Taking Ownership of Your Style with Studio LaLoc

 

 So, this interview is so good that I didn't edit out very much.  It's a bit longer than most we share here on Style Matters, and I even considered breaking it up into two parts, but honestly, I'm so excited about so many of my guests this season that I just don't have room in our schedule to extend this one!  So, get comfortable because you're in for a lot of little gems of inspiration today!  Lauren Caron is the owner and principle designer of Studio LaLoc, now based in Seattle.  But she started her career working at Tiffany's flagship store in Manhattan working on product display.  From there, she worked her way up at the iconic Bergdorf Goodman's, creating many, many atmospheric experiences for the Bergdorf client.  That background and everything she learned there is sprinkled throughout our conversation and, you'll hear how excited I get by all of the ways in which Lauren has translated those talents into creating meaningful homes.  

 

LAUREN CARON'S WORK

 

 EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Hey there, welcome to another season of the Style Matters Podcast brought to you by little yellow couch. This show is for people with real lives and real homes, the kinds of lives and homes that have constraints and are sometimes messy and they are never perfect. But despite all of this, if you're still obsessed with creating a home, you love this podcast is definitely for you.

I'm Zandra your host. And I believe that how you set up your home can actually help you live your best life and how you set it up and how you design it and decorate it. That all becomes what we call your signature style. And the first step toward this, it has nothing to do with design rules. The first step is in knowing who you are.

So to that end, I do have a question for you. What do you think is the number one mistake that you're making in your home right now, if you're curious to know, go over to little yellow couch.com and take our quiz, and then I'll send you some actionable steps that you can take to start addressing that particular issue and hint, hint.

It probably has something to do with the shift in your mindset. Cause I love a good mindset shift. Okay. This interview was so good that I didn't edit out very much. So it's a bit longer than most that we share here on Style Matters and I even considered breaking it up into two parts, but honestly, I'm just so thrilled about so many of my guests this season that I just don't have room in the schedule to extend this one.

So get comfortable because you're in for a lot of little gems of inspiration today, Lauren, Karen is the owner and principal designer of studio luck now based in Seattle, but she started her career working at Tiffany's flagship store in Manhattan, working on product display. And from there, she worked her way up at the iconic Bergdorf Goodman, managing entire floors of the store experience by creating many,

many atmospheric experiences for the Bergdorf client, that background and everything she learned there is sprinkled throughout our conversation. It's super interesting. And you'll hear how excited I get by all of the ways in which Lauren has translated those talents into creating meaningful homes. Here she is Lauren. Karen, thank you so much for coming on the Style Matters Podcast I want to start off really quickly by asking you,

what is the backstory behind the name of your design company, which is studio LA Loche Studio lock is based on my name, which is Lauren Lothrop Karen and I wanted a design firm name that represented myself, but wasn't only about me because I like the concept of having a company and having potential for growth. And I believe that when you work for a company,

if you're not going to put all of yourself into it, unless you feel like you have some ownership. So I would love that anybody that come works for me and as we grow, they feel like they are there that much a part of the brand as I am. Yeah. So I didn't want it to be like Lauren Karen interiors, because it always was just going to focus on me.

So I have to make fun of myself for just a second, which we were doing even before I started recording, which is, I just made you sound much fancier by calling you a Lauren Koran Lauren. Karen. Okay. So LA is, what is that name? Is that Lauren LA ELO is Lothrop is my middle name. And then C is for Karen.

So yeah, and it sounded very French. It does An aesthetic that I'm really like connected to. And it was a unique word. It was a S a standalone word, and it feels strong with the hard sound of the sea at the end. So it just felt like the right name for this brand and for, to be somewhat connected to me and to have that background,

but also to be abstract enough that clients didn't know it was just for Lauren Karen interiors, Right? Oh my gosh. Well, that's so great. When, when, when we started, I used to have a business partner when we started little yellow couch, we also didn't want to use our names. We wanted it to be kind of this, this other entity so I can relate.

I feel like we just got a little branding lesson there, so thank you. I wanna, I, to really dig into how you grew up, because it sounds like through the influence of your mom and the home that you lived in, I think it was a historic home and it really affected you. And in terms of your interest in design, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Yeah, so it's definitely true. My mom has had a lot of effect on me and the home that we grew up in. So it's a 1801 federal Style house. It was built for actually as a school originally, it was the Woodstock Academy building. And it was the interesting story behind the houses. It was actually a half mile from where it is now.

It was, it was up on the Hill. And then in, I think the 1830s, they put it on logs, pulled by horses and rolled it to where it stands now because they, I guess the school was growing and they built a larger Academy building. So that larger one is still there. And yeah, and so our house then was transformed into a home.

And I think there was like a clock tower that has been removed that is now on a church. That's actually about a mile away. And, and where's all this located. It's in Connecticut, Northeast, Connecticut. The rest of the interiors are interesting because when they moved the house down the Hill and then it, they transformed it into a home, they added the addition to the back and then they put curves inside of all of the interior walls and the front part of the house.

