Often referred to as the "southern belle" of Trading Spaces, Laurie Hickson-Smith is also a grande dame of design. Her charm and grace, combined with eclectic and elegant designs have won over viewers in droves. Along with designer Frank Bielec and carpenter Amy Wynn Pastor, Laurie was featured on the premiere episode of Trading Spaces on September 29, 2000.
Professional Background: While Laurie originally dreamed of becoming a dancer, her ten years of training soon fell victim to repeated viewings (and homemade performances) of the musical Annie. After a trip to New York City in sixth grade, and a move to El Paso in ninth, the acting bug had bit - big time. Combining her passion for performing with her interest in news at Southern Methodist University, she majored in broadcast journalism. Soon after graduation, she found herself working in the corporate world, first for a communications consulting company and later at a marketing firm that helped launch the children's television series Wishbone. Eventually, she landed at TBS in Atlanta, followed by a stint at TNT. After several trips abroad, Laurie recognized her appreciation of art and architecture and enrolled at the New York School of Interior Design, graduating in the Fall of 1999. In the Spring of 2000, she was working at an interior design firm in Jackson, Mississippi when the call came from Trading Spaces.
Personal History: Born May 23, 1971 and raised in Houston, Texas, Laurie currently resides in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband Brad and their son, Gibson. Laurie appeared on Trading Spaces while pregnant with Gibson, and is the only cast member with a toddler.
Design Style: Classic and contemporary. Laurie's rooms are known for conveying an air of sophistication along with Old World elegance. Known frequently amongst fans as the enemy of all the ceiling fans on Planet Earth, Laurie confesses to owning several of her own in her Jackson residence.
The Rooms: Laurie's rooms convey warmth, class and practicality, matching a sometimes muted palette with bold structural elements. One of her most memorable rooms was a Los Angeles living room where she worked with carpenter Amy Wynn Pastor on a custom-built wall extension unit that offered the homeowners much-needed storage and elegance. Some of her homeowners have cried tears of joy, but Laurie also holds the distinction of being the only Trading Spaces designer whose room inspired a homeowner wrestling match!
Quoteable Laurie: "My goal on the show is to create a room that can be lived in." (TS Website)
Laurie is famous for "Focal Point Fabrics" and is known for spending much of the budget on the fabric. On one other occasion, she based her room on a Van Gogh painting that she found at a flea market and fabric. She used the colors from the painting and mimicked the fabric with stripes on it. (Knowledge and TS Book)