Lauren Levant, of Lauren Levant Interior, is no stranger to style. An eye for luxury and a knack for creative collaborations, the award-winning premiere interior design firm specializes in one-of-a-kind signature pieces customized for each client. Though recognized on a national and international scale, Lauren Levant calls Pittsburgh home with a studio soon to open in Shadyside. Finding herself in a brand new city, she took the leap to begin her own firm and the path cleared itself for success. This week we chat with Lauren about business, style, and what’s in store for her prestigious design firm.
Q: When did you begin the design business? What inspired the idea?
A: I spent the first thirteen years of my career exploring exciting cities along the east coast. Connecticut, New York, and finally Washington DC offered the opportunity to study under some of the best design studios, and find my feet.
At 32, I found myself in a new city – Pittsburgh – and this time I felt ready to go out on my own. Without advertising, clients were finding my work online and in print, and the phone was ringing. I saw a door opening in front of me, and I made the decision to walk through.
Q: What is your typical clientele?
A: I work with clients of all ages and inclinations- but they’re always intelligent, accomplished people with discerning taste and an eye for quality. I think they gravitate toward me because they are looking for a distinctive project – not something they’ve already done or seen before.
Q: What’s in store for the future?
A: We are opening the studio on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside to announce our presence in Pittsburgh.
This city is so rich in talent, that clients who visit the studio will find evidence of collaborations with many local artists, including glass artists, wood workers and metal artists. I’m always inventing pieces for my projects, and I wanted the Pittsburgh studio to celebrate that collaborative spirit and to provide inspiration for more of it in the future.
Q: Where do you see the business in 5 years?
A: We will continue to strive to produce many more quality projects that excite our clients and that challenge our imaginations. Product design, always a passionate interest for me, will also be an increasing focus. We are producing our first line of signature lounge, bar, and dining seating this year – and that has been a thrill. We plan to maintain a strong continuing presence in Pittsburgh, while also working on projects in other cities as well.
Q: Do you have any tips for women starting out in business?
A: Becoming an entrepreneur and businesswoman has been the most challenging and the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my career. It’s a puzzle. There are days it feels like it’s all coming together, and days it seems to be all coming apart. I have come to understand that this goes with the territory. My advice is to connect with other women in your industry, and in others, who are also running businesses. They can understand like no one else how it can challenge you on so many levels – and also understand how empowering it is too. Women rock. We should remind ourselves of that, and take care of each other. We fight the good fight, and we win.
Q: How would you describe your personal styles? – Home & Fashion.
A: My work gives away my personal interior design style – it’s highly eclectic. I love to mix materials and shapes of various styles together in the same space – because it creates richness, depth, and a certain timelessness because this doesn’t follow a trend as much as it follows your instincts. My home is filled with art, sculpture, original furniture pieces that I’ve designed or collaborated on with an artist… and some family pieces as well. I love to bring all of these elements to my clients homes just like I would my own.
In terms of fashion – I admit to loving designer black. It makes the decisions that I need to make throughout the rest of the day that much easier. I thank Steve Jobs for his infamous quote about that.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote that motives you?
A: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating A:, giving birth to evolution.” -Albert Einstein