For those of you who don’t know, our Behind the Design ambassador and resident Jill of all Trades, Laurie March, is a master when it comes to all things home.
We wanted to know more about how one of our favorite design pros became the woman she is today. And, we couldn’t help but throw in a few of our own burning questions, including her answer to the age-old question: Coffee or wine?
Living Spaces: Tell us about your first big break in the design industry.
Laurie March: I’ve always been good at solving problems, and getting complicated jobs done. When my friend, a high-end real estate agent in Los Angeles, asked me to take on a few of her clients and assist them in finding contractors, shopping for their homes, and doing some design updates on their new properties, I jumped at the chance, and my project management business was born.
My family has been in the trades for several generations, so I’ve always felt I naturally ‘speak contractor’, and know my way around a home update. My first slate of clients were actors, writers, producers and singers – some very creative people – who needed help articulating and implementing their vision for their space.
LS: What lead to you becoming a television and online personality?
LM: In 2012, one of the execs from HGTV and DIY Network’s digital team was in LA speaking on a panel. Afterward, they had a few spots open for a pitch session. I signed up, and left the job site (covered in plaster dust!) to meet her, and the rest was history! I traveled to Knoxville, and we came up with the digital series House Counselor together, and it led to many wonderful on-camera opportunities – both as a talent, a designer and a stylist. Sometimes, I work with the Cooking Channel too!
LS: Have you always had a knack for all things domestic (designing/gardening/cooking)?
LM: Growing up, we tackled projects around the house all the time. I learned from watching my mom and dad – he built our deck when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget the process. I helped my mom refinish hardwood floors, paint kitchen cabinetry, and get really creative with ways to drag around heavy furniture. We never let anything stop us from manipulating our surroundings! I take many of my DIY cues from my family.
I certainly can’t claim to be the world’s best cook, but as I’ve gotten older, I do love so many elements of being a homeowner, as well as the joy of really making a space feel like a home. Our home isn’t the kind of place you need to use a coaster for your cocktail. When friends come over, I want them to feel super comfortable. But predicting guests’ needs and quietly providing for them is its own quiet satisfaction.
Gardening is my hobby, my science lab, my therapy. I live in the city, so I can only dream about a large plot of land to grow food on. I’ve converted the entire north wall of my property into a vertical garden, where I train vining crops – like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and peas, as well as melons – to grow up the wall! Some things I grow just for the challenge of it all. Right now, I’ve just started some oddball seeds, like burgundy-colored cotton, white tomatoes, and an heirloom melon called Moon and Stars, which has really unique markings that make it look like the night sky!
Many of my favorite cooking journeys have come from an abundant harvest in the garden.
What to do with SO many tomatoes?
The perfect spaghetti sauce?
I’ve pickled cucumbers within an inch of my life. Good thing I love pickles! One time, we had so much cabbage that I made three different coleslaw recipes to test which one was better.
Sometimes in the backyard garden, I’ll baby an unhappy plant into the tiniest yield – a special, perfect heirloom tomato or two, or a gorgeous onion, or seven rainbow radishes. And then, I find myself hunting through the weekend for the perfect culinary complement to this special vegetable, picked at the height of its glory. Those are some of my absolute favorite dinners.
Science projects or sustenance, my garden makes me smile every day.
LS: Alright, now for some pressing questions: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
LM: Aside from all the veggies? I’d say no fridge is complete without La Croix waters – in just about any flavor – some excellent cheddar cheese, vanilla Greek yogurt and hard-boiled farm eggs. Did I mention La Croix?
LS: Coffee or wine?
LM: Coffee for sure. All day, every day.
LS: Neutral or colorful?
LM: Colorful, but the nature-inspired version of all of them.
LS: Winter or summer?
LM: Um, summer for sure. That’s why I moved to California!
LS: Salty or sweet?
LM: Always salty foods over sweet. And . . . French fries go with everything!
Follow Laurie at @laurie_march