Linda Hayslett has an impressive résume: in the past, she worked for companies such as VH1, Allure, W, Details, and InStyle Magazine, as well as styled stars such as Hillary Swank, Sandra Oh, Charlize Theron, Heather Graham. After deciding that fashion wasn’t fulfilling her creative side, she decided to enter the world of interior design.
Today, she has become one of the industry’s freshest talent, rising to become an influential figure on how spaces are designed today. We caught up with Linda to find out more about her career and her vision on design.
When you were living in New York you worked in fashion and in LA you were a stylist to the stars. We’re seeing many designers start out in fashion. Why do you think people make that transition? Did you find something in interior design that you didn’t in the fashion world?
I think a lot of people make that transition because fashion is an extremely fast-paced industry. As soon as a season comes out and is in stores it’s already out of style. So, interior design is a good transition because there are trends, but if done right the fashion placed in the home can last for a lifetime or become so classic that it would never go out of style.
What was the exact moment that you fell in love with interior design?
The exact moment I fell in love with Interior Design was when I went back to school at FIDM. I was taking the class, “The History of Interior Design”. I’ve never been more excited about learning. It was absolutely amazing to learn about the evolution of design, styles, and architecture. I fell in love with just seeing all the changes and history of how we lived in the past to now. I especially fell in love with Neoclassical design. In my eyes, it was the start of what was to come for contemporary interiors. It had traditional elements, but softer, cleaner lines and pretty, rich woods with some detail. I was hooked after that class and knew this was it for me.
At the beginning of your design career you worked with other designers on projects. What was that experience like?
It was a great experience freelancing with other designers. It was an opportunity to learn on the job quicker and see what worked and didn’t work design and business-wise. I also gained experience working on construction sites vs just decorating. It allowed me to have input and got me thinking about how I wanted to create my own design business. I made great friendships and had a great mentor who was an amazing teacher.
How did you know that it was the right moment for you to start LH.Designs?
I knew when I went back to school. I had already worked at corporate jobs, so when I went to get my design degree, I knew I couldn’t go back to that type of work environment again. That’s why I never applied or worked at a firm. One of my old bosses had put me in touch with her best friend who had a condo that she wanted to do some small remodeling projects on. She said to me, “This will be perfect to see if you really like and want to be a designer by starting small.” She was right. My first client has been with me from the start, and we’ve done many other projects together that have gotten bigger each time. After I finished my first project with her, I knew LH.Designs was it.
Tell us about your unique perspective on working with clients? How do you make the construction/renovation process more successful?
Working with clients is unique for a designer because, after each project, you start with a new client, so the personalities will be quite different. Some will want to know all the aspects of the project, while others will let me do what I want and stay at bay. So, to make the construction/renovation process successful for a project, planning is key. A lot of people just leap into construction and renos with simple plans or no plans at all. They may have some ideas, but they need to be defined for contractors and subs to understand better, so being able to do 3Ds/renderings, full plans with a lot of detailed descriptions and elevations that show actual materials really puts clients at ease and helps the construction go much smoother and easier, without delays.
It’s clear that your work is about making the most of your client’s personal style. However, there must be some kind of signature design element that is true to LH.Designs – can you share what that is?
I definitely like making the most of my client’s personal style. My designs have a lot of strong shapes and contrasts, but there’s also a warmth and softness that I bring as well. I would say my signature is warm contemporary, modern with a touch of edge.
You’re known for not just elevating the look of a space but also bringing it more market value. What would you say is a lesser-known way to increase its selling potential?
I do like making a space more valuable with a good remodel, but an easy, lesser-known way to do this without a major renovation is simply looking at the scale of furnishings. A lot of people don’t realize that sizing and the layout of how furniture is placed in a room can make a big difference. If the sofa is too big, it can make a space feel too small. If the dining table feels too small then it can make a place feel not adequate to entertain a group of people. So really paying attention to the sizing of the piece of furniture for a space can really make an impact on the value of a home.
What is a new material, architectural feature, or aesthetic that you’re into at the moment?
Concrete is really making its way in the industry as a new material that’s not as cold anymore. I’m seeing an increase of requests for not only finished floors but also countertops, sinks, tubs, backsplashes, tile, and more. It’s a material that’s been around for ages but has really started to make its way as a go-to item in design. I remember recently seeing tennis star Maria Sharapova’s home in L.A. designed by KAA Design. Almost the entire home was done in concrete. It was amazing, beautiful, and still had warmth.
What are some of your favorite design shops and makers in LA?
Some of my favorite design shops and makers in LA are Croft House, Visual Contrast, & Earl Home. They are all great artisans and have a great sense of style. They also speak to my aesthetics with their pieces and artwork.
What is your favorite city in the world for design inspiration?
Separate from LA, I have two cities that I look to for inspiration: New York City and Paris. Both cites play to my aesthetics of soft, hard, contrasting, and edgy. New York is a fast-paced, edgy town that’s got modern architecture paired with old school design styles. The new modern structures that have gone up in the Big Apple lately have been awe-inspiring. But Paris has that romance that reminds me of why I fell in love with Neoclassical design. It has those elements and history that you just don’t get here in the States.