Interviews

Designing Thoughtful and Inspiring Spaces with Lauren Caron

5/3/2020

A home feels full of warmth, love, and comfort, and has personality,” says designer Lauren Caron. Lauren's designs have a richness and fullness to them that emulate the perfect picture of what home really is. Lauren is the owner and founder of Studio Laloc, an interior design firm based in Seattle specializing in high-end residential and commercial design. We were lucky enough to sit down with Lauren to hear firsthand where she finds inspiration, how moving from the east coast to the west coast has changed the way she designs, and how to make your house feel like a home.

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You own and operate Studio Laloc. Tell us about how you got to where you are today. 

I began my career working for luxury retailers designing store windows and interior displays. While working the corporate gig, I wrote a blog Fourth Floor Walk Up as a side project, which documented the design process of my apartments in New York. That blog is what actually sealed the deal for me being hired at Bergdorf Goodman. At Bergdorf's, I supervised the main floor, beauty level, and decorative home floor. Of course, designing installations and shops for the Decorative Home was my favorite part of the job. I had the best client, the BG customer, and the best product at my fingertips for each concept. I also had the opportunity to partner on installations and shop-in-shops with such renowned designers as Kelly Wearstler, John Derian, and Alessandra Branca. Working with these creatives is when I began to realize that I too could make a career of interior design. At the end of 2014, I left my position at Bergdorf's and formed my brand Union Adorn. The concept of a collective design firm focusing on 50% interior design and 50% store displays and design consulting. After almost 5 years in business (and a cross country move to a new market) our brand evolved to focus mostly on interior design services. This evolution led to the launch of a brand that is focused solely on the interior design portion of the business, Studio Laloc. As you can see, some twists and turns along the way!

Do you have a mantra when it comes to design?

As designers, it's our responsibility to create homes and spaces that reflect the people who inhabit them, their personalities, and the ways they live their lives. The spaces should feel compelling and be the first-hand experience of a narrative that depicts the story of a life well-lived. I like to think of the quote by Albert Hadley, “The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilized, meaningful environment, not about fashion or what’s in or what’s out.” 

You recently moved from NYC to Seattle. Has the Pacific Northwest changed the way you think and go about design?

Initially, I thought I might need to adjust my designs to fit the overall style of the Pacific Northwest. But after a year of being frustrated with the clients I was attracting, I realized that shouldn’t be the case. Since shifting back to my authentic style, I have been creating work I’m extremely proud of and have attracted clients that are more aligned with my aesthetic. I will say though that I go about design a little differently now. It’s impossible to not be influenced by your surroundings. So I am now using more colors that work with the gray weather and reference the landscape of the PNW. I have fallen absolutely in love with many shades of green and am using more warm creams than grays as neutrals, now that 8 months of the year we live under gray skies. The PNW light is a lot like England’s light so I am also heavily influenced by English interiors and love to research how the great English designers have historically used color. At some point, I will use that bright Nancy Lancaster yellow - and I would never have said that a few years ago!

Your interiors are so full of color and life. How would you describe your style?

Thank you! My point of view is heavily influenced by my early surroundings. I grew up in a historic home in New England. My mother is a talented (hobby) decorator and exposed me to historic interiors and homes at an early age. As a result, my style is traditional through a contemporary lens. I like to combine different eras of design, pair contrasting styles and ideas, with layers of color, pattern, and texture. I’m a detailed person, so I like to consider moments that stop your eye and make you take another look. So in short - traditional, eclectic, layered, and detailed. 

What is a project you are most proud of?

We are in the final stages of a project in Seattle that I am so excited about. It’s a remodel of a historic home where we were able to keep the significant original details of the home intact while adding modern interpretations of classical ideas. The master suite alone is a feast for the eyes and I am so grateful to have been able to be apart of creating such a beautiful space. The client's aesthetic is very similar to my personal style so I was able to have a lot of fun designing this home. With unexpected patterns, furnishings, and layers of detail, the home oozes with character and energy. I’m proud because overall the home feels so fresh and different, yet so familiar.


What are a few of your favorite spots in Seattle that are a must if visiting the city?

Seattle is a better food city than a design-centered city, but I try to send visitors to a variety of spots to get the best of the best that Seattle has to offer. For a free activity, I always like to send visitors to north Capitol Hill to see the impressive mansions that showcase some of Seattle’s best classical architecture, and to Volunteer Park for city views. For food, my favorite spots for out of towners are any of Renee Erikson’s restaurants. I personally love Bar Melusine, General Porpoise Donuts, and The Walrus and the Carpenter. Eve Fremont is another one of my go-to’s, as well as Frankie and Jo’s for vegan ice cream and waffle cones. For shopping, I love to recommend Glasswing, Les Amis, Red Ticking, Curtis Steiner, Watson Kennedy, and Susan Wheeler Home for terrific antiques and vintage.

What do you think makes a difference between a house and a home?

To me, the greatest difference between a house and a home is all in a feeling of fullness. It’s hard to put your finger on, but a house never truly feels like home until it provides you with such moments as relaxing in a comfortable chair, creating and eating a home-cooked meal, and sleeping in a bed that gives you a quality full night’s rest. A home feels full of warmth, love, and comfort, and has personality.

What are some decor faux-pas you see all too often?

Oh boy, it makes me sad when people skip window treatments. I know they’re expensive but they really finish a space. A major faux-pas that goes often unnoticed is the use of materials in homes that didn’t exist when the home was built. I’m also just so tired of all-white interiors with light blonde woods and ‘mid-century’ furniture, I think there is a time and a place for that minimal, Scandinavian-meets LA look and the majority of our culture in the US does not suit that lifestyle. We have warm, busy, imperfect lives with kids, pets, and families, and our homes should reflect that.

What’s next for you and Studio Laloc?

In January I am heading to Paris for design research and to attend the Paris Deco Off and Maison Objet trade shows. As a company, we are so excited to finish out some of the exciting projects that we’re working on now and to have them photographed and hopefully published! We would love to expand into more commercial work within Seattle in order to scratch my old itch of creating displays and installations for retail and commercial interiors.


Photography provided by Lauren L Caron, shot by Ellie Lillstrom, Belathée Photography, Claire Esparros, Emma Austin, and Genevieve Garruppo
 
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