Sunday, September 27, 2009


Another of the fab set, Lindsay Cowles, graciously opened her new apartment in Los Angeles and let WSTA in on her decorating style.

Hi Lindsay! You have such a great apartment. How would you describe your interiors style? Casual glamour- the ability to be both comfortable and elegant. It is very important to me that a space is livable and functional while reflecting my individual style. I like to mix traditional and contemporary, feminine and masculine, soft neutral tones with bright pops of color in order to create tension between tradition and innovation in a room.

Where did you get the pieces for your room from? Are they vintage, custom, catalog? I draw a lot of inspiration from Louis XV France—the carved upholstered armchairs, leather side chairs and antique bed—these are the first pieces that I bought and centered my style around. As my collection grew, I incorporated pieces from other cultures and eras in order to tell my story through design.

The feeling of the living room is one that’s meant to promote conversation. My objective was to create a space that was comfortable and inviting to guests. The French chairs and couch are set around the coffee table so that everyone in the room can face each other and converse. Many people set their TVs as the focal point of the living room. I chose to place my TV in the fireplace so that it blends in and goes unnoticed. I want for my guests to enjoy the environment and each other.

My couch and chairs were purchased at one of my favorite interior design stores in Richmond, VA—Williams & Sherrill. The modern, linear structure of the couch plays nicely against the carved, feminine design of the chairs. The light blue accent pillows bring the two styles together by fusing the soft blues of the chairs with the couch.

Many of the other pieces in the room have been passed down through my family. These are the best pieces because they are a constant reminder of my family history. The porcelain elephant, which I use as a side table, was my grandmother’s. She acquired the elephant when she on a trip to Thailand in the early 70s. It provides a great ethnicity, softness and originality to the room. The brass coffee table was one of my parent’s first purchases when they got married and was used as our coffee table throughout my childhood. When I came across this piece in my parents’ home, I knew that it would be perfect for the space. I updated the look by replacing the glass top with an antiqued mirrored pane.

Most of the artwork hanging in my apartment I have commissioned or bought from friends, which gives each piece great sentimental value. I commissioned the textured oil painting leaning on the mantle from Kiki Slaughter, a dear friend whom I met while at the University of Virginia. Her modern, textured piece, painted with varying shades of white and beige, is the perfect juxtaposition with the traditional elegance of my furniture. The pair of nudes in my bedroom are by Bliss Bowlin, my best friend and roommate of five years. She used a combination of pencil, ink and gouache paint, along with varying layers of ripped paper to create movement and depth. They are the perfect pair to embody the boudoir feeling of my bedroom.

My objective in designing my bedroom was to make it just that—a place to relax and sleep. It is simplistic—only a bed, side tables and chairs. The bed is authentic Louis XV from the mid 1700s France. The intricate carvings of the frame are feminine and romantic, set against the traditional French fabric of the upholstery and the bold masculine stripes of the curtains. Sitting on each side of the bed are a set of turn of the century gilt Florentine nesting tables that were taken from my parents’ home. My favorite pieces in the room are the leather Louis XV dining chairs. I happened upon them when I was perusing the antique malls. I was drawn to the chairs not only because of the styling, but also because of the vintage, worn leather. They tell a beautiful story through their imperfections.

Do you do any of the work (upholstering, painting) yourself? I do have one sketch hanging in my kitchen that I did back in high school. It is a trio of pears sitting on a windowsill, with light streaming in through the window, casting bolds shadows across the pears.

In the past I have done some of my own work. I have recovered chairs and refinished a mahogany chest, table and chairs, but none are currently in my apartment.

Who are some of your favorite interiors designers or decorators? I really don’t have any true favorites at the moment. But, one stand out to me is Kelly Wearstler. I love how she uses bright, bold colors and ethnic accent pieces to give a room its originality.

What's the one extravagance you must have in a room? Candles and flowers. They add warmth, sensuality and softness to any room.

Lindsay Cowles was born and raised in Richmond, Va. Following her love of fashion, she moved to NYC after attending the University of Virginia and began working in sales at Piazza Sempione. After two years there, she moved to yet another Italian fashion house—Alberta Ferretti—where she served as the Senior Account Executive for three years. She has recently relocated to Los Angeles and is pursuing her love of fashion as Sales Director for famed jewelry designer Devon Leigh,

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