CAROLYN LAWRENCE is an actress, realtor and self proclaimed construction junkie. She is best known as the voices behind some of television’s most popular animated characters. She currently stars on Nickelodeon’s hit Sponge Bob Squarepants (Sandy Cheeks), The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron (Cindy Vortex) as well as the much loved dark comedy Moral Orel (Orel Puppington) for Adult Swim.
When she isn’t busy recording, running to and from auditions, showing homes or being a Mom, you can find her deep in the throws of a renovation project somewhere. Big or small she loves them all. Her specialty being in reconfiguring spaces. Carolyn has the talent to see past walls and create a space that actually works for the individual home. Since she was a child she has built things, apprenticed with her Father, and taken design and landscape classes.
Some of her proudest renovations projects so far are a kitchen addition and a “studs up” renovation on a little one bedroom house in need of love. The success she brings to her voice over characters, Carolyn brings to renovation projects of friends and clients to help turn their dreams into reality.
We caught up with her recently to ask about her various projects.
Hollywood Revealed: Hi, Carolyn. Tell us how you got involved in design work?
Carolyn Lawrence: My work in design started early in life. I used to build homes out of cardboard boxes and used Pringles cans as the pillars when I was a kid. My dad introduced me to construction as his “apprentice.” My dad was one of those amazing people who could build anything. Years later after going through a divorce I decided to take my love of design and see if I had any real abilities so I took an interior design course at a local community college and I was hooked. Since then I’ve taken every free course in landscaping or design that I could find. Luckily I live in a city that offers a lot in the way of free education. As I started buying and renovating my own homes people took notice and began asking me for help with their projects and I have been able to build on it from there.
HR: So why the change from voice over actress?
Carolyn Lawrence: There hasn’t really been a change. I am very lucky to continue to work as an actress on many shows. It’s been a blessing to get to the point where I am able to pursue both passions at the same time.
HR: How are you incorporating your new real estate license?
Carolyn Lawrence: I finally got my real estate license because I was basically finding homes for my friends anyway just not getting paid for it. Now I am able to find someone a home and share my vision for how to make it they’re dream home. Everything has come full circle. My dream is to buy, renovate and sell a home as a full package experience for my clients.
HR: Tell us about the pilot you recently shot with Tri-con productions?
Carolyn Lawrence: We shot a pilot based around my life. It revolves around the current renovation of my own home while living with my mom and raising my one-year-old daughter. I also have three dogs and a cat so the chaos makes for good TV.
HR: So how did this acting background help with design and real estate investing?
Carolyn Lawrence: Oddly enough the careers are similar. Both acting and real estate are basically small businesses. If you have experience running a small business it’s easy to apply those skills to a new field. With my passion for creating it doesn’t matter in what genre I work as long as I’m creative I’m happy.
HR: What is your vision of this business?
Carolyn Lawrence: My hopes are to become a one-stop shop for people to create their dream homes. Within the business we also hope to empower people to go after their dreams. A good example is supporting other small businesses by finding ways to work together.
HR: And what about your business partner Becky Richards? What is her background?
Carolyn Lawrence: Becky has a professional marketing; commercial property management; and relocation background. We started off and realtor and client. After closing several deals together it was a natural progression to partner up in this new venture. She has a vast knowledge in the business and I continue to learn from her everyday.
HR: So being in partnership with Becky helpful to you.
Carolyn Lawrence: Very much so. We have different styles of working and bring different talents to the table but we do have a very similar work ethic. That is what makes this a good partnership.
HR: What do you offer clients that is different from the mainstream?
Carolyn Lawrence: In this day and age of technology and I hate to say it…. selfishness. We are trying to bring good old-fashioned customer service to our clients. We truly want what’s best for them not just to close a deal. We also are very creative thinkers. If a situation arises we go to great lengths to think outside the box and find a solution.
HR: So in what capacity can someone hire you?
Carolyn Lawrence: They can hire us a just their realtors or we can take a larger role and help facilitate their renovations. We’ve also worked as project managers over seeing renovations. Whatever the client’s needs we are open to talking about how to help.
HR: Give a little background in the renovation project in which the pictures are provided?
Carolyn Lawrence: The photos above are from a house that was built in the 1940’s. I knew it was the perfect layout to make into a more modern California living type home. The existing LR had a fireplace that completely blocked not only the view of the backyard but all the sunlight. I moved the fireplace so that we could install a large set of doors therefore opening up the room to the yard and flooding the whole house with sunlight. We also raised the roof up to the rafters to give it volume. One of the coolest happy accidents was running out of renovation money caused me to stain the existing concrete floors. It turned out to be one of the biggest highlights of the home.
This is the same 1940’s home I spoke of above. The original kitchen was the size of today’s laundry rooms. I knew something had to be done. So I added an addition to the empty space between the existing kitchen and detached two-car garage that was about 20 feel away. I never seem to have enough storage space so my goal was to get as many cabinets into the space as possible. We ran them all the way across the entire space into the dining room. This is a great example of using inexpensive IKEA cabinets but installing them in a way that feels custom. The money that we saved on the cabinets we were able to put into installing higher end flooring, appliances and countertops.
HR: Thanks for chatting with us, Carolyn. Tell us how can people contact you or Becky?
Carolyn Lawrence: Best way is through our new website: www.lawrenceandrichards.com
You can click on the pictures above to enlarge.