Anna Beth Chao, better known to readers by her blog name, AB Chao, has enough
Southern charm and spunk to launch a whole new Designing Women series. By herself.
She could be the entire cast.
Chao is also among the elite set of design bloggers who have been able to turn their
passion into a full-time gig. Although she has been writing on the web since 2001, Chao
turned her focus to blogging about design in 2007. Since then, she’s taken readers through
the journey of turning her Monroe, LA home into a stunning masterpiece while gaining
readers, decorating clients and tons of press. On April 1, she left her full-time job as a
communications writer to focus on her own interior design business.
We see big things happening for ABC. So, before she spawns her own hit sitcom, Lexi
Green, a regular contributor to The Inside Source, eBay s digital style magazine, sat
down with her.
The Inside Source: Hi, AB! I ts great to meet you. To start off, lets talk a bit about
your personal aesthetic. How would you describe it?
AB Chao: Gosh, I knew you were going to ask me this and I have no idea how to answer!
I don t know, modern eclectic. Or, how about: southern, modern, fancy. I really do have a
traditional southern aesthetic, but I am also into other styles. I love mid-century modern,
Hollywood Regency, and Jonathan Adler-type situations. But I really feel it comes back
to the southern roots.
The Inside Source: Whats your favorite part of being a Southerner?
AB Chao: Well, I ve got to say there s a huge difference between being a southerner and
being from Louisiana. Because Louisiana really is its own culture. The thing I love about
being from Louisiana is the crawfish and beer! And the thing I love the most about being
about being a Southerner isI don t know we re just kind of better than everybody else!
No, I m just kidding. We re just so proud of our state; we ve been through quite a bit
here and we ve risen above so much of it.
The Inside Source: Weve read so much about the redesign of your home in Monroe,
LA. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
AB Chao: Well, we moved to our home in 2003, but we didn t start changing things
until 2009. We redid the kitchen, and surprised my daughter Madeleine with a redone
bedroom, and then we did my bedroom and added a bathroom. Anthology magazine shot
our home last June, but it looks completely different now. I can t stop!
The Inside Source: So what are you focusing on now for your home?
AB Chao: I ve been concentrating on the outside. I m obsessed with the patio and getting our plants perfect. Oh my goodness, I m so obsessed with my plants. I really go out there every morning like an 87-year old woman and check in on them.
The Inside Source: What has been a favorite post from your blog?
AB Chao: I really, really loved showing the before and after of Madeleines room. Also,
my bedroom. I love a good before and after; the kind where you can t even believe it s the same space. And that is true of both these spaces.
The Inside Source: How do you use eBay to help you decorate your own home or find
items for clients?
AB Chao: I use eBay all the time. Constantly! Seriously. I live in a very small town; we
don t have a great Craigslist or flea markets or vintage stores, so eBay is my go-to when
I need to find anything for myself or clients. I am on eBay on a daily basis. I have a list
of things I search for all the time. There s one Kate Spade dress from years ago that I am
always on the watch-out for and lots of shoes! But here are a few things from my list that
I have been recently scouting for both personal use and for my clients.
Meredith Barnett is the Editorial Director for The Inside Source, a digital style magazine presented by eBay. The Inside Source writer Lexi Green authored this article in its original form. Click here to read it in full and to check out Chao s eBay wish list. (Images courtesy of AB Chao.)