Inside Furniture Designer Lulu LaFortune’s Workspace

Studio HQ takes you inside the workspaces of designers, industry leaders, and tastemakers to reveal exactly what they need to work creatively and how design plays into their overarching brand.

For years, designer Lulu LaFortune had been working from her dining room table in Los Angeles, California. Drafting, sketching, even prototyping was done from the flat surface and pushed aside at mealtimes. But in her new home, the lack of a dining table was her final tipping point to finally grow into a separate studio and office. “I had my coffee table on the ground, but I couldn’t cut patterns, even for personal projects,” she explains. “Plus my partner, who is also a designer, was getting sick of our home slowly turning into a showroom.”

lulu lafortune studio

Adam Riding

A corner of LaFortune’s space that doubles as a temporary home for vintage treasures from NAN Collective.

When LaFortune finally signed a lease on her L.A. office space, she was struck with limitless possibilities. “I have never lived alone before, let alone worked,” she says. “I don’t know what to do when I’m allowed to spread out.”

Her main goal design goal was to find pieces that were “beautiful but also highly functional.” First came the drafting table, then the Benjamin Moore red walls and sample library, but most importantly, the vintage console table and desk to keep her print magazine mentions, sentimental birthday cards, and of course, her color printer.

desk and work space in a studio

Adam Riding

LaFortune swaps out the images on her mood board seasonally to help keep her inspiration sources fresh.

“It’s nice to have a space where, if I am in the middle of a project, I can let it be messy, and I don’t need to clean it up,” she says. “It can live out in the open and be its own thing. I don’t feel the pressure to be so neat all the time.”

Ahead, LaFortune reveals to House Beautiful the essential elements that fuel her creativity, what she couldn’t possibly work a day without, and so much more.

desk
lulu lafortune studio

Adam Riding

LaFortune’s sketching setup is comprised of more vintage NAN Collective finds.

House Beautiful: Where do you like to work?

Lulu LaFortune: “If I’m not driving, I’m at my desk. Everything gets done there, CAD mock-ups, emails, you name it, I’m not productive if there’s not a flat surface beneath me.”

lamp

HB: Can you walk us through the design of the space?

LL: “My office is essentially broken up into three zones. I have my desk by the window, which is where I’m at most of the day, for renderings, CAD drawings, and vendor communications. And then the center of the studio has become more of a hub. I have shelves with my material samples and a giant table where I can spread out. And within that space I have my sketchbooks. I don’t like to sketch at the computer; that’s all a separate process. I prefer to have a big space to sketch out and not be distracted by Pinterest or emails, you know, I would rather be looking at the materials and techniques involved that are on my inspiration board. And then this third little section is actually like done pieces that are here for if a customer wants to come see them in person. So it’s been fun to have this progression of stages almost. It’s a really organized way for me to be creative and to see something from start to finish, all in one space.”

a chair and a vase of flowers

HB: And what’s on your desk right now?

LL: “Okay, let’s see, I have my planner, which I just got, because I felt like January didn’t happen, February just flew by, and it’s already March. And then I have some notes I took at a lecture with the founder of Bode, Emily, and her husband. It was amazing to hear their creative dynamics. Then I have my basics, my water bottle, headphones, and filing folder broken into commercial, custom commissions, and sales. I have hand sanitizer, I have a productivity timer that times an hour of work. And then I have some jewelry that was my grandma’s that I like to keep out for inspiration.”

HB: What’s your favorite piece in the office?

LL: “Definitely my Morris armchair. This was a piece I designed while a senior at SCAD where the assignment was all about designing heirlooms for furniture generations. I think this chair shows how you can highlight quality and craft while still being functional and exciting.”

It’s nice to have a space where, if I am in the middle of a project, I have the space to let it be messy.

desk

Adam Riding

Scattered Post-it notes, event notes, and tag samples are all within easy reach on the desk’s surface.

a closet full of clothes

Adam Riding

A vintage armoire houses upholstery samples and swatches from both past and present collections.

desk

Adam Riding

A vintage keepsake box houses LaFortune’s unused sketch paper roll, while previous iterations of designs are delicately held together with spare ribbon.

a table with flowers on it

Adam Riding

A custom, elongated console table offers plenty of room for experimenting with material pairings.

HB: Would you change anything about the space?

LL: “If anything, I would want a space with a window on the east side. I’m jealous of the light people on the other side of the building get. But I feel like I’m changing things all the time. Everything is evolving and rearranging. I still want there to be a contrast of romantic things and industrial things. The balance has always been something I’m interested in, and I feel like it reflects who I am quite well. I let the space flow into what I need at the time.

HB: How would you describe your personal style?

LL: “I try to keep things very classic and timeless while still integrating a youthful energy into the colors and materials.”

I want there to be a contrast of romantic things and industrial things.

lulu lafortune studio

Adam Riding

“I have open shelving here because, honestly, they were the most cost-effective storage to get,” LaFortune says. “I typically like things behind doors because I can categorize and catalog everything in my head. I don’t need to see it to know it’s there.”

HB: Where are you looking for inspiration?

LL: “I started out studying fashion design before I switched to furniture, so I’m obsessed with the fact that romantic interiors are coming back. And romanticism was all over the 2024 runways in what seemed like every collection this year. I’m loving the embroidery details in those collections and the material choices.”

HB: Lastly, do you have any advice for someone designing a workspace?

LL: “Don’t rush! Let yourself see what the studio needs and what your process is really requiring and then build from there. Rushing only leads to wasted space.”


Magnetic Productivity Timer
Magnetic Productivity Timer
Wicker Frog Basket
Baies/Berries Candle
2024 Desk Agenda

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