Lauren teamed up with Lighthouse Contracting Group immediately after starting her business, Lauren Milligan Design, in 2010. She recently opened a design studio in Gilford. Last year, Lauren won Best Interior Design in the Lakes Region Parade of Homes as well as Best Floor Plan and Best Bathroom. Read on to learn how Lauren got started in the interior design industry, current decorating trends and her favorite room in the house.
Tell us about Lauren Milligan Design and how you got started?
Lauren: Lauren Milligan Design is an interior design firm focused on residential design in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. I became an entrepreneur in 2010 after working for several years at the Boston Design Center (BDC). In addition to my experience at BDC, I built my professional career working for other designers.
Where does your passion for interior design come from?
Lauren: I love helping people create their home environment. The space we inhabit is such an important, personal thing. To be invited into the process and to achieve the goals of my clients is an honor. It’s also innate. That is to say, it’s just the way my brain works and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What is your favorite interior design project in a home?
Lauren: It’s hard to choose a favorite! One thing I love about my job, is every project is different. If pressed to decide, I do love designing kitchens. Kitchens are where people gather and are arguably the most important room in the house. They offer creative flexibility and it is vital that they function well. This design challenge is what makes it fun!
Kitchen – Cabinetry (shown here by Eastman Street Woodworks)
Master Bedroom – Window treatments. Normally, these are custom made by my workroom. They are a necessity for privacy and light control. In addition, they provide softness and texture to the room for a cozy feel. Fabrics provide an opportunity to play with pattern and color.
Living Spaces – Wallpaper (shown here by Thibaut) with a bold pattern or a subtle texture. Plain walls are given wonderful dimension with the addition of wallpaper.
Entryway – Lockers and custom built-ins
Where do you draw your inspiration when designing?
Lauren: Depending on the interior design project, inspiration can come from the homeowner. For example, an object, picture or description of what they are envisioning. Likewise, I will see a photograph in a magazine or a movie set and it will hit me. Color inspirations can come from anywhere. In short, it is all about the “aha!” moment when something clicks into place.
How would you describe your design style?
Lauren: Comfortable and classic. I like using both neutral tones and color. I don’t have a single aesthetic. Instead, I like to base my design on the taste of the homeowner. Ultimately, that is who needs to love it!
How does the design process work from the initial contact phase to completion?
Lauren: Usually, when starting a new interior design project, I meet with the owners to walk through the space and review their goals. From there, I set forth a scope of work and begin making recommendations for materials, finishes, etc. If there is construction involved, the planning phase involves collaborating with contractors to see the project through to completion. It’s not a cookie-cutter process because every project is different.
Tell us about your design studio in Gilford?
Lauren: My design studio is open by appointment only. I have a variety of sample products. Everything from flooring to fabrics to countertops and stone can be found in my shop. I also provide samples from other resources for clients to view. It is a wonderful space to meet, talk, and review options.
What are this year’s trends for design and decor?
Lauren: I am noticing a movement towards warmer neutrals (as opposed to cooler grays that have been popular for several years now). I also see lighter stained flooring coming into favor. Some popular styles that I believe will continue to be in favor are white cabinets and walls as well as the use of shiplap and nickel gap on walls and ceilings. Organic textures as well as geometric patterns on tile and wallpaper are also going to continue to be big this year.
What is the future of interior design?
Lauren: I believe we will continue to see homes taking on multiple roles in our lives, as more people work from home and focus on time with family. Two examples include, home offices and living spaces such as, outdoor kitchens, craft rooms and home theaters.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
Lauren: I have several current interior design projects I’m excited about. They are all so unique! Firstly, I have a new construction residence in a modern farmhouse style. Secondly, is new construction in a rustic contemporary style. Thirdly, is a lakefront Craftsman style, family-friendly house, which I’m having fun with. Other projects include renovations in a variety of decorating styles: contemporary, industrial, cottage. It is a wide range of design styles which makes it interesting and enjoyable.
What is your favorite interior design project to date and why?
Lauren: The Refuge, which Lighthouse Contracting Group also worked on, is my favorite interior design project. It was such a fun project to begin with but then we got to feature it in the Parade of Homes. As a result, The Refuge was quite special and I’m proud of the way it all came together.
Tell us about your home. Do you have a favorite room, decor piece or design element?
Lauren: My house is home to my three children and husband. In other words, it is very family-friendly and not too fussy. My favorite room is the kitchen. Lighthouse Contracting Group just finished remodeling it for us.
What is a decor element every room needs?
Lauren: A pop of color! I’m a big fan of a neutral color palette accented with color. It doesn’t have to be a bright color either. For example, if you are designing with a gray or white color base, a warm wood tone can act as your color accent if incorporated thoughtfully.
What is one thing other people may not know about you?
Lauren: Both of my parents are doctors! I SO did not inherit that gene. I could not have picked a more different career move.
Now the most important question. If someone were to ask you about hiring Lighthouse Contracting Group, what would you tell them?
Lauren: That they are in very good hands! Jeremy and his team are true craftsmen and professionals. Working with a contractor is usually a long-term relationship and it is important you choose someone who listens, communicates and is invested in the end result of your project.