On My Mind: A diverse framework fuels Lauren Wendlandt’s design

Andrea Darr, Special to Ink

Lauren Wendlandt, of Framework Design
Lauren Wendlandt, of Framework Design

LAUREN WENDLANDT: Founder of Framework Design

While her work encompasses any style (as long as the design aligns with her clients’ internal values), Lauren Wendlandt describes her personal style as modern eclectic industrial.

Likewise, her personal life is a curious amalgam of colliding worlds. On one hand, she is a small-town girl from Baldwin City, Kan., who grew up riding tractors and trucks, always wanted to be an architect and whose best friend was her grandma. On the other hand, she rides a motorcycle, is loaded with tattoos and will sport a black wedding dress when she marries fiance Mike DuCharme (the Midland’s talent buyer and promoter) in Mexico over the Fourth of July weekend.

She’s as comfortable drawing up a set of architectural plans as she is plumbing a sink. And her modest character is thrown off only when she’s antagonized. Don’t tell her a girl can’t do something or she’s liable to go reset your toilet. Because she can.

These varied virtues give Lauren – and her clients – a spectrum of creativity when working on projects.

She’ll be bringing a slightly modern edge to The Midland’s Ink Live Lounge, opening in late June. The concert venue is getting a red-carpet redo for VIP members who want to skip the lines and relax in the swanky setting.

“It’s a mix of Prohibition era with classic modern pieces, such as white marble as opposed to glass,” Lauren describes. “The character of the building isn’t being changed — it’s being given an identity.”

Gorgeous stained woodwork is getting updated to charcoal, and sea green walls to gray. Lauren sourced most of the furniture from CB2 for its looks as much as its affordable price point. Going along with the “less is more” theory, or at least ‘enough can be done with less,’ Lauren aims for reasonably priced design in every project.

That’s Professor Wendlandt to you:

Lauren teaches at the Kansas City Design Center, at 10th and Baltimore, a city studio where final-year architecture students from KU and K-State can get real-world experience. One of her first students, Taylor Brown, now works with her at Framework.

Body art:

One of Lauren’s tattoos is the symbol for grace, which is her ironic nickname. “I can easily fall down stairs, up stairs and over absolutely nothing,” Lauren says. “There is always an over-under on when I will trip and fall or spill something.” Someone could have cashed in on that bet for her first official date with Mike — she was late because she fell down the stairs.

Gobble that:

Last Thanksgiving, Lauren and Mike hosted dinner for 20 band and crew members of The Pizza Underground, including Macaulay Culkin … in their footie pajamas.

The Switzerland of Height and Politics:

“I landed right in the middle of my parents, who are amazing. My dad is 6 foot 8 inches and a Republican, and my mom is 5 foot 4 inches and a Democrat.”

Respecting her elders:

Funny Grandma — this was her official name since 1981, even by the mailman — was Lauren’s best friend. “When she passed away in 2009, she wanted to go everywhere, so I keep her ashes in a pendant around my neck,” Lauren says. Lauren also has the dates of her grandma’s birth and death tattooed on her body.