Designer Spotlight – Lisa Lalaounis
I am originally from Indiana but my family moved to the Tampa/Clearwater area when I was 3 so I consider myself a Florida girl. My parents still live there.
How did you get started in
That’s an interesting question. My mother used to re-design our house over and over and over again. It was her hobby. She would start at one end of the house and go from room to room and when she would finish the last room of the house, she would start all over again.
Would she purchase new furniture or would she just move things into different spaces to give the home a different feel?
Move things around, rewallpaper, repaint. Not anything major but enough to change it up. My father was a contractor so he was handy. I was around that a lot. I have always been creative and loved art, I just favor that side of the brain.
Where did your love of design come from?
When I got out of high school, I went to a counselor who said if I take art classes and end up with an art degree chances are I was going to have to go back and find something else. That advice prompted me to step back and think about what I was going to do before making a commitment. I worked retail during high school. I started merchandising and that led to other retailers hiring me to merchandise for them. I loved it and knew it was the path I wanted to be on. I worked to put myself through college and on my days off I interned at an interior design firm that did mofels all over Florida. When the opportunity to become a design assistant came along, I felt like I won the lottery. During the 10 years I was there, I went from intern to assistant to designer. That’s how it all began!
How did you get stated with Decorators Unlimited?
My husband is in finance and he got relocated to Boca. When I was looking at interior design firms I found Decorators Unlimited and they were hiring. It feels like the blink of an eye but that was more than seven years ago.
What project has been the most challenging and how did you overcome it?
One of the most difficult but rewarding was a project in Sarasota. The clients are collectors of antiques. All of their things were in storage during the construction process and we only had photos of the pieces to work. The home was to reflect that of a house in old St Pete. The goal was to merge old things with new things and make it look like a home from that time while creating a flow for the way we live today. It ended up being featured in Florida Design Magazine, it turned out so amazing.
What advice do you give your clients when working on a project?
The main thing I usually tell my clients is not to settle for just okay or I kinda like it. If they don’t love it then I don’t think we should use it. I like to push them to select items that they are truly drawn to. I want them to be in their space and love everything they see.
What is your favorite project you have ever worked on?
One that tops the list is the West End project. It was intense, around 23,000 square feet. The wife had a design eye so working alongside and collaborating with her was really amazing. But the best part came at the end. When we were nearing completion of the project, we kicked them out for a week. They were living right up the street while it was being built, seeing things happen or not happen every day. It took a toll on them so I asked them to leave for a week while I did the finishing touches before revealing their house to them. That was the best thing we could have done because when we did the reveal they walked in and broke down in tears. It it was the best moment ever because I knew we got it right.
If you designed your own dream home what is one thing you would have to have in it?
I would want a courtyard. I love a courtyard that wraps around the house, sort of this living outside/inside where you see your main house and guest house and they co exist around this beautiful courtyard garden area.
When you are not designing, what are you doing for fun?
I’m spending time with my husband and my daughter who is headed off to college in two years. So this summer we are looking at schools!