“What is your design style?”
It’s a question I get asked all the time, especially when I’m meeting with clients for the first time. And it’s one of the most important questions to ask when you begin working with an interior designer. After all, you are looking for someone to design your home, your sanctuary. A place to build a beautiful legacy for years and generations to come. It’s critical that you and your designer are on the same page.
At Laura U, we don’t prescribe to a specific interior design style, like traditional, bohemian, or country chic. While we design homes of all styles, we approach each project by focusing on our clients’ interests first. The most beautifully designed home is one which showcases your personality, not your designer’s.
Whether it’s collecting art, traveling, raising a family, or entertaining friends, your passions should be reflected in your home. Classically Current style finds inspiration in iconic design and innovates that look into something fresh, timeless, and unique to you.
My Approach to Design
My love for interior design started at a young age. I had a passion for organizing things (yes, I loved rearranging my bedroom!) and watched my father build two of my childhood homes. It really is amazing to see a home come together. I realized that it was possible to first, build your own home, and second, create a space with intention and meaning.
I decided to learn the technical aspects of how architecture and interior design work together. I pursued a BA and an MA in architecture to understand the craft and artistry of a home before I began my career in design. The tectonic nature of it all, knowing how the parts fit together and worked side-by-side fascinated me. I come back to my architecture background in every project because great residential design considers not only the interiors, but also the surrounding environment: natural light and architectural function.
Maybe that’s why I love a good renovation! My Real Estate Agent really loves me for that…
As an interior designer, I like to say that I understand the rules of design and I respect those rules. But I also know when to break them! The designers I admire most aren’t afraid to push the envelope. Each day I try to do the same, design the unexpected and make bold choices.
Elements of Classically Current Design
Color, contrast, and visual symmetry are the three defining characteristics of a Classically Current design. Each design starts with “tension” that comes from opposing color combinations, such as black and white or cream and gray. This is contrast. Then an “activator”, a color I believe every space has inherently, is added in. This “activator” breaks up the contrast with something bold and unexpected. The next step is to incorporate elements that create parallel symmetry to balance the design.
But interior design isn’t just about what’s in your home. It’s about the home’s bones: the way the space flows, the lines of sight and the lighting.
As we develop each design, we ensure the space has a good flow, lots of natural light and spaces to take in the outside views. In order to create the best lines of sight, it’s important to consider the windows and the natural position of the home. Sunlight has a major impact on how a space looks at different times of day.
I’ve had projects where we added more windows and I’ve had projects where we’ve covered up windows. All in the pursuit of good natural lighting. In the dining room above, the long rectangular table complements the view, whereas a round table would seem misplaced in the same area. When buying new furniture, always consider its effect on the architecture of the space.
The Laura U Process of Design
Developed over the course of 10 years, The Process of Design is my unique approach to interior design. It uses a combination of observation, visualization, and curation to create singular interiors for our clients all over the world. The process focuses on understanding your favored design aesthetic, what you value most, and what you like to collect or display. My goal is to blend your needs for functionality with your desire for high style in an approachable way.
Each project starts with an in-depth discussion to learn more about your style, design needs and the overall space plan of your home. Then the Laura U team creates a room-by-room concept statement to guide the project. The design ideas are presented, revisions are made and you select your final design.
Once the final design has been selected, our in-house procurement team orders the necessary furnishings and accessories. Depending on the scale of the project, our team will spend 1 to 5 days installing everything. Then we celebrate the big reveal! We unveil your new interior and welcome you to your new home with a bubbly toast. And a surprise or two…
Classically Current Interior Design is Timeless
There are six main interior design styles: contemporary, traditional, transitional, glamorous, modern, and bohemian. Though each style is inherently and sometimes drastically different, each one can be tilted through a Classically Current lens. It’s all about two things: assembling pieces with intention and understanding the principles of what makes our brains fall in love visually. Symmetry, for example, has long been confirmed as a universal sign of beauty. It is key to designing timeless spaces in any style.
Here are the 5 Classically Current principles we use to make any interior design style timeless:
1. Use a variety of your favorite textures. Think: silk, wool, natural stone, and wood.
They just sound good together don’t they? Incorporating lots of texture is a fabulous way to add visual depth and dimension to your design. However, it’s important to make sure the textures aren’t fighting with each other for attention. I like to mix luxe materials like silk and leather with earthy ones like wool and wood to create a balance. Rugs, drapery, and custom upholstery can pull together a room like a great work of art when you get the textures right.
2. Consider the quality of your pieces – less is more.
When it comes to colors, patterns or mixed metallics, less is more. Don’t get me wrong – I love dramatic maximalism too! But when you rely on the simplicity of an heirloom-quality piece as the focal point, a room will easily exude drama and glamour. Overdoing a mix of colors or patterns without thoughtful consideration of them as a collection can make a design feel unbalanced. I like to use the analogy of a French capsule wardrobe. Five well-made, luxury pieces will always look more timeless than 500 mismatched trends.
3. Metal is timeless, luxe, and bold – feel free to mix them!
One of the simplest ways to make a space more luxurious is to add a touch of metal. Whether it’s copper accents in your kitchen, a geometric sculpture on your bookcase or a gold light fixture, metallics are always in style. And don’t be afraid to mix them. Silver and gold can happily live in the same space when tied together by an accent rug or pillow with similar hues. I also like to use metals in unexpected places (like a range hood or sink) and against natural elements like stone, wood, and glass.
4. Balanced color palettes = neutral undertones + pops of color
All Classically Current designs include neutral colors in the color palette. I particularly like to contrast neutrals, like black and white or the less stark, cream and gray, as a base. These grounding neutrals won’t go out of style and provide the perfect backdrop for any timeless design. By pairing neutrals with colorful activators, we add personality, depth, and dimension. Rooms bombarded with tchotckes and trinkets, with the intention of adding personality, often end up looking cluttered. When you have a grounding neutral palette, you can incorporate colors and lose the non-functional decor.
5. Blend masculine and feminine styles
Functional yet stunning interiors that perfectly balance masculine and feminine styles are timeless. The combination is captivating to all the senses. Compromise a dark and moody room with a touch of blush in a soft velvet. Pair heavy, angular console tables with curved glass or clean lines with organic, free form shapes. This is especially true for master retreats where couples should choose a design that speaks to their romance and compatibility.
No matter what your interior design preference is, you should have a home that is perfectly timeless, fashionable, and bold. That’s why when I’m asked about my style as a professional designer, I want to say “Well, it depends!” Because your home is about you.
Whew! That’s a lot to take in! Our design philosophy at Laura U is central to everything we do, so I could probably go on and on. If you don’t mind me rambling about all the wonderful projects past, present, and future, sign up for my email newsletter. Til next time!