Everyone should be so lucky to have their career sewn up like Laurie Nilsen.
“After being a stay-at-home mom, I decided to make a career out of what I loved most about being a homemaker: creating a beautiful living space, gardening and entertaining,” she says.
With little more than entrepreneurial spirit and a used sewing machine on her dining room table, Laurie started her own business specializing in custom window treatments and soft furnishings. Within a few years, she returned to school to study interior design and ended up teaching a few textile classes herself. Today, Laurie applies her design skills and knowledge of colors, fabrics and patterns to planning distinct home spaces with a personal touch.
“Once I get to know my client, I try to build their space around the things that they love and have collected over time so that the design reflects who they are, how they live and what they love.”
What inspires your color choice for a design project? I tell clients that we need to start with an inspiration piece, whether that’s a rug, a painting, a beautiful fabric or an amazing piece of art. Once we choose that piece, we can start to build and layer the rest of the palette.
Do you have any design quirks or superstitions?I love adding red as an accent – it happens to go very well in rooms painted ivory, camel or teal. I have a red teapot in my own kitchen and painted my dining room a beautiful deep burgundy color after I read that it “promoted appetite and conversation.”
Paint or wallpaper?Wallpaper! I especially like putting large, bold prints in smaller spaces like powder rooms to make a statement.
The celebrity designer I’d love to spend the day with: This is tough because I have so many that I love – including Candice Olson and The Property Brothers – but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Charlotte Moss. I have two of her books, both signed, and recently had the opportunity to meet her. I just love her style and graciousness.
What color was your bedroom when you were 10 years old? Green and yellow. My furniture was bamboo-like and painted yellow. I remember that my drapes, bedding and canopy were matching green and white floral and I had green “shag” carpeting. Hey, it was the ‘70s!
Favorite place to find inspiration: Nature. I enjoy gardening and have beautiful gardens all around my home. I try to bring my love of nature indoors through my designs.
What’s your design superpower? I’m often told that I have the ability to create spaces that exude “warmth and elegance.” I love hearing that! It means that in addition to looking good, the spaces are ones that people want to spend time in because they feel relaxed and comfortable there.
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“Learning about my customers’ lifestyle, family, likes and dislikes helps me to create their finished space. Gathering customer input is the most important part of my job in helping to create and complete a project that is a true reflection of them.”