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Thank You Note: Lauren Liess

This is the fourth installment of this series. In these posts I highlight a designer that has been instrumental in helping me both expand and hone my design aesthetic. When I first started noticing the designers featured in this series they were eye opening for me. Over the years of following them I have seen them evolve as I myself have evolved with his/her influence as part of that process.

Years ago when I became a stay at home mom and my youngest had settled into a regular napping, then preschool routine I found myself with small windows of time that I (of course) used to read shelter magazines. I stated to notice that each month the magazines would recommend bloggers to follow so taking their advice, I started to explore home design blogs and found several favorites where I eagerly awaited and faithfully read each new post. One of those bloggers was Lauren Liess and her blog is Pure Style Home.

Lauren started her blog in 2008 as a young mother to one son (she now has five children) and at its onset used the blog to document her love of design and her family's search for a home. I started reading the blog at least ten years ago and by this time (four years into her blog) Lauren had started a design business and her work was being published in local media (she and her family live in the Washington, DC area) and then national media. I began my loyal following of Lauren's blog when she and her family were looking to move from their first house into their second. Side note, if you are not familiar with Lauren Liess, she and her family have moved several times since then into "fixers" and she has documented the transformation of each home on her blog and now she does so mostly on Instagram. In the fourteen years since the start of her blog, in addition to her design business, she and her husband now flip houses, purchase houses that they renovate for rentals, and she and her husband have co-founded a real estate business in the DC area. Lauren also has a retail business where she sells her textile line, furniture, rugs, accessories, lighting and more (vintage and new). She is a powerhouse and I have so enjoyed watching her flourish, and truly appreciate how much she shares of her process.

The pictures in this post are pictures I took from Lauren's first two books (Habitat and Down To Earth), the actual photographs, which are stunning, were taken by Helen Norman.

I became particularly enamored (obsessed maybe!) with this room in Lauren's second house. I was struck by her use of space, the simplicity of her built in bookshelves with no trim/moldings so they were flush with the wall (they were the wall actually), her choice of light fixtures, her furniture and linens, and the casual styling of the bookshelves. Here is the room from three separate angles.

I love the high arms and lines of the sofa and the way the height of the window seat matches the height of the sofa. Please note the sconces between the bookshelves behind the sofa and the plug in expandable sconces in the window seat - fabulous.

The TV cabinet is also built in to be flush with the wall and adds a touch of a vintage feel to this clean lined room.

Studying this room, and I can assure you I have studied it and that I still go back to it years later, I have come to appreciate these elements that I consider key to Lauren's Liess' designs:

  1. Her use of drywall. I grew up mostly in historic homes and love decorative trim and molding. I love the contrast and character it brings to a space. Lauren creates shelves, nooks, and spaces with little to no trim molding and the spaces are beautiful. She has shown me that contrast and character can come from so much more than the "old bones" of a room. Lauren has taught me not to be afraid to remove existing "decorative" features; that you can also achieve a beautiful look by taking things away, not just adding or enhancing.

  2. Her choice of light fixtures. Lauren uses statement lighting that is almost always more modern looking. Lauren's spaces never feel modern, they feel curated and evolved with a great mix of vintage, new, and comfort though.

  3. Her use of flow-y fabrics for curtains, primarily botanical and paisley print fabrics of her own designs. They add depth, pattern and beauty to rooms that are often filled with furniture upholstered in solid fabrics.

  4. Her use of natural elements in design - dried leaves, driftwood, animal skulls, etc. again add depth and character to a space.

  5. The simplicity of her rooms hit just the perfect spot between under done and over done on the "is the room done scale" (yes, I have a scale for that!). Each space presents a warm welcome to visitors - the ideal.

Here is a room that clearly showcases Lauren's skills with drywall and sleek light fixtures.

More "drywall bookshelves".

A drywall nook perfectly styled.

Bookshelves without decorative trim and superb light fixtures. I have shared this room in Library Love, love it.

This is a traditional room that has been "simplified" with the paint colors and lighting choices. Although the light fixtures appear to be modern, their simplicity fits the space perfectly.

This dining room is simplicity at its best. The floor lamp hanging over the table is so attractive.

The rustic beams, modern chandelier, comfortable furniture, leather chaise, flow-y curtains, plastered fireplace, iron coffee table, black side board - wow! This room has it all!

Simply styled, simply stunning kitchen. Note how the refrigerator on the right matches the door to the left of the range and not the cabinets - great detail!

The chandelier in this room is amazing. The curtains are beautiful. The entire space invites you to come relax. How cool is that lucite coffee table!?!

This is a really cool entry hall light fixture!

Here is a close up of the shelves above the chandelier. This library/picture light is also gorgeous.

This light fixture is to die for! The sconces in the desk nook are charming and the folded wood shutters for the sliding door are amazing. More flush "drywall shelves" too!

Another great use of lighting and curtains.

More great lights and "drywall shelves" in the range alcove. This kitchen is sleek and stunning.

This is the dining space adjacent to the kitchen above. Another remarkable light fixture.

This piece of driftwood is unique and attractive artwork.

The crocodile (alligator?) skull on the coffee table is unexpected in this pretty room that provides a great mix of new and old styles.

These curtains are beautiful and the vintage ceiling fixture is fantastic.

What a pretty bed and the flow-y paisley curtains that extend behind the bed are so lovely.

Lauren Liess is incredibly talented and I am thankful that I was introduced to her via her blog. She has shown me that any house can be beautiful - be it one with good "old bones" or one that has no "bones". Every time I look at her work I am inspired. I hope you feel the same way. She has a third book out that I own and have not yet read. I will read it and make it the subject of this month's Book Report.

I will be back tomorrow with an It's All In The Details post. See you then.

Thank you for reading today and thank you Lauren Liess!





Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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