Skip to main content

Style Magazine

Starting from Scratch: Groundbreaking Interior Design


“It's every designer's dream to join a project from its inception,” says Lauren Jacobsen, owner and principal designer of Lauren Jacobsen Interiors (—an aspiration she achieved when she embarked on a two-year project for Mike and Kelly Bahan. The Bahans had acquired land in the exclusive Catta Verdera neighborhood of Lincoln, on which they were to build their dream home. 

Having worked with Jacobsen previously during her time as an associate designer at Restoration Hardware, Kelly and her husband knew they loved her work. They tracked Jacobsen down—who had since left Restoration Hardware to launch her own business—and hired her to design their custom 4,000-square-foot home. “We knew we had a very large project ahead of us...and she was the perfect person for the job,” says Kelly.


When the Bahans set out to build their home, they knew a French-country aesthetic, some vintage flare, and a soothing, inviting color palette with an open-floor plan and indoor-outdoor living were all must-haves. But they didn’t know how to put it all together, says Kelly.

Enter Jacobsen. Thanks to her comprehensive consultation process, Jacobsen came to deeply understand her client’s vision, requirements, and budgetary considerations. She discovered that while Kelly favored a traditional French country aesthetic, Mike leaned toward a more modern approach. “Navigating the intersection of modern and traditional elements posed the biggest challenge throughout the design of this project,” says Jacobsen. But she succeeded in creating a design that struck just the right balance to delight the Bahans. “We provided her with pictures and ideas of what our dream home would look like; she came back with amazing ideas and blew it out of the park,” says Kelly.


Jacobsen brought Kelly’s vision to life by adding French country architectural elements and beautiful antique decorations throughout the home. To ensure that Mike’s love for modern design was also represented, she added large Nano doors that opened the entire great room to the outside area. The result is a harmonious blend of both the Bahans’ preferences—traditional comfort with a contemporary flare—that both Kelly and Mike love. “Without her, our home would never have turned out the way we truly envisioned it to be,” says Kelly. 

Jacobsen strongly encourages engaging the services of a designer as early as possible on a new construction project, as the Bahans did, to truly get the home of your dreams. It’s thanks in part to this decision on the Bahans’ part that Jacobsen was able to merge their contrasting preferences. She was able to make significant style decisions, like adding statement arched doorways, because she was included in the decisions from the start. Hiring a designer from the outset of the project affords [designers] the opportunity to collaborate with the architect and influence crucial elements that impact the design, such as window placement, ceiling designs, and spatial layouts tailored to optimize furniture arrangement, Jacobsen tells us. “Often, clients underestimate the complexity of such undertakings, only realizing the need for professional assistance once construction is already underway,” she says. At that point, it’s often too late to make changes; and if it is possible, it comes with difficulty and expense.


A large draw of working with a designer is ensuring continuity of design throughout the home—all the more possible when a designer has early access. “Engaging our expertise from the outset ensures seamless alignment with the client's vision and guarantees that every intricate detail contributes to the overall results of the project,” says Jacobsen. This way, the designer has a hand in every little detail of the home, down to the window design, doors, trim, lighting, and cabinetry. Bringing them in from the start also means they can help with exterior selections for the roof, stone, trim, and paint. “Her [Jacobsen] help saved us so much stress,” says Kelly.


When the time came to furnish the home, Jacobsen sourced furniture and decorations for the entire house. “To ensure that each piece has a vision and a purpose, I curate all aspects of my projects. The details are what make the project special and truly shine,” she says. She hand-picked and acquired the elements needed herself—her usual process for bringing her client’s vision to life. She also weaves any existing personal items a client wishes to incorporate throughout the home. Kelly says Jacobsen excels at presenting options to fit her client’s style. “She has such a great eye for every little detail and such amazing style. We couldn’t be happier with what she created.”  


by Nelly Kislyanka
Photos by Stephanie Russo Photography.