Interior Designer Spotlight with Laura Bohn
Laura Bohn Design, New York, NY
Laura Bohn was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 1998, and has been featured in Luxe, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, House & Garden, Interior Design, Country Home, Oprah Magazine, HGTV, CNN Style and A&E. Laura is a graduate of Pratt Institute and has taught at Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. She has been selected twice to design spaces at the nationally acclaimed Kips Bay Decorator Show House. The prestigious Franklin Report gives Laura a four star rating and quotes these three client comments and more: “She is a seasoned professional. What she sketched is exactly what you get, and it is always perfect.” “Unbelievable sense of color, every room is gorgeous and exciting. She delivers the highest quality.” “I was hysterical when she used six different shades of green in a single space, but she was absolutely right—it looks rich, yet homogeneous and peaceful.”
Join me as Laura shares with us why she uses cowhide rugs, how she sources designer rugs, what it’s like to design internationally, what it was like to do Kips Bay Decorator Show House and much more…
If You Could, Would You Design All Your Spaces Without Rugs?
“No I would not! I think rugs really make a difference. I would never do away with rugs. I use a lot of rugs and love using cowhides. Nothing phases hides—you can’t destroy them. If you have an odd shaped space, a natural shaped hide really works. They serve a great purpose since you don’t want a rug that’s round, square or rectangle. They add so much atmosphere and it’s hard to buy the wrong hide.”
What Do You Consider When Sourcing Designer Rugs?
“Knowing the color is the most important thing and then the rug’s texture. Then you need to know how the rug is going to be used, and if they have children and pets. I’m very conscious of what the rugs are made out of. I usually use rugs with a lot of texture and patterns. Since I don’t use a lot of patterns in my spaces, the rug is where patterns can appear. Right now I’m looking at a wool rug with a blend of soft brown, white and gray colors. I’m looking at it right now across the room and it’s vibrating. Right next to it is a shag rug made out of crappy rayon. It’s really white and fake looking—I love it.”
What Is It Like to Be in the Interior Design Hall of Fame?
“To be recognized by your peers is about the greatest thing that could ever happen. It’s a very big honor. The event itself is fun and you get to meet all these people that you love. It’s one of those real highs.”
Why Are You Dubbed the Queen of Soft Modern?
“I really respond to modern, but I don’t do cold. I do soft modern, which is very comfortable and livable. It’s not off-putting and cold. You’ll see white used in a lot of modern designs, but I use very soft colors and try to never use white—ever! I like big pillows and it’s mostly about the visual line and being contemporary.”
What Is It Like to Design Internationally?
“It’s very different. We’ve done a lot of work designing restaurants in Japan. I remember one restaurant we did where we got to the end and they decided to change the menu. Now that wouldn’t matter to most people, but in Japan we had to redesign the project from scratch. It’s a different mindset. In Saudi Arabia we did a bookstore and we had to create an entire room here—like a box. Then we dismantled it, shipped it on a flatbed and reconstructed it in Saudi Arabia. One time we shipped over 100 pounds of wet plaster to Japan because we didn’t know if the water in Japan was going to mix with the plaster correctly.”
Where Do You Find Your Clients?
“We have a lot of repeat clients. I have a full-time publicist and get published a lot. I do as many events and talks as I can. I pretty much don’t say no to anything—just do it all! You need to be public. We just got a project because they saw us in a magazine.”
What Are the Dangers of Not Hiring an Interior Designer?
“Most everyone makes terrible mistakes with color. They typically pick the wrong colors. They choose colors which are too intense, and then they don’t know what to do with them. I see people standing around paint stores and I’m always dying to help. People have a hard time envisioning what colors will look like on walls.”
What Was It Like to Do Kips Bay Decorator Show House?
“I think Kips Bay is a waste of time. They are a lot of money and a ton of work. The bottom line is it’s usually a lot of women going out to lunch and then going to Kips Bay. It doesn’t generate any business or at least it hasn’t for me. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. I do the Housing Works Design on a Dime NYC every year which is really fun. Fifty designers get a 10′ x 12′ space and we make rooms out of them. You never know which room you are going to get and it’s completely for charity.”
Describe the Wall Treatment You Did at Kips Bay in 2012?
“It’s cardboard and they are all individual squares. We hand painted them ourselves and then glued them up. They come in stacks about a foot tall and look like egg cartons. The whole wall was very soft to touch—it was pretty cute.”
A Kitchen You Designed in Seattle Has Over 11,000 Saves on Houzz.
“Wow, I didn’t know that. I don’t do a lot spaces like that. It’s the most traditional of spaces that I’ve done in a long time. I’ve done a few projects for these clients. Prior to moving back to England they lived in this house. A lot of the furniture came from England and I had to fit it all into the house. It was a wonderful to design. It’s very livable. I’m about to do a book and was not going to include it. Maybe I should!”
What Is Your Favorite Industry Publication?
“Interior Design. It’s more architectural then decorative. A lot of the magazines publish homes because people are famous, but the designs are horrible. Interior Design keeps a tight lid on that. It’s also international so you get to see some amazing projects.”
For more on Laura Bohn, visit http://lbda.com.