Lauren Messina 7

A Designer Shares Her Story and Trends For the Future

“I knew I wanted to be an interior designer when I was eight years old,” says Lauren Messina, of Lauren Messina Interior Design.

After years of watching her family make custom rugs through her cousin’s company, New River Artisans, and seeing her mom work with high end designers all over the U.S., Messina realized she wanted to be in the design business, too.

“I got to meet designers with my mom and I just fell in love with everything design. I found myself wanting to know more and more,” Messina says.

When she was 14, she got her first job with an interior designer, filing fabrics in their resource library after school. This laid the foundation for her understanding of design. After high school, she attended the University of Arkansas and graduated with a degree in Interior Design in 2005.

“I moved to Little Rock after graduating and started working with a big-time designer. He did a lot of renovations and new build projects and was so talented,” Messina says.

Messina fell in love with this aspect of design especially.

“Now, any time I get a new build or renovation in Charleston I just eat it up. The décor part is great, too, of course. But that [renovation] part is so cool and exciting to me,” she says.

Messina also worked as a senior designer with award-winning designer Tobi Fairley, assisting her and doing a lot of high-end residential projects—the Walton family and the Tyson Chicken family. She also played a heavy hand in projects that made the cover of House Beautiful and some that were in Traditional Home Magazine.

After a few years, Messina created Lauren Messina Interior Design and acquired her NCIDQ certification (the globally recognized hallmark of interior design). The business took an impromptu turn when she moved to Charleston five years ago to be with her husband, essentially rebuilding her business when she did and it grew—exponentially. Her Mount Pleasant-based company includes design assistant, Carley and office manager and mom, Carmen Martina.

Today, 50% of Messina’s projects are out of town, from New Orleans to Chicago to New York.

One of her recent projects was designing the dressing room of Jeannie Mae for the day time talk show, “The Real” in Los Angeles. Her services range from new build and renovations to space planning and décor. Currently, she’s gearing up for a new build project in Houston.

“Social media has played a big part in securing clients. I’ve gotten clients off Instagram, off a hashtag. My pictures are there and people find them and they call. I feel really blessed,” Messina says.

With a vast clientele and over 14 years of experience, Messina has been exposed to different types of styles—from uber contemporary to traditional Tudors—some of which aren’t found in the Charleston area. When asked to explain her design style she carefully chooses three words: Southern, European and Traditional.

Her favorite projects? New builds and kitchen and bathroom renovations.

“That’s where you see so much change—it’s a dramatic difference. I love to get in there and totally transform the space,” she says.

When it comes to trends, Messina predicts a lot of trends based on the clothing she sees in Milan.

“My husband is from Italy and one of the reasons I love visiting is because they’re a few years ahead of the game in fashion and fashion always goes to the home,” she says.

Messina notes that gratitude and grace are the most important parts of her business and that she ends up being friends with many of her clients after the projects.

“I always knew this was what I wanted to do. I’m so blessed that I get to do this every day,” she adds.