Women in Interior Design: Spotlight on Laurie Acree
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting some of our favorite female interior designers. We recently talked with Laurie Acree, North Carolina designer and owner of Laurie Acree Designs (LADi), to learn more about her career thus far.
How did you get your start in interior design?
My mother was an artist and a floral designer, so naturally, I grew up surrounded by design elements. She taught me to recognize composition and to see beauty in all things. However, I didn’t realize my own eye for design until I was an adult. After receiving a degree in interior design, I started LADi.
What inspires you when you’re designing a space?
My starting point for designing a space is lighting. I believe it sets the style for the room and is often the focal point. My goal is for my clients to say, “wow” when they walk into their room. A fabulous chandelier or a pair of sconces enhance the aesthetics of the room, helping me achieve that goal.
What has been your most challenging project so far in your career?
One of my biggest challenges was designing and furnishing a 10,000 sq ft house in Nashville, Tennessee while working from North Carolina. However, it was also a wonderful learning experience and I gained new resources and skills working out of state as a result of that project.
Who are some of your design role models and what captured your attention about their designs?
I became obsessed with the Art Deco era after reading The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. As a 17-year-old, I designed Jay Gatsby’s house in my mind while I read and it inspired me to start collecting all things Art Deco.
While studying mid-century architecture and design in my Study of the Decorative Arts class in college, I fell hard for Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier. Thanks to these influences, I adopted a “less is more” mentality twenty years ago and still apply it to my designs today.
As a woman, do you feel like you face different challenges than men in your field?
My corporation, LADi, is licensed for general contracting. It’s rare for a woman to run a new construction or remodeling project, but I feel fortunate to have very respectful working relationships with my vendors and subcontractors. We are all supportive of each other in our small businesses.
If you could give young women pursuing the interior design industry a piece of advice, what would it be?
For upcoming designers, I believe education is key. It gives you the ability to not only understand the history of art, design, and architecture, but to apply elements of design confidently and timelessly as well.
I’d also like to pass on a piece of advice that a friend in the business gave me years ago: “Be prepared for what you pray for.” Remembering that has helped me to have a fulfilling career in this industry.
A huge thank you to Laurie Acree for taking the time to talk with us and share her experiences as a talented woman in interior design and as a successful business owner. Explore more of Laurie's work by checking out her website and following her on Instagram and Facebook.