Women Who Work: Why I Continued my Career After Having 3 Kids

Meet Lauren Oviatt, Interior Designer, Stylist, TV personality & Mother of 3

Lauren Oviatt is a woman who has got it going on — she has a precious family, a creative eye, her dream career, plus few side hustles. While Lauren prioritizes her family first, she also values creativity beyond playtime with her littles and working as a woman in business leaves her feeling fulfilled. We chatted with Lauren to learn more about why she decided to continue her career as a professional interior designer, stylist, and TV personality after having three children (twins included!)

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Name: Lauren Stimpson Oviatt

Occupation: Interior Designer, Stylist, and TV contributor

Age: 33

Lives: Salt Lake City, UT

Education: BA in Public Relations, AS in Interior Design

What was your first job out of college? What did you learn from that job, and how did it help propel you forward in your career?

I was fortunate to be hired by laylagrayce.com in their first year —  it was an incredible experience to work in an environment run by women who were excited and inspired by what they were doing.  It was (then) a small office where I wore many hats and learned a lot because I was fresh out of college and had a lot to prove! I caught a glimpse of the world of home furnishings and the inner-workings behind furniture production, manufacturing and delivering goods to the end-user. It was a crash course in problem solving, customer service and the ever-changing world of home fashion.

You decided you wanted to become an interior designer after you had already finished your Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations. What made you decide to go back to school for Interior Design?

From a young girl, I always had a propensity for arranging things and improving the way things around me looked.  I can’t tell you how many times I repainted my childhood bedroom —  thanks Mom!  From landscapes to home interiors, fashion and even architecture, it was as if I were storing mental photographs and collecting my own pre-Pinterest idea board of my most favorite places, color combinations, concepts and ideas… and more importantly the way those things made me feel. There is a true connection between quality of life and what we choose to surround ourselves with.

After working in e-commerce, wedding planning and corporate PR, I realized that if I was going to make a career out of my work, I wanted it to be something that made me jump out of bed in the morning. I went back to school to gain the knowledge and skill base to back up my passion for “beautifying”!  It gave me the confidence to stand behind what I already felt about the world of design.

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Tell us a little bit about how you felt about working when you became pregnant with your first child, Blair. Did you anticipate going back to work full/part-time after you had her? Did that perspective change at all after having Blair, or after having your twins?

Blair’s birth was such an incredible blessing in my life!  Throughout the pregnancy I reminded myself that it was unfair to set expectations until I knew what life would be like with a new baby.  Maybe I would want to jump back into work, maybe I would be struck with the desire to stay home with her and hang up my tool belt. I was glad for this perspective and would say the same to any first-time mom. Don’t stress — know that change is the only certain thing and take it one day at a time.

It wasn’t without its growing pains, but after an extended maternity leave I began to work part-time and it was wonderful! I was able to keep my foot in the door of design and spend lots of quality time with my new baby. Most days I still think that I wasn’t cut out for “stay-at-home motherhood,” it is one TOUGH gig! Respect (to those who do it)! I am grateful to have the chance to pursue a career I love and set my own schedule, (but) family still comes first.

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With the subsequent birth of my twins, I gave myself the same advice —  no unrealistic expectations, take it easy and do what feels right. Within a few months of their births, I felt the pull back to work and began to set my client schedule accordingly — starting slow and working my way back up to a work week that I could manage.

What drove you to continue your career after having your three kids?

Feeling the support of family, peers and clients gave me the confidence to jump back into design. I get an incredible sense of satisfaction when my hard work, creativity and execution results in a transformed space and a happy client!  Like I said before, people are SO much happier in spaces that have elements of beauty, function and purpose — spaces that reflect the best version of who they are and how they want to live. To be able to deliver that service to my clients is the most incredible reward.

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What excites you most about pursuing a career in interior design?

I recently heard a renowned designer say, “I believe that beauty will save the world, and I like to think I’m doing my part.” I LOVE that. I couldn’t agree more. Happy homes create happy people and that is a powerful thing! From a personal standpoint, it is gratifying to have a career where I can do what I love, continue to stretch myself and use my talents to improve the lives of others. There are so many facets of this career and I think it is a lifelong pursuit.

Where do you derive your creativity and/or inspiration?

I constantly study the world around me. It’s a blessing and a curse! For example, I can’t watch a romantic comedy without critiquing the set design. I’ve watched You’ve Got Mail and The Holiday at least a hundred times! I love to study the work of other designers and read about their methods and successes. I take EVERYTHING in… from the colors of the changing seasons to the color combinations used in fashion and floral design. I study spaces and images to develop a better sense of scale, proportion, balance and other design elements that truly make for incredible spaces. It is part science, part creativity and part serendipity!

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Who are your favorite interior designers?

I could never talk about the designers I love most without crediting Candice Olson and Sarah Richardson. As a teenager I watched them thrive as “TV designers” and I think it has given me the confidence to venture into television. I loved the glimpse into their projects, their everyday lives, their triumphs and trials of the job. Both Sarah and Candice have an on-camera presence that really made an impression on me.

You mentioned that you have ventured into television. How are you involved with Studio 5? How did you get involved with doing regular segments on Studio 5?

