Designer Crush Q&A: Lauren Nelson

Thanks to (new mom!) Lauren for taking the time to answer our Designer Crush Q&A! 

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what's special about how you've designed your personal space?

I live in San Francisco's Mission district, by far my favorite neighborhood yet. We're surrounded by sunshine, amazing food, great shops, and Dolores Park!  What I love about our home is the brightness and spaciousness. The light pours in all day long, so I've tried to decorate it in a way that also feels light & airy.  Our place is a mash-up of vintage pieces collected over the years, and a few new pieces with more modern lines. I like that nothing feels too precious - every room gets used. Yes, even the dining room!

2. What's your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)?  

A boutique hotel in Cape Town, so I have an excuse to go spend my summers there.

3. In real life, what's your favorite design project you've completed to date?

I just completed a commercial project with the fashionable ladies of Cuyana. We designed their first retail space and new office space in a former art gallery on Union Square, four months before I had my first baby. It was fun and crazy and rewarding all in one! They have great style, so it was nice to design for clients who already had a point of view; it was just a matter of translating their product & brand identity into a retail environment. 

4. You've been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be? 

Art. It would be hard to choose, but probably the large scale framed photograph above our sofa, by our photographer friend Alex Farnum. It was a wedding gift, so it has sentimental value, and I just love the image. It's very California. 

5. What's your creative process when designing a space?

Getting to know the client is the biggest goal in the beginning. Really figuring out who they are, how they live, and what makes them excited is incredibly important. Then we scour our sources for inspiration & products, and design from scratch what we can't find already made. The collaboration with all the craftspeople behind the products is the fun part, and what makes us designers valuable. Anyone can shop online these days and find a cool this or that. But a successful space is a matter of curating the right mix of items and creating unique pieces for each project that speaks to each owner.

6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?

Sources are endless these days, thanks to the web. I'm a big fan of 1stDibs for vintage pieces, and new competitor sites like Hunters Alley and Chairish bring flea markets to your doorstep.

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?

I get too nervous to test out DIY projects for clients, so I've only tried them on my own. Like recovering my dining chairs. But you get what you pay for. And let's just say my clients' chairs look a lot better than mine! 

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?

I've been drawn to neutral spaces lately. I don't think it's necessarily a trend now, since neutrals are so timeless, but in my world it is, since my work usually incorporates lots of color. I love the striking simplicity of black & white with wood tones.

9. Lightning round! Beach or mountains?

Beach, without a doubt. 

Twitter or Facebook? 

Instagram! I'm all about photos.

Architectural Digest or Wallpaper? 

Arch Digest.

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?

Kitchen! It's where everybody ends up hanging out.

Would you rather shop new or vintage?


Great view or perfect pool? SF, a view. In LA, a pool!

SF or LA?

I've lived in both, and I'm a SF girl. I'll take the LA weather any day, but SF is more my speed.

10. What's one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

Surround yourself with talented, hardworking people you can learn from, and give back the same yourself.


Want More Lauren?

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