From what once started out of a closet to now being a showroom and office space, 36-year-old Isabel Ladd has shown her dedication to her art and her design work, right here in Lexington.
Ladd’s love for arts and crafts began in school during her art classes and has yet to waver. Starting at a young age, she was dedicated to school, saying she “never missed a homework assignment.” Ladd was also business-minded from a young age, starting two businesses out of her parents’ closet, “Arts and Asks” and “Crazy for Color.”
Ladd has always appreciated a clean and organized space. She described how she would clean her room and change her sheets in her childhood home before the cleaning service would come and then leave a note asking them not to touch the room because it was “already perfect.”
From that drive for an appealing aesthetic came a blossoming business of interior design in Lexington. Ladd opened her current showroom in March 2022. She now works with contractors and her own employees to completely transform clients' spaces.
Prior to opening her own business, Ladd earned a degree in textile design from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. While living in her college home, she experimented with maximalist design ideals as she found personal ways to decorate her space.
“I’ve always gravitated towards bright prints and colors, even when I was in college when my friends and I moved into a rental house. I asked if we could paint the walls… it was sunshine yellow, like marigold yellow with hot pink polka dots and then just crazy layers of stuff,” Ladd said.
Ladd draws from her Brazilian roots and gravitates toward an array of colors, patterns and organic materials like raffia and seagrass in her designs.
“If you were to spend your budget on [a] room, the room you use the most, it could become like your most joyous and happy room,” Ladd said.
Despite her maximalist style, she still maintained minimal clutter in her home. Her aspirations for a “clean” home carried into her adulthood when she had two children, Oliver and Theo. For her two years as a stay-at-home mother, she would present her home in a way that would have people question that she had young kids because it was so clean and put together.
After seeing Ladd’s home, her friends began calling and asking for help with her own spaces.
Ladd described her eye for design as “innate” and enjoys pushing the boundaries of the normal eye to see something more than a typical color scheme. In that way, she also stressed how having children should not deter anyone from decorating how they like, especially with bright colors and patterns, no matter how eccentric.
“I think it’s about having a beautiful space that you love, that makes you feel good, that makes your family feel good,” Ladd said.
Going from being a full-time mom, Ladd started by doing small projects as a designer. In the beginning, she used her mom’s credit card to buy things for her clients and even had them write checks to her mom, paying her back as she grew her client base.
Having hired business coaches and listening to design business podcasts in her early years of business, Ladd has improved her business as she grew in experience.
Ladd continued to expand and hone in on her design style. She started her business by going with what the client wanted, and nine years later she’s more comfortable.
Abiding by her three mantras, “More is more, less is a bore,” “Mix and don’t match” and “Beige is not a color,” Ladd continues to strive for the best for herself and her clients. Using a process to assess her clients’ goals for a space, she uses her specific style to meet and exceed their expectations.
A multitude of vibrant hues, patterns and materials is a tell-tale sign a room is designed by Ladd, whether it be pink grasscloth wallpaper and a large white heron art piece or striped walls with toile pillows on the couch.
Sights set on success, Ladd is excited to see where she’ll go from here having already been featured in Southern Living, HGTV and Better Homes & Gardens. As she works toward getting a product line at Target, she hopes to instill her drive and passion in her two children and maybe even have one of them carry on to be the future of Isabel Ladd Interiors on North Limestone.