My mother says that that was like during the 1830s, 1850s, when it was like the Victorian period. So there's some really beautiful curved corners. They're a pain to put moldings on there. It's really interesting. So yeah, that was the Style of the house. My mother was, or is a very talented, I say hobby decorator because she has never done it professionally.

She's a, she was an interior or she was a landscape designer for many years and yeah. And she sold statuary and Rose bushes. She had, we have about three acres of gardens around the house that she has designed and maintained. She's one of the most knowledgeable people about design and interiors that I know more so than a lot of trained designers. And a lot of that has come from just personal discovery and research and meeting with some,

she had a lot of friends that were older than her that were really interested in interiors and design. And I think she learned a lot from them. And so her style, I would say is very traditional or what a lot of people would call traditional. And she enjoys a lot of color patterns, antiques. And I would say that it definitely leans more formal and she enjoys,

she does enjoy like adding interest and taking risks with her decor. And I think that was very much influential to me in that hallway. When you enter the house, she found this wallpaper that has statuary on it. It's the four seasons. And she actually had my dad individually cut out the four seasons and painted the walls, this lit light, I think it's called borrowed light,

that light, light blue from Farrow and ball. And so they papered it. And then she had a friend who was an artist create Trump lawyer, almost like the, a foe 3d effect on the, the railings of the wallpaper. And then they painted the far. So the whole room looks, it's really interesting. And it's like, it's like an art piece,

but it's, it's beautiful. And it's very unique. But I do remember being embarrassed when I was in third grade, having friends come over and there's statues with their boobs and everything exposed. Right. But yeah, so she was<inaudible> So promiscuous. So she was always just very, she liked to have fun with the home and experiment. And we had a room.

Our library was the Ralph Lauren library because she wallpaper, or she bolstered the sofa in Ralph Lauren fabrics. And our living room was always like the formal living room and very French. And I remember learning about at a young age, how the French would upholster their, like the Louise Style chairs with the formal fabric on the front and a check or a Stripe on the back.

And that was something that my mother taught me when I was young. So yeah. So all of that, I think very much influenced me whether I really appreciated it or didn't appreciate it at the time. And I would say when I was young, I was probably one of my only friends who had the formal living room or a keeping room as she calls it off the kitchen and photo fireplaces that she created to add symmetry to rooms.

So, Wow. She sounds like an amazing person. And I don't know if you have any pictures of her home that you feel like sharing, but if you do, I want to put them up in the show notes page, I've got to see this Trump loyal wallpaper thing, right? Yeah. I definitely will. And I can give her a call out that anybody on Instagram,

she's Judith greys on Instagram and she is quite active. Oh my gosh. So what, how do you spell that? It's Judith J U D I T H I think it's just her name. I don't think there's a.in there. And then G R I E S is her, I'm going to, I'm going to double check that and put it in the show notes page as well,

because now I got to follow her. Yeah. It's yeah. It's just her name. She does a lot of, she shows a lot of flowers because she still gardens all the time. Right? Yeah. Her home is in there and we've created a hashtag called mama Jude's gram as a joke. And so when I take pictures of her house, I usually tack it as that.

So, Oh my gosh. I don't want to put both hashtags and put the hashtag and her and her account on the show notes page. She sounds wonderful. I can't wait for her to hear this, this episode. So yeah, she obviously left her Mark on you. And I would, I would say that your style to me has a lot of traditional elements to it,

but it's, it's got a lot of, there's still a lot of boldness to it. Anyway, we're going to get all to all of that. I absolutely love the way you put things together and pull different styles together. So I'm excited to talk about that, but before we turn to interiors, I want a quick peek into your life as a window designer and store display designer for the big time brands like Bergdorf's who is they're famous for their windows.

So what was that like doing that kind of work? Yeah. Well, when I, when I started out, I originally went to art school and in my second or third year, I decided that school and Connecticut wasn't really right for me. And I needed to find a career that was artistic and paid the bills. So around that time I visited New York and it was the holidays.

And I passed by Bergdorf's windows for the first time. And I was completely enamored. And there was, was the year that they had this flapper draped over a zebra from payroll. And I just remember being like completely in awe because I have, I'm a horse person. I I'm an equestrian. And I ride and zebras have been my favorite animals since I can remember.

So I saw these store windows and I was like, what is this? First of all? And there is a zebra in the window. So it, it sounds cheesy, but I kind of took it as a sign that like, this is, this is what I needed to do. So from then on, I decided that I was going to move to New York and I was going to go to school for window displays.

