In a world of fast assembly and fleeting trends, a company that honors craftsmanship and elegant details is such a welcome reprieve. Pared Lighting is just that, a sophisticated line of sconces that are hand-forged in Charleston, South Carolina and hand-painted by co-founder Julie Lawrence. I was first introduced to Pared in its infancy by co-founder Amy Johnson and was at once taken by the sconces’ antique tôle inspiration and flattering forms.
Working with Pared to dream up custom lighting is great fun, too. I can attest to the tailored process as Julie and Amy created a darling sconce for Louisa’s nursery that complements the wallpaper and traditional sensibility I was aiming for. It is so lovely to collaborate with individuals that have impeccable taste and even better when they feel like old friends. Not surprisingly, the talented duo have been close for decades and what a treat that their collective passion for fabulous decorating means gorgeous sconces for us!
I caught up with Amy in her new-to-her 1910 Atlanta home to chat about everything from design to Bravo and where our favorite cheese straws come from (Julie in Chicago chimed in too!). Please enjoy this delightful Q & A, I’m hoping you’ll be as smitten with Pared as I am!
Muffy: How did you two meet?
Pared: Summer camp when we were 11!!! We haven’t stopped laughing together since!
Muffy: How was the idea for Pared conceived?
Pared: Although we have never lived in the same city, we were always connected by our similar interests. Together we have degrees in Fine Art, Art History and the Decorative Arts. We have lived and traveled in Europe and Asia and are always on the hunt for lighting – we love the soft patina of antique tôle and gilt objects. We saw the need for a fresher, clean interpretation of some of the designs we love. There are so many beautiful lighting options available on the market- but our approach is personal, bespoke- good lighting is an investment so we love clean, classic designs. Like a beautiful piece of jewelry it needs to last and reflect the homeowner’s style.
Muffy: What was the inspiration for your four sconce designs?
Pared: We looked to some favorite tôle and papier-mâché pieces and were influenced by the clean, strong lines and colors of the french empire style.
Muffy: Tell us a little bit about the process behind the creation of a Pared sconce and what one can expect when selecting their customized piece.
Pared: Each piece is custom made for us in Charleston. While the pieces are being made we work hand in hand with our clients to create color samples. We provide samples and color renderings of the completed piece and a paper mock up of the sconce. We then hand paint and gild the piece by hand in our studio. We love incorporating classic ornamental designs such as a greek key or acanthus leaf.
Muffy: Julie, as an in-demand and totally talented interiors painter, you’ve had some marvelous commissions. Are there any favorites?
Julie: I love the impact of a painted floor or a silver leaf ceiling!
Muffy: Amy, you’ve recently moved into an exquisite 1910 home in Atlanta (that features a few Pared sconce pairs!). What was the decorating process like?
Amy: I am so drawn to old houses. On this home I worked with Minneapolis based interior designer, Andrew Flesher. We have worked together in the past, and he understood me and what I was going for, but also pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone. He was willing to incorporate pieces we have collected and re-use furniture pieces giving them new life. A successfully decorated home has to feel like you. It’s a very similar approach to our philosophy at Pared–we want you to have something that reflects your personal style.
Muffy: Are there any tastemakers, designers or books that inspire your personal styles?
Pared: Its so hard to choose but we both like the work of Darryl Carter, Madeleine Castaing, Rose Tarlow, Isabell Lopez-Quesada, Studio Peregalli, and Veere Grenney. We love reading Jennifer Boles’ blog and, more recently, her books.
Muffy: Amy, if an aesthetically like-minded gal were visiting Atlanta for 48 hours, where would you send her to eat, drink, shop and play?
Amy: Start with a proper French breakfast at Bread and Butterfly. Head over to Westside Provisions district and hit Bungalow Classic and Ann Mashburn. Both are Atlanta Institutions. Lunch at JCT Kitchen or Redbird before heading over to the antiques shops in Peachtree Hills and on Miami Circle. Drinks and appetizers at Le Colonial or Le Bilboquet or head over to Decatur and have dinner at The White Bull. On your second day, take a bike tour, it is a great way to see more of what Atlanta has to offer–eat at one of the stalls at Krog Street Market. Or visit The Swan House at the Atlanta History Center. Unless you are here on the second weekend of the month in which case I would drop everything and head down to Scott’s Market at the Expo Center.
Muffy: Julie, how about 48 hours in Chicago?
Julie: Gene and Georgetti for old school steaks, drinks in my neighborhood at Vincent or Hopleaf bar, South Loop Loft for well curated antiques/mid century design and Scout for the unexpected find. The Architecture Foundation gives the best boat tours and the Thorne miniature rooms at the Art institute of Chicago are a must see for anyone who loves interiors!
And now for a round of Muffy’s rapid fire favorites. Ready, set, spill!
Amy: Candle: White Rhino by Baobab Collection
Amy: Txakoli or an Oregon Pinot
Julie: antique linen towels
Amy: balsamic vinegar from Hudson Grace– practical, great price point and the most beautiful packaging.
Julie: Pagoda Red
Julie: Anywhere in France
Amy: Honestly, anywhere
Julie: Cleveland Museum of Art
Dinner Party Menu
Julie: My mom’s flank steak
Amy: Julie’s mom does make the best flank steak.
Julie: gin and tonic