Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Designer imparts self-esteem on show

Christopher Lowell takes hands-on approach to business

August 20, 2003

Don't even think about underestimating Christopher Lowell.

The Emmy Award-winning television show host and designer may seem like the friendly, talented guy next door with whom you would love to hang out while he's revamping your home.

And Lowell is that man. But he's more -- much more.

During the past three years, Lowell of "The Christopher Lowell Show" has struck deals and partnered with manufacturers of paints, linens, furniture and window coverings -- all of which he says are classic and timeless.

And he's written two design books -- all while taping his television show.

In about six months, Lowell will unveil a line of office and home creative stations.

"People don't know how to disguise technology in their home," Lowell said during a recent telephone interview.

Since Lowell broke onto the cable television scene seven years ago, he's known where he wants to go and how he plans to get there.

"I knew that if we were popular, we had to have a marketing strategy in place," he said. "We had a marketing plan at the very beginning before we went on national television."

The 47-year-old Lowell personally makes all business decisions for his firm, Christopher Lowell Enterprises. He draws on his marketing background to ensure his image is all it can be. He also calls on his experiences as a theater costume and lighting director as he imparts design advice to his audiences.

His television show is all about design, but it also gives viewers confidence. Lowell offers design tips in a show that's laced with humor and cheerleading.

"We're really one of the last shows on education that teaches and has had an education base from the get-go," said Lowell, who preaches the seven layers of design and even wrote a book on the topic.

He's aware that in one short segment he can't show viewers step-by-step how to revamp, for instance, a living room. But he can help them believe they are up to the task.

"This was about self-esteem," he said.

It's important, he said, that people believe in their abilities. Fear, however, can debilitate people.

"People ask, 'Who the hell am I and why do I feel talented?' My answer is: You're probably not talented, but you are creative," he said.

"You can put 83 cosmetics on your face and you don't know how to sponge a wall? Why can you put an outfit together? The reason is it's about judgment. If the outfit doesn't work, you put it in the back of your closet."

Lowell encourages people to approach home design with their hearts.

"The home is the most meaningful thing you possibly can do," he said.

And having a home that feels right will make a difference in other parts of people's lives.

"Your mental attitude changes," he said.

To help take the guesswork out of choosing furniture and other pieces for the home, Lowell has divided his products into four lifestyle design categories: town, country, city and shore, based on where people said they would like to live.

"It's just a launching point," he said. "Everything in our line can mix and match and work beautifully in your home. It's all about limiting choices and raising self-esteem."

And what about Lowell, the laid-back, design guru with the easy smile? Is he a town, country, city or shore type of guy?

"It depends," he said, slowly. "I'm an experienced designer. So I blend all of those. Because I can."

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