Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess
08/05 Lifestyle

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Our conversation with designer & author Lauren Liess

Lauren Liess inspires us to make life more beautiful…

after realizing her love for design and sharing the remodel of her own home on her blog, Pure Style Home, Lauren became recognized for her natural, relaxed style and down-to-earth approach to design and living.

You may recognize Lauren from her two best-selling books, Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating and Down To Earth: Laid Back Interiors for Modern Living, as co-host of HGTV show Best House on the Block, or from her amazing Instagram page.

We’ve been long-time fans of Lauren’s design work and lifestyle, and we were so excited to have the chance to interview her for our Make Life Beautiful Q&A series! Keep scrolling to read more about Lauren and take a peek behind the scenes of her story.

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Lauren’s beautiful home via @laurenliess

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

One of Lauren’s projects photographed by @helennorman for the cover of her book, “Down to Earth”.

What was your very first job — ever?

I can’t quite remember at what age I started babysitting, but I’m pretty sure it was probably babysitting. For more of a real job/ business… it was in high school when I started a business selling herbal concoctions and homemade beauty products like toners, lip balm, and lotion to the kids at school and the patrons of the pool I lifeguarded at.

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Photo via @laurenliess

Tell us about your journey into the creative industry; when did you realize that you could turn your passion into a career?  

I was decorating my first apartment out of college and discovered I liked doing that way more than my job- doing PR for our family business in the locomotive industry. My every waking thought was pretty much about how I could make my apartment better. (I had the most patient roommate ever who would just smile when she would come home and see that I’d painted the dining room, yet again.) I realized I wanted to design for a living and enrolled in a distance-learning design course.   

From the Gram
@laurenliess
Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

A beautiful project from Lauren’s Portfolio.

My husband and I got married when I was 23, and two years later (with a one-year-old baby), the housing market crashed, so we sold our house for a huge loss and moved into my mom and stepdad’s basement to try to recover financially. I was bummed about having to move back home and started writing my blog, Pure Style Home, to share client projects and to write about my love of interiors (no one in real life wanted to hear about it, lol!) I had just started taking on design clients, and this gave us lots of help with childcare.  

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess
Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Projects we love from Lauren’s Portfolio

When we eventually moved out, bought, and DIY’d a new place, I shared the process on the blog, and magazines began featuring our home and my interior design projects. As the blog grew and our business grew, my husband came to work with our team (me and one other designer). I wrote a couple of design books, moved 6+ times, had four more kids, and got a bunch of pets. (Not in that order- it’s a blur!) When we realized how much we loved fixing up houses for ourselves, we decided to open up a real estate brokerage called” Property Collective” with friends and partners and started flipping for others on the side. We now have a physical and online retail shop, textiles, tile, and furniture collections, along with our design business.   

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

A view from Lauren’s beautiful shop @laurenliessandco

If you could go back in time and give your young creator self one piece of advice, what would it be?  

Getting older is amazing, and you lose so much fear along the way. What’s intimidating or scaring you or feeling insurmountable to you now will make your future self smile. I remember worrying so much about not having a degree in interior design and being told I wouldn’t get my business going without it, worrying about moving home with a baby, worrying about having our show canceled… It’s not that I don’t worry now- I do!!- but it’s that it’s easier to see that life has its way of working itself out. It gets easier and easier to trust and just be. 

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Photo via @laurenliess

Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?  

In Nature! I’m never more in awe of something beautiful than I am when I’m outside, so in all of my work, I look to nature for inspiration. I look to the surrounding landscape and think about how I can bring it inside and focus the views on what’s going on outside. I love incorporating natural, age-weathered materials into homes.   

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

From Lauren’s Portfolio

What does your creative process look like?  

It’s a little different every time, but I typically start with a floor plan  rearranging the walls if it’s a renovation or sketching out a fresh floorplan if I’m doing a new build. I look to the land to create windows where I want specific views from inside and maximize light in a home wherever possible. From there, I often gather inspiration images and start to pull materials, developing a palette I’ll use throughout a home. I pull everything from flooring to tiles to fabrics to create a vibe and feeling I’ll use to inform the project. I usually design the kitchen first and work from there into the decorating and art installations.   

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

A beautiful scene from Lauren’s Portfolio

What was the most significant business or creative challenge that you have encountered and grown from?

Doing our HGTV show, Best House on the Block, was one of the biggest challenges we’ve encountered and grown from throughout the years of having our business. It was a surreal rollercoaster ride that began with a pilot filmed while pregnant and ended a couple of years later after filming the first season and finding out that it might not air at all.

When we got the news that it was over, it took us some time to feel okay about it, but in the end, it taught us to pull strength into our lives in a different way. I learned that how I was feeling was a choice, and I had to decide to be okay with what I saw as a massive failure, which has led me to some real contentment in my life.

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess
Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Projects we love via @laurenliess

We loved the process of filming so much that we decided to start making our own fun/silly “Homework” videos in IGTV/ YouTube, where Dave films me doing projects around the house. Our audience and community grew more from doing those videos than from the show, and it was a great reminder and lesson in going our own way. It’s something I hope to never lose sight of again. 

 

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Photo via Lauren’s Portfolio

Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for?   

We are working on our first couple of “neighborhoods,” which has been such a crazy experience and so exciting to be a part of. One is over 400 homes, and the other is two homes from the ground up, which we get to create with our good friend and builder. I love getting to be a part of the design process from the beginning when all we’re looking at is grass to the very end when the house is complete and ready for its people! 

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

A scene we love from Lauren’s instagram

Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess
Make Life Beautiful with Lauren Liess

Photos via @laurenliess

To learn more about Lauren Lies, visit her website laurenliess.com to see her amazing shop and read her blog, and follow her on Instagram @laurenliess. 

Show Comments
1 Comments
Studio McGee
  1. A photo of a Lauren Liess home with a cathedral ceiling in the living room is what first introduced me to her work. That photo was given to our builder when we hit a snag with how to design our great room. Thanks to Lauren, that photo “saved the day” for our home. I am so grateful for her inspiring work over the years that she has shared online. Lauren not only creates beautiful spaces but she also sets a great example of a beautiful person who radiates joy and humility. I’m looking forward to ordering her books now.

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