Based in Atlanta, Lauren E. Lowe enjoys designing bespoke spaces for creating beautiful memories. She founded Lauren Elaine Interiors in 2016 and has become known for her signature relaxed and elegant style. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Veranda Online, Elle Decor Online, Martha Stewart Online, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Modern Luxury’s The Atlantan, and more. Today, we are delighted to welcome Lauren to The Glam Pad for a Style Profile Q&A… Welcome Lauren!
Q: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in interior design, and what did your career path look like?
A: When my parents gave me the Barbie dream house when I was in kindergarten, I was beyond disappointed when I put my Barbie furniture into each room – the bed took up the entire bedroom and you could only fit a sofa in the living room. I abandoned the house and made rooms on the bookshelves in my playroom, even making drapery and pillows using scrap fabric. As they watched my passion unfold, my parents subscribed me to Architectural Digest and Traditional Home right away. I got my education from SCAD and the University of Georgia with a focus on commercial design. I grew up thinking I was going to decorate houses, but I was drawn to the exclusivity and rigor of the commercially-focused education. I worked for 7 years at a commercial firm in Atlanta that designed office spaces. I am so thankful I took that detour because I learned so much about space planning, running a team and running a business. I did eventually realize that that path was indeed a detour – commercial designers are completely different than residential designers. I didn’t have the ability to sit in small details and spend intimate time with my clients. The end goal was to fulfill a timeline, a brand and a bottom line. I care more about fulfilling a feeling, a memory and all the quiet details. With tons of support and encouragement from my husband, I quit in 2016 and founded Lauren Elaine Interiors. l started with zero leads and zero dollars. It was a lonely road in the beginning, but I am so proud of my journey and where I am today.
Q: How do you define your style?
A: A layered mix of old and new – traditional balanced with touches of contemporary; a study in the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine. I love a feminine touch used in a way that doesn’t feel girly at all and am forever inspired by menswear, thanks to my stylish father from New England. Definitely more of an anglophile than a francophile.
Q: Who are your favorite designers (past and present)?
A: The masters of collected and layered interiors: Albert Hadley, Billy Baldwin, Matthew Carter, Ashley Whitaker, Miles Redd, Markham Roberts, Stephen Sills, Thom Scheer, Michelle R Smith, Robert Passal, Gil Schaffer.
Q: Do you have any favorite go-to paints, wallpapers, linens, artists, etc.
A: Every project has its own identity, but I always come back to stripes, especially those inspired by menswear. Japer, Classic Cloth, Marvic and Bennison are my favorite fabric lines. I am sucker for a faded floral fabric on a tea stain background, camel browns, braided sisal rugs, and antique pieces with a shell carving motif. We always go through all paint manufacturers to select the best paint color for a project, but Farrow & Ball and Fine Paints of Europe usually do have the most subtle, complex and livable paint colors.
Q: So many people have been feathering their nests during covid, and many tradespersons and supply chains are backed up. How has this affected your business?
A: Covid and its fallout has really affected our industry. Leadtimes are much longer than normal, prices are rising, demand is high, and we are watching selections fly out of stock. We are also seeing pesky surcharges on freight fees, which are a pain to explain to our clients. Luckily, we have a Project Manager on our staff whose sole job is to place orders and monitor timelines, so she keeps close tabs on all our orders and is in constant communication with our clients. It’s really just another problem to solve creatively. We are able to reserve fabric and wallpaper quantities for our clients, utilize a local upholstery resource for all of our upholstered pieces and source a lot of vintage and antique items which all helps eliminate some of the extraneous wait time … the decorating must go on!
Q: What are your thoughts on the Grandmillennial movement?
A: I am thrilled that the rise of traditional design has gone viral and now has a trend name. My love for traditional design has not wavered since the early 90’s (Ralph Lauren Home forever!). Although I consider myself to be less girly/ruffly than the peak of what we are deeming “grandmillennial,” I identify with the movement as a whole and would rather see it take over the world than “urban farmhouse” or big box stores that rhyme with Schmrestoration Hardware. My only concern is keeping timeless icons timeless and not feeling like a trend. I had a client tell me she thought if we used Bowood fabric it would be too trendy and that upset me. I explained that while this might be popular right now, it has been timeless and will continue to be timeless for those who identify with layered traditional interiors.
Q: What are some of your tips for incorporating beauty into your everyday life?
A: Working to create beautiful moments in everyday life has been my focus since childhood. Making my surrounding areas beautiful affect how I feel and the tone of my memories. If you think back on favorite vacations or time in favorite restaurants, chances are that the beauty of those surroundings has a lot to do with the positive feelings of those memories. House plants and fresh flowers are a must. Collections of treasures that bring you joy or spark a memory should be on easy display. Make everyday tasks into a beautiful experience, such as dining, with a pretty set of tableware/linens and candlelight. Have speakers in the areas of your home where you cook, dine and lounge so there’s lovely music playing in the background. There is so much beauty in the world, why not make as much of your life as beautiful as possible?
Q: What are 5 everyday luxuries you could not live without?
A: Loads of books and coffee table books (bookshelves full of actual books are of extreme importance to me), collections of plates and table linens, fresh flowers, beautiful bespoke stationary, striped button-down shirts.
Q: When you aren’t busy designing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I try to reserve as much of my free time for family as possible. Being a mom to young children makes time pass at warp speed, so I am doing my best not to blink and miss it! Otherwise, I enjoy hosting & entertaining, gardening, and alone time to read my shelter magazines and coffee table books. Post-Covid and post-pregnancy, travel is up next, and I can’t wait (baby girl Lowe is due in July!)!
Q: What are your goals for Lauren Elaine Interiors over the next five years?
A: My goal for LEI is to keep going. We have an amazing team and process in place that I hope will continue to yield clients with passions aligned with what we do best and care about the details. I want to keep LEI a very boutique luxury service by preserving my ability to be intimately involved with every client and detail. We also have some preliminary conversations and ideas open about products and writing that I am excited to keep moving forward.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Thank you for having me and for carrying beautiful, layered traditional interiors onwards and upwards!
Photography by Mary Catherine Brownfield and Emily Followill.