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Inspiration for interior design is derived from many sources. For Ocean Springs Realtor Debra Tatum, it came from a magazine picture of a sofa. “I just fell in love,” she says of the sofa covered in a cream fabric with giant gold leaves printed on it. The sofa was designed by Jan Showers, an interior and furniture designer from Dallas. “I showed Herb Moore the photo and he helped find the fabric," Debra says.

From there, a design concept was born. The color palette in the main living spaces, as well as the overall design esthetic, was developed from the style and color of that one piece of furniture.

Mostly transitional in style — a mixture of pure traditional with a good dose of contemporary — the Tatums’ home in Fort Bayou is decorated in tones of pewter, pale watery blue and yellow, with plenty of shots of bright colors like apple green, purple and gold in the accessories. Debra and her husband, Paul, originally from Hattiesburg, moved full time to the Coast after spending vacation time here. After Katrina destroyed the rather bland ranch house they had purchased and were in the process of updating, the couple decided to build their dream home.

Relying on her sense of style and knowledge of good design principles, Debra began seeking out interior designers to help her achieve her goals. She turned to Debbie Batia of Merchiston Hall to help with choosing other furniture and accessories, and Sharon Busby of Ocean Springs for fabrics and drapery design.

A highlight of the home is fine faux-finish work completed by Beverly Holgate. “I thought she was going to move in with me,” Debra says. “Her work is exquisite and time-intensive but so worth it.”

In the process of building their home (which “took 2 1/2 years from when we started to when the pool was finished,” Debra says), the Tatums spent time gathering the inspiration they needed from pictures culled from magazines, product brochures and design books.

Her best tip: “Seek inspiration from a wide variety of source and then trust your instincts and rely on the experts to help you achieve your dream.”