For Ware Porter, business is deeply personal. Twelve years into his interior design career, Porter has come to value the experience of building lasting connections with clients as much as the aesthetic aspect of his work. “The easy part is making something look good,” said Porter. “We’re in your personal space so much that we inevitably become like friends and family. We try to have this hand-holding relationship for the long haul.”  

Those client relationships often extend across multiple homes, each offering a fresh canvas. According to Porter, every property tells him what it needs. The prescription often includes a dose of maximalist energy, replete with colors, patterns, and textures that reflect Porter’s unique point of view, which prizes individuality over “following the herd.”

“Everybody wants what everybody else has,” said Porter. “I want what everybody else does not have.”

Though he grew up learning from the “exquisite eye” of his mother and grandmother,” Porter studied business and began his career in real estate development. During those early days, a friend asked him for design help on a home she purchased. That experience was soon followed by a massive assignment on Italy’s Amalfi Coast that catapulted Porter up the learning curve. From there, said Porter, “It kind of came to me and snowballed out of control.” 

The snowball effect has led Porter and his team to a stable of loyal clients and the ability to choose projects that resonate, whether because of a beautiful location or a treasured relationship. “All of them need to mean something,” he said.

Porter finds inspiration in the sights, smells, and “new everything” he encounters while traveling for projects, like those currently underway in Los Angeles’ Pacific Palisades, Avery Island, and North Carolina, among other locales. The Birmingham native also finds a never-ending muse in his adopted hometown of New Orleans. “There’s no place I’d rather be,” he said.

Despite his lengthy CV, one item remains on Porter’s professional bucket list: “I’ve never had a mountain house job… When are we going to get that call from Aspen or the Alps?”

Ware M Porter & Co., 504-267-3868,, @waremporter.