Location: charlotte, north carolina
Square Footage: 4500
Years Lived in: 4
Rent or own: own
Describe your style:I think I would describe my style as family friendly, slightly quirky, British country house-y relaxed, and happy.
Blog/Website/Twitter: fergusandme.blogspot.com; lakbdesign.com; @lakbdesign
What's your favorite free/found item?
an pre civil war american powder horn found in a box of books set out for the trash -- my kids spied the books and politely asked if they could have them, and were surprised to find the powder horn stuffed in there, too.
What's your favorite purchased item?
everything is my favorite when i first purchase it, but right now i love my new madegoods.com capiz shell butterfly chandelier. it's so beautiful. i bought it from oscar, who owns the company, at high point. it's going to be featured by a high-profile retailer shortly. i think i'll still love it when it's not unique any more.
What has been your biggest obstacle in decorating/design?
storage. i'm a magpie.
Is your design style organic or planned?
both. i move things around my own house all the time, but i do usually have a plan. i tweak design clients' rooms when i am back in the home working on something else. i can't help it. i also text clients and friends when i see unusual things that would work perfectly in a particular space . . . i have a pretty encyclopedic memory for things and places. i guess it's a blessing, but maybe not!
What is your favorite spot in the house?
the kitchen. with four kids, i practically live there. also, i planned it very carefully; it's extremely simple as kitchen renovations go (no warming drawer, wine cooler, etc) but it works well and is a lovely place for baking and eating and chatting and playdough and thomas the tank trains . . . .
How has your style changed in the past 5 years?
i am much more willing to embrace old-and-not-perfect things. in fact, i prefer them (i feel guilty every day for the environmental impact of my large american family, and i try to minimize it as much as possible; i almost always buy vintage for clients, and shop first at my fave local consignment shop, southend exchange.)
What is your favorite resource or store?
in charlotte, southend exchange (online at southendexchange.com), sleepy poet antique mall (full disclosure: i have a space there with a partner, but honestly, i can't go restock without finding some terrific stuff -- it's an absolute vintage treasure trove). trade sources: laville frames for mirrors (louisiana barn boards, recycled), stray dog designs, and roost.
What is your biggest decorating/design pet peeve?
the general lack of imagination and originality that's rife. also, fake plants, especially if they're forming a garden of eden on top of kitchen cabinets . . . . they're not even recyclable.
What has been your favorite design trend?
i love the trend toward vintage and handmade. i grew up in scotland, and that's what we did there. love it, especially as there is no shortage of imagination among people who do vintage and/or handmade.
What is the biggest influence on your design/decorating style?
my personal history -- i grew up in scotland with a dad who was constantly doing amazing gardens and interiors and who exposed me to the best of 1970s design, and a mum who took me to estate auctions and encouraged me to read. my life has been one of two worlds; the us and the uk, and i've lived in lots of different places in both countries. that sort of experience definitely stretches one's frame of reference and develops an appreciation for the different.
What in your home dictates how you design/decorate?
first, the varied light in each room -- almost everyone fails to capture the best light and fails to exploit it to make the space look better. second, i'm always concerned with the purpose and use of each space -- it has to be functional as well as lovely.
What is the simplest thing you have done that has made the biggest impact?
everyone says it, but it's true: paint. pretty lighting is also key.