Aerin Lauder brings effortless style and a feminine modern approach to the home

Lauder, granddaughter of beauty pioneer Estée Lauder and design chair of Holiday House Hamptons presented by HC&G, is branching out with new fabrics, lighting and home furnishings of her own.

Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of beauty pioneer Estée Lauder and design chair of Holiday House Hamptons presented by HC&G, is branching out with new fabrics, lighting and home furnishings of her own.

This is a new area for you. How much of a reach is it? I always say that beauty is very much my heritage, but home is definitely my passion. One of my favorite toys growing up was my dollhouse, and I’ve always been intrigued by home decorating, fabric, furniture and antiques. How did you decide on the companies to work with? We explored showrooms and tried really understanding the different brands. That’s something that I learned from my Uncle Leonard—the importance of partnership and quality of management. And Lee Jofa, EJ Victor and Visual Comfort & Co. are extraordinary. What has been the most fun to work on? I have to say the lighting. It was intriguing because it’s something I’ve always collected. I have an attic full of lamps, and I’ve always been drawn to light fixtures. They really create a mood in a room. When I’ve moved into my different homes, even if I have nothing in there except the bed, a beautiful light on the floor or a ceiling fixture just creates a complete environment. Describe your design process. We create a concept and a mood, and usually we make a mood board. We might do an Aspen mood board or Long Island or New York City—and from there you develop the product. It’s similar to receiving a lipstick from the lab: You try it, you apply it, you see if it’s the right texture or finish. We went to North Carolina and sat in the first samples of the furniture to make sure they were big enough, comfortable enough, high enough. What was the hardest part? Probably the waiting and the timing. Unlike a lipstick, which you can turn around quickly, the length of time for furniture and lighting is a bit longer and I’m quite impatient. I was very excited to see it.  Where do you start when decorating a room? To me, the color of the walls define the room—whether it’s a dark, inviting, cozy color, fresh and bright, or a feminine hue. You’re a great fan of blue. I love green as well, but I’ve always loved blue. I think it’s inviting, it’s warm; it reminds me of sunshine, sky and water. Everything I love is blue. 

What did you learn from your grandmother Estée? Probably her sense of style and her feminine approach to life—reflected in beauty, home, entertaining. She loved flowers, birds, fish. She taught me that gold is a warm and inviting neutral. And her love of color and patterns. She wore pattern; she embraced pattern; she lived in pattern. Her rooms had beautiful bird wallpaper. What legacy do you bring to this endeavor? I think it’s an amazing business, and I think Estée really defined the American dream. She always taught me the importance of working hard and loving what you do. For me, this next chapter is a reflection of what she taught me. I think she would be very proud. What are you most excited about using in your own home? Probably the fabrics. There’s the Watersedge cut velvet that I love, a velvet ikat, the zigzag chocolate brown and gray one. I love the Willow chair, and the Heart nesting dishes we created for the holidays. They’ve become kind of iconic for the brand. They’re beautiful metal dishes shaped like a heart. I love them. Every time I look at them, they make me smile.