And someday I would work at Bergdorf's. Oh my gosh. I mean, they, they are works of art. These displays, they truly are. So, but anyway, sorry, go ahead. I mean, they're, they're incredible. And definitely I'd love to talk more about them in a minute, but yeah, so I ended up going to fit,

which is the fashion Institute of technology. And I studied visual presentation and exhibition design, and I had the opportunity to freelance at several different retailers, like, and showrooms such as Macy's and Ralph Lauren and Brooks brothers and Christie's. And so that was great. But then my first real job out of college was at Tiffany's and that was working on their creative visual team where I helped with designing the jewelry display forms that went into the store fixtures and window displays.

So that was, that was wonderful. I was there for about four years and I always still wanted to work at Bergdorf's Who wouldn't. I mean, that's sort of like the top of window display. Okay. I mean, Tiffany's is no slouch either. They do some really creative things too, but go ahead. Tiffany's was wonderful. And I learned a lot,

but I was always just kind of drawn across 57th street or actually like that corner of fifth Avenue and 57th street. And so my create, my, my director at the time was friends with somebody at Bergdorf's, who was also a director and he arranged an informational interview with me. And so I was, I had the interview and the director was, he was for ready to wear.

And he said, you aren't really a fashion person. I, I see you're more, you know, your talent license jewelry and like the displays. And I also had a blog at the time where I focused on interiors and he said, and I had shown some of that because I didn't really know what to bring in. It was in my mind,

it was just an informational interview. And so he introduced me to the non ready to wear a director. And they actually had a position open as a manager role for decorative home and beauty. And I met with that director and five interviews later, they gave me the job. So that was unexpected, but it was a really wonderful opportunity that I had to take,

Oh, I'm getting goosebumps right now. Cause it's like, you know, it's a bucket list thing that you're like, I'm going to work there someday. Exactly. It was definitely, it was not expected. And I would say that I was young for that role and I've felt it was my dream job, but I felt like the weight of the world on me to prove myself,

because I felt that I was looking at young for the position. And I knew that there was a lot of eyes on me. And even in school, we always in my department or my program, it was like, Doris was the absolute epitome. And the top of the, you know, it was like what you wanted to work for. And I had kind of like jumped,

jumped my career ahead like five or six years from what I was expecting. So, so it was really, it was a lot of work. It was incredibly fast pace. We were rolling out installs and displays and events every single day. The turnaround time on average for installations was two to four weeks from concept to completion. And about a year into my role,

my director left and went to another company. And so they, they gave me the main floor as well to oversee, Gosh, it must have been doing something right. Yeah. I mean, it was great. There was so much autonomy, which was really wonderful because it was very different from Tiffany's. I didn't feel like I actually had enough time to get approvals,

but my VP would walk through the floor and be like, this looks great, great job. I like this. Keep going with it. You know? So that was extremely rewarding. And just the idea that the client that I had was basically my imagination for working on the main floor. We did some really major installations and I was able to work with David Hoey.

Who's the window director and come up with some concepts that were in line with the windows, especially for fashion week. So that was, that was really wonderful. I would say that it was equally exhausting. It is. It's a lot of pressure. Yeah, I can, I can feel it. Yeah. So, But I would say the most rewarding aspect of the job where the opportunity that I was given to work with some of now,

for me, like the most influential designers and craftsmen in the industry of interior design that, so Kelly Wearstler had a shop there and she had designed the restaurant. And so she would come to the store often and discussed her product selection and her designs. And we would, we collaborated on a hallway together and John Darien had, he had his collection there and he would come into the store often.

And Alessandra Rocca did a hallway when she had that collection with, I believe it was Schumacher. So she and her team were really wonderful to work with. And I have so much appreciation for her cause she was just so supportive and wonderful. How so? So It's a great background for interior design, as you're just saying for yourself and what, what turned you into that area of the design field?

So, as I kind of mentioned before, I was writing a blog about interior design when I was working at Tiffany's and it kind of fell off when I was at Bergdorf's cause I had too much work, but I always was renovating or updating or decorating our apartments that we lived in, in New York. And so it was always kind of like practicing on the side and doing it for myself.

And then having worked at Bergdorf's and decorative home, every time we would do a new hallway or a loft installation or a shop in shop. And even in beauty, I would work with architects on and the brands on redesigning their shops. It was a lot of interior design focus. And I really enjoyed that aspect the most. And that was where I would have the most fun.

I came to a point where I felt like I'm running this business of these store, these floors myself, like each one had a certain budget that I had to manage. And I had a team that I was managing. And then for the installs, I would work with different bed. We call them vendors, but just fabricators or companies that would do the buildouts for us.

And a lot of freelancers we would work with with artists. And I just felt like this is something that I could, I could easily do on my own at this point. And I really wanted to do more residential interior design. I wanted to connect more with individuals where as, when I was designing the story, you would create these displays and installations,

but you didn't really feel like you made a, a what's the word like you didn't really feel like you made a direct impact on people's lives. Right. You know, you're selling product. And for somebody like me, who's into visual. That was a direct impact for me when I was in school. But I didn't know the people who were bringing the products home.

