Décor & Gardening

Feminine strength

Feminine strength

Award-winning interior designer Laurie Owen is best known for her rugged, romantic design style and organic, African pieces. She has worked in boutique hotels, lodges and homes around the world, and recently opened her first KZN store at Burnedale in Umhlali.

Everything about Laurie Owen is bold and powerful. From her intrepid personality to her audacious, inspiring designs and décor pieces, this is a woman you cannot help but sit up and take notice of.

Originally from KZN, Laurie started manufacturing and exporting her own African-inspired décor pieces in her early 20’s. She spent more than 16 years living in Johannesburg, where she built up her business and developed a reputation as a highly-regarded designer, specialising in environmentally-friendly and ultra-luxurious designs.

Creating beautiful, peaceful spaces

After travelling to design shows around the world Laurie started working on big projects, like hotels and lodges. She prides herself on the fact that her designs are as eco-friendly as possible, and most of her materials are locally-sourced, including pieces made by people living in small, rural communities.

“We don’t cut down trees. We source our timber from driftwood, fallen trees and alien invaders. Wherever possible we use natural, hand-made materials and fabrics.” 

Laurie is passionate about creating beautiful, peaceful spaces and describes her design style as organic, romantic and rugged. “I want my designs to move people. When you visit a lodge in the middle of the desert, the environment must be peaceful and calming and force you to relax and slow down.”

With a strong focus on natural, earthy décor, Laurie uses predominantly neutral colours and incorporates lots of texture, shapes and handmade items into her designs

Overcoming tragedy

Things haven’t always been smooth sailing for Laurie, who experienced a huge personal trauma when she was gang-raped in her home in Johannesburg four years ago.

Instead of allowing this devastatingly traumatic event to slow her down, Laurie has managed to move forward and use her experience to help other women.

She started a non-profit organisation called WAREAR (Woman Against Rape, Everyone Against Rape), and has developed a personal safety device, which works like a panic button that you would wear on your arm. Her goal is to distribute these devices to underprivileged women who, she says, need it most. 

“I couldn’t just hide under a rock and become a victim. My attackers abused my body, but what happened to me also changed my mindset. I’ve spoken out a lot about what happened to me, including being interviewed on SKY News. Talking about it and developing WAREAR have helped me heal.”

Moving forward

Apart from her stores in Johannesburg and Umhlali, Laurie is currently planning to open a store in Namibia where she is working on a project at the moment.

She is also building and designing her own hotel in Bali, where she intends to eventually settle down. “I spent a month in Bali after my attack and I fell in love with it. It is a very healing, peaceful and spiritual place . . . and it fits me like a glove.”

Laurie’s Interior tips and trends:

  • Metal is the new wood! Loads of copper, aluminium and brass. Look out for metal table tops, beaten metal and woven copper.
  • Mineral colours are very trendy . . . soft greens, blues and silver.
  • Raw wood is always going to be popular, use it in chunky, robust pieces.
  • Flowy linens and curtains, bring in softer elements – on the floor with rugs and beautiful hand-dyed fabrics.
  • Don’t be scared to go big if you have the space. Rather use a few big, bold pieces and leave some open space rather than filling every corner with clutter.
  • Don’t buy something unless you really love it. Rather save up until you can afford what you want.
  • Rather think ‘gallery’ than ‘display’.

Get In Touch:
Visit the Laurie Owen Interiors shop at Burnedale, Umhlali.


Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) May 2018

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