Designer Crush: Laura Martin Bovard

1. What are the qualities that make up your ideal client? What are their values?
Our ideal client has the ability to trust and know we will take care of them to the best of our ability. They care about quality, the environment and other humans and understand how important it is to live in an environment that reflects them. Ideally they are philanthropic which tells us a lot about who they are. Generally people who care about others are going to be kind people to work with.
We always tell potential clients that we care less about whether their project is going to land us a publication than we do working with kind people. In this business there are so many moving parts and they’re all handled by people. People are human, they can make mistakes. If and when that happens we want to work with people who get that anything can be fixed or made right so long as clients are allowing us to go to the ends of the earth for them without being punitive. 
2. What is the relationship between beauty, authenticity, and service in your world?
One of the things that Millenials are teaching us is that they care about themselves and the environment. They’ve seen what has happened to the health of their elders and the damage that is happening to our planet and they can see the long term effects of past inconsiderate choices. They are beginning to do things differently, more thoughtfully. Many of them think globally and I’ve noticed they can be educated about the differences they can make when they make a choice to purchase from a local artisan who we know and have a personal relationship with vs. the furniture from big box stores made overseas and shipped across the globe. Beauty and authenticity come when something is made by hand, over time, with thoughtful practices and the people making them are treated with respect and the materials are sourced consciously.
3. If you were a superhero, who would you be?
I have a new age alter ego I call The Divine Hustler. A Divine Hustler is anyone who is hustling life without much effort but uses Universal Laws like the Law of Attraction, optimism, kindness and can-do-it-ness to get things done. Also she doesn’t care so much what other people think and she practices extreme self care. This fuels her passion for helping people transform their lives through personal growth and interior design. Being a catalyst for transforming people and homes are inextricably linked for her.
4. What kinds of jobs did you have before becoming an interior design? How does that work relate to what you do now?
I spent the majority of my college years pre and post working in the restaurant business. I loved the energy, the people, the travelling that went with it. I learned about creating experiences for people with good energy, farm to table food and wine, gathering tribes to celebrate life. Now I bring that energy to people’s homes through interior design but it also makes me a great restaurant designer because I know what it takes to create a good feeling restaurant.
5. Explain your obsession with wallpaper.
The female brain is known to love variety. There is so much variety these days which opens up the possibility for creating unique interiors. Sometimes clients express concern that putting up wall paper is going to be difficult to deal with when it comes down. I don’t know why one would worry about such a thing so far down the road. Put it up! Enjoy it! Trends are known to last up to 15 years in many cases so I would go for it. Personally I prefer a more timeless look that has even more staying power but if you want to get sassy or have that wow factor use something bold. Powder rooms are the ideal place to express your inner creative and put up something unexpected. Even vinyl wallpapers (we love Phillip Jeffries) have become beautiful and are the perfect thing to use in a laundry room or high traffic areas. Washable and pretty!
6. What do you wish people knew about design?
That it is a thoughtful, time consuming process. Those before and after shows where people pull out the one trick pony designs and a hot glue gun are ridiculous. If you want timeless, well curated design it is a process. Beautiful quality comes with integrity, it isn’t a rush job.
7. Do you believe design changes people’s lives?
Definitely! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve designed a master suite only to hear that a couple’s marriage has improved and that people feel happier. When we have spaces that reflect who we are and who we are becoming there is an authenticity to the energy and people can feel that. Whether they can articulate it or not is another question but I guarantee changing up an interior changes the people living in the space too.
8. Your offices are in Downtown Oakland; how does having your base of operations in that area inspire you?
Being in an edgy neighborhood surrounded by art galleries and graffiti keeps us energized. We love the urban landscape and the people. Looking at large scale murals by Zio Ziegler keeps me inspired and interested in art in general. As a girl who grew up in a rural town coming Downtown Oakland still feels exciting to me every day. Having energy makes me better at life and better at design and running a company.
9. When is “hand-crafted and upcycled” a good thing, and when do these descriptors go too far?
It works when it’s beautiful, it doesn’t work when it’s tacky.
10. Food and community have been influential on your designs in homes and in restaurants. How do you celebrate in your own home?
I love to set a beautiful table. I learned that from my friend Angela Free who is a fabulous, elegant designer and has been like a big sister to me. She showed me what it looks like to celebrate daily life by making everything beautiful especially when setting a table. Rituals I engage in to connect with my community include Sunday dinners pretty much every week. To unwind, I hang in my meditation corner every morning where I snuggle with my Rosemary Hallgarten blankie, my doggies and a cup of Golden Tea. I journal, write out affirmative prayers and listen to people like Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte, two of the Divine Hustler’s favorite inspirational speakers.
11. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
I am obsessed with making fermented vegetables which isn’t exactly cooking but I am a fan of making anything fresh from the farmer’s market. Last week’s dinner was chicken from Marin Sun Farms rubbed with Oakland Dust and grilled, mixed greens with roasted spring onion, mint, goat cheese, pistachios and cherries with shallot vinaigrette and grilled sweet potatoes, with spicy coconut kale.

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