I didn't know what the houses looked like that they were going into. And I really wanted to have that more personal connection. Well, that's such a great reason to switch over. Yeah. And so I would say that that that was a driving factor. And then just knowing that I could actually do it and I can handle it is what made it feel like it was possible.

So I ended up deciding at the end of 2014 that I wanted to start my own firm and I wanted to do 50% retail store design and displays and still visual and then 50% in residential interior design. So, and is that what you're still doing now? As of now that since I live in Seattle, I'm not really doing a lot of re retail or store design.

I would love to do it if anybody's listening, but you know, I moved, I was going back and forth and especially since the pandemic has hit, I've not been to New York since March, but the first two years I had a couple of contracts with companies and I worked on a hotel and did design work for more on the more commercial and hospitality and alongside of residential interiors.

So I want to jump into interior design now and I pull apart a particular post that you wrote on your current blog, which is called a layered life, which I absolutely love that name. You wrote this one that was about incorporating the principles of design and it really kind of, it, it gives everyone or anyone an understanding of the foundations or the basics of what a designer learns.

And I'm particularly interested in one of them. One of these does the principles, which is rhythm. And I think I've been referring to it as the visual flow in a room, but I really liked the word rhythm so much more. So tell us what it is and give us an example of, of what you mean by rhythm and how it plays out in a room.

Sure. I'd like to go back a little bit to my artists roots. And I remember learning about these principles of design. I think when I was in, even in fifth grade, we had to create a different types of artwork that represented each principle. So that really helped with having it's stick into my mind. And it wasn't until years later that I realized that you could apply it to interiors.

And I would say a lot of that happened because I was designing windows and those were 3d spaces. But when you design windows, you're still directing the point of view and the viewer see, and how the viewer sees that composition. So David Hoey, again, just bringing him up. He was a master at utilizing these principles in his window displays and you'll see them play with scale or angles or the focal point,

repetition, all those different principles that I speak to in the blog post. And so when I was creating displays myself, I was really focusing on vignettes because when you're walking through a space, you kind of have to think of those moments that you stop and look, and you were kind of traveling throughout the room, but it wasn't until I kind of made that realization,

that all good interiors incorporate these principles as well, that it kind of sparked this blog post. It's such a good blog post. Okay. So sorry, go on. Yeah. So rhythm, I would say is a bit more conceptional, but I would definitely agree that it, it, it is visual flow in a way. And I like to think of it,

like if you're looking at a room or an image of a room and if you're still in the room and you step back and you almost blur your vision and you try to get an idea for what you're seeing in that blurriness, like how do your eyes move around the space and how does it feel when you jump from one object to another? And what is that pace in a way?

So rhythm can often refer to pattern in line and not so literally, but more conceptually again. So then it would be like the objects in this space, how they're laid out the moldings and the architecture can create lines in a room, picture walls or gallery walls can kind of create a sense of like a, what's the word for it. Like your eyes would kind of like bounce around from image,

from picture to picture. And then books, books, and shelves can create like a really relaxed rhythm in a way where if they're not perfectly arranged in color, they could kind of be like, think of like an old English library in a way, and how that just feels very relaxed. And almost like the way the books are swaying back and forth on how they're set in the shelves kind of has that feel of little more relaxed rhythm about it.

And wallpaper is probably a little more literal, but if you were to imagine maybe some floral or trying to think like a<inaudible> kind of paper with the winding trees and the way that those trees make like a kind of Kirby flowing upwards, like that is a rhythm that you would feel throughout the room. Talk about. I think you mentioned molding creates lines in a room,

but you, I think you also talked about the lines in floorboards. Yes, definitely. So the floors and if somebody was to create like a room that has bead board in it, or if it's horizontal tongue and groove paneling, those lines are very like the linear lines. It's more quick and direct. And if it's used in a lot of it's used over and over again,

it creates kind of like a, a repetition and that repetition can either be quick and straight and linear, or it can be kinda more flowy and everything kind of going back to paper feels so, And you have a couple of photos in this blog post that exemplify what we're talking about here. And I'll link to the blog post in the show notes page too,

because I think those, the photos really help also explain what you're saying. And I, what I loved about the word rhythm is that we all know what rhythm is, you know, and sometimes it's syncopated and sometimes it's four, four, and it's sometimes it's fast and slow. And that it's almost like setting music to the way your eye goes across the room.

So if you imagine just standing in a room and looking from left to right, all the way around 360 degree circle, and if you put music or timed kind of the way your eye is going up and down or across, it, it, it has such a, it gives such a particular feeling to a room that I I've really had trouble explaining and putting words to.

And, and so that's why I was so excited about what you've done, which is put words to it. So yeah, I love that you've taken it, that, that step further, I, I guess I couldn't voice or put words to the idea of it being like music, but it's definitely like that. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you started it.

