Who Is Jerel Lake? Get to Know the Atlanta-Based Designer

jerel lake

MARC MAULDIN

While plenty of interior designers try to hide their insecurities, Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio’s Jerel Lake embraces them. In fact, he credits his self-proclaimed faults as one of several positive influences on his career. “It may sound strange, but I believe that when it comes to design decisions, my insecurity has both helped me create cool spaces and given me more confidence over the years,” he explains. “Without being curious enough to push past the original concepts, I would not be able to produce what I am capable of.”

Lake, who joined the Design Galleria team in 2023, didn’t have much experience in design before he decided to pursue it full time a decade ago. “After being in the music industry for some years, I decided to switch paths and pursue kitchen and bath design,” he says. “I was intrigued by the mix of technical details and creativity it offered and loved the idea of being a specialist in a niche area of the industry.” He credits attending a local National Kitchen and Bath Association chapter meeting with his pivot into the business.

I want to create the same level of comfort as the other rooms.

“When I started in the industry, my goal was to work in the luxury market and become one of the best in my field,” Lake says. “This requires time, mistakes, and thousands of hours, so I had to recognize where I was in my journey and put my efforts into creating beautiful work and continuously evolving.” That he did. In 2023, Lake designed a kitchen he calls a “series of firsts.” The Alpharetta, Georgia, kitchen was his first professionally photographed and nationally featured project. In fact, it was featured in House Beautiful. It was also the first-place winner in the NKBA Design Competition. “I am extremely proud of the project and grateful to have had a client that fully trusted my vision for their space,” he says.

Though Lake’s style is always evolving, one constant is his draw to a specific look: warm and fuzzy contemporary spaces. “I love clean lines and modern spaces, but I need texture and interesting elements mixed in.” Touchably soft materials will always be in a classic Jerel Lake room, which may be unexpected in a kitchen, but that’s what he’s going for—the element of subtle surprise. What’s more, his ultimate goal is to make kitchens feel less utilitarian and more comfortable. “With families spending more and more time in the kitchen, I want to create the same level of comfort as the other rooms,” he explains. “By displaying art, objects, and heirlooms that are strategically lit, the kitchen becomes more of an extension of the adjacent spaces rather than solely a functional area of the home.”

a white kitchen with white cabinets

MARC MAULDIN

In a Buckhead kitchen, “sweet meets elegant.”


House Beautiful: What’s your favorite…(and why)?

Item to collect: “Design books. They make me happy and give so much better inspiration and context than online photos.”

Paint color:Mink by Sherwin-Williams. It’s dripping in sophistication and feels like you’re wearing a mink coat in the space.”

Artist or piece of art: “Drew Doggett’s photography.”

Local shopping destination: “The Atlanta Decorative Arts Center [ADAC] is a designer’s playground. I specify a lot of wallpaper from Kravet and cabinet hardware.”

Online store: Etsy. It’s a hidden gem for cool items for reasonable prices.”

Travel destination: “Iceland in the summer is incredible. Amazing food and spas with dramatic scenery.”

Decor item you buy on repeat: “Candles!”


Meet the Rest of Our Next Wave Class of 2024

next wave class of 2024

Courtesy of photographers


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