Interior Designer Laura Keeler Pierce is a 2023 5 Under 40 Winner

September 6, 2023

We’re counting down the days until New England Home’s “5 Under 40” celebration on September 15, 2022. Today we introduce winner Laura Keeler Pierce.

Text by Paula M. Bodah


Some of us take a little longer to find our true passion. Laura Keeler Pierce entered Colby College intending to major in biology and premed. “I took organic chemistry and decided I wasn’t going to be premed,” she says with a laugh. “Then I took bacteriology and decided against biology, too.”

Taking a second look at her interests and talents, she decided to major in art. As it turns out, it was her art history classes that helped steer her toward interior design. “All of a sudden, I had this lens through which I could see and digest the world,” she says. “The centuries of social and political changes—things that hadn’t resonated before—I saw through the lens of art and architecture.”

After earning her BA in art with a concentration in art history, Pierce headed to the Rhode Island School of Design for a certificate in interior design. She expected her next move to be a job with a Boston designer. Instead, she agreed to help a friend who had just bought a Boston condo. “It needed a real facelift, and I thought, ‘If this goes well, we’ll see what happens. If it doesn’t, I’ll go get a job.’ ”

While the condo was in process, another friend sought help for her new house in the Boston suburbs. Then a friend of her mother reached out about her mid-coast Maine home. “It just snowballed,” Pierce says modestly. Keeler & Co. now has projects up and down the East Coast. Her six-person (and two-dog) firm has offices in Boston and on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where she also operates Rusticator, a seasonal home boutique.

“I pinch myself,” she says. “How lucky am I to be able to make beautiful places for people?”

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