Bathroom Diaries: Monica Lavin
From working at NASA to full-time blogging, Monica Lavin has done it all. Her latest feat? Renovating a beautiful, historic home in the heart of Downtown Savannah (one of our home bases!) Monica recently unveiled her master and powder bath renovation, so we decided to give her a ring so we could get all of the details.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Before you started Lavin Label, you had a unique career (working for NASA!) Can you tell us a bit about your career path and how you got to where you are today?
My technology background and passion started when I was an intern at the NASA IV&V Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia. Daily tasks such as developing podcasts, writing blog posts, and leveraging distance learning techniques sparked my interest in how using a variety of technology platforms can spark meaningful discussions and create a community.
"Daily tasks such as developing podcasts,
writing blog posts, and leveraging distance
learning techniques sparked my interest..."
In 2008, I became an Instructional Technologist at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Through face-to-face and online workshops, I taught both adjunct and tenured faculty how to integrate technology from social media platforms and WordPress blogs to compelling videos and educational podcasts as a way to thoughtfully engage their students in conversation and grow community.
In an effort to introduce more creativity into my career, I launched a lifestyle blog, Lavin Label in the spring of 2015. Within one year, thousands of viewers and numerous brand partnerships allowed me to pursue blogging full-time. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that content specifically related to the home industry (interiors, architecture and home goods) performed the best. Since then I’ve focused my partnerships and campaigns in the home industry and launched a line of candles, stationery and cocktail napkins with the goal to manufacture my own products in the future.
"Since then I’ve focused my partnerships and
campaigns in the home industry and launched a line
of candles, stationery and cocktail napkins with the goal
to manufacture my own products in the future."
You have such beautiful taste! Have you always loved interior design? Where do you turn to for inspiration?
It was with our first home renovation that I realized how much I truly love interior design. I’m not a trained designer but it was just a hobby of mine that I started to share more and more on Lavin Label. You can find me browsing the pages of House Beautiful, Southern Living Magazine, Cottage Journal, Veranda and Architectural Digest for inspiration.
We have loved following along as you and your husband renovate your Savannah home. Can you tell us a bit more about the project? What prompted it, and where did you start?!
We purchased our home in Savannah, Georgia in August 2018. The home was built in 1852 so as we started to make it our own we didn’t want to change the integrity and soul of the home. A lot of the textiles, furnishings and fixtures complement the existing charm of the original floors, crown molding and exposed brick walls. The only space that we truly renovated (moved a wall) was our master bathroom because it was a newer addition and did not meet modern day needs!
A big renovation project can be daunting and overwhelming! What is your best advice to someone considering a renovation? Any lessons learned from your own?
Take on one room at a time and ask for help! Try to remember that some decisions will need to be made very quickly either because of a shift in the contractor’s timeline or unexpected changes. Not every decision has to be thought about for days. Don’t sweat the small stuff and be flexible. If you have a hard time making decisions, bring in a professional designer.
"Take on one room at a time and ask for help! ...Not
every decision has to be thought about for days."
You live in Weezie’s hometown of Savannah, Georgia. We have to know: what are your favorite Savannah spots? If someone is in town for only 24 hours, where do they need to be sure to go?
My favorite spots include The Paris Market, Courtland and Co., Montage Palmetto Bluff, The Fat Radish, Flock to the Wok and The Fitzroy.
Speaking of the Hostess City, we always love your entertaining tips! Do you have a go-to cocktail recipe you can share with us that you like to whip up when you have friends over for dinner?
I’m actually expecting this spring so I personally had to take a break from boozy cocktails. However, my favorite drink is a spiced Chai Tea from Big Train with almond milk and cinnamon. I’ve been trying to have more coffee dates at my home to make it more personal and always have this drink on hand.
How do you make sure you’re enjoying the stay on the daily?
I’ve recently been listening to The Happiness Lab podcasts especially when I take my daily walks around Forsyth Park. As a result, I’ve been journaling five things that I’m grateful for every night. Some recent entries have been 1. being able to sleep in while my husband makes breakfast and 2. enjoying a quiet bath with Nourish bath bombs!
We love how you added fun pops of color (the blue shower tiles and of course, your green piped Weezie towels)! but overall the bathroom is so calming and serene. Can you tell us more about this design decision and how you landed on where and how to add color?
The serene color palette was important to me because the master bathroom is where I start my day, brushing my teeth, showering, applying makeup. I’ve always been drawn to pastels so I really wanted my bathroom to act as an oasis and fresh space.
How did your design process differ for the Powder Room and Master Bath?
It was important for my master bathroom space to be bright and refreshing. I brought in subtle patterns with my rug, artwork and window panels. Since the powder room is such a small space and mainly used by guests I wanted this room to pop with color!
Favorite Coffee Table Book: Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure
Favorite Hostess Must Haves:
For the Bar: Art of the Entry Cocktail Napkins, Lavin Label x Lettermade
For the Bathroom: Nourish Handmade Hand Soap, small bud vase
Lydia Marie Elizabeth, Mary Margaret Monsees, Josh Young
Favorite Brands to Follow on IG:
Circa Lighting, Annie Selke, Gabby Home, One Love Organics, Dixie Design, Mainly Baskets
Want some towel details?! Pictured in the master bath, Monica chose green piping with River embroidery in matching green thread. While in the powder room she picked light blue piping with River embroidery in light blue thread!