The internet is a lot of things, but at its best, is one of the greatest tools for connection. After we met Jasmen Christoph through our very first In Her Kitchen feature, she quickly referred us to Lauren Jones, the gal behind the beautiful food and lifestyle blog, Lovely Oven. We were stoked to discover Lauren just moved to New Orleans, where she’s pursuing her ultimate dream in a city that is as colorful as her recipes. Lovely Oven is a haven for approachable, seasonal recipes inspired by Lauren’s upbringing in the dreamy beachside town of Malibu. It was after making the move to New Orleans with her fiance, that Lauren made the leap to fully invest time into Lovely Oven. She credits her blog for bringing her joy while remaining challenged by her work as a stylist and photographer for multiple publications as well as serving as CozyMeal’s food critic.
Can you share the story about your house? Yes of course! My house was previously a laundromat that was renovated a few years back. The outside looks like a storefront, with awesome picture windows that bring in a ton of natural light in. It’s a food photographer’s dream! Fun fact: I have also heard that it was in the movie The Skeleton Key when it was still a laundromat. I have yet to see the movie, but if anyone else out there can confirm, I would love to know!
Tell us about your kitchen! Honestly, I wish I could take credit for the design but we bought it after it was renovated. However, it’s very much my aesthetic, so I was able to decorate it very easily with some old and new elements mixed together.
I would say my style is eclectic minimalism. I’ve always been a lover of aesthetics, whether it be art (art history major over here!), interiors, or even clothing. I have a deep passion for collecting old and new furniture/decorative objects to decorate my home, which luckily works very well in the city of New Orleans. I always try to keep in mind one word: liveability. The look I usually go for seems to be rooted in tradition but is also eclectic and contemporary; there’s always some strong art or an unexpected pop of color to keep one’s eye entertained. At the end of the day though, it must feel lived in and cozy.
Honoring the history of the building is very important to me, which is why the beautiful glass cabinet doors in the kitchen and the accent ceiling are my favorite elements. They’re both original and I’m so glad they remain. A rich mix of textures is important to me, hence the leather couches, velvet chairs, marble dining table, and industrial iron bar stools.
What do you want people to feel in your kitchen? I want people to feel comforted and connected. So much love and thought goes into whatever I make in my kitchen. I just hope it translates to whomever is able to set foot in my space and even to the ones who choose to show up through the internet. I want people to feel the love, as cliche as that sounds. Food is such a powerful connector.
Do you cook, assemble, or order out? Cook, of course! Most people assume that I am only a baker via the “Lovely Oven” when in actuality, I try and feature both baked goods and savory dishes. The oven is a magical weapon and I want more people to see that it is in fact, very easy to use for both baking and cooking.
How do you take your coffee? Medium roast, black.
Favorite hack? The reverse sear method. For years, I would prepare a piece of meat, seafood, etc. and begin by searing it on the stove and ending the cooking process in the oven. This works well, and sometimes I am guilty of using this method just out of habit. But, when I started using the reverse sear method, I was blown away because by starting in the oven and then searing at the end, you are left with an incredibly tender, perfectly cooked meat/fish with a crispy crust every time. Trust. 🙂
What are your essential kitchen items? Lemons, garlic, and onions must be on hand at all times. Global Knives are so sharp and beautiful, I don’t know how I went without them before. A zester, mandolin, and food processor are pretty essential.
Any items in your fridge/pantry that everyone needs to know about? Currently obsessing over the chili crisp condiment from Trader Joes. I put it on everything! I’m a huge believer in using nice olive oil so I always have that on hand. Flaky sea salt is a must as well; my favorite brand is Jacobsen Salt Co.
Favorite kitchen or home stores, favorite cooking products or kitchen trends that you have or are coveting?
Kitchen or Home Stores: I love Food52 and obviously the staples, William Sonoma and Sur La Table. CB2, Etsy, and Chairish are my go-to home stores. I recently found out that you can offer a certain price on Chairish to negotiate with the sellers. I love that!
Favorite Cooking Products: Le Creuset Dutch Oven, Global Knives, and Farmhouse Pottery Mixing Bowls.
Kitchen Trends: A sucker for a good accent ceiling and lover of fewer upper cabinets.
Sources: Dutch oven – Oval Matte Sugar Pink Le Creuset (6 ¾ QT) / Paradigm 80” Dining Table from CB2 / Mid-Century Distressed Velvet Dining Chairs, in Olive Green, from West Elm / Mid-Century Bar Cart in Walnut / Dog Artwork – Etsy Shop by Womanarchy / Mixing bowl set from Farmhouse Pottery / Canisters: Inherited; Vintage / Kitchen rug: Vintage from the Rose Bowl Flea Market / Kitchen towels: Project 62 from Target, Sage Fling / Bar stools: Vintage