Actress Geena Davis made a U-turn from the Hollywood Hills straight to becoming an Olympic archery hopeful. The Terminator tossed his Sarah Connor agenda out the window, then emerged as Governor of California. Kathy Ireland traded Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions for a billion dollar empire’s worth of lighting, carpet and bedding catalogs. As this star-studded trifecta demonstrates, when it comes to business practices, a change can do you good. Atlanta-based interior designer, Scott Laslie, is no exception to the rule.
Thanks to this go-fug-yourself, sink-or-swim economy, Mr. Laslie and business partner, Alex Guerrero, opted to completely re-evaluate the firm’s existing design services, then willingly brave the market with their own new joint venture. Just two short years ago, sprawling southern estates, sexy high-rises with sweeping views and high-dollar vacation homes were all part of Scott’s daily agenda. Nowadays, with most full-scale projects benched in purgatory, the designer is taking it one-room-at-a-time. Largely inspired by Betsy Burnham’s groundbreaking concept for Instant Space, Scotty beamed himself up in a similar direction but with a slightly different approach. Although, for now, Mr. Laslie’s reputable, scaled-back, full-service firm thrives in this identity crisis of an industry, he refuses to become design roadkill in the years to come. So what’s the difference between Scott’s firm and Found Market? While Scott Laslie Interior Design often implements the Scott Laslie aesthetic into client’s homes, Found Market, well, notsomuch.
Laslie and Guerrero are hell-bent on each Found Market space strongly resembling its client. Albeit a single room execution or a simple object hunt, each task is treated as its very own full-service design project. Example: imaginary businesswoman, Puffie van der Snuff, has a gorgeous living room sofa, heirloom rug and drapery fabric; however P-Snuff is [a] stumped on tables, lamps and accessories [b] indecisive in choosing a wall color. Found Market makes a beeline for budget-minded retail stores, trade-only design showrooms and discount outlets with a fan deck and snappy point-and-click in hand. Once the missing pieces to each decorating puzzle are found, Laslie painstakingly puts each and every one in place either himself [if the home is local to Atlanta] or via step-by-step, do-it-yourself plans [for out-of-towners]. NOTE TO SELF: hyphen-overload in previous sentence. To see Laslie’s new service in action, my photographer and I spent an afternoon with the designer himself along with his client, Leigh, and her two dogs, Luigi and Wayne Newton. The result? All design talk aside, when it comes to the creation of a niche business, Laslie and Guerrero have FOUND their MARKET.
Pretty in pink
What once was a gash wound shade of red is now sitting pretty in pink. Leigh called upon Scott to turn the bloody mess of a dining room into an airy, elegant reading lounge. In true Found Market fashion, the designer put his client through a personal taste test, then built the room around her cherished photography and existing club chairs.
What’s mine is yours
Once Lee surrendered her existing pretties to her trusted design guru, he began with the artwork. First, Scott splurged on custom-cut matte from a local framer before outfitting each botanical print with black, medium price-point frames from Pottery Barn. Next, he arranged them symmetrically above a reasonably priced, neutral, Linato linen sofa from Lee Industries scored at America’s Mart in downtown Atlanta [to-the-trade only]. As opposed to his pricey-pricey projects prior to 2008, Laslie nabbed his current client’s side table from a flea market, had a discount vase re-purposed as a lamp and went retail for throw pillows from Crate & Barrel and Lee Industries.
Soft to the touch
While the room is elegant and tailored, Scott kept it welcoming with casual touches. A soft wall color, “Early Morning” from Ralph Lauren, was chosen to accentuate the pastels of Leigh’s existing abstract. Since the photography layout was so perfect, Scott opted to be a bit less precise by simply leaning the four-foot canvas up against the wall, then topped it off with a pair of framed, watercolor figure paintings. Leigh’s club chairs are known to take her to her happy place, so Scott enhanced said happiness with discount houndstooth fabric scored at Lewis & Sheron Textiles for $9 per yard. Retail therapy strikes again with a tripod table and woven window shades from Target. For designer windows sans the price, Laslie had linen panels sewn with rod pockets, then embellished with a 2-inch tape trim sporting a zebra-like pattern.
Everything old is new again
Accents of black and white unite old with new and high with low. Starting on the wall with Leigh’s botanical prints, the classic combo makes its way to the ground with IKEA’s “STOCKHOLM” swivel stool uphosltered in cowhide. While the animal-tastic seating is a brand-new purchase with a $279 price tag, the second-hand coffee table was found at a flea market for just a few dollars more. As far as the area rug is concerned, Laslie turned trash into treasure. The Belgian linen beauty was a remnant from a carpet showroom which he had bound to fit the space.
Keep on the sunny side
As thunder made its way in and stole our $#&*@ natural light, designer and client enjoyed the totally chic, totally Leigh digs with Luigi and Wayne Newton. And by enjoyed, I mean took direction from me very well although completely exhausted, suffering power outages and running late for a friend’s soon-to-be-rained-out wedding 90 miles up the most-likely-flooded Interstate. Oh well, at least it’s always sunny in Leigh’s lounge.