Q&A with NEAT Product Designer Lauren Combs

Thursday, August 5, 2021

When we set out to create our product line, we knew exactly what organizational features we wanted to incorporate but not necessarily what design details. So, we turned to NEAT Method Detroit owner, Lauren Combs. Her background in interior and textile design made her the perfect person to take on the role of Director of Product Development, and the success of our product line speaks volumes. 

We chatted with Lauren recently to pick her brain about product design and balance. 

NM: Where do you find inspiration when designing a NEAT Method Collection?

LC: I’ve always admired the vision of innovative designers such as Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia.  Working with furniture, textiles and other interior products in the past, and the knowledge that he gave me about different weaves, finishes and materials continues to be my inspiration. Designing a cohesive collection that is current yet timeless is the ultimate goal. Because of my past work in color theory, I look to find creative ways to incorporate a balance of color while thinking of the spectrum of different interior styles that exist in homes.  


NM: Are all NEAT products designed to work together or are there certain items you wouldn’t mix?

LC: Most of what we design is meant to work together.  Because we want to create a line that works in a range of home styles and many different spaces within the home, we strive for cohesion. I personally use most of our products in my home in different areas, and although the perforated basket and the cane basket are both classic, I don’t mix them in the same space.  


NM: How do you suggest balancing multiple products in the same space? 

LC: I believe in mixing materials and love that we’ve created a line that marries metal with natural textures, woven materials, beautiful wood and so on.  Depending on the backdrop or style of your space, consider using products of different materials and create balance by putting heavier materials on the bottom, and lighter or airy materials on top.


NM: What should you never do when organizing a space with new products?

LC: You should never buy product before measuring.  It’s possible not every beautiful basket you fall in love will fit your space; measure and see what works in your home.


NM: What is your favorite product?

LC: That’s a hard one, like asking to pick your favorite kid!  Right now, though, it’s our Cane Basket.  The soft, natural weave of the caning and the color and variation of the acacia wood are a great match; plus it’s functional. Cane is popular right now but it’s also timeless, and happens to fit perfectly into my mid century home.  


We always envisioned our product line as the perfect combination of form and function, and Lauren's eye for design and organization has helped us accomplish just that. Shop all our products, including the just launched lined acacia trays, here


the NEAT team


Photography: Martin Vecchio

Cabinetry: Maison Birmingham

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