By Emily Griffin

Owner of Davishire Interiors and self-proclaimed queen of ottomans, designer Shirley Horowitz entered the world of interior design nearly 35 years ago on a whim and has been searching for ways to make living spaces more versatile, unique and comfortable ever since.

After graduating from college and after doing other various jobs, Nashville native Horowitz decided she wanted to be in interior design. She began by working for a man in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, named Mr. Beck, who mentored her and gave her a sense of direction for her art.

Shirley Horowitz with dogs Oliver and Lizzy.

“He had the most wonderful store called Beck’s Charter Oaks,” Horowitz says. “He taught me so much – so much more than school – because he taught me about furniture: the good, the bad, how to look for quality items. I saw the very best at his shop – I saw some antiques, and I saw some things from Europe. I saw all kinds of things that he would bring over and mix in, which is very unlike a furniture store.”

Seeing the harmony of traditional and European items in Beck’s Charter Oaks inspired Horowitz, so she began adding antiques into her contemporary designs to make them unique and eccentric.

“Because we have all different kinds of clients and we have all different kinds of tastes, I like to mix things. You know, I’ll take a copy of a 16th century bench and put it next to a half-round that was done in the late 18th century, so it’s contemporary, yet traditional,” she says. “And then next to that there could be a tufted chair with an ottoman. I like mixing.”

Her company is named Davishire Interiors as an ode to all the love and support her husband, David, has shown her over the years.

“My husband helped me so much with this. He’s encouraged me. He’s really been behind me, and it takes a lot for something like this,” says Horowitz. “I may be gone for a week, I might get home late, so he had to baby sit a lot when the children were growing up, so I decided to name it a combination of our names.”

In love with all things comfortable and versatile, Horowitz’s current favorite design option is the ottoman.

“I’m sort of the queen of ottomans. I like for them to serve as tables with a tray on it. I like that you can move them around and put your feet up on them,” Horowitz says. “I think all of those things are important, and I think ottomans are one of the greatest little inventions for interiors.”

Along with ottomans, Shirley also thinks that artwork is something you can never have enough of. She buys artwork at auctions all over the world because, according to Horowitz, bare walls are just too, “aw, come on, put something up there.”

“I buy it whatever the color, because I’m not worried about that. It’ll fit in somewhere,” she says. “I love artwork and I think it’s very, very important in a home, an office, anywhere. You can have nice windows, but you don’t have windows on all four walls. Art adds color and warmth, it gives you something to look at at night time when you can’t look out the window.”

One thing Horowitz’s will always love about being a designer is the joy she sees on her clients faces when she’s done with their space.

“You know, when they say, ‘Oh, my God, we love the room,’ ‘we love the house,’ or ‘we love the porch,’ whatever it is we’ve done for them, it gives you such a fabulous feeling for people to respond like that because being happy in your surroundings is, I think, very important.”

Davishire Interiors, 2106 21st Ave S., 615-298-2670

Work by Shirley Horowitz