If you haven’t heard her name yet, please take note. This talented woman is one to be watched—especially if you lean towards tailored spaces or sustainable interior design.
This year she was named in “20 Designers for 2020” by Sotheby’s Home and “35 Black Designers You Should Be Following” in Real Simple. In 2019, she was named “Next Wave Designer” in House Beautiful and “New Trad” in Traditional Home.
Accolades aside, it’s her gloriously-designed classic interiors that should pique your interest. We admire her ability to be traditional with a dash of the unexpected, and to ‘be green’ yet very sophisticated.
It’s incredible to consider that she only opened her interior design practice four years ago in 2016. She has an interior design degree from the New York School of Interior Design, as well as a business degree; and worked for designers Jamie Drake and Thomas Jayne in New York.
But despite many years of living in New York, she decided to move back to Maryland to have a family. After almost five years off, she started working again as a designer, opening Laura Hodges Studio in the Baltimore area.
Classic With a Twist
She quickly built a following by creating polished, globally-inspired spaces that reflect her clients’ tastes. Hodges’ profile describes her signature aesthetic as, “clean, tailored, and eclectic, incorporating unique vintage and antique finds, curated art and natural elements.”
Her personal background, extensive travels, and immersion in different cultures keep her designs fresh. “Whether it’s local art, fabrics, culture, or architecture, exploring a different culture opens my mind to new ways of approaching design.” [Traditional Home, Sept/Oct 2019].
Pared Back Approach
Part of her design philosophy involves minimalism: editing back what’s not needed. “A more minimal lifestyle can not only be more sustainable, but it can help us feel more relaxed and calm to have fewer material goods. I am always editing our design projects to bring in only what will be either useful or beautiful (hopefully both).” [House and Home Magazine, July 2020]
Being Green & Sustainability
Hodges is well-known in the industry for her focus on designing sustainably. She is an LEED professional and GREEN accredited professional, a certification provided by the Sustainable Furnishing Council.
She aims to fill homes with pieces that are kind to the environment, and made with fair labor practices—ideally not overseas. “We have a responsibility not only to improve a space, but to improve the lives of people living there,” she says. “So we really try to pay attention to all that goes into it.” [House Beautiful, November 2019]
Hodges’ practice includes repurposing furniture (especially by “reviving” antiques), buying local, buying vintage, and donating renovation materials, appliances, and furniture being removed from the home. She advocates choosing ethical retailers with specifically “fair trade products” and helps others understand the various sustainable product labels such as “FSC-certified” (Forest Stewardship Council) and concepts.
For example, in the above project she uses low-VOC paint, a biodegradable rug, a locally-crafted table, and repurposed/reupholstered vintage chairs. She utilizes LED lighting, Energy Star-rated appliances, organic textiles made by fair trade companies, and other responsibly-sourced materials.
Even if these practices are not important to a new client, she’ll explain that this is the way she does business and will share the details in the hopes that she’ll educate the client on sustainable design.
In 2018, Hodges opened Domain, a boutique shop offering a curated collection of home decor and one-of-a-kind pieces. Stocking goods like pottery, eco-friendly pillows and blankets, and art from local makers, she also sources global fair-trade pieces like baskets, wooden bowls, and poufs.
House Beautiful observes, “Hodges transferred her knack for treasure-hunting into a brick-and-mortar store….a manifestation of her lifelong interest in sustainable design, and commitment to supporting ethical, fair-trade businesses.” [Dec. 2019]
Pre-COVID-19 Domain hosted local maker workshops on creating wreaths and learning calligraphy. In the future Hodges hopes to design her own line of furniture. We’re keeping our eyes out for it!