I mean, I, that's what I got out of it. And in the same post, you expand on two other principles that I, again, I don't think a lot of people bring up and the first is about emphasis, which would, I would probably call a focal point. But what you do is you talk about the design elements that support the focal point,

not just the focal point itself, but how you can intentionally draw the eye toward a focal point, depending on the things that you use around it to style it. So, and this sounds like it's definitely coming from your background in windows. So tell us a little bit about what, what that is, what I'm, what I'm trying to say here.

Can you explain? Yeah, definitely. So I was thinking of a way to create a good example is perhaps if we have a bedroom and that, and the bed is the focal point of that room, how would you support that focal point? Which could be in a number of different ways? The most obvious way I would say would be through contrast.

And that would be like, let's say the bed is the largest item in the room. It is the only item that is upholstered, or it is the darkest or most bold item in terms of color and pattern and texture. And then maybe the rest of the room has very minimal white walls. The rest of the shapes are, let's say the, that bed has curves to it.

Like it's a French, like, I don't know, we, we can Style bed and your all, everything else is very clean and straight lines. The moldings, if there's like paneling, it's very clean and straight. So the bed would feel the center like the center point and everything behind it is like, let's get back to music. It would be the chorus that supports that.

So, yeah, so it's, it's kind of like that, but having that contrast where that eye element or item stands out from the rest is kind of a great way to create emphasis. And then I had mentioned rhythm as another, or repetition as another option for kind of creating a focal or supporting that focal point. And in the blog post, I have a picture of a tiny room with a fireplace at the end.

And obviously that's your focal point cause that's probably the most that fireplace is beautiful. And so the rest of the room, you have the set of chairs that have the curves and there's the pendant that has curves. And there's a table that when you're standing at the right point of view, creates that one point perspective and the lines lead to that fireplace and all the floorboards leading to that fireplace.

So there's that repetition of shape. And there's the, that's mainly like a repetition of shape, but there could be a repetition of color, all that kind of brings your eye to that focal point. And I did, I have another image that I put on there that I thought was really interesting was that if in this room there's a dining table and it's oval,

and that's obviously the full, the point of the room. And in concept is that you sit around the table and you eat, and there's a hole in the ceiling that they've created. That's like the same shape as the table. So it's almost a really strong direction to be like, this is where you go in this room. And because the two ovals are on top of each other and there's that little bit of repetition,

it's kind of, that's a real strong supporting factor into sitting at that table and eating that table, eating at that table. So, so what's in the hole. I have no idea. It looks like a, it's almost like, like it's recess recess ceiling, but I think the way that they've, they've made that made it happen, there's a bit of shadowing.

So it almost looks like there's space between the recess and the actual ceiling, so, Oh, wow. I have to look at that picture more carefully. Okay. That's that's cool. Yeah. So, so again, it's, it's the supporting, it's the way your other elements support your focal point, which, which I just, I don't think I've ever really heard anybody talk about I'm sure designers do it instinctively,

but I really liked how you brought that to my attention. And then the last one I want to talk about is a unity, which we usually w that's what I think we're referring to when we talk about pulling a room together and how to pull a room together, and people often wonder how to make a room or even an entire home feel cohesive, which I think is probably another word for unity.

And everyone always talks about color, you know, repeating a color, a little pops of the same color of the different shades of the same color throughout the home. But, but I know there has to be more than just color that can make a space feel cohesive. So what are the other ways that you talk about? Yeah, so I mentioned in this and I was thinking,

thinking more about it, but form is definitely a way to create cohesion and that is through shapes and styles of silhouettes and pattern. I in a room, I use an example of tiles, how that repetitive pattern of the subway tiles and the floors, and then even the way that, that reflects into the shape of the cabinets and the hardware all create this like uniform kind of cohesive feel to it.

But there's one that I think is really, especially if you're talking about entire homes is concept and how there's a commonality in the story that you're telling. And for example, I would say in my home, when I think about how I try to make my home feel cohesive and how you move throughout the spaces is that I think really about the architecture of the home and how I wanted to make you feel.

And so it's a craftsman. And so I'm keeping the certain architectural elements alive, which is the wood paneling and the wood moldings. I haven't really painted all the moldings throughout, but I'm supporting that with furniture that perhaps might feel a little bit English. And I've tried to think about how craft, I mean, craftsman homes in America were inspired by the arts and crafts movement in the UK.