During my undergrad studies in communications, I took broadcast classes and felt really comfortable in front of the camera. Even though I didn’t have a passion for current events or news writing, my parents frequently reminded me of my talent in broadcast. A few years into my design career, I was looking for a way to combine my passion for design and a little TV work. I had a friend at the time who was an assistant producer for KSL Studio 5 — the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate — and she suggested I try a segment on their show. I submitted a list of about twenty topics I felt comfortable presenting and scripted the first one on the list. Ten years later and with almost 100 segments under my belt, I still continue to love the connections I make with a wide audience of like-minded, wonderful people and the thrill of being in front of the camera. The producers and staff working on the show believe in empowering women, strengthening families, and sharing tangible ways to live a better life.  As a regular design contributor, I am grateful and lucky to be a part of something so wonderful.

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What does a day-in-the life look like for you?

I currently dedicate four days a week to work – each of those days starts with breakfast with the kiddos, school drop off for Blair, and a BIG hug and kiss goodbye to the twins.  I typically spend a few hours in the office making calls and sending e-mails, before spending the afternoon with clients, on job sites, sourcing materials or installing/accessorizing rooms. No two days are EVER the same! There is always a massive, running “to-do” list — any working mom knows what I’m talking about.

My day off happens to be Friday — hooray for Friday!  I spend the day in sweats, with a ponytail, fully immersed in the world of my kids. I love it, I live for it!

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You work hand-in-hand with your mother-in-law on a regular basis. What has your experience been working for a family business? Would you recommend it?

For me working in a family business has been a blessing! I’ve had a boss who loves my kids like I do and who believes like I do that family comes first. My mother-in-law has been a tremendous mentor to me and has always given me the freedom and encouragement to manage my own jobs in my own way.   

We have gone against all odds when it comes to mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships, but after ten years, we are still a happy couple!

What’s your most memorable #GIRLBOSS moment to date?

I think back ten years to the first deposit I received from a client remodeling her bedroom.  It wasn’t a million dollars, but it could have been! I had such a rush to have that check in my hand and feel the client’s trust and excitement for the vision I had presented to her. “She actually thinks I can do this! Maybe I CAN!!”

What’s been the best part of motherhood?

Having a front row seat to the growth, development and exploration of three young minds.  Being a parent has taught me life lessons that I could have never learned otherwise. At the forefront? Patience, forgiveness, being unselfish, the importance of quality time and recognizing what truly matters, how we show love to one another!  Motherhood is a blessing beyond description — and it isn’t for the faint of heart!  It is the toughest job in the world. Any mom is a working mom!

How do you balance both motherhood and your career?

I take life one step at a time. Sometimes the week is so hectic I take it one hour at a time!

I try to take things in stride, knowing that my plate will always be full but at least I can try to keep it organized and stay one step ahead.

Luckily, my clients have kids and families too and I’m grateful we have a similar understanding of project timing — around their summer vacation or other hectic seasons of life! I wouldn’t love what I do if I had horrible clients. I think I work for some of the best people I’ve ever met.  

Do you have any side hustles, passions, or interests that you’re involved in?

If you follow my instagram you may have a seen a #weekendblooms post or two. I love dabbling in floral design!  I also love entertaining — well, correction, the “hosting” side of things, NOT the cooking side of things. It is all part of my quest to beautify what surrounds me… a pretty table setting, a vase full of flowers for the bedside table in my guest room, a simple gift for a friend tied with trim worth more than the gift itself!

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What advice would you give to any woman aspiring to keep/grow their career as they enter motherhood?

“You can have everything you want, just not all at once.”  I have prioritized family and work…. so right now, other things are taking a backseat —  like bookclub, classes at the gym, and making gourmet meals every night. I’m okay with that!  Other suggestions to remember during moments of mom-stress or feeling less-than: don’t be so hard on yourself, we are ALL a work in progress, and be sure to take a minute to look around — blessings surround us all! Keep moving forward, do the best you can, (and) look in the mirror and be proud of what you see!

Lauren Outside of Oviatt Design Group

Favorite place to eat out: Sapa (sushi!)

Best vacation you’ve ever taken:  Hawaii — paradise!

Currently reading: Dare, Dream, Do by Whitney Johnson and Barbara Westbrook’s new design book.

What you’re currently listening to: Podcasts: A Little Brian Buffini and a Little Real Housewives Re-cap.

What you’re watching on TV now: Almost anything on BRAVO (when I’m alone) and Blue Bloods and The Blacklist when I’m with Ben 🙂

Want to learn more about other #womenwhowork? Follow us on Instagram, or read more of our #womenwhowork features here.

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  • Tami

    This is such a great interview and a beautiful house! 🙂

  • Sepideh

    It’s re-assuring to read blogposts like this. I’m not a Mom yet but the thought of having children is scary because I know that priorities will change and I’m not ready for that. But it’s great to hear advice from Mama’s that have been/are there !

    http://www.elleisforlove.com

  • Such a fabulous post! I loved reading this interview. It’s so inspiring to read about Lauren’s passions and her pursuit of a career that makes her fulfilled.

  • Totally relate to her! Ive never felt cut out to be a stay at home mom either!