Texas-based interior designer Christian Ladd is known for her classic, sophisticated Southern style. Merging contemporary elements with heirloom pieces, she creates memorable home landscapes filled with patterns and textures galore. And recently, her collaboration with renowned brand Gracie resulted in a collection of hand-painted floral works offered exclusively through her shop, Christian Ladd Home. From cheerful, printed accents to dramatic drapery, get a glimpse into Christian’s personal aesthetic and design philosophy!
What inspired your design career, and what was your first big break?
I have had a passion for interior design since I was a child. I can recall moving into a childhood home designed by a well-known Houston designer and admiring all of the details and architectural elements and later putting the pieces together that design could be a career path. I later went on to work for a Dallas-based designer, Barry Williams, which is where I learned an invaluable amount and collected daily inspiration that I still carry with me to this day.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
While my style has naturally evolved over the years, my aesthetic has remained the same: traditionalist at the core with whimsical elements. The most important design element I incorporate in all of my projects is the juxtaposition of old and new. A home should feel personal and collected, and the best way this can be achieved is by mixing antiques and heirlooms with modern pieces.
What is your favorite project to date?
That’s a difficult question to answer. Each project is so different, and each client challenges me creatively in so many different ways. For example, I am known for my colorful and whimsical interiors, but one of my first big projects was a large ranch with several houses on the property. That project really pushed me creatively to lean towards a more monochromatic and quieter color palette, which was a little unnerving. However, it came together magically and nicely married the beauty of the outdoors with the interior color palette.
You have an online retail store. Can you tell us about it and the top two pieces we should have on our radar?
Christian Ladd Home was conceptualized around the penchant for purposefully sourced finds. We hoped to create an accessible online space for one-of-a-kind pieces. We strive to partner with other brands, artists, and vendors to create unique pieces via exclusive collaborations. Our top-selling items, which are also nearest to our hearts, are our La Petite Gracies. We worked with the Gracie team to hand-select original Gracie artwork to scale down in size. By doing this, our hope was to create an accessible option for Gracie lovers to create a collection.
What is your favorite space or design element in your own home, and why?
The powder bathroom, which I know sounds so simple, but it’s a room that creatively has few boundaries since guests are not in that room for too long. The powder bathroom, to me, is a little jewel box that surprises people when they walk in and hopefully makes them smile.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world — be it another designer or a dream client — who would it be?
Rather than collaborating, someone who would be incredible to shadow would be Elsie de Wolfe. As America’s “first interior decorator,” her work left such a profound impression on design in this country. It would be an opportunity of a lifetime to shadow her for a year to simply watch and learn.
What is one design mistake you often see people make, and how can we avoid it?
I think the ultimate mistake made in design is following trends. A home should be a direct reflection of the owners while remaining rooted in design that will stand the test of time. Leaning into trends that will inevitably date themselves creates a cycle of necessary updates every few years, which, above all, is incredibly costly.
Where do you find your design inspiration? What moves you?
The beauty of design is that you can draw inspiration from a vast array of outlets. Some of my greatest inspiration comes from travel and art. Often, I am inspired by a client’s piece of art or an antique or heirloom, and that item becomes the jumping-off point for the entire project.
What advice do you have for elevating our homes if we’re decorating on a budget?
When strategically investing in the right places, a sophisticated look can be achieved on a budget. The smallest details make a world of difference and create cohesiveness in a space. For example, drapery can tie an entire room together; a simple, affordable cotton poplin drape can be paired with an elevated tape trip to achieve an economical custom look. Additionally, rather than purchasing all new furniture, giving pieces a refresh by selecting new fabric for reupholstery is a great alternate route that, once again, is custom.
Can you describe your design philosophy in a few words?
My design philosophy is that a space should be true to the client and atmosphere while still being a design that will stand the test of time. Additionally, the juxtaposition of old and new remains a consistent theme in all my designs. I believe that can be achieved by looking to the past for inspiration and relying on classic elements.
All photography courtesy of JoAnna Robertson.
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