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Designing Woman

Trading L.A. for Honolulu, interior maven Lauren Makk has found her groove.

After a successful career in L.A. that included appearances on national television, interior designer Lauren Makk has found the high life in Honolulu.

Two years ago, Lauren Makk came to O‘ahu for the first time for a wedding. Initially, it wasn’t her kind of place. Then, three days into her vacation, she ventured outside of Waikīkī and unexpectedly connected with the island lifestyle. It was a definite revelation for this Oklahoma-born gal, who appeared as the interior designer and host of TLC’s Emmy Award-winning Trading Spaces and A&E’s Drill Team. Inspired, she went back to Los Angeles, ditched her TV career, packed up her interior design business and, in less than two months, moved to Honolulu. “I thought I was in paradise when I lived in L.A.—and then I moved here,” she says with her infectious laugh.

In a short while, Makk has made a name for herself in Honolulu. She’s become a welcome personality on KHON-TV and recently set up a studio in hot Kaka‘ako. Business-wise, she has worked with more than 800 clients. In particular, she’s relished posh projects in Hawai‘i Loa Ridge and Hawai‘i Kai, where one client let her splurge on elegant handwoven Phillip Jeffries wallpaper. “We added it to the coffer in the ceiling,” Makk says. “After installing a glamorous chandelier and some accent lighting, the results were stunning!” Making homes fab is just part of a hard day’s work for the 30-year-old design maven. “I love creating spaces that wrap a big hug around people when they come home,” she says.

Makk’s latest project is Pad, a design shop in a 1,500-square-foot warehouse stocked with multipurpose and multiuse furniture and accessories. On top of that, she’s starting a monthly workshop series called Home School, where she will bring in design-show friends from TV to teach everything from repurposing spaces to upholstery. “It’s really about bringing a little flavor, a little bit of my personality to the islands,” Makk says. “I’m really thankful to be here, and this is an opportunity to give back.”

Makk’s Hots
Black calla lilies (or other fresh flowers for decorating), contemporary street art, Kaka‘ako, modular furniture

Makk’s Nots
Inconsiderate drivers, pictures hung too high, littering, covering furniture in plastic, chain coffee retailers