Anderson University School of Interior Design
Lindsey Gerlock Waters: Passion for High-End Design
Lindsey Gerlock Waters specializes in high-end residential design, but also has a significant background in design for the hospitality industry, including a project at Harbour Island in the Bahamas.
It’s a long way from her rural upbringing, but she enjoys the challenges and excitement each new project brings. She’s grateful to the Anderson University School of Interior Design for pushing her to higher levels of excellence in her profession.
Tell me about your work.
I have projects in Austin, Texas, Chicago and the Bahamas. I’m working on a resort with a family in real estate out of Los Angeles. We’re designing it on Harbour Island, so I’m designing a lighthouse, we have a mega yacht marina, restaurants, retail and then we have a lot of different lodgings. It’s a really big project. I’m the only one who’s certified in our office, so it’s enabled me to do that project and know what I’m talking about.
Has COVID affected your travel much?
I’ve actually traveled twice internationally during COVID. I’ve been to the Bahamas twice, then I’ve been to Chicago twice. Generally I travel to meet the client and do all of the initial presentations. For the resort in the Bahamas, which will be a five- or six-year job, we may go down there intermittently to check on the job site. For our residential clients, we typically just go to the install unless they request to meet with us in person.
What does your clientele consist of?
It’s all residential except for my one job in the Bahamas—the resort. That’s actually our only hospitality project.
How did you become interested in interior design?
My mom had a good friend who was an interior designer. I really loved decorating for Christmas and redoing my room. I have always loved making things beautiful for other people because I really think that affects the way we look at ourselves and our environment. It lifts your spirits when things are not only beautiful but organized. I grew up in an area that was rural. I really was drawn to things that are beautiful but wasn’t surrounded by them all the time.
What excites you the most about a project?
I think the initial part of a project is probably the most exciting pieces because you’re gathering fabric and spending time on social media looking for ideas. I also read a lot of different books and just pull inspiration, so the challenge of trying to come up with something that no one’s ever done or looking at history to find inspiration is really exciting. It’s also the part where budgeting is not something we have to think about yet, so really the sky’s the limit. I think that’s the most exciting part. And to meet with clients, because we do form relationships over several years. I just flew back from the Bahamas last week on a job I spent three years on. We were almost finished, the house was semi-destroyed by a hurricane. It was a longer process. We had a lot of time spent with clients, which I think is also fun.
Having the opportunity to work on this resort on Harbour Island has been probably one of the most exciting projects because it’s taken my experience at J. Banks, which is the firm I was at previously and I did mainly hospitality design for them. It’s taken that actual experience of knowing how to execute a job at that level with the experience I’ve had at Andrew’s where I am now with making a lot of selections. He’s taught me so much about color and making good selections. This project has married both of my experiences at the two firms. That’s a cool full circle moment to come to.
How do you feel your Interior Design degree from Anderson University has benefited you professionally?
I think that Ms. (Anne) Martin shows up 100 percent every day, no matter what we’re doing that day. A lot of days we all don’t feel like going to work or executing at our highest capacity because it doesn’t feel glamorous, but (Anne) has been so faithful in the mundane things, asking questions about how we are and just being an example of how a true professional conducts herself. She held us all to such a very high standard, I felt academically it was a very rigorous program.
Dean (Anne) Martin provided those opportunities. I think just being pushed in that way has allowed me to be more flexible with stressful deadlines and maybe things not going perfectly in the professional world. I think she does a really good job, too, of evolving, as far as technology goes. We always had access to the latest programs and technology, which I think is also really important because a lot of programs don’t evolve.
What activities were you involved in while a student at Anderson?
I was president of the Anderson ASID chapter. We painted some laundry rooms in the nursing home and we’re able to do a lot of volunteering and also we sold doughnuts to raise money. I was also involved in the Honors Program. I had so much opportunity to better myself. I actually have younger sisters in college and I just encourage them to take every opportunity, especially because it stretches you, because I just look back and I think I said ‘yes’ to a lot; that was very stressful at the time.
I was really involved in my church. I play violin; I’ve played since I was six. My sister and I actually play together. She was also at Anderson.
What are some of the challenges you encounter?
The hardest thing is not taking things personally. Things are going to go wrong, but the older I get the easier it is for me to just not worry about it. It is easy to be anxious about whether the client’s going to like something. We’re not able to show clients everything in person. I think the lesson learned is to not worry about things until they come up because you’re going to be just spinning your wheels in mud.
Managing people’s expectations is definitely not easy but I have this quote I repeat to myself often: Fear is a really bad excuse to not do something.
Tell me about the Gerlock Chair.
My old firm names a chair after certain employees, and that was kind of cool for my first job. We had one on the showroom floor and it was in a couple of different magazines.
And I understand that your family is growing!
I just had a little girl named Faye in February 2022. My husband and I moved to Virginia last fall for his job, and I was able to work remotely on several projects before I had my daughter in February. I also consulted and had a couple clients on the side which I really enjoyed. After maternity leave, I plan to return and finish my job in Harbour Island and get more clients of my own.