At Home {with stylist Laurel Kinney}

As a fashion consultant, Laurel always has an eye out for the next trend in curves, angles, colors, and textures. Ask her what she thinks about style as a whole and she will explain that it is a piecemeal process for each individual, but that overall “it needs to be really comfortable.”

Words by Jessica Devenyns  Photos by Ashley Haguewood

Comfort is at the center of Laurel’s design approach. Not only does she encourage her clients to feel comfortable in their clothes, but she wants them to be comfortable within themselves. This approach to design does not, however, stop with fashion. For Laurel, comfort embroiders all her stylistic choices even as they find their way into her own home.

Although comfort is at the heart of her ensembles, for Laurel, style is a flowing aesthetic. It is something that changes with the seasons, yet must always retain its proper proportion and scale, and Laurel works with these focal points in order to fashion her ever-changing but balanced looks.

Sometimes, the look that she works to achieve “might contrast with my style to a certain degree,” she adds. How could two such intertwined concepts be at such opposing odds? “I always have a hard time describing it,” Laurel explains about her fluctuating style. “I feel like I change a lot.” This willingness to embrace change is, however, what is beautiful about Laurel’s approach to both home and personal style.

In her work, Laurel focuses on expression through perception. No matter whether she is styling an outfit or outfitting a home, Laurel likes to play with the eye by mixing modern with vintage or textured fabric against smooth surfaces. However, despite her whimsical style of blending fabrics, colors, and textures, Laurel’s looks emanate a feeling of calm self-assurance that are reflective of the duality of their designer.

This fusion of whimsical and functional design is best embodied by Laurel’s home. When describing where she lives, Laurel grins as she formulates her thoughts. “It’s got really good energy in there, and I love being at home,” she says going on to elaborate. “It looks very different on the outside than on the inside. The outside of the house is a theft-deterrent!”

 “I definitely like layers. Lots of mixing textures. Those elements are echoed in how I approach style and how I like my house to be.”

In contrast with her seemingly mix and match approach to aesthetics, Laurel is discerning in her choices. “I always enjoy quality over quantity,” she reveals, emphasizing that by moving towards working with fewer objects that are of higher quality, you have a better canvas on which to express yourself. For her, this stylistic approach means that she can “keep things really pretty simple and versatile, but interesting.”

Adding this touch of interest into her work comes mostly through her bold choices in colors and lines that are set against a neutral pallet. As Laurel chooses to work with fewer objects, all the unique details that she implements into her designs come clearly into focus. “Clutter takes away the possibilities to a certain extent,” she explains. “If you can’t see everything, then you can’t use the stuff that is more important.”

In the end, the simplicity and impermanence of her approach to style is what makes it so inviting and accessible. No matter if Laurel is wearing her personality or expressing it through the tone of her walls, her style is reflected throughout her life. Especially with her clients, Laurel channels this idea of an ever-evolving style as an opportunity for self-expression.

“Most people don’t have one specific style so it’s hard to just say ‘here’s how I’m going to do it,’”Laurel reminds us. “They want to figure out how to express this new person or align who they are to what they look like.” It is just up to us to remember how to remain comfortable within ourselves as we adapt.


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