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Parker Bowie Larson, Style Director at ELLE DECOR (USA), shows us her home office

JUL 31, 2020 | By ELLE Decoration network
(L-R) Parker Bowie Larson just before her maternity leave began; The Style Director's vibrant workspace at home; A few of her essential work items, including a vase with fresh flowers

Parker Bowie Larson studied journalism at the University of North Carolina. This is her second stint at ELLE DECOR, the first being 2008-2012 and again since 2018. She talks about some of her favourite things—from textiles, tabletop accessories and entertaining—and how much she enjoys decorating her home.

How have you set the mood to work efficiently from home?
With a two-year-old daughter, it’s been a challenge but I find that playing classical music while working helps drown out the interruptions. It was also important to make my workspace as inviting as possible. So I splurged on artworks done by my friend Susan Hable and placed it above my desk. I always like to have a vase of fresh flowers. 

Are there any hobbies that you’re indulging in while confined?
I live in Locust Valley on Long Island. It was once considered the Gold Coast in the early 1900s and I’ve become obsessed with the history of the mansions from that era. Sadly, more than half were torn down in the 1970s and ’80s. I’ve been accumulating old publications with pictures of these estates and their owners, and visiting the ones that are still open to the public. During this time, I have also stumbled upon treasures in my own neighbourhood—ruins of a chateau, a former estate that is now a monastery with gardens by the Olmsted brothers, and a hidden 1920s Gold Coast mansion directly across from my house that I found during a walking down the driveway! Of course, a lot of the properties say “No Trespassing” but as you know, for a journalist, that is an open invitation to see what’s there! 

Tell us about your inspirations…
My grandmother. She and I are very close, and she is the one who taught me the importance of design. I remember wandering around the house my mother grew up in, where my grandparents lived for over 50 years. One of my favourite rooms was their dining room as it had a scenic wallpaper mural from the Revolutionary War by Züber, which they inherited when they’d bought the house. She mixed it with an antique mahogany Chippendale dining table, a set of chairs and a large crystal chandelier.

How has WFH changed the way you and your team work?
I’m pleasantly surprised at how efficient we are able to be while working from home, and I hope that this continues when we go back to the office. We’ve been forced to come up with more streamlined processes, and as you know for creatives, that isn’t always easy. I’ve learned the importance of time—it’s really the biggest gift we have on Earth. It has been such a blessing to have this extra time with my family, especially with a new baby about to join us. 

Your current favourite design object… 
The new Bombom sofa by Joana Vasconcelos for Roche Bobois. The two had first collaborated for Design Miami last year. I think this new iteration is going to become another icon like their Mah Jong sofa. 

A movie you’d happily watch over and over again… 
The newest Cinderella movie with Lily James. Obviously, this is aimed at a younger audience, like my two year old. But its message is “have courage and be kind”, which applies to us all especially now. 

Your all-time favorite designer…
India Mahdavi for her use of colour, scale and artistry is absolute perfection. Her interiors both residential and commercial always inspire me. 

A promising designer to watch out for… 
Brian Persico, whose furniture pieces and functional objects are inspired by early American design. Not only does he make everything himself in his woodworking studio in the Catskills but he’s also built his own house as well as several other structures on the property—like a chicken coop and a sugar shack for the maple syrup he and his wife harvest.

Once the travel ban is lifted, where would you first travel to?
Goodness, that’s tough! I’d say Paris as it was one of my last international destinations. Looking back, that trip seems so magical as we had no idea what was about to hit us. 

Scroll to see more images from her home office…

Larson’s favourite reads include The Mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast by Monica Randall and Style and Substance that showcases the best of ELLE DECOR (US) by Margaret Russell

 

A quaint corner in her home looks out to a patch of green

 

A view of the outdoor from Larson’s window