“I don’t think anyone that has ever seen my work would believe that I’m a minimalist. I am much more of a maximalist, but I try to draw the line before becoming a hoarder. What can I say, I love beautiful things!”
-Lindsey Coral Harper
I keep my ear to the pavement when it comes to interior designers, so when Timothy Brown chatted me up about his friend Lindsey Coral Harper, I decided to investigate. We met for coffee at her riotously decorated office (I’d call it a gigantic storyboard) earlier this week.
I came away with a clear understanding why she’s the current ‘it-girl’, and perhaps more importantly, why I think she’s going to be important in our industry for some time to come. We had a convivial chat. Here’s some of what I learned about this decidedly modern Southern Belle.
Photo courtesy House Beautiful
Tell me about your career in interior design, and how you came to own your own firm.
I was a design major at the University of Georgia and moved to New York in 1999 for an Internship with Carleton V, in my senior year of college. I then went to work for Richard Keith Langham, where I worked for 8 years. When I decided to go out on my own, I transitioned out by doing a freelance project for Keith and one for Dorothy Draper, while I started taking my own clients.
Do you think of yourself as having an individual stylistic approach to interiors? or do you adapt from project to project?
I certainly have my own individual style, however I was trained to work with clients and homes all over the country. I believe that enabled me to have a broader range. I certainly adapt from project to project. Each client is different and every home is different. I don’t have any interest in giving clients the exact same look. People are paying a lot of money for their home to look like them, not their neighbor.
Cathedral Antiques Showhouse, Atlanta 2012
Your work is clearly a combination of strong color and pattern. Is that something innate, or did it take time to learn?
It’s a little bit of both, I’ve always loved pattern and color. However, I have certainly honed my skills after working for Keith and Carleton. It was like getting the cheat sheet to the exam.
Are there designers who regularly influence your work?
For men – it would be Billy Baldwin, David Hicks, Tony Duquette, Albert Hadley & Richard Keith Langham. As for women – Rose Cumming, Frances Elkins, Dorothy Draper, Nancy Lancaster, Bunny Williams & Kelly Wearstler.
Do you fall on the side of ‘less is more’, or ‘more is more’ in what you’d consider a successful room?
I think the answer lies in the balance. Again, it depends on your client. However, I don’t think anyone that has ever seen my work would believe that I’m a minimalist. I am much more of a maximalist, but I try to draw the line before becoming a hoarder. What can I say, I love beautiful things!
The interior design industry has, in the age of the internet, become incredibly transparent. Do you consider that as positive or negative in your work day?
I think both. I remember the days before the Web, of calling antique stores all over the country, and actually waiting for them to take photos, have them developed and mail them to you. Now you can find anything and everything in seconds without much work at all. This can be a positive. However, due to the internet, everyone wants immediate gratification. Sometimes clients don’t want to wait for the most inventive idea, they will settle for the quickest or worse-the least expensive, regardless of quality.
Photo courtesy House Beautiful
If you could design a home for anyone, in essence your dream client, who would they be?
Will and Kate?
Essentially any great couple (or person) that enjoys their life and lifestyle but doesn’t have the time and/or know-how to achieve the aesthetic themselves. Maybe because I’m Southern, but I do not take clients that I cannot go to dinner with. At the end of the day I have to understand exactly how they live their lives, so the home I create for them is comfortable and represents them. I am also managing their entire project and spending their money, so it’s a very important and delicate rapport that we must have. I also get new clients through word-of-mouth. So every job is especially important to me.
Who are the 10 current vendors/products that are ‘go-to’s at LCH Interiors?
1. Jean De Merry – The ‘LUMIERE’ Chandelier
2. Christopher Spitzmiller – Hand Thrown and Glazed Ceramic Lamps
3. Jay C Lohmann – For Artwork and Decorative Painting
4. Gracie Wallpaper – For Exquisite Hand-painted Papers
5. Doris Leslie Blau – For Their Collection of Custom Carpets
6. Leontine and Julia B – For Custom Monogrammed Linens
7. Urban Electric – For Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
8. 1st Dibs – For Everything Antique and Vintage
9. Lamshop – For American Made Bespoke Furniture and Accessories
10. Phillip Jeffries – For Grass Cloth and Linen Papers
Where would you like to be in your career in 10 years?
Designing homes, giving lectures around the world, writing beautiful, inspiring design books, designing more chic furniture and possibly having a few fabulous home stores or just hanging out with Oprah or partying with Chelsea Handler.
.Well, I’m not sure about anyone else, but I certainly want an invite to that soiree.
Special Thanks to Lindsey for her time and consideration, and to her marvelously charming assistant Lilse Rodgers for help in organizing this post!