Designer Crush Q&A: Lindsay Pennington

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

I live with my family in a cottage nestled in the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of L.A.’s Hollywood Hills. It’s a very close knit community, where children walk to school and friends drop by on a near-daily basis. Laurel Canyon is an oasis of calm and quietude in the middle of the city, but is mere minutes away from the excitement of the Sunset Strip and the terrific shopping on Melrose and La Cienega. I love that our home is welcoming and warm, with lots of comfortable seating for television watching with friends, bunk beds for kid sleepovers, and a bright, white kitchen where we all congregate to begin and end our days. Though we live with many beautiful furnishings, both antique and new, nothing is off-limits to friends and family (including our--and everyone else’s--dog!). 

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

My dream design project would be the restoration of an historic estate in Kentucky on acres and acres of rolling green fields, suitable for enjoyment by people and horses alike. The client would be me!  

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

I consider all my clients very dear friends, so each design experience has been a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to them in a new and exciting way.  ut if I had to pick just one, I’d say the music studio/office space/”man cave” I designed for my husband was the most rewarding, if only because it created an opportunity to banish piles of rock memorabilia and the constant din of ESPN’s Sports Center from my house.    

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

My ever-growing collection of books.  

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

After meeting with the clients and viewing their desired rooms for improvement, I  consider carefully all of their needs for the space from both an aesthetic and practical perspective. A room should be both beautiful and useful for maximization of enjoyment. I consult online and print resources for inspiration images, which we then review together, to nail down the “look” that they are seeking.  Then the fun begins--sourcing fabrics, furnishings and accessories to bring their dreams to life.      

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

I’m a democratic shopper and leave no stone unturned when sourcing for my projects. But principally, I buy a lot at auction, both for specific projects and for myself, and nothing competes with the thrill of scoring that unique piece when the hammer comes down.  

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

As a designer, I work with a talented team of craftspeople to avoid such mistakes. I keep my DIY disasters isolated to failed interpretations of recipes for family dinners.  

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

I consider myself anti-trend, and generally go out of my way to focus my clients’ energies and budgets on elements that will have lasting interest and value.  Nonetheless, I’m a sucker for brass accents, lucite and chintz, and to the extent these are current, there’s a very good chance I’ll be pimping them to future clients!  I’m also desperate to convince someone to commit to a decoratively painted wood floor.

9. Lightning round! 

Beach or mountains? 


Twitter or Facebook?


Instagram or Pinterest?

A close call, but Instagram by a nose.  

Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?

Architectural Digest.

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen? 

Kitchen!  My favorite room to design.

Would you rather shop new or vintage?

Always a mix of both, but vintage shopping is more fun.

Great view or perfect pool?

Great views.

SF or LA?

LA all the way.

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

There are two, and they apply equally to clients and designer: (1) listen to your gut, and (2) don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Want more Lindsay?