Shoptalk - Arlene Lord

Describe your design aesthetic.

My personal aesthetic is “set your drink down anywhere, put your feet up on anything, chic”. Ha! Seriously though, my aesthetic at home is very welcoming and full of art and color. What I believe is a through line as an aesthetic at Lord Design is that we filter our client’s style through our professional experience and produce for them a home that reflects them but that we ensure has timelessness to it. If you love it, it’s timeless.

When you enter a room what is the first thing you pay attention to?

The first thing I notice when I come into the room is how it feels and that usually has something to do with the space plan of whatever room I am in. It could be a kitchen where I right away notice that the flow is off and that it seriously lacks storage or a living room where the seating arrangement isn’t conducive to conversation. Something feels “off” and I can feel that immediately.

How do you stay inspired?

I pull a lot of inspiration from nature and from where we travel. I also just love to curl up with real magazines and books and a glass of wine and just take my time looking and reading. Online is great but it’s fast and almost seems like work. When I get to take my time and really absorb what I am seeing or reading, the ideas really rush forward, and my notepad fills up with sketches and notes.

Favorite era of design?

My favorite era is really hard to pick because there is something to appreciate in nearly all of them. But if I had to pick, I think it would be the Art Deco era. It spanned a couple of world wars and I appreciate the boldness of colors and use of new materials, the classic lines it honored as well as the new lines it introduced that are so iconic to us now. It was a design mindset that was kind of jutting it’s confident hip out with complete irreverence and I love that!

When you founded your own firm, what were your goals?

When I founded my firm, I wanted to, and still want this now, work with clients who embrace and respect the value that a professional design team brings to a project. I have created a firm that aligns itself with the best in the business so that we can offer not only great designs but a great team of professionals from upholsterers to contractors that all have pride in what they do and that respect the value that all of us on the team bring to a project.

Do you have an inspiration board, and can you tell us what is inspiring you now?

I use Pinterest as an inspiration board and what I am loving is the embracing of color, texture, pattern we are all experiencing as well as the collective appreciation of vintage or antiques again. Homes with soul are what inspire me!

What are some of your interests outside of design?

I have to say that design is very much my hobby, too. My husband and I like to vintage and antique shop and while we’re out seek out some of Portland’s great restaurants and bars. We have our golden retriever, Bonnie, who we take long walks with and great friends that we make a point of sharing meals and laughs with. We have a great life.

Favorite design or architectural detail of your childhood home? My childhood home was a 1976 split-level so, no, there was no favorite architectural detail. I think it made me appreciate good architecture when I experienced it!

What’s next on the boards?

We are wrapping up a new home design for long-time clients of ours up in Canada which has been nothing but fun. We have a crazy, cool and very challenging project in the Dunthorpe neighborhood that we are obsessed with as well as an overflowing plate of other design work from bathroom remodels to game rooms, to laundry rooms to just whole house decorating. It’s never a dull moment around here!

For more information visit: