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After photographing and styling her way around the world, Eleanor Roper brings her impeccable taste back South.

Inspired by all things on the continent, in 1998, the designer ventured to East Africa for the purpose of teaching AIDS awareness in rural schools and ended up co-founding a center for abandoned children.

Eleanor Roper effortlessly embodies that creative panache that comes with a storied career in magazines—Vogue, Vanity Fair, Traditional Home—mixed with the eye of a flawless interior designer who lives to travel. Her first love is photography and, although she’s crazy about Instagram, she still relishes the “click, click, clank, clank,” of her classic Hasselblad camera. As a revered member of Atlanta’s design community, we missed her when she moved to the North Fork of Long Island a few years ago. Now she’s back, and says, “as much as Atlanta has become ubermetropolitan, it still speaks to the pastoral and Southern way of life that I love.” Here’s a glimpse of what inspires her to create such an envious life for herself and her clients.