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JULY / AUGUST 2011
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Gold borrowed the colorful pillows from her mother’s collection. “She upholstered the long, skinny one with a vintage kilim rug,” says Gold. “Old textiles can be so much more interesting than everyday fabric.” Designer Lauren Gold grew up in a house filled with her parents’ collections of ammonites ( fossils that resemble snails) and earlyAmerican beaded pinfruit ( fruitshaped Styrofoam decorated with beaded pins). This whimsical approach to decor taught her an important lesson: great design needn’t be too serious. “My mother was the ultimate collector and never followed trends,” says Gold. “She encouraged me to have a sense of humor about design.” Though she hails from a decorsavvy family (her parents own an antiques shop), Gold hadn’t considered a career in design before landing an internship at Nate Berkus Associates while studying at the University of Michigan. “A lightbulb immediately went off in my head,” she says. Within six months, Berkus had offered her a job. Today, almost a decade later, Gold serves as design director of the firm, alongside fellow design director (and her best friend), Sasha Adler. Gold kept all the advice she’s received from her design mentors in mind when it came time to decorate the Chicago apartment she shares with her husband, Robert. “Nate emphasized my mother’s lesson about avoiding trends,” she says. “He showed me how adding that little extra detail can make a room.” Following his example, Gold attended to every inch of her home, swapping out commercial faucets and fixtures for unique finds and filling corners with eclectic accessories discovered on her travels. “I took my time,” she says. “I never rushed into anything. I only purchased the pieces I loved.” The result is a modern space with an air of timelessness that’s filled with mid-century antiques and unique furnishings. It celebrates Gold’s design staples, such as Belgian linen, sisal, and splashes of citrus, while mixing in elements she’s borrowed from Berkus, such as high-gloss walls, oversize antique mirrors, and tall case pieces. The apartment is sophisticated, and perhaps a bit quirky. “It definitely has personality,” says Gold, “and even my own whimsical collection or two.” L 2011 july • august Lonny 267