Charlotte Magazine
An Italian Holiday Image Credit: Charlotte Magazine
An Italian Holiday Image Credit: Charlotte Magazine

An Italian Holiday

Born on Christmas day, interior designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips breaks with tradition

Laurie Prince

HOLLY HOLLINGSWORTH PHILLIPS will not be going home for Christmas. The Eastover interior designer and owner of The English Room was born on December 25—thus her nickname, Holly. “I have never been anywhere other than my house or my parents’ house, ever—and my parents live on Museum Drive, in the house that they built in 1962,” she says; her office is walking distance from their home. Her birthdays and Christmases have been wed to geography for 46 years. But this year, she’ll be in Italy.

Violet, her 16-year-old daughter, is a student there. Phillips and her husband of 20 years, along with their two younger children, will travel to see Violet, arriving in central Italy on December 24. They’ll unpack in a 15th century villa guesthouse and dress for Christmas Eve dinner with strangers. “Which will be a complete culture shock—we will have an Italian Christmas,” she says.

For someone who’s never spent Christmas anywhere but with her parents in the house she grew up in, such a change could cause waves of nostalgia and sadness. Not for Phillips. Adventurous, fun-loving, and design-focused, she embraces discovery. Her Instagram account, which has grown to 55,000 followers, documents her eye for beauty—a rainbow of flowers, architecture, abstract art, and patterned textiles.

She has an uncanny knack for special finds, an asset in a profession that

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