To say Lauren Liess has come a long way in the last 15 years would be quite the understatement. In 2007, she began working as a designer, and she launched her first blog, Pure Style Home, the following year, as a way to share her projects. Since then, her creative career has skyrocketed: She’s published three books about designing and living intentionally, and today, she and her husband (and business partner) host HGTV’s Best House on the Block. Lauren also has her own lines of products, including fabrics, many of which are now available on Chairish.

We spoke with Lauren about her career, including her laidback and livable approach to design, as well as her own passion for home renovations and vintage shopping. See what she had to say below, and be sure to shop her curation of personal Chairish favorites.

Lauren Liess
Lauren Liess

You’re known for your natural, laidback approach to design. How would you describe your personal aesthetic?

Natural, relaxed, collected… “Down to Earth” is the title of my second book, and how I’d describe it in a phrase.

You’ve actually lived in six different homes! How has your style evolved over time and what’s your favorite part about decorating a new space?

I think my aesthetic evolves each time I move into a home with a different architectural style, but I let the houses do the talking. I’ve kept all of the same furniture, rugs, and art throughout our moves, so it’s interesting to see how different our things can feel in the light of new architectural styles. The house we’re planning to work on next is a blank slate, so I’m finally getting the chance to really change the bones of the home itself and to make it totally “me.” It’s a combination of two of my favorite houses we’ve lived in—a 1970s contemporary and a French-inspired country house—so it’ll be sort of a “fairytale modern” style with both contemporary and antique details throughout. 

Having gone through many renovation projects, do you have any advice or learnings to share for anyone undergoing a huge restoration?

Oh gosh… it will cost a lot more than you think! But on the style side, take it slow to really quiet your mind and give yourself space and time to think. The process can be demanding and fast-paced, so slow down and figure out what’s truly you. Picture what every moment and habit will feel like and design around your true way of living. Even picture a better way of living for yourself and make it happen through your design.

Lauren Liess

Belated congratulations on your third book, Feels Like Home, which came out last year. You mention that “a house is a feeling.” What does that mean to you?

Thanks so much! To me, home has an almost palpable feeling and we can feel it if we pay attention when we walk through the doors of our house—it’s much stronger if we’ve been away for some time—or are with the ones we love. It’s different for everyone but often evokes a sense of comfort and is like an exhale of sorts. 

What’s your personal philosophy when it comes to working with antiques and vintage pieces?

They bring soul to a home. No design goes out the door of our design studio without them.

Lauren Liess

On Chairish & Vintage Shopping…

What do you find most compelling about Chairish?

I love being able to shop from so many different sellers at once. Plus, it’s a huge time saver.

How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?

I love that vintage makes a smaller footprint than new goods do. I use it as much as possible.

What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?

I love this 1980s bronze bust; this coffee table from the 1940s; and this pair of Sirocco safari chairs by Arne Norell.

Lauren Liess

Some Design Favorites…

Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:

Salon-style gallery walls

Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:”

I love finding good vintage art.

Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:

I love vintage Spanish leather and wood chairs

Favorite paint color:

White… I have a bunch of different favorite whites and generally pick fresh for every project.

Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:

William Morris 

Design destination every creative should visit at least once:

I am such a fan of old houses and gardens and feel like many of the places I visited as a kid blew me away and really affected my design sensibilities. I still think a lot about Dumbarton Oaks, Mount Vernon, and Giverny

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received:

Keep it simple. My grandfather always told my dad this and he passed it on to me. Businesses can get complicated really quickly and so it reminds me to keep goals and processes clean and simple. 

Some Lifestyle Favorites…

Favorite vacation destination:

I have to say the Outer Banks… It’s not the most exciting one in the world, but it’s our beach town and I’ve been going there since I was a kid. Visiting is like a big exhale for me. For major travel—Italy. 

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work:

I’m obsessed with what I’ve seen in photos of Monteverdi Tuscany and am dying to visit. I’ve taken so much inspiration from it for our new place.

Favorite restaurant:

Taverna Cretekou in Old Town Alexandria… It’s the sweetest little Greek restaurant run by the warmest family with an enclosed garden dripping with wisteria in the spring.

Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:

@septembermooreprojects; @turkuazkitchen; @herbalacademy; and

Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:

Something fresh from the garden—flowers, veggies, or greens

Favorite flower:

Queen Anne’s Lace 

Favorite adult beverage:

A dry Pinot Grigio 

Favorite way to unwind at home:

I love cooking with my family with a glass of wine and good music on. Kitchen dancing is one of my favorite things in the world. 

Favorite entertaining essential:

A massive cutting boards for serving charcuterie and snacks

All photos by Helen Norman. Courtesy of Lauren Liess.

November 9, 2022

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.