July 18, 2016
Q&A with Interior Designer Lauren Behfarin
Lauren Behfarin, interior designer, blogger, and soon-to-be product designer (on-the-go totes for tots), answers our questions on how she does it all, her design style, and so much more!
by New York Spaces
NYS: How did you get your start in the interior design world?
Lauren Behfarin: It was all sort of by chance. My parents hired interior designer, Drew McGukin, and I sat in on their meeting. It all clicked in that moment and I actually ended up working under Drew for a few years while I attended New York School of Interior Design and after. He became my mentor in the industry and is a great friend to this day!
NYS: How does your background in visual merchandising and store design influence or aid you in your interior design business?
Lauren Behfarin: Store design and visual merchandising is all about creating spaces with a specific purpose in mind and that is sales! I loved learning about how people shop and what would entice them to try something on or walk past a product. Residential design is not so different; there is a purpose for every room. I love learning how an individual or family wishes to use their space and then creating that for them.
NYS: What is one of your favorite store designs?
Lauren Behfarin: I cannot get enough of the design of Miu Miu stores. They have the same aesthetic worldwide, which creates a global brand statement. The moss greens, rusty pinks and metallic gold accents have been their signature look in stores for years and it has proven to be timeless. The stores feel like a luxurious walk-in closet where you want to stay with a cup of coffee and try everything on!
NYS: What would you describe your design style as?
Lauren Behfarin: I love to mix form and function with a contemporary flair. I often find myself adding midcentury pieces as well, and always something a little bold, but that's probably my fashion background shining through.
NYS: Why do you think function is so important to any design approach?
Lauren Behfarin: Being a young mom and raising two kids in New York City, I do not have time for any wasted space! That chair that sits in the corner of a room that no one ever sits on is just not for me. I love working with busy families and making rooms feel inviting yet decorated.
NYS: When and with you did you start your blog, Born & Bread? Tell us a bit about it!
Lauren Behfarin: My best friend from college, Julie, and I started the blog in 2008 when she was working at Ralph Lauren and I was at Michael Kors. We would constantly email each other from work about a good restaurant we tried, a new lipstick we were using, and of course pictures of our outfits for approval. It was right at the beginning of the fashion blog craze and we decided to take our dialogue to the internet. We had a great run for over 4 years, meeting other bloggers, being represented by a fabulous agent, and socializing constantly. In the end, we both got married, started having kids and just weren't able to keep up with the daily posts. But stay tuned for a reinvention from us!
NYS: If you could design a residence (for yourself) anywhere, where would it be and what would it look like?
Lauren Behfarin: I'm a born and bred New Yorker (hence the blog name above, so I just can't picture myself anywhere else. I think my dream in life would be to live in an old carriage house on the Upper East Side that felt cozy, colorful, and modern. It would also have wallpaper in every room because I would live in a world of wallpaper if I could!
NYS: What has been one of your biggest projects to date and what was the concept and design approach?
Lauren Behfarin: I designed a three bedroom co-op in Beekman Place, which was a really interesting project. I wanted to keep the prewar feel while modernizing it for the young couple who were about to have their first child. I chose my entire concept around a customized antique mirror I had made for the couple. It hangs above the mantel and all these years later I still love it just as much as when I found it. We stained the floors grey and used blues and greys throughout the unit to have a clean modern base to complement the gorgeous prewar iron windows. I love the feeling of mixing old and new.
NYS: What would your dream project be?
Lauren Behfarin: Honestly, I know this sounds super cheesy, but I'm doing exactly what I always dreamed. I love working with young families in my favorite city, creating spaces where they can relax and connect with each other.
NYS: We love your Hamptons Beach Cottage design. What drew you to that palette and what was your
approach to designing the space?
Lauren Behfarin: This was a unique project because we only had a month to furnish the entire house and get it ready in time for the short summer season out East. That meant we didn't have time for any custom orders and had to purchase everything from retail stores. The trick, and my favorite little puzzle to solve, was to make accessible retail items look unique and luxurious. Keeping a clean classic Hamptons color palette of blues, creams, and whites was a good start. This family house is close to the beach so with all the sandy feet going through there I wanted to keep the design casual and calm to match the outdoors.
NYS: You have a knack for designing interesting children's spaces. What draws you to designing them and how do you create such unique spaces?
Lauren Behfarin: Children's spaces are really something I have learned all about in the last 3 years with the birth of my oldest child. Being a mom means I have kids on the brain 24/7, making it really easy and fun for me to create spaces for them. I love to curate playful and safe environments with unexpected elements that go beyond your typical blue boys room. I always try to choose pieces that can spark a child's imagination and grow with them.
NYS: Where can we find you next?
Lauren Behfarin: As my family grows I find myself very inspired by this new adventure of motherhood. I am designing more and more spaces for kids, but I have also joined forces again with my old blog partner to create a line of organizational bags for moms and tots on-the-go called Carrie and Holden. I found that leaving the house with kids, whether it was for the night or a week, was pretty hectic unless I was very organized. That meant that every bag from my purse to our suitcase was filled with plastic zip bags to categorize all of my kids' clothes, toys, diapers, and toiletries. So we have created fashionable bags with suggested packing lists on each one to help families never leave anything behind. We are launching this winter and are very excited to bring this concept to life.
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