After graduating from Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture with a degree in landscape architecture, Dutch Fork High School graduate Lauren Dillon went on to pursue her masters in urban design with a focus in historic preservation at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.
Moving back to the States with a newfound love and deep-rooted passion for plastering, Dillon now runs Master of Plaster, a Columbia boutique manufacturing firm that handcrafts historically authentic slaked lime plasters. Her firm’s plasters are used extensively throughout the country in high-end residential and commercial design projects as well as in historic preservation projects.
When she isn’t traveling for work, she is actively engaged in local preservation, having served as Historic Columbia’s Palladium Society president and as a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.
Gourmet Shop is always a go-to spot for me. Linda and Dennis have created such a unique café and they were truly pioneers in the Five Points arena. Walking to Silver Spoon Bake Shop for a cup of coffee is also another favorite, and I always happen to head home with a mini-cinni if they aren’t all sold out. Drip is another great spot to brainstorm, collaborate, and enjoy all things local.
Bourbon is an absolute favorite. Our plasters were used to restore the interior of the Brennen Building and just knowing the effort and the struggle that went into saving this unique structure makes it that much more special. You also cannot live in Ireland without developing a love of whiskeys, and Bourbon’s cocktails are some of the best.
Maxcy Gregg is a hidden gem for this city. I grew up swimming, and went on to swim for Virginia Tech, so being in and around the water is an integral part of my life. There is nothing like a workout in a beautifully restored outdoor 50-meter-long course pool watching the sunrise to get your day started. Catching a matinee movie at the Nickelodeon is also a joy of mine. This interior was another restoration of Master of Plaster’s, and the Art Deco ornamental plaster in the upstairs theatre is absolutely stunning. And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a Saturday stroll through Soda City as one of my most treasured activities.
Music Farm is a great venue. The Palladium Society puts on a chili cook-off every February and they have been such fun to work with on this event, bringing in talent from around the state and making it a unique experience for all. I love Broadway plays so anytime Koger hosts one of the traveling shows I am one of the first in line to buy tickets.
Anytime anyone asks me about #FamouslyHot Columbia, I immediately mention Riverbanks Zoo. The work Satch Krantz and his team carry out is phenomenal, as well as it is such a beautiful space for this city. I love stopping in at Steel Garden to say hi to Denise and to see what new finds she has in her store. In the evenings on Sundays I love going to the State House and running a few sets of stairs and then taking some time at the top. It is normally quiet – the hustle and bustle from the weekend over, and I swear these are some of the best uninterrupted sunset views in the city.