"It is a very exciting point in my career right now," Harper said. "Being in national publications that I hold in such high esteem is definitely a dream come true for me. I don't think anyone knows how their future will unfold. I just try to do the best job I can for my clients and for myself every day and thankfully that is paying off.
"Having satisfied [clients] and repeat clients is the true reward, having my work published and being regarded in the industry is the icing on the cake. I am really fortunate that I love what I do. I won't say it wasn't a leap of faith starting my own business, but just like moving to New York, if you don't try you'll never succeed."
Currently available in stores, House Beautiful's February edition displays Harper's work in an eight-page spread titled "Jazz It Up." The Q & A article describes how she updated the 1940s Charlotte, N.C., residence of Michael and Ramsey Lyons in 2010.
"She has an incredible eye for styling," Ramsey Lyons said. "She has an incredible eye for color without making it seem too incohesive. When you're doing a full house, I think sometimes when you pick great, big, bold colors it doesn't work room to room when you start walking, like it doesn't flow very well. And she has the crazy ability to do that without using the same colors in every room. So her certain ability to use color [is wonderful]. I just feel like she picks really unique fabrics and pairs them really well and has a great eye for making small things pop."
Harper's design for the Lyons' nearly 5,000-square-foot residence left no room untouched. Along with enlarging the kitchen, the project featured "one show-stopper" element in each room, such as the chandelier in the dining room, the yellow paint color in the kitchen and the wallpaper in the foyer.
"The house is stunning," Ramsey Lyons said. "I really couldn't be more pleased with it. My husband, actually, his reaction [was] really hilarious given that decorating and decor is not something that's generally of any interest at all to him. And he loves it and 100 percent recognizes that it's worth spending money to have someone put this together for you. ... I think the [magazine's] pictures speak for themselves. I think it's an incredibly chic, comfortable design.
"I just think she totally knocked the ball out of the park on every detail. People walk into my house and say, 'Oh my God, I can't believe the bar is styled that way. How amazing.' You notice things all over the place. 'Oh my gosh, look at the wallpaper behind your bookshelves.' [Also] the lining of all of our shades [or curtains] are all fun, really fun fabrics. So when you're looking at them from the other side of the window, they look great. So I just think she really has an ability to address every detail without it looking too fussy."
While her company, Lindsey Coral Harper Interior Design, is based in New York City, Harper's client base extends across North America. Currently, she is overseeing projects in five locations in addition to the Big Apple: Montreal; Pittsburgh; Locust Valley, N.Y.; Charlotte; and San Francisco.
"I want the client to love walking in the door at the end of the day," Harper said. "I want them to be happy and comfortable and to create an environment for them that works for their lifestyle. ... I have all types of clients and all types of projects. First homes, weekend homes, apartments in the city, townhouses, you name it. The length and scale varies.
"I've built houses with clients from the ground up -- those take longer. I've flown to cities and helped clients look for houses. I've been with them on the day they sign. Sometimes you get a beautiful house that needs a major renovation and sometimes you get a turnkey apartment in the city. Some jobs can be done as quickly as six months and some jobs can take years. No job is the same, which keeps it interesting."
With Harper managing multiple projects, she said there are a lot of tasks to juggle, some of which can be handled remotely with others requiring on-site direction.
"I am very hands on and I'm a perfectionist," said Harper, who also is the co-founder of the furniture line, LAMSHOP, www.shoplamshop.com. "There are a lot of crucial decisions to be made every day. I have to pay attention, after all I am spending someone else's money. I also wear many hats. There is a lot of running around, getting dirty, standing around cold or wet jobsites, and schlepping things around. You wouldn't believe the amount of paperwork that goes into purchasing one item -- and for most houses there are hundreds if not thousands of things to purchase and little details and decisions to make.
"There is a lot of work behind the scenes. In the end, we make it look really glamorous, but let me tell you, there are days when I think if people only knew. I also couldn't do every job by myself. I have a great small team of people that I work long hours with -- assistants, interns, messengers, seamstresses and workrooms."
Operating her residential interior design firm since 2007, Harper credits previously working for the Manhattan decorating firm Richard Keith Langham Inc. for preparing her for this line of work.
"The fortunate thing for me is I worked for Richard Keith Langham, who is an interior-based designer, for eight years," Harper said. "He had clients all over the country and I was a project manager and a senior designer for him. ... As the years went on, I got more and more clients and I kind of got more and more responsibility.
"So I learned and I trained there, and I learned how this process works and I guess that's how I honed my skills because it's a lot of managing. You have to be pretty organized, which is hard if you're like a super, creative person. It's hard. There's a business [side] and there's a creative side of it. So you have to really balance both to pull off a project."
A 1994 graduate of Cartersville High School, Harper was drawn to New York City in 1999. Working toward a furnishings and interiors degree, she accepted an internship in the Big Apple during her senior year at the University of Georgia.
"In our major, we were required to get an internship the last 10 weeks of the semester before we graduated," Harper said. "The majority of the internships were in or around Atlanta. I had just spent the summer abroad in a work-study program in London and really wanted to go to New York. So I asked if I could find my own internship in New York. I got an offer literally the day before we had to turn in our decision. I had just turned 23. I took the internship, they offered me a full-time position within six weeks so I flew home for graduation, told my parents and well, I'm still here.
"New York seemed to be the epicenter of interior design, so I thought I might as well give it a shot. I also knew that the time to take the chance was straight from college, when I had nothing and nothing to lose. I knew if it didn't work out, I could always go back to my family and friends in Georgia. The hardest part of moving to New York was that I only knew one person here. It took a while to meet people and find my way, but in the end I have made amazing friends and somehow made my way."
In addition to viewing her designs in House Beautiful, area residents can see her work at the 2012 Inspiration House on Jan. 29, Feb. 2 to 5 and Feb. 9 to 12. Harper was one of 20 designers selected to style a room in the house that is situated on the grounds of The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road in Atlanta.
"The Inspiration House began last year as part of The Cathedral Antiques Show and Tour of Homes, sponsored by The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta," said James H. Deadwyler, chairman for the Inspiration House. "We were celebrating our 40th anniversary of the show. The concept behind the Inspiration House was to help celebrate that milestone by showing antique and vintage furniture in interesting ways -- ways that are relevant to people across the style spectrum and across all age groups and budget levels. In its second year, the Inspiration House will feature rooms from modern to traditional. All will be unified by and will highlight antiques. Visitors will see examples of how to incorporate antiques into their own homes and lives.
"Lindsey is an awesome young designer who is very much on the rise in a national sense. She was a natural choice during our selection process to add to our team of designers. Having been raised ... in Cartersville, she is known locally. Personally I think of Lindsey's style as 'updated traditional.' In other words, many of the elements she chooses are considered, on their own, fairly traditional. Yet, she really knows how to change our perspective -- largely with a very bold use of color. The library she's installing in the Inspiration House is no exception. If you remove the individual components, they are fairly traditional. But she is really using color to hit the refresh button."
For more information about the 2012 Inspiration House, visit http://blog.cathedralantiques.org. Further details about Harper's designs can be found at www.lchinteriors.com.