fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

Timeless Elegance and Sophisticated Style

By Tori Phelps

These days, everyone wants to talk about interior design. At least, everyone Susan Lovelace interacts with. From her dentist to her nail tech, she’s constantly peppered with questions about what’s new, what’s hot, and, of course, any pro tips she’s willing to divulge. If you think she’s unhappy about that, think again. Lovelace is thrilled that her life’s passion has grabbed hold of the entire population (thanks, HGTV!) and has decided to make it easier than ever for people to indulge their decor dreams.

As owner of the Emerald Coast design and home furnishings institution Lovelace Interiors, Lovelace has been an interior designer for longer than she’s willing to divulge—at least in print. But she remains obsessed with the field and with creating new experiences. Among her latest projects: an innovative online experience for shoppers and a program aimed at fellow interior designers.

The Lovelace Interiors website has always been a source of inspiration, in a browse-and-drool kind of way. But Lovelace wants to make it possible for customers to shop the team’s professionally styled looks from home with an integrated online shopping cart. “You’ll be able to purchase single items—a lamp or a throw, for example—or get ‘the Lovelace Look,’” she explains.

The Lovelace Look offers the opportunity to purchase an entire room, from the sofa to the candles on the coffee table, exactly as Lovelace Interiors has it staged. It’s a fairly common occurrence in the brick-and-mortar store, Lovelace says, which is what sparked the idea for the online shop.

The “looks” cater to multiple design aesthetics, offering groupings based around current color trends (this season is blush, by the way), as well as perennial Gulf Coast favorites such as cerulean blue, aqua, and teal. And customers will see styles ranging from transitional to ultracontemporary.

Naturally, shoppers get the best deal on an entire look, but prices on single items are surprisingly affordable. “You can’t buy these high-end, premium-quality goods anywhere for the price we’re selling them,” she says.

Which may be why fellow interior designers are dying to get their hands on Lovelace’s sources. And, incredibly, Lovelace is letting them. Through her new “Lovelace to the Trade” program, independent interior designers can access lines they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to—at exclusive, discounted prices—and even bring their clients to her resource room. Sound crazy? Not to Lovelace, who started out as a freelancer herself. “Most work out of their own homes and don’t have the volume for the 150 vendors that we stock,” she explains.

That kind of generosity is typical of Lovelace, according to Alden Lagasse. Familiar to most as the wife of celebrity chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse, Mrs. Lagasse not only helps run the couple’s philanthropic foundation, but she’s also a powerhouse interior designer who recently added “Lovelace associate” to her résumé.

Design Associate Alden Lagasse, wife of Emeril Lagasse, and Principal Designer Susan Lovelace
Design associate Alden Lagasse (right) has a personal design style using a mix of old and new. She has a love for antiques and original art, forming character and design interest throughout her homes. Pictured here with principal designer Susan Lovelace (left). Photo by Romona Robbins

The two women have known each other since Lagasse was a girl. After marrying Lagasse’s cousin, Lovelace became a combination big sister and mentor to Lagasse, who frequently stayed with her cousins while on breaks from Ole Miss. “I remember thinking, ‘I want a house just like hers when I grow up,’” Lagasse recalls. “And now I live in her house.”

When the couples swapped houses a few years ago, Lagasse went to work making the long-coveted space her own. Rather than the Florida-Mediterranean feel common to the area, Lagasse’s house boasts an old-world New Orleans style that reflects her Southern roots. “She’s made it so beautiful,” Lovelace enthuses. “She’s incredibly talented.”

Lovelace knew early on that her cousin had something special and has actively encouraged that innate talent. In recent years, Lagasse has turned into an in-demand designer, making an associate position a natural next step—even if it’s not full-time just yet.

With a twelve-year-old and a fourteen-year-old in school and a husband always on the go, Lagasse’s time is limited. But design isn’t something she’s willing to give up. “I’ve loved design my whole life, and I’m constantly redecorating. My husband is like, ‘Thank God we have these restaurants she can do,’” Lagasse laughs.


The Emeril empire now includes thirteen restaurants, and Lagasse immerses herself completely in their design—like Miramar Beach’s new Emeril’s Coastal Italian. Not surprisingly, she asked her favorite design partner, Lovelace, to lend a hand as well as her commercial design license.

