Lyn Mabry has always worked around beautiful things and places. From growing up with her interior designer mother in Nashville, to working for the best luxury hotels around the nation, her second chapter has been a natural transition to interior design. She has the instinctual ability to walk into a space and immediately know if it is “working” or not. She believes that for a space to really work, it has to be nurturing and inviting, and these elements extend to both commercial and residential spaces. It’s the feeling you get when you walk into a beautiful hotel or an inviting foyer in someone’s home — and Lyn strives to capture that feeling for all the spaces she designs. Each of her spaces is a reflection of her clients and their loves, as well as her own love for her job and her clients. And she has boundless energy; when she is not busy on the job, Lyn is walking her gorgeous giant dog or enjoying her grandchildren. Meet Lyn Mabry of Living Spaces by Lyn, our FACE of Louisville today.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
My mother was a well-known interior designer in Nashville, TN, where I spent most of my young adult years. I spent many years working with her early in my career. I loved the variety of her projects and the relationships she created with her clients. And our home was an inspiration, a wonderful mix of lovely traditional pieces laced with wild colors and fabrics. But I put my love of all things “design” on hold when I lost my mother to cancer and my husband started law school, plus we had two small children to raise.
How long have you been involved in interior design? How have your prior careers led up to this current one?
I have been actively involved in my own design business for almost 10 years. But prior to that, I worked in the luxury hotel industry in sales and marketing. As I moved around the country in my career, I bought, renovated and sold houses — some would call me a “serial renovator.” I fell in love with Louisville when I was hired to be the Director of Sales and Marketing for The Brown Hotel. I purchased and renovated a home in Crescent Hill and another one in Old Louisville, then sold both of them and moved to Colorado to work for a hotel in Aspen. I came back to Louisville after I retired from years in the luxury hotel biz and purchased a small condo building in the Cherokee Triangle as an investment, and renovated the units one by one. At the same time, I went to work for a commercial design firm here in Louisville and became a partner.
What is your design aesthetic, and how do you translate that to a client and his/her space?
I have a great quote on my website that really captures my philosophy when it comes to working with clients in their homes: “I want to make every home reflect the best, most interesting version of the people who live there.” My goal is to partner with my clients, bringing out the aesthetic that really nurtures them. I always say, “Think of me as your coach. I want your voice heard in this space, not mine.”
Where do you get your design inspiration?
First, from the structures I’m working in and what the architectural details are saying to me. And nature and art are huge inspirations, also fabric and loved objects, old and new; and, of course, my mother.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The easiest?
The most challenging is always being fresh and open to new ideas, hearing what my clients and their spaces are saying to me. The easiest is seeing the balance of items in a space, or in many cases, seeing the off-balance, and knowing how to change walls or furniture or accessories to maximize interest and enhance the harmony of a room. And working with my clients and staff is just so fun.
Would you share one designer secret with SB readers?
Spaces have a personality, an energy. Gather “stuff” you love around you; they create good karma and affection in your spaces, and you can feel that when you walk into a new space. If I am doing a renovation project, the secret to redefining space is to find the harmony and flow of energy in the way one room flows into another.
What is on the horizon for you professionally and personally?
Growing my business — I have several talented women who work with me. They all love what we do together. I want to create a firm that really supports the real estate and construction industry here in Louisville. I hope to do more renovation and remodel projects — they are my favorite!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I had another career between the time I retired from the hotel biz and moved to Louisville to start my design and renovation business. I, along with a partner, designed, built and operated a state-of-the-art luxury pet-boarding facility on 16 acres in Franklin, TN.
What are three words that describe you?
Busy, gutsy, kind
What advice do you treasure?
Be present. Be kind. Tell the truth.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my _________.
Real paint color samples and my dog, Galen, a rescued Golden Retriever-Great Pyrenees mix.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Outdoors walking with friends and Galen in Tyler Park, Cherokee Park and Bernheim Forest. I also attend meditation classes at the Earth and Spirit Center on Newburg Road.
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I love to join hundreds of my neighbors in Kentucky and Indiana, walking or biking across the Ohio on our lovely bridge to and from our hometown. I also love walking around NuLu and checking out the cool shops. I love all the art galleries around town and eating good vegan food and drinking good, local craft beer! And I love taking my granddaughters from Nashville to our wonderful science museum.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
Roots and Heart and Soy for wonderful vegan fare. La Chasse for a sophisticated but cozy dinner at the bar. And Caffe Classico for great atmosphere and consistently great food, plus they have my favorite wine, a chilled red wine called “Black Bubbly.”
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
- The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
- A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
- The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
- True Refuge by Tara Brach — my favorite book on meditation
What are three of your favorite things right now besides faith, family and friends?
My clients, my dog and my craft
Thank you, Lyn! To contact Lyn or check out more of her work, visit livingspacesbylyn.com.
Thank you to Adele Reding of Adele Reding Photography for the beautiful pictures of Lyn.
To be inspired by other great Louisville women, check out our other FACES of Louisville here.