William Morris was obviously a, a famous artisan from the arts and crafts movement. And so thinking about those like botanical prints and having furniture from the same era. And so I try to bring in items that feel almost English. And I mean, I love English interiors, but anyways, but since I moved out to the West coast, I would say that having to,

I had never been really in craftsmen homes. And that is so prevalent out here that I had to really kind of like, re-interpret like, what are these stories, these homes trying to tell us, and how do we make them feel cohesive? And, but they in comparison to like new England where I know I'm going off on a tangent now, I realized that's fine in comparison to new England where the colonial homes are a little more refined and formal craftsmen have like more bulkier architecture and it's kind of hard to explain,

but they just feel a bit more masculine. So I would say so. Yeah, I'm trying to either balance that masculinity and not ignore it. So throughout the home, as I said, I'm trying to kind of create cohesion. So the concept is to relate it back to in English, Style interiors to relate it back to the fact that it's a little more masculine and to bring femininity within it.

And then I also think about the fact that we're in the PN, the Pacific Northwest and greenery, and it's the evergreen state is just so the idea of everything being so green is just so influential to me. So I'm introducing that color a lot. And of course you said that a lot of people talk about color, but I've using green often in my home,

which I didn't really use before I'm out here. Well, that's interesting though. I mean, yeah, I guess, well, I guess what I was saying was was more that it's this kind of knee jerk response that just doesn't go very deep, you know, Oh, just add a pop of pop. Oh, we've got a red throw pillow.

Well then let's add a pop of red on your wall and a pop of red in the hallway. And it just feels like it's not connected to anything. Whereas your, what you just said is the green is connected to what you see outside in the entire culture up there. That is so outdoorsy that now I now the color and the bringing those different shades of green and it makes a lot more sense and it doesn't feel quite so pasted on.

Yeah, I think it's like concept really to me and I, and that goes back to my days of working in design and store design is just that you're telling a story and cohesion can easily come through that. And, and that's what I think about even when I'm designing for clients, like I really try to understand who they are and what their interests are and what that story is that is about them.

And then I try to use that to be my cohesive kind of connection throughout all of the rooms. And that can be interpreted through color, or it can be interpreted through the architecture of the home or perhaps if they're, I don't know if they love to travel and like maybe some of their favorite places that they go to, we try to really think about what are some of those Style elements that you see within wherever they go.

Like, how can we pick up on textiles and patterns that kind of reflect that or spark that like, remedy, like how the client would like re have nostalgia for it? So, yeah, The materials too, right? Like all of that, the olive wood bowls and spoons that you might pick up in Greece and just the tactile feel of those when you're,

if you pull them into your kitchen. And I don't know, the, I was interviewing someone recently who had, who had spent time in Tunis. And so there's this iron work like railings and things that that's very intricate. And it's, it's, it's such a, it's a great way to interpret the travel because it's more than just the, the souvenir that you put on a shelf.

It's the, yeah. Those designs I think, and that kind of goes back to, it reminds me of in a way, when I worked at Bergdorf's, we would, we weren't allowed to use the logos. And I don't know now if they still do use some logos, but there was never no company, no brands were allowed to use logos in the windows in general,

like this, like if you walked around and you went to the Chanel stop shop in Bergdorfs, it was always in the Bergdorf Goodman font. And so it was, and I think they have slightly changed it now. So, but the whole point was that you were at Bergdorf's and you were looking at these different product lines and brands through the lens of Bergdorf Goodman.

And so that was what we would have to do. Even when we were working with our Lauder or Kelly worser, it was like, okay, this is Erin Lauder in Bergdorf Goodman. We're not doing just an Aaron mater store. We're doing a stop that tells the story of how Bergdorf's clients would buy our letter. Love it. And so a lot of it was just picking up like Chanel was a really good example,

picking up on the textures like that famous Tweed and that they always use like the ivory and the black, and really understanding the brands on a deeper level rather than what a logo is. And so when you're thinking about interiors in the clients that you're working with and the places that they've been and places they love to travel, it's thinking about, for example,

the olive wood or the rod iron materials that they have being found in Tunis, or, and I don't know, just like caning and France. And those are like the elements, like just go a step deeper because you you'll get that feel and that understanding of the time and place, but it doesn't have to be so obvious. Oh my gosh, I love this so much because it's basically like saying,

I want to see Mexico if that's your favorite place on earth, but I want to see it through your eyes, through the lens of you and your story. Oh my gosh, I'm getting chills. That is so cool. Mmm. Let's keep going with this idea of, of seeing something through one particular person's story and lens, which is you and your gorgeous craftsmen,

which we've started talking about. I just love watching this renovation take place and it, it seems like it's a big overhaul. You're pretty much doing the whole home, correct? Yes. Okay. Step by step. We, when we were looking for homes, it, I knew that we would have to renovate the bathrooms and the kitchen, no matter what,

like, I mean, even if we could afford a home, that was like 1.5 million. I would probably not like the bathrooms for the kitchen. The dentist always seem, they always seem out of date. Yes. They, so when we were, we were house hunting, the intention was to buy a home that had not been flipped and had not been renovated within the last like 15 or 20 years,

just for the purpose that I knew. I wanted to put my own Mark on it. And I wanted, I hated the idea of wasting the energy that it takes. Like when you buy a flip home, they've put energy into it. They've torn out the previous energy that was in that home. And you're going to put energy into it and Bad.

