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Mandy More

By Kate Abney | October 5, 2016 | Articles

“I can’t believe the opportunities this platform has allowed me; I’ve done things I never thought I’d be able to do... in a career that didn’t even exist 10 years ago,” says Michigan native Mandy Kellogg Rye, fresh off a trip to England to see Farrow & Ball’s latest wallpaper unveiling. When it comes to what’s cool and new, this trendsetter is always one of the first to know.

The in-demand, always-doing, always-creating wonder machine behind WOM, or Waiting on Martha (a lifestyle blog, ultrapopular e-shop, interior design and photo styling business all rolled into one), started her venture as a fun side gig, only to jettison to the top of the ATL blog circuit in just four short years. As for that Martha moniker, it’s an homage to Mandy’s make-it-yourself hero... whom you may know by the last name Stewart? Though it certainly hasn’t taken long for Mandy’s name to become just as memorable.

“I loved my job; I never expected WOM to take off,” says the 36-year-old self-taught talent, a longtime Chicagoan who previously thrived in digital consulting for the healthcare industry. In fact, her first foray into the creative field was a humble handmade bracelet biz on Etsy. Since moving to Atlanta to be closer to family in 2011, she launched her blog and shop, and boldly trailblazed an aesthetic craze-—making no apologies for bucking the status quo. “I’m in my 30s, so I love who I am [and] stay true to myself,” she says. “You’ll lose fans, but you’ll gain other ones, so you should never be afraid to be yourself.”

Mandy’s vision is palpable in the pages of WOM’s newly redesigned, more streamlined blog: a place to educate, inform and entertain readers in small, easily digestible doses. “Design can be very overwhelming to people. It can get scary; to the point where you’re afraid to decorate anything at all,” she says. “But I don’t want that to happen. Maybe a reader can’t recreate everything in a room, but we can provide them with tactical takeaways—an idea for a color palette, a how-to for styling a coffee table. There are so many ways to make every day beautiful.”

Now touting a team of four and an office at ADAC, Mandy’s influence has soared so significantly that top national brands seek her expertise for collabs (think everyone from Kate Spade to Zac Posen; Ralph Lauren is next) that she publishes upon photographing them in her own north Buckhead home. Since 2013, she and her husband of six years, Anthony Rye, and their adorable King Charles cavalier spaniel, Addison (“He’s the most precious thing ever,” Mandy says), have greatly enjoyed gradually fluffing their nest to their tastes. And though it’s technically a four-bedroom residence, Mandy’s happily turned one of the spares into a spot-speckled home office and the other into a styling closet stuffed to the gills with props. “So many plates, so many spoons, so many napkins,” says the tastemaker, who’s usually cooking when not absorbed in other creative pursuits.

Asked about Anthony’s favorite element in the house, Mandy’s response is immediate: “The television—I’m not kidding.” Her sole requirement? That the flat screen fit neatly above her favorite found console. “It literally goes to the edge,” she laughs. “Anthony is an amazing man. He doesn’t care about design, so he lets me do what I do. We have a leopard stair runner... and he doesn’t care.” Besides a number of treasured custom pieces (think Taylor Burke Home X-benches and custom upholstery), the Rye home is replete with pillows from Lacefield Designs, furniture from Restoration Hardware, lighting from Currey & Company, tons of market vintage discoveries and, of course, accessories from her own WOM shop. But unlike the bold aesthetic that sells wildly from the store, Mandy likes to keep her comparatively calming home “mostly neutral and traditional, with bright modern pops.” The deceptively white walls are actually the palest of lavender (a color she calls grape au lait), while the couple’s “ginormous” bedroom is awash in deep gray, and their living room ceiling is snorkel blue. Fitting, considering the surrounding accents. “I love ginger jars. Blue and white,” Mandy notes. “My aesthetic has changed a lot since I moved South. I’ve embraced Southernness, chinoiserie—I’ve hung vintage oyster plates on the wall. In all my 10 years in Chicago, it’s something I never could have imagined doing.”

But change is good, Mandy asserts (“I believe in perfect divine timing”), and her own home is a testament to this, containing a melange of enviable accents that can move about according to her whims: a bright-orange skirted entry table, a rattan hanging swing, a Midcentury-inspired chandelier and... art—so much art. Collecting is a new pastime for Mandy, since her move to Atlanta afforded so much more space. Paintings by locals like Sally King Benedict, Britt Bass and Elaine Burge mix with her friend Gray Malin’s photographs and framed African textiles... plus anthropomorphic garden stools, tasseled poufs, snakeskin-covered Parsons consoles, African juju hats, sheepskins, aluminum-clad steamer trunks, linen-upholstered porter chairs and—naturally—plenty of bar carts.

But even between the ongoing decorating and the proliferation of work projects, Mandy’s mission to make every day more beautiful never stalls. This month, she’ll debut two designer models at the high-end AMLI high-rise across from Phipps, unveil a pop-up shop at Steve McKenzie’s to remain installed through January (look for a permanent brick-and-mortar location soon!), speak at the sold-out Create & Cultivate conference and co-host Lipton’s Chef Fest. “There’s also talk of a book,” Mandy hints. “Mostly, we’re just trying to grow WOM in a way that feels the most authentic and fun.” And even as one of the city’s greatest style gurus, she’s loath to compete or compare herself to the pack. “I believe that comparison is the thief of joy. The people I follow on Instagram are farmers. I love food.”



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