Style to Stand the Test of Time
Words by Sommer Brugal Photos by Thamica McCook
When Lauren Ramirez sets out to decorate her home for the holidays, she takes inventory of trinkets and knick-knacks she already owns. For the East Austin-based designer and stylist, simple additions and subtle improvement always do the trick.
As Ramirez plated peanuts, olives, and pickles at the home of her dearest friends who run the local nonprofit, The Archibald Project, she reminisced about her start in styling and interior decorating.
“I started [styling] photo shoots, focusing on what a photo [could] capture,” remembers Ramirez. “But I found that to be temporal, and I realized I really wanted to help design spaces that would last.” While her design work is self-taught, Ramirez says much of what she learned about styling came from assisting talented stylists on photo shoots for national brand magazines. Currently a freelance stylist and interior decorator, Ramirez says her mission and vision for all projects are about helping people create spaces where real life can flourish.
Ramirez goes on to set the mood as a pair of red candles sit atop wood bedposts from India; touches of shrubs and greenery are placed around the room. On the couch drapes a wool, plaid blanket—the deep red and green pallet making it an obvious choice for the holidays. Yet, Ramirez says the blanket itself isn’t trendy or holiday specific; it will stand the test of time.
“I try really hard not to play the commercial game,” says Ramirez. “I would much rather play off natural elements and color [instead] of actual Christmas decorations.”
Ramirez says paying attention to what you already have around your home, bringing in a few tasteful elements, and paying attention to colors and textures, can put a holiday spin on any room. She points to a fluffy white pillow for reference. While the pillow may seem perfect for the holidays, Ramirez sighs and says, “It’s just white.”
Some of her favorite pieces she brings out every year include brass candlesticks she purchased at a street market in New Orleans. Candles, she says, are timeless additions. She mentions her wreaths, made from preserved silver dollar eucalyptus leaves, which will continue to pass over time without looking like plastic.
When it comes to entertaining during the holidays, Ramirez has a few suggestions: be sure to have plenty of seating, prepare as much as you can ahead of time, and invite guests to bring something along with them.
Her main piece of advice, though, has nothing to do with interiors or decorations. Ramirez reminds us, “What’s important is that it looks like you tried, but also still prioritizing the people in your life over the decorations. The whole point of the holidays is to be together.”
The Archibald Project is using storytelling to spark and expand a movement of people to care for orphans in creative and educated ways, in order to combat and end the global orphan crisis.