Based in Raleigh, NC, designer Liz Goldberg runs the firm CAROLYNLEONA (more on the story behind that name in a second!), where she creates warm and inviting spaces that help elevate the everyday. As part of our series, My Design Journey, we spoke with Goldberg about her personal design aesthetic, favorite places to draw inspiration, and her proudest career moments thus far.
On Her Career Background and “Lizzie’s Plaid”
Liz Goldberg always had a passion for art and design. “I grew up with very creative, cool, and eclectic parents, with my mother in the home industry and my father a chef,” she explains. “I’ve always been obsessed with reading every single shelter magazine I can get my hands on, reading from front to back of my mother and grandmother’s subscriptions—and that obsession continues on to this day.”
Ever since she was in college, Goldberg has subscribed to “basically every home magazine” and enjoys reading the issues cover to cover.
“I started to pay closer attention to my surroundings and how those little details can make a major impact on how you feel, whether in a home, restaurant, hotel, or other space,” she reflects.
While Goldberg went to school with the intention of studying graphic design, she took a textile design course and fell in love. Later, she began a role with Crate and Barrel corporate in upholstery.
"I became more familiar with all of the aspects that go into interior design, as well as the full process of the industry, from concept all the way through production and distribution,” she shares. Plus, she even left a personal stamp on one of the retailer’s offerings.
“At Crate and Barrel, I was given the opportunity to put my textile education to great use as they chose to produce and sell a plaid fabric that I designed that they named after me, ‘Lizzie’s Plaid,’” Goldberg says. "This fabric was sold as tablecloths and cotton napkins across all of their channels.”
After leaving Crate and Barrel, Goldberg returned to school for a second degree, this time in interior design—and the rest was history.
Goldberg’s firm honors the names of both of her grandmothers, Carolyn and Leona.
“Both had a significant influence throughout my life and childhood,” Goldberg reflects. “Like my mother, they both taught me the art of the home: how to host and entertain, set a table, and make everyone feel totally welcome, be it a casual Sunday brunch or for a fancier sit-down dinner.”
However, each woman had her own distinct personality, Goldberg shares. “Carolyn was an elegant spitfire, she had confidence and class while being true to herself and always saying it how it was,” she says. “While Leona had less pretense in her style, she always stayed very true to herself. Growing up, our holiday celebrations were always more than just a family affair. Leona disliked the idea of anyone celebrating alone, so all were welcome to her home.”
To this day, Goldberg remains influenced by Leona’s generosity while hosting. “Watching her hospitality has inspired me and it is something I think of often as I’ve built my family and network of friends over the years,” she comments. “Our home is always open with great food, drinks, and conversation.”
On Her Favorite Design Projects
Goldberg says that she most enjoys working with clients who fully trust the CAROLYNLEONA process, from the creative to the installation.
"I love working with clients who allow us to push them, creating a design that works with their families and stands the test of time," she notes. “Many times, these relationships lead to doing many rooms in a home, creating a flow and calmness throughout. Oftentimes, the relationships we forge give us the opportunity to work with our clients on their other homes or future properties.”
I love working with clients who allow us to push them, creating a design that works with their families and stands the test of time.
On Where She Draws Her Inspiration
Goldberg is constantly finding inspiration in different ways—and some of her examples? Travels, restaurants, magazines, and more.
“Vintage furniture shopping, all the new sights when traveling, the energy of the bar at a favorite local restaurant, or a rep that truly knows our style and sends the perfect memos from a new collection,” she notes. “I still love all those shelter magazines and we love to scroll through Instagram spaces from around the globe. As a team, we really try to notice the moments of beauty all around us, big or small, and enjoy being together in our office as a team and brainstorming together.”
On Her Own Design Style
“My personal style is California cool meets Parisian, and while I have only lived in the Midwest and East Coast, I’ve always been drawn to the timeless style of California,” Goldberg says. “It’s one of my favorite places to visit, gather inspiration, and of course, drink fabulous red wine.”
But, like many creatives, Goldberg also has a special love for the City of Lights. "My husband and I were married in Paris and the intricate details of Parisian architecture, interiors, and fashion design are always at play for our team, be it molding, a custom chair, or an interesting paint detail,” she adds. “While I always like to mix in an unexpected (sometimes quirky!) piece, keeping each room feeling fresh and original.”
Of course, as the mother of young children, Goldberg’s style at home has changed a bit over time. She explains, “My current personal design always includes durable, family-friendly, and timeless materials since I am a mom of identical twin six-year-old girls!”
On Her Proudest Career Moments
Goldberg reflects on how far her company has come in less than a decade. “I set out in 2014 when starting my firm with ‘Elevate Your Everyday’ as our tagline, and I am proud to say that we are genuinely doing it," she says. "Our before and after transformations are incredible, and we take a space and completely transform it with a fresh and cohesive approach. It was a proud moment when we landed our first national magazine cover and 16-page story."
Along with the accolades of her design firm, Goldberg remains proud of the team she built as well.
“Another incredibly important and proud moment for me is the team I have put together—we are like a family," she continues. "Working hard together every day for our clients and ourselves, but also enjoying and listening to each other, which makes all the hard work and small details a lot more fun. Honestly, the long-term relationships and friendships we have built and will continue to build with our clients, vendor partners, and team, means everything,“ she says.
On What Is Next for CAROLYNLEONA
Goldberg emphasizes how grateful she is to run her small but mighty team, and is looking forward to seeking new Raleigh clients.
"Raleigh is growing so quickly every day, and many of our ideal clients who share our aesthetic are moving here from California, Chicago, New York, really all over across the globe, so the best is yet to come," she says. "We will be designing more luxury ground-up CL new builds, select commercial projects and we also have our eye on product line partnerships in the future."