Designer Loren Jacobs has been delighting clients here in Austin ever since opening her design firm, LJ Interiors, in 2006. Since then she's been working on both residential projects and commerical projects, like the recently opened Roar Salon. Even though her clients keep her busy, she agreed to answer some questions about her design practice. Learn more about Loren after the jump!
1) Where did you go to design school/get your design career start? I went to design school in San Francisco at the Academy of Art University and while I was in school I interned for a designer who I worked with for 5 years.
2) With so many designers choosing Dallas or Houston to live and work, why did you choose Austin to start a design business?
I grew up in Houston and always knew I wanted to end up back in Texas. Even though I didn't go to UT, I had always loved coming to visit, so when it was time to pack my bags, Austin was the obvious choice, a new Texas adventure! I loved the laid back vibe of Austin and with all the growth it was a great place to start my business.
3) What would you say is the hardest/easiest thing about being a designer here in Austin?
I have people that are very supportive of small businesses here and always wanting to help and there is a funky edge that I love! The hardest part is the lack of resources...I go to the Decorative Center in Houston a lot.
4) How do you meet potential clients? Do you advertise much? Do they find you?
When I first moved here I went to a lot of networking events, but now its all word of mouth and referrals. I have never advertised.
5) What's some of your favorite design/architecture in Austin? Which designer's work do you really admire?
I think Kasey McCarty is very talented, as well as Bercy Chen Architects. Both have a very forward vision.
6) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Alternatively, where do you see the Austin design community in 5 years?
I see myself still here in Austin, possibly with my own line of furniture! I think the Austin design community is really growing and taking off. I think the level of design is going to really escalate and I hope to be a part of it all.
7) What are some of the more specific to Austin design problems/mistakes that you see homeowners/commercial clients struggling with?
I think people don't know where to start (or shop) and feel overwhelmed by the whole process. I like to push people out of the box a little and show them all the amazing products that are out there.
8) What are your favorite/memorable projects that you've completed in your career and why?
My favorite projects would probably be one of the marketing office for Don Sebastiani and Sons Winery in Sonoma, Roar (of course), and the Charney residence in Lafayette, CA (it was featured in Better Homes and Gardens "Decorating"). While I was in school I also did a show on HGTV called Designer Finals...that one was really fun. The homeowner started crying during the reveal which was very rewarding and confirmed to me I had found my calling.
9) Do you think the trend of design shows and DIY homeowners helps the profession of interior designers or hurts it?
I think it in some ways it has opened the general publics eyes to design which is very exciting, but I think it can give a false impression of the time and money that actually goes in to a successful project.
10) What advice do you have to give to Austin homeowners?
Go out and get inspired! Always take the time to stay up on what is out there and trends, both in fashion and home decor...they are always overlapping.