In anticipation of the Decoratorsí Show House debut on Saturday in Upper Arlington, the area chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers hosted renowned designer Alexa Hampton Friday.

Hampton is the president of Mark Hampton Inc., the design firm founded by her father. Sheís consistently tapped by national architecture and design magazines as one of the countryís best designers, recognized for her elegant taste and classical styling.

We chatted with Hampton about good design, a language she learned to speak fluently at a young age: When she was 25 she sold her Volkswagen Jetta to buy a designer upholstered couch.

ďYou gotta have a place to nap,Ē she jokes.

óJackie Mantey

On enjoying her visits to Columbus: I see the Midwest as one of the last reliable locations for great pockets of architecture and design.

On a look she loves: Iím always kind of having a navy blue moment. People think of it as beachy, but I like navy and silver, navy and chocolate brown. Iíd like to see more of it in formal settings.

On a look she wants to see again: I grew up in the era of chintz. Iíd love to see that pattern come back. I always feel very comfortable using the pattern in linen [instead of cotton]. Itís a way to make it fresher and feel like you havenít grannied out. I feel like itís on the way back.

On not getting intimidated by the work in the Decoratorsí Show House: Treat it like a farmerís market. You gotta go see whatís new, whatís fresh. What do you respond to when you squeeze it?

On her new book: Design is a language and it can be taught and learned. Thatís not to say youíre going to be Shakespeare, but you can learn good grammar. Generally speaking, design is so mythicized. Itís valuable to imagine thatís itís a language. There are rulesÖ Iíve divided it into four categories. Contrast is the verb in the sentence. It keeps your eye bouncing around the room. Proportion is like the grammar. Proper proportion creates logic. Color is the adjective... You can create words and feeling through how you use color. And balance I see as the summation of it all.

On her kids reaching an age where she can move the good furniture back in: This is a big deal. Iíve been sitting on Pottery Barn bean bags.