Lara Apponyi

Lara Apponyi

If you’re lucky enough to meet Lara Apponyi in person, the first thing you will fall in love with is her insanely beautiful voice, especially if you’re enamored with a British accent (see her comments on this below…). Quickly following this, her energy and humor will envelope you and you’ll become smitten, as I did after meeting her a few years ago in Brooklyn. And behind all this charisma is a truly talented artist! Now based in Los Angeles, she creates gorgeous wallpaper and interior design under her company name WORK + SEA with partner Michael Woodcock (endorsed by fans like Leandra Medine!). We captured Lara in front of some of her mesmerizing wallpaper and interior design at her friend Erin Beatty’s home in the West Village, NYC. Read on below to learn how she transitioned careers and what inspires her…



Can you tell us a little about where you are from and how you came to be in the interior design field? 


I'm from Oxfordshire which is an hour west of London. I grew up in the deep countryside, and my parents still live in the same house. After finishing a degree in painting, I moved to NYC to go to drama school, I acted for a little while but gradually found myself drawing again when I was asked to illustrate 2 children’s books. During the acting days I often had part-time work at Interior Design studios, so when I started to shift my focus back to art it seemed like a logical path to explore. My good friend James who is the founder of Raad in NYC asked me to work for him around this time.



How did you meet your business partner Michael Woodcock, and why did you decide to start WORK + SEA together? 


We meet at an architectural design studio in NYC called Raad Studio. We became friends pretty quickly, and immediately had a strong creative connection. I would share and idea, and Michael would understand it and build on it, and visa versa. Gradually we worked on more and more projects together as a duo, and designing wallpapers for fun in our spare time, after a couple of years like this we figured we could set up our own studio that could explore interiors and products, through our different but complimentary skills and training - Michael as an architectural designer, and myself as an artist and performer. 


I’m extremely enamored with the WORK + SEA wallpaper designs – it just makes me smile every time I see it! Was this something that you always wanted to do, or did it evolve out of a particular need? 

Thank you! It was a natural progression from drawing and painting, to illustration and children’s books, and then when I started working in Interior Design it was the most direct way to fuse these two worlds (art and design) and create a business out of it. I was drawn to the way wallpaper (for me) creates an atmosphere, like the backdrop to a set… this cinematic quality really appeals to me. I also felt the need to work collaboratively, in a creative way, as opposed to making art in a solo manner. Our wallpaper designing process is fun and social and you see the results of your efforts pretty quickly, and that’s really satisfying!



You made the big move from New York to Los Angeles a few years ago - What motivated you to make the move?


I’d been in NYC for 12 years, and like most of the others who moved here I wanted more living and work space, and warmer weather. Having close access to mountains, dessert, ocean and forests, all within a couple of hours, was also a big motivator. The arts community in Los Angeles is more inspiring to me in its diversity and scope.


What advantages do you think being a woman can bring to a career in interior design?

Not much. But there's a big advantage to having a British accent in the US! 



Do you have any mentors, idols or role models you admire?

Prolific female artist who’s work is completely unique and truthful, for example, Tracey Emin, Miranda July, Maira Kalman. Also Jane Fonda, Grace Jones, David Bowie, Philip Guston, my cousin photographer Caroline Irby, and my friend artist Marie Vic, who continually inspires me and is endlessly supportive of my work. 


What about style icons?

I tend to iconize characters from movies or TV shows over real life people, and my mother in the 70’s.



These days I’m loving…

Persimmons with coconut yogurt is my current addiction. It was an accidental paring but so good that I’ve eaten it every day since.   
A few other things and places i’m currently loving are the soups from Cookbook in Highland Park, everything at Amara Kitchen (also in Highland Park) Art and Sea Sushi near my studio in the Arts District, and Jewel in Silver Lake 
These are my main spots of 2018: My friend Iris’ company EVERYBODY.WORLD, the local vintage stores on Figueroa in Highland Park which are close to my home… I particularly love The Bearded Beagle and Avalon, and Loup of course!!!! Also my friend Shira’s amazing underwear line called Oddo Body. Everything is 100% cotton, and that's exactly what we should be wearing down there.
The last thing I saw at the movies was the documentary 'Free Solo', which I talked about for days to anyone who would listen. I recently watched 'Brothers in Blood the lions of Sabi Sand’ which is an amazing YouTube documentary about the rise of a Coalition of six lions and their takeover of the largest territory by a pride. I was obsessed with Sharp Objects and watched it twice, and I loved every minute of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In truth, I binge watched that over a couple of days.
My brilliant boyfriends book that just came out! "Not Interesting: On the Limits of Criticism in Architecture" by Andrew Atwood. It’s available from Amazon and it’s the perfect christmas gift for any creative! (buy it HERE)
I just bought a little book on Topiary from the Museum of Jurassic Technology that I’m looking forward to starting, and right now I’m reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami. 
I have dry, sensitive skin so I use a lot of natural oils, especially coconut and olive oil, and I love Weleda face creams. Make-up wise, my new favorite thing is RMS lip 2 cheek which my friend Margot introduced me to. All year I’ve been really into infrared saunas, and I’ve been meaning to start face yoga but so far it’s only happened about 3 times. Seems like a good anti-aging alternative if you actually do it! 
“Me time” activity
Dance classes at Ryan Heffington’s The Sweat Spot in Silver Lake. These classes are the highlight of my week!


 Plaid Liz Blouse, Black Knot Overalls


Images by Julia Hembree, shot in the West Village, New York City