For New York-based interior designer Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo, jet-setting across the world cracks the door wide open for new inspirations and discoveries to flow in. Her perspective? That every locale far and wide is brimming with their own unique brand of luscious fabrics, vibrant new colors or architectural details for her — and other designers, too!- to explore and mix in with their own aesthetic to create eclectic spaces that echo a well-traveled life. Here, she dives into the cities, places and things that really make her tick.
Photo by Kimberly M. Wang.
aspire design and home: Let’s start off with your overall aesthetic. How would you describe your design style?
Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo: Refined eclectic. I love to mix patterns and colors and blend vintage furniture with modern pieces. The magic lies in creating a nuanced balance of the elements to create an elegant and approachable space.
adh: What are those colors and materials that you love to work with?
LBR: I enjoy working with Earth tones layered with pops of color. The tones can be warm or cool pops, depending on my clients’ desires.
adh: Every designer has a unique creative process. What’s yours?
LBR: We begin by meeting at the clients’ home. Sometimes we meet at their existing home first to see the ‘before’ if they are buying a new home.
We walk the space to take a deep dive into each room, where we discuss the clients’ initial goals/design dreams. At this time, we begin to access the work at hand and conceptual path. Then, we gather inspiration images from the client and create scaled floor/furniture plans with furniture mood boards and material samples. The dialogue with our clients is fluid throughout the process. Communication is our jam.
Photo by Tim Williams.
adh: For the dining space pictured above, you were inspired by your client’s passion for Japanese art. How did that impact the overall design?
LBR: This was such a gratifying before and after project! Our creative challenge was to transform the outdated traditional dining space into a contemporary one, while taking into account the open floor plan/adjacent living room décor and color palette. This client is so much fun to work with and allowed us to take design risks while pushing their aesthetic to a whole new level.
adh: Now onto your travel adventures! What is it about new places that brings you so much inspiration and joy?
LBR: I celebrated my 13th birthday on a family trip to India. This early experience ignited a life-long passion for travel, design and collecting, and eventually broadened my horizons to Asia, South America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and beyond.
Nothing brings me more joy than traveling! Meeting the locals, the exotic cuisine, the crafts [and shopping!], architecture, cultural and historical aspects; this ignites my soul. The feeling of being so removed from our Brooklyn life and fully immersing into a different culture expands the brain in ways beyond measure. It helps deepen our understanding of different cultures and ways of life. It creates an expanded acceptance of those who are different from us.
Travel photos courtesy of Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo.
adh: Is there a place that never fails to provide a flash of inspiration?
LBR: During this wild pandemic I have come to rely more on local inspiration: design magazines, museums and yes, Instagram!
adh: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to?
LBR: Ahh! That is a very tough question to answer. I have had such life-changing adventures anywhere I visit, for different reasons. If I must pick: I’d have to say India or Cambodia.
Take a look at more design perspectives from Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo here!
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