You're ripping out a perfectly good brand new kitchen. Exactly. Yeah. But yeah, We bought this home and just knew that it needed so much work, but I walked into the doors and it's not that attractive on the outside where planning, the last thing we're going to do is do exterior. And it's Pebbledash, I don't know if you, I saw that on your blog and I don't know what Pebbledash is Pebbledash and going back to the UK,

which I find very interesting because in the U S they call it marble Creek. I just think a couple of dash sounds a little better, but it does. I did. So I was doing a lot of research before we decided to put an offer in, and there was all these articles in the UK saying learn to love Pebbledash. So the idea is that in the turn of the century,

a lot of the brick, the original brick and mortar was deteriorating on a lot of homes in the UK and like across Ireland and England. And so as a quick fix, they basically plastered or put this render onto houses, which is concrete, and then pebbles shoved into it while it's still wet. And it's just, and it looks like concrete covered in pebbles.

And it's actually quite terrible in the UK because they've just added it to the original brick and mortar, and you can get a lot of water damage and cracks. And so that's why people hate it, but you can't really remove it. What was interesting is that around this time in the U S is when arts and crafts homes were being built. And so whoever was going over to the UK,

seeing all these houses that were done in this Pebbledash render, we're like, Oh, wow, this is in Vogue. So this is an, a perfect render option for these different, like when you're building kit houses or for designers in the state. So it's very common in, on the West coast and that's for a couple of reasons, but I noticed that in North Capitol Hill,

which is a really nice neighborhood and has the more, like, almost mansions in Seattle have a lot of Pebbledash on it. So I think it was actually like an elevated material when it was being offered to funny yeah. To home buyers or builders. And what it, what I've learned is that it actually is a really great substance for earthquakes. And so it keeps your houses intact.

And in the mid century, like the fifties and sixties and seventies, a lot of brutalist architecture also has Pebbledash in LA. And if you go around kind of like to these different cities, and that is because it's good for earthquakes. Wow. So I then was like, okay, I can love Pebbledash when we bought this house, we're in it for the long haul,

we renovated our kitchen and we've renovated the, what I'm calling the scullery. Cause it's kind of like a little back pantry slash kitchen that I, we put our, we use for the dog food and, you know, like extra dishes or flower arranging. And then we've now renovated the powder room. And then the rest of the main floor is been mostly just decorating.

And I'm kind of holding off to really, really dig into that. I have a lot of plans for how I want to decorate the dining room. And the living room is kind of in like a flex state right now. And then upstairs, we still have to renovate our master bath and, or I should say principal bath. And so we're going to do that in probably maybe next year where we just want to,

we only have one shower. So we're trying to figure out what makes sense and Just finished the, the scullery, which I love your post on that. It was part of the one room challenge. And so there's, I think you have six posts about it because it takes you one week through the process each week through the process. And it is so gorgeous.

And I, of course I had known what a scullery was, cause I watch a lot of old English TV, but, you know, I never really thought of them being in America. And I love that you kind of created this space. Tell us again about, tell, tell us a little bit about the design specifically, because you also have it connected to,

with back to that, that idea of unity and cohesion to your kitchen and the kitchen design. Yeah. So the scullery, well, it was this brand, it was this miscellaneous kind of space in between the deck and the kitchen. And that happened because originally that in the powder room were a back porch and then they were closed in, in the seventies.

And so the space didn't really have much of a purpose and we needed a little bit extra room for pantry and we wanted something that was a nice path through. And so I wanted it to have a beverage fridge, a place to put our recyclables and a sink because I do a lot of flower ranging and we have a vegetable garden. So I'd love a second sink,

right? Yeah, exactly. My brother is a chef and he has, excuse me, he has always said, do not design a kitchen without two SIGs. So that was the purpose of that room. And then thinking about cohesion and having it kind of tie in with everything we, the ceilings, because it was originally a porch have that tongue and groove bead board.

So we decided to carry that throughout that entire space. And it feels like a little utility room. So it made sense. And then the color I grabbed, I was originally was going to do a green and I just wasn't loving the way that it was feeling. And I'm going to put these window treatments in the kitchen. Those window treatments have flowers in them and they're different shades of green.

And then there's this soft kind of blushy muted pink in the background that when I was looking at that one day, I was thinking, Hmm, maybe I do a pink tone. And I, and I've always loved this one color dead salmon, Salmon. I love it because that's, it's the perfect name for this beautiful, soft pink. Yeah. I always loved it and I've always wanted to use it in a space and that's fairly involved.

And so I told my husband, I wanted to paint the room, this color. And he was like, we're painting it pink. And I was like, no, it's dead salmon. It's a masculine pig. It is it's, it's dark. You know? So he was like, okay. So we, that color just ended up being perfect.

