Lauren Egan, Preston, VIC
Images by Glen Hester
This week we meet interior designer Lauren Egan, her husband Glenn and their two children Ailbe and Rennie at the beautiful family home they’ve spent the past eight years thoughtfully renovating. We spoke to Lauren about her career path, creative process and the family’s experience during the recent Melbourne lockdowns.
“Our house is a 1920s Californian Bungalow, bay window and all. We came across her in 2012 a little the worse for wear. We set to work immediately taking up the carpet and getting the restumpers in, but it soon snowballed into knocking out larden plaster and completely restoring the front of the house.”
“We left the basic kitchen with a view to adding an extension down the track. Six years and two kids later we were ready to crack on with phase two. We engaged Project 12 Architecture and they designed us a clever addition and kitchen upgrade and now here we are another two years on and we’re (almost) finally finished. Throughout the process we either did or engaged the work ourselves, me doing the interior styling and decorating and Glenn taking on owner/builder role throughout. We know every nook and cranny of this place and it’s built for the way we live.”
“Our bedroom is a bit lush and probably way too fancy for us! I went for a deep, grey green paint on the walls and ceiling and it’s a big embrace as you round the staircase. The bedroom faces north east and gets a full day of sun, so the deep color in there works to make the room a real sanctuary.”
Our bedroom is a bit lush and probably way too fancy for us!
“The ensuite is a floor-to-ceiling terrazzo bonanza, which is a little secret jewel. With the muted tone in the bedroom having a bit of a terrazzo party in the small space doesn’t feel overwhelming. Aimee at Project 12 also designed me an awesome oversized “jewelry box” as part of the bedroom joinery which houses all my bits and bobs and I didn’t think storage could ever make me so happy!”
“Though not a traditional piece of art, the Anchor Ceramics tiles we commissioned for the splashback are really special. It really pulls you into the kitchen and is a focal point in the place where we spend most of our time. It makes me happy that it was made just down the road by excellent people too.”
Though not a traditional piece of art, the Anchor Ceramics tiles we commissioned for the splashback are really special.
“In general though, I feel pretty strongly that you should, as much as possible, buy things you love. Covet it, think about it and save to buy it if you can’t afford it yet. It shouldn’t be a race to have things, they should have a time and place. I have a VERY long list of things I’d like to own and it makes sense to me to wait for the right time to be able to get them.”
“No humblebrag intended, but our area has become much cooler in the last few years. Our closest shopping precinct is High St in Thornbury and we’ve seen it blossom from a few gems to now where it’s hit after hit for great food, cool bars and even a boutique cinema (oh to go to the cinema!). There’s a wonderful sense of community in the ‘hood and I hope we’ve been able to support some of those businesses we love through the last lockdown.”
“I’ve come into interior decorating and styling recently completing a design course in 2018. Until then I was working in food innovation and marketing (a natural sidestep!). There basically came a point where I needed to make a decision about what I wanted to put energy towards and it wasn’t what I was doing day to day. I feel really fortunate to have been able to insert myself into a new industry via a lot of great contacts I’ve made through Glenn’s work as a commercial photographer and running a co-working/photography studio. I’ve been able to have the space and time to study, work with some great stylists and photographers and meet people that have given me great advice along the way.”
“I’m very much the cliche johnny-come-lately designer that would shuffle furniture around, paint anything that didn’t move and spend Saturdays going around to all the showrooms just to have a look. I still suffer painfully from imposter syndrome, but I’m a hard worker and quietly determined to learn everything I can to be a really bloody good interior decorator.”
I still suffer painfully from imposter syndrome, but I’m a hard worker and quietly determined to learn everything I can to be a really bloody good interior decorator.
“I think the secret ingredient to working on a project is first trying to best understand the client and what they want out of the space. Ultimately it’s their home and they have to live with the decisions you make. Then it’s about finding sources of inspiration to try and blend the clients desires with how you interpret design. Once that’s cracked the rest starts to fall in place to me.”
When thinking about living through the recent lockdowns in Melbourne, Lauren recalls this time as one that has been both challenging and an opportunity for growth.
“I will preface this with acknowledging we are in an incredibly fortunate position of having a comfortable house, good mental and physical health and enough money to eat all our emotions with delicious food, and that this is not true for everyone, so we are emerging reasonably unscathed. We all set into a routine pretty early on. With Ailbe being in grade one it really needed me to help her get through the bulk of schooling from home. We had our times, but ultimately we found a groove and got as much done as possible while Glenn and Rennie would go to the park or do some work outside (basically get out of our hair). With Glenn and I limited with what we could do work-wise we lay into some outdoor work, painting the exterior of the house and working on the final piece of the puzzle: the landscaping. We’ve been real do’ers which is wholly annoying to our neighbours I’m sure.”
“We’re now at the point where it’s days before we emerge and a new set of nerves and excitement are bubbling up around meeting friends in restaurants and moving back into our workspace (TBC!). I’m feeling a little gun shy, but also so excited to see faces again (though inevitably behind a mask).”
“Being outside and having projects to work on has been really important to me. I think without the yard and endless house and fence painting I would have been going around in circles a bit. I also know that I need to be by myself for a little part of the day to gather myself (4 and 6 year olds have A LOT of questions), so taking that time is good for everyone in my house. Lately that’s taken the form of a 30min zoom dance class each day with Body Electric Dance Studio. I don’t believe anyone that says they don’t feel better after a boogie and a stretch.”
When talking to IN BED about her aspirations for 2021, Lauren is cautiously optimistic about the future - but doesn’t want to jinx anything…
“OMG! Don’t put the mozz on - let’s get to 2021 first! I’m excited about anything and everything in 2021. Having to put the breaks on a new business has been really stressful and demoralising, so I am champing at the bit to get out to meet my new clients face to face and for any future projects that are around the corner. Nothing taken for granted at this point!”