Rising Star: Lindsay MacRae

Fresh and eclectic design, sprinkled with personality

Lindsay MacRaeWho: After a college internship in the Imagineering department at Walt Disney World—it’s responsible for the theme park’s aesthetic—Ohio native Lindsay MacRae changed her major at the University of Cincinnati from business to interior design. “I loved the notion of creating a specific story,” she recalls. “Details make a room, and the theme makes the design.” 

What: Thoughtful decoration and a keen attention to detail. “I like pieces that have special meaning to the homeowner,” says MacRae, never one to shy away from using a family heirloom or two. “Those are the touches that make clients smile.” The designer is also a believer in combining patterns. “I try to nudge my clients out of their comfort zone. A good mix can be surprising.”

Lindsay's Living Room

Where: For a project in New Jersey, MacRae persuaded her clients to use a hexagonal wall covering in their dining room. “It’s a total departure for them,” says MacRae. She recently finished a nursery in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where she hung a world map above the crib and incorporated a pair of schoolhouse chairs—a fitting choice, considering that the baby’s mother is a teacher.

Starburst mirror Nursery

When: After starting out with a design company in Florida, MacRae joined mega-firm Gensler, where she furnished offices and hotels. “But my heart wasn’t in it,” she says. “Public spaces are far less personal.” MacRae moved to New York City and launched her residential design firm, Lindsay MacRae Interiors, in 2012.

Why: “I need clients to let me dive in and decorate their homes—otherwise, I’d go crazy,” she jokes. “I can’t constantly change my own apartment—the space is too limited!”

A version of this article appeared in the March 2015 issue of New York Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Lindsay MacRae.