Though the two have wildly different aesthetics, they work together seamlessly and joyfully. It took both of them, architects Geoff Chick and Jeff Margaretten, and a good chunk of the Lovelace team to create an interior that did justice to Emeril’s concept of Italian favorites meet coastal freshness. Lagasse started with what she knew for sure: the tone had to be casual but elegant. And because she was going for an Italian-infused ambience, she skipped the usual blues and settled on a palette of grays with pops of corn-silk yellow.

But it wasn’t until she brought in artist Landon Lott that everything started taking shape. Lott, a family friend who had created stunning spray paint murals for their New Orleans’ restaurant, Meril, agreed to do similar large-scale artwork for Emeril’s Coastal Italian. From Lott’s concepts, Lagasse selected an octopus and langoustine, to which Lott added Roman architectural elements and fish found in Gulf waters. “They look 3-D—almost like Mardi Gras floats to me,” Lagasse says of Lott’s creations. “After Landon painted those, we really got inspired with things like Kelly Wearstler chandeliers that resemble gold sea urchins.”

Open-concept living space designed by Lovelace designer Cara McBroom Susan Lovelace Home and Decor
Great design always uses a variety of textures and patterns. Lovelace designer Cara McBroom kept the colors cohesive yet eye-catching in this open-concept living space. Photo by Steve Mangum

From the beginning, Lovelace was determined that the design and furnishings of Emeril’s Coastal Italian would be stunning. “It’s probably over-the-top beautiful,” she admits. “But Alden and Emeril have fabulous taste, and it had to be up to the standards of their other restaurants, which aren’t just about the food, but the whole experience. That’s why Emeril is the master.”

And Lovelace, of course, is the master of design. Perhaps it’s because she’s so renowned for her skills that she still fights the misconception that Lovelace Interiors sells services, not products. The truth is that they do both. Yes, their crew of licensed designers tackles massive projects for clients. But those same designers are available to help patrons shop the well-stocked showroom floor—at no cost.

And that showroom floor, unparalleled in its selection, has never been more inspiring. “Right now, we have the most amazing products we’ve ever had,” Lovelace says. “You would think that I would be jaded after doing this for so long, but the designs just keep getting better and more beautiful.”


Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

It might be her name on the letterhead, but Susan Lovelace is the first to acknowledge that Lovelace Interiors is a group effort. And that confidence in her world-class team is what has finally allowed her to take time off once in a while.

But the show (or store, in this case) must go on.

To maintain the firm’s iconic status, she relies on staffers like Brooke Williams, Lovelace’s assistant-turned-interior design associate. “Brooke is so talented, and she’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever known,” Lovelace says.

Then there are Bunny Hall and Helene Forester, the showroom designer and assistant, respectively, responsible for the store’s “wow” factor. “They make a great design duo, and the floor wouldn’t be as stunning on a daily basis without them,” Lovelace says.

The rest of the team is equally impressive: fifteen-year veteran Cassidy Lyons Pickens (“executes high-end projects with great ease”), Lindsay Miller (“a very talented designer who’s worked on some of the largest projects the firm has done”), Karen Kerns (“a great eye and very professional”), Cara McBroom (“when we all design our own homes, we want Cara to help us with the process”), Linda Holman (“tried to retire about three times now, but the projects just pile on heavier for her”), Brooks Logan (“a keen eye for detail, and her hand renderings are absolutely beautiful”), and Amber Miller (“my newest assistant, learning all the sides to residential design”). Lovelace says she is also proud to add three new designers to her roster this year: Donna Callahan, Joy Adams, and Stephanie Schefano.

Whether it’s a newbie she gets to watch blossom or a veteran who’s part of the very fabric of Lovelace Designs, Lovelace is like a proud mama when it comes to her team. “The group of designers we have now is the most talented I’ve ever seen,” she raves. “They do an incredible job, and I never worry about taking a day off.”

Lovelace Interiors design team dynamic team Interior design Susan Lovelace Home and Decor
Lovelace Interiors has over ten talented designers to assist with your design needs. Clients can purchase directly off the floor or special order exactly what they have in mind. Photo by Romona Robbins


Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine September 2023 Jay Mercado
VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail