart of the home that will set the tone for the rest of the design.


This Alaina Ralph-designed bedroom looks like it evolved over time. Photo by Peter Murdock.


About the Designer | Alaina Ralph of Alaina Michelle Ralph LLC runs a boutique interior design firm based in her adoptive home, Charleston, South Carolina where she works on projects small and large locally and all over the country. Offering full interior design services, Ralph focuses on creating timeless environments that are driven by her client’s needs and personality, all while being careful to respect the narrative set by the space itself. She studied painting at the University of Florida and went on to receive her Masters in Interior Design from George Washington University.


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit First Responders of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; open August 21 – September 7, 2020.

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