Being hands-on is the foundation of Laura Maresca-Sanatore’s work. She learned the kitchen, bath, and interior design business by trade rather than formal education, she promotes collaborative client involvement in every project, and aims to have subcontractors work with — not for — her. With her own firm, LMS Design, officially launched on the East End this past September, Maresca-Sanatore shares how creative collaboration and intent listening make the ideal home project realized.
Describing the experience as exciting, scary, eye opening, and empowering, Maresca-Sanatore says that while she’s always been involved in interior design, it wasn’t until she launched her own business that she’s been fully in control. “Kitchen and bath design is my specialty,” says the designer formerly with Hampton Design where she learned the trade from its founder, Peg Fruin. “What I’ve come to realize about the market now is that my average client wants to do their own interior design, which is great. I’ll always tell them to go for it. I think you should have a hand in everything you do in your house — it’s yours.”
Where Maresca-Sanatore comes in is not only sharing her own expertise, but also being there for clients to bounce ideas off of. It fills a void while giving her clients a level of empowerment. There is the satisfaction in being able to say, “I picked that piece” and the confidence in a designer having said “Yes, that works.”
Space planning is as an invaluable service offered by LMS Design as it reimagines an existing space that doesn’t work to become something new and functional. It is the little details that can make a huge difference, such as opening a doorway from one space to another or shifting a wall a mere 12-inches. Currently, Maresca-Sanatore is working with a client to reconfigure space from an odd guest room, closets, alley-like laundry room, and huge garage to an open mudroom and various other functional spaces that meet and exemplify their needs.
“I have to thank Peg at Hampton Design,” Maresca-Sanatore says. “I am very good at drafting and seeing a space for what it is and what it can be without the confines of what it is now. Someone has an area that doesn’t work and wants to add something but doesn’t know how to do it. It’s reallocating the space to be what it can be.”
Maresca-Sanatore has a background in healthcare. She did not have any formal training in design, rather learned by the trade itself. She is also a yoga instructor and says that all of these different areas are unique in that clients, whether homeowners, patients, or yogis, are looked at in a holistic approach. Through her work now, the designer says listening intently to what clients are both saying and not saying makes a huge difference.
In an industry that can lean towards being adversarial, Maresca-Sanatore aims to set herself and LMS Design apart by creating a business that emphasizes collaboration. Her favorite projects are those when a team is involved. From excavators digging dirt to contractors building studs, and the architects and fellow designers in-between, she aims to embrace the beauty of the process by dismissing individual ego.
“Designers work with me — not for me — and they’re really empowered,” Maresca-Sanatore shares. “They’re learning from me and I want to learn something from them, too. We all have a different set of knowledge and skills. I learn from my design associate [Brianna Fullham] daily and she learns from me. It’s great and that’s what I want to be known for.”
Though LMS Design officially launched this fall, Maresca-Sanatore took on her first client about a year ago. Currently she works out of The Spur in Southampton, a cooperative workspace and an environment that aligns with the collaborative experience she looks to embody.
For more information, visit lmsdllc.com.