Monah Ahmad, interior designer stands in the family room for a condo project she designed

Transitional Design

By Elizabeth A. Davis
Photography by Adam Brimer

Mona Ahmad got her first college degree in business and accounting. Today, she deals more in the realm of space planning, colors and textures.

While her family’s home was under construction several years ago, she learned about design and became interested in bringing space inside a home to life. With her children off to college, Ahmad decided to go back to school and study interior design at UTC. She completed her degree in 2013 and started her own interior design business in the Chattanooga and north Georgia area. Ahmad recently designed the interior spaces for loft condominiums created out of an old elementary school, which was featured in Chattanooga’s CityScope magazine. The mix of a traditional building with a modern loft fit right in with her transitional focus.

“Transitional is a blend of classic and contemporary with clean lines and soft, understated colors,” she says, standing in the kitchen of a Chattanooga home she redesigned for a friend and local pediatrician. “Transitional can be used in a traditional environment and gives the home a contemporary twist without looking out of place. It is the best of both worlds.”

When working with clients, Ahmad seeks to know them, how they function in a space and their personal needs. She works in details that may seem small but make a difference. For instance, if a young child is going to unload a dishwasher, the plates and glasses need to be put away in lower cabinets.

“The home should be a reflection of my clients,” Ahmad says. “I like to build a room around what they would enjoy and what will bring them peace and happiness.” For the project featured in these images, Ahmad created rooms with a light and airy look, as the client requested.

Family Room

decorated living room with fireplace, hanging lights
This room is adjacent to the kitchen and features soft, neutral colors of gray, beige and white. The dark walnut finish on the floor brings warmth and offsets the light walls and furniture. Elements of transitional design also are found in the room’s textures of the linen sofas and chairs, rustic pine table with iron legs and a forged sunburst over the mantle. The use of gold and silver together is another signature of Ahmad’s work. For a pop of color, she commissioned the paintings and had the gold and silver frames custom made.


view of kitchen
The space and layout were completely redesigned and reconfigured, using Ahmad’s detailed drawings. Traditional surfaces of stone and wood are mixed with stainless steel appliances, contemporary hardware and Shaker-style cabinet doors. The soft cowhide stools provide texture. The geometric backsplash is another modern twist. The marble was custom cut to fit the space. The pendant lights were hand forged.

Dining Room

dining room with table settings and staircase in background
The mix of gold and silver carries over from the other rooms, and texture comes from the wood table, linen chairs and rug. The chandelier is a modern take on a traditional fixture. Ahmad’s client likes birds, and white wood bird figures are placed in a gold shell bowl.

Living Room

view of living room from the stairway with blue painting over fireplace
The blue painting in the center was another piece of custom art and framing. There is a variation of height in the furniture and a mix of straight lines of the sofa and curves of the chairs in front of the fireplace. Again, there is more gold and silver, and Ahmad adds a touch of fresh greenery to freshen the room.