In 1996, Phoebe and Jim Howard opened the doors to their first store, Mrs. Howard, in Jacksonville, Florida, hoping to demystify the decorating process for their customers. The goal was simple: to create a retail space that showcased Jim’s architectural and decorating talent, and Phoebe’s natural skills for buying, decorating and merchandising. With equal parts exceptional customer service and a well-rounded mix of furniture, antiques and accessories, the store was an instant success. Five years later, they added another store, Max & Company, which features a younger, more modern appeal. Now, the Howards have Mrs. Howard and Max & Company stores in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the years, Phoebe’s penchant for creating stylish spaces has evolved into her own brand of decorating, which has garnered praise from national media as well as her clients. Her work is encapsulated in her three best-selling books, The Joy of Decorating and Mrs. Howard, Room by Room, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang and Coastal Blues, published by Henry N. Abrahams.