orchestrating elegance: an interview with interior designer Lindsay Wasserman

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Lindsay Wasserman is the principal interior designer of her firm LMW Decor in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her family in an old Victorian house that she is decorating, and where she has discovered a new love for gardening (more on that below and here ) With her background in art history and experience as a floral designer as well, I knew we were kindred spirits. Her Instagram gallery is stylishly curated with exquisite traditional interiors that have a touch of old world romance, rooms that inspire and influence her own style and design work. Aside from all the things we both love—old houses, gardens, old world romance, beautiful spaces—I was impressed by her down-to-earth design philosophy:  “good design is accessible to everyone and I love helping clients make their dreams a reality.” (and I love what she has to say about lighting too.)

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ECS: What 5 everyday objects would you use to create a “signature still life” that shows your style? 

Lindsay: My everyday objects would have to include something blue and white, a beautiful oil painting, a vase of hydrangeas, an orchid and a lovely candle.

ECS: Tell us about your 1892 Victorian house.

Lindsay: We bought our lovely house 3.5 years ago. It was a house we had greatly admired for years and I never, ever, thought I would actually live in it one day. It already had most of the systems updated so we actually got to focus on the fun cosmetic stuff. This was a first for us because in all of our other homes we have had to replace HVAC, plumbing, foundation and electrical. The irony is that this is the oldest house we’ve owned but it needed the least amount of structural work! It has been a great joy to finally focus my energy on the part of the house people actually see!

In addition to painting and decorating the inside I have discovered a new passion for gardening. The original garden was wild and overgrown and definitely not my style but I knew next to nothing about planning or maintaining garden. So for the first two years I did nothing. I left everything untouched until I realized it was ok to make changes and give gardening a try. And I am so glad I did! I have found a new outlet for decorating- only this time it was the outside. I love nothing more than to be in the garden pruning the roses, watering the hydrangeas and listening to the bees and butterflies. It is truly peaceful…

 ECS: Which designer (dead or alive) would you most like to decorate a room for you personally?  Why? 

Lindsay: That is a tough one. There are so many designers whose work I greatly admire- Robert Kime, Mark D. Sikes, Ashley Whittaker, Mario Buatta, Steven Gambrel, Alex Papachristidis, Leta Austin Foster, Melissa Wyndham, Ben Pentreath, John Fowler, Sibyl Colefax, Alexa Hampton, George Stacey, Ken Fulk, Mary McDonald, Penny Morrison- the list goes on and on. I suppose I would pick based on the location- for a hip city space I would probably choose Miles Redd because he pushes boundaries with colors in ways that continually surprise and delight. For my country dwelling it would be Penny Morrison for her unique mix of colors and patterns and sense of romance.

ECS:  How do you see design being accessible to everyone?

Lindsay: Design has changed so much with access to Pinterest and Instagram. Great design is literally at our fingertips and while this does make it more accessible I think it can be overwhelming and intimidating. That said, with websites like Etsy, Chairish, Craigslist and eBay, you can furnish your house for a song. I happen to prefer a more feminine and elegant style in my own home and friends and clients are shocked to learn that a large portion of the pieces I purchase come from Craigslist and consignment shops. With some bargaining skills and a little savvy you can have champagne taste without a champagne budget!

ECS: What does elegance look like to you?   

Lindsay: I think elegance involves restraint (which I don’t always have).   It’s knowing when and where to hold back. Pieces don’t have to be expensive but they do have to have great lines. I always encourage clients to splurge on one or two good antique items to ground the space. Fabrics are also key-using quality fabrics makes all the difference and can really elevate a space, even if it’s just the throw pillows or some fabulous window treatments.

Lighting is another often neglected part of design. I am a fan of antique or reproduction lights and try to limit the overhead lighting to a chandelier. Elegant rooms rely on soft and  soothing light, which means a mix of sconces, as well as floor and table lamps to    cast the room in a soft glow rather than a harsh overhead glare. And dimmers are  always a must! Lastly, I think the most elegant rooms are those that look  effortlessly put together. Much like pairing a beautiful dress with the right hair, makeup and jewelry, an elegant room should be orchestrated in much the same manner- the sum of all the parts of a room should be cohesive and serene.

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Thank you Lindsay!

Cheers!

HS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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