Whenever I interview a designer for Peachy magazine, I always ask them handful of personal questions to get a feel for the designer’s personality and the inspiration behind his or her design aesthetic. My friends joke that I should start my own design talk show because I never get tired of discovering what makes designers tick and hearing about their creative process. A girl can dream!
I was delighted to hear Washington DC based designer Lauren Liess answer these questions. After the interview, I have included some of my favorite shots from her expansive portfolio. Her book HABITAT due out this fall will be a must for any design library!
Click here to read “Happily Ever After,” an article on a beautiful house she designed in Virginia.
When did you know you wanted to pursue design as a career and how did you get started?
When I graduated from college and started decorating my first apartment.
What is your creative process?
After meeting with client in their home and talking about needs, wants, and style, I take all the info back to my studio and mull it all over… I like to pull fabrics that feel right for the project to get inspired. I nail down a floorplan and then start to visualize the space coming together. Once I have an idea of how I want it to feel and what I’m looking for, I begin looking for the right pieces to fill it all in with my assistant designer.
What is your latest creative breakthrough?
I just finished my first book! It’s been an amazing experience and has really helped me hone in on my style and explain the reasoning behind everything I do in a design project. It’s been sort of a brain-dump of everything I know paired with photos of our firm’s newest work, which I’m so excited to share!!
What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?
There have been so many because you’re always changing and growing but I’d have to say starting a blog… I had no idea that the blog would become such a big part of my life and business. The friendships I’ve made are lifelong ones and I gained so much self-confidence through the blog and the really kind readers who have reached out over the years. It really helped launch my career and helped with getting published which has been very good for our business.
Tell us about your current work.
I’m working on some really exciting renovations/ whole home projects in the city… I love working on houses from the ground up like that. We also have a wonderful core group of clients who we are always working with, going room-by-room throughout their homes. We are also working on a couple of upcoming design showhouses which are a lot of fun!
Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect from Lauren Liess in the future?
Well, the book will be coming out this Fall (Habitat: the Field Guide to Decorating) at which time I’ll also be launching a Fall collection for my fabric line. Both showhouses will be featured in print magazines this Fall… I’m hoping that in the future we’ll be taking on more from-the-ground-up projects in new and exciting locations… I’d love to do a beach house, which would be a first for me.
What do you want to be remembered for?
For life…For loving my family and for being excited about the little things and finding fun in the every day. Hopefully for being caring and having some wisdom.
In my career… For “getting” my clients and creating homes that are deeply personal and loved… As someone who makes the design process fun and organized and enjoyable for everyone- both clients, my own employees, and the other businesses involved in any project. For being honest and forthright.
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Have your work professionally photographed asap, even when you think you can’t afford it. It’s the best investment.
Whose work do you admire?
Oh so many!! But here are a few: Darryl Carter, Tom Scheerer, Peter Dunham
Who would be your dream client and why?
Honestly, I’ve been really lucky to have some dream clients… They are kind, fun, creative, opinionated, trusting, and open-minded.
I’m not sure who my dream client would be in an actual person but those are his or her attributes. I think it would be a lot of fun to work with someone in a creative industry other than my own- a musician, an actor, artist etc.
What is your dream vacation?
Relaxing on a deserted beach with my family… Somewhere near some really great food and drinks.
What is your secret vice?
I’m really hyper-focused… When things get really busy with work I can get tunnel vision and I have trouble shutting down work thoughts at the end of the day. I have to make a really conscious effort not to check email on nights and weekends so that I’m fully there and available for my family.
What is your idea of bliss?
Being alone somewhere in nature with my family…. Reading outside… Cooking a good meal with a glass of wine and eating it outside. Dancing with friends in our kitchen.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
HaHa..Maybe “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz
Paintings of old men, botanicals, pretty stones
What is your favorite color?
Favorite design trick?
I’m not sure it would be considered a trick but I really love layering rugs… A natural fiber rug (like seagrass jute or sisal) underneath of a vintage rug is a favorite thing of mine.