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Meet Lara Howenstine of Studio LH in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lara Howenstine.

Lara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was exposed to design at an early age. I grew up in a home abundant with artifacts of inspiring art and design, by names such as Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Helen Frankenthaler and Mondrian. Being surrounded by these creations cultivated my appreciation for beauty, function and craftsmanship and made me want to craft my own compelling designs.

In 2008, I moved to Los Angeles to forge a path in design. I enrolled in the interior design program at UCLA Extension, receiving a post-bachelor’s certificate in interior design. As a next step, I obtained a Master of Interior Architecture degree from Cal Poly Pomona. After graduation, I opened my own business. I’ve always had a strong aesthetic and wanted the freedom to let it flourish in my own firm.

Has it been a smooth road?
Prior to opening my firm, I had no idea how much work is involved in owning a business. It requires an abundance of time, focus, labor and commitment to thrive. Running a business can be a constant juggling act – from overseeing daily operations, to tackling the project workload, managing employees, maintaining customer relations, doing the accounting and bookkeeping, bringing in new business, keeping up with new technology, and so much more. Everyday is a learning experience and with every opportunity, comes a new set of challenges to overcome and lessons to learn. Nevertheless, I believe it’s worth the struggle and love having the ability to choose the people I work with and the projects I work on and the creative freedom this provides.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Studio LH story. Tell us more about the business.
Studio LH is a full-service architectural and interior design firm. The firm specializes in residential design and remodeling projects. We deal with everything involved in the renovation of an interior: the structural and technical elements of the built environment (walls, windows, skylights, posts, beams, ceilings, and more), elements that affect human habitation and an environment (materials, finishes, electrical requirements, plumbing, lighting, ventilation, ergonomics, and the intelligent use of space), and the furnishing and decorating of the newly created space(s). In our projects, we collaborate with our clients to develop floor plans, create renderings and architectural details, determine the aesthetics of the home, customize furnishings and cabinetry, and select materials, finishes, fixtures, appliances, art and other accessories that achieve client goals while reflecting designer aesthetics.

Since Studio LH’s inception, I have stayed hyper-vigilant about the firm’s values, quality and the integrity of our work. Our goal is to create attractive and functional interiors for our clients that express principles of good design. We accomplish this by engaging with our clients to understand their needs, improving the experience and functionality of interior space, collaborating with skilled artisans to create custom cabinetry and architectural details, and specifying quality, durable materials and finishes. There is no better joy than having people adore our work and creating interiors that exceed peoples’ expectations.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Technological innovation will greatly transform the interior architecture and design industry within the next 5-10 years. Emerging technologies like 3D printing, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Smart Home automation will have an impact on how and what we design.

3D printing is already becoming a more efficient and less costly way for designers to convey spatial ideas into architectural models. These models are a way for clients to visualize the transformation of an interior and to gain an understanding of its finished look and feel. Architectural models used to be constructed by hand which would take days, sometimes weeks to create and now 3D printers can produce them within hours. 3D printing will also greatly transform furniture design and production, enabling the creation of intricate furniture that can’t be fabricated with existing machinery.

Virtual and Augmented Reality has already enabled designers to create computer-simulated spaces that clients can experience in 360 degrees. With VR, designers can virtually walk their clients through proposed interiors and experiment with furniture, materials and finishes before final selections are made. Virtual and Augmented Reality is currently expensive and time consuming, but I expect it to be increasingly accessible in the future.

Smart home automation will also be the norm, integrating everything from lighting, climate control, home security, window treatments, skylights, television, music and video – all controlled and monitored from one device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Voice and sensor activation will also be part of smart home automation. In the next 5-10 years, all of these technologies will become more refined and affordable, leading to their widespread use.

The design industry is changing rapidly, and the future holds exciting advances for our profession.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Teague Hunziker and Tim Navis

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