And then it has that kind of pinkish blushy tone. And it's also in doing further research, which I can't really take credit for. I found out and one of my friends actually was like, did you choose a drop pink color because of the English? And she sent me this post that this, I think it was a quintessence video. And this designer in the South paints all her utility spaces with drab paint colors.

And the concept of drag is that when the house has been designed and all the public spaces have been, all the colors have been chosen, the leftover spaces, which are the utility spaces, basically you just mixed all the paints together and you get this drab kind of weird brownish colors. And that's what they would paint the, the back rooms or like the sculleries or whatever.

So it kind of happens to be a perfect color, even just going further into that. Cause it's a drab pink color. So yeah. And that was, and it's also very English. So it ties back to my, my drive to make this, to reconnect this home with how it was originally inspired to be an English Style arts and crafts home.

Yes. And then the floor. Oh, on the floor. Yes. And the floor is painted flowers that I used, I referenced from that actual drapery fabric. So I kind of took that pattern and I kind of abstracted it. And now there there's like these large kind of floral floral pattern of roses on the floor. Yeah. I love that.

They're huge scale because the curtains, I assume the fabric's much smaller. Yes, definitely. And that was because I didn't want the floor to feel too busy. And so having a larger scale would make it feel less busy. Yeah. Well, I, I, it's such a beautiful make-over and there's such serenity to that space. It, it, it definitely,

you know, you've got, you've got your tools hanging on the wall and it feels like a space you want to go in and cut flowers like you've said, or yeah, it's, it's really, it's really lovely. And your, your whole home, your whole aesthetic is, is very appealing to me. It, it, it has this formality to it and that I feel like a lot of the objects that you've chosen.

And I guess I must be also thinking about your apartments too, because I've seen, I've seen your design in spaces other than your, your current home. And there's, you, you have objects that are the types of objects that you feel like someone who is kind of wealthy and has a good eye and appreciates the craftsmanship of the artistry. Wood would kind of collect and display,

but it also feels so approachable and comfortable. And, and I, you know, I don't always see that with, with homes that are where there are homes where there's elegance. I also sometimes feel like they're lacking a little bit in soul and you have not done that. And I, you know, I don't, if it's like, there was this very bold,

I don't know if a Schumacher, but some kind of pattern that you had in one of your apartments that was in the hallway or the entryway zebras, the zebras, I mean, totally bold, but elegant. Yeah. Well, thank you. So I would say that there's a lot of formality and how I design and shapes in that way. But as a teenager,

I also grew up going to like punk rock and hardcore shows. And it's how I met my husband. And in that like alternative culture, I would say also reflects in my style and maybe not in the literal sense, but it's the fact that I really like con to contrast the formal nature of specific forms with humor and winsy and absolute comfort. So it's like the idea of being irreverent sometimes that's what really makes me excited.

Yeah. And I would say like, okay, what is more irreverent than like relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, watching TV, draping yourself over like a super formal upholstered sofa, you know, like, you know, it's like that push and pull. And I feel like that's really kind of like my Style conceptually is just that I love the look of formal things,

but I really appreciate the reality of everyday life and that we don't have to live the way that those, that furniture was made for, you know, we can live the way that we live our lives naturally. And now This has been such a lovely conversation. And I want to wrap it up with asking you, why does Style matter? You're always going to be timeless if you have your own sense of style.

And you're not really having to worry about trends. Like, I feel like so often people, even clients today are telling me, I feel like white kitchens are out of style. And just saying like, yeah, white kitchens are not what's on every single design magazine platform are all over Instagram right now, but those trends are going to change in six months to six to 10 years.

And they're going to go back to white kitchens. And so if you really love a white kitchen and it reflects like who you are and the aesthetic that you want to be in, then you are a white kitchen person and you shouldn't feel bad about that. So that's kind of what, I mean, how it makes things simple. So I know that I love like English influences and French influences,

and that's kind of where I always come back to it's my comfort zone. And even when I live in homes that don't really reflect that I can kind of already always like, bring those elements back into it. I love that, like putting a stake in the ground and saying, this is what I love. I love this white kitchen, you know,

10 Years from now. Everyone's going to want my white kitchen. Exactly. I mean, but I want it now. Well, Lauren, this has been really delightful. Thank you so much. And I look forward to seeing your house come to life one room at a time, and we will definitely be linking to it on the show notes page. Thank you.

Zandra this was so fun. I hope these episodes leave you feeling energized and inspired to create a home that gives something back to you because in this crazy world we live in. It's good to remember that things like beauty and happiness are within reach. Now don't forget to take the quiz. What's the number one mistake you're making in your home [email protected] And we really appreciate all of the reviews that you've been giving us over on iTunes,

or I guess it's called Apple podcasts now, whatever. Please keep them coming in because they help other people find us, which makes it possible to keep this show running. Have a great day. And I'll be back in your earbuds.

 

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