Lea Johnson knows there's beauty in the small touches. The creator and stylist grew her brand Creekwoodhill out of a love for curating her own Minnesota home, which stands as a living showcase of her ethos. It is a seamless blend of the new and the old, the designed and the discovered, the organic world and a cozy environment. Her spaces feel timeless and inviting for a reason—they are not a shopping list of the latest trends—every element is collected, curated, and carefully considered with a personal touch. The result is a layered look that is not just inspired by nature but grounded in sustainable design practices—where artisan pieces sit in harmony with modern statement makers. Recently we got to talk with Lea about how she translates her philosophy into real, cohesive designs, and she had plenty of tips we can't wait to try at home.
What inspired you to pursue a career in interiors?
I always knew I loved interiors, and first, I tried my hand at e-design for small residential projects but soon discovered my heart was in interior styling. I work primarily alongside custom builders and interior designers now, often wearing two hats as art director and lead stylist. However, I love working and collaborating with brands such as L&G and the creative freedom it allows. I think truly understanding a brand and working alongside those who understand you makes such a huge difference in how that relationship is relayed through the lens of a camera.
We love a brand name with a captivating story behind it. Can you share the story behind Creekwoodhill and what it means to you?
Creekwoodhill came from a part of a street name we once lived on and part of the neighborhood we live in now. It blends old and new, past and present, which is how I blend and mix my own home—and often why clients turn to me for their projects and portfolio work. I guess I have always had a love for combining the new with that which already existed.
When someone walks into your home, what emotions or feelings do you hope to evoke in them?
I used to tell people it was such a compliment to hear people walk in and ask if this was an old house we renovated. We actually built our home as new construction, and with my love of old-character homes, this was a huge compliment to me and still is. However, the more I think about it, I think I loved that people would ask because it meant they felt a sense of nostalgia or comfort, the way old homes so often feel. Like a long embrace from an old friend you haven’t seen in a while.
Collaborating with you on creating pockets of peace in your home was a delightful experience. Could you share the inspiration behind the transformation of your space?
The pleasure is all mine, truly. The inspiration—this is something I struggle with sometimes because, as a stylist, my eye is constantly moving and changing and evolving. But I think that discovering and centering myself and our family on nature is what makes us most at peace—the woods, the beach, or even city life. I love a more modern-organic space mixed with found and vintage. I love clean lines but soft lines. I love blurring what may be perceived from a traditional view as masculine design with what may be perceived as feminine design. I love evoking a feeling of calm but not boredom. I love when friends visit and stop to look at the L&G Carly curio cabinets and the objects inside. I love that guests study what’s on our coffee table or the art on the walls or how the textured rugs make them feel. All of the simple moments within our home, I love the pause they take. That inspires me.
Can you share three tips for transitioning a space into the new spring/summer season?
As someone who isn’t big on seasonal changes—because in this industry, I am very aware of the waste it can create—I love to add simple touches by swapping out vases and filling them with seasonal greenery and botanicals. I also love to use scents such as candles, incense, and diffusers that transport your senses to another place you love to visit. From a design perspective, rugs are a great way to transition through the seasons, keeping lighter and more natural rugs through the warmer months and cozy wool rugs for the cooler months. We also do this with bed linens. We invest in just a few quality linens that I love and that we swap from winter to summer. However, if changing your home for the seasons is your love language, then I do urge you to please be mindful of supporting sustainability (because in a world of fast fashion, it has also trickled into fast home trends) and to please support recycling through thrift shops and when shopping for pieces you likely will not keep for the long-haul.
We noticed that you have incorporated a few pieces from Lulu and Georgia in your space. Is there a particular statement maker that still captivates you?
Everyone is absolutely intrigued by the Carly curio cabinets and Celeste armchair—everyone wants to sit in that chair! Every time I share the Carly cabinets on my socials, people go wild for them! I love it!
What essential qualities do you strive to incorporate into your designs?
Something organic (shape, material, texture), something a bit modern, and something old. Those are my foundations, and from there, I build by adding layers of art, textiles, patterns, and pieces that captivate the eye or are interesting and unusual or artisan made. One thing that has always drawn me to L&G is that my personal aesthetic aligns with the beautiful pieces L&G offers, so any piece I choose feels intentional and well-curated.
How do you integrate current trends into your home refresh?
Ooh, this is a tough question; I try not to study trends because my eye can be easily tricked into thinking that the current trend belongs in my home. Instead, I view current trends collectively and study the common denominator within them, such as color(s), shapes, scale, weight, etc. and try to study more of the origin that inspired that trend. If, after that, something within that “trend” speaks to me, then I will try to organically incorporate a piece into my home. I turn to pieces that are more timeless but have a modern silhouette or feel. Trust me—I have made lots and lots of mistakes thinking I needed the new “it” pieces in our home, only to find out they never truly fit and somehow always felt forced.
What do you enjoy most about living in Minneapolis?
Minnesota has some of the best summers and autumns. I think almost everyone would move here if it stayed within only those two seasons. I find so much visual inspiration from our seasons, and I think that is reflected within our home.
Personal trinkets and touches have the power to elevate a room. Could you tell us about your favorite pieces in your entertainment space?
Agreed! Oftentimes, when people step into our home, that is what they are most captivated by after first taking the space in. Some of my favorite pieces are the beautiful dinnerware and glassware from L&G, I love how I can mix and match and how my table feels so well curated, and I love making my guests feel special, especially at our dinner table. I also love, LOVE all of the artisan-made ceramic pieces within our home, but one of my all-time favorite pieces is a vintage oil portrait painting of an Asian woman I keep in our dining room. She’s beautiful, and the artist painted her so tenderly that I feel like she has such a story to tell. I loved that she wasn’t fetishized or depicted as so many other Asian “art” pieces I have seen. My husband also inherited a Black Americana oil painting from a family artist friend that holds a special place within our home and family.
What's next for you and Creekwood Hill?
I would love to grow Creekwoodhill. I would love to expand into studio work, and I would love to be involved in more of the art director space. Also, we are planning our part-time living in LA, and I have so many fun ideas and projects for that cute bungalow, so stay tuned!