Designer Spotlight – Lisa Lalaounis
I am originally from Indiana, but my family moved to the Tampa/Clearwater area, when I was 3 years old. However, 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 like a hobby to her. 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, re-wallpaper, re-paint. Not anything major, but enough to make a change. My father was also in construction and as a contractor he was able to make changes to our home.I grew up being exposed to construction and renovations. I have always loved design and construction.
Where did your love of design come from?
When I graduated high school, I worked in retail.I started merchandising and that led to other retailers hiring me to merchandise for them. I loved merchandising and design 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 designed model homes, all over Florida.My internship opened the door for me to become an Interior Design Assistant and then later became an Accessory Buyer for the model home division, to a FL Licensed Interior Designer. That’s how it all began 25 years ago!
How did you get started with Decorators Unlimited?
My husband is in finance and he got relocated to Boca Raton. At that time, a recruiter set up an interview for me with The Decorators Unlimited. It feels like the blink of an eye, but that was more than seven years ago. I am very happy to have this opportunity to be with the Best interior Design Firm on the East Coast as well as the State of Florida!
What project has been the most challenging and how did you overcome it?
One of the most difficult but rewarding was a project located in Sarasota, FL. My clients were collectors of antiques. All of their furniture and artwork was in storage during the construction process and we only had photos of their pieces to work with. Their home was to reflect a similar historic home they owned in old St Pete. We even flew to Atlanta to purchase antique items from The Red Baron Antiques Auction. The challenge, was to merge old things with new things and to make it look like it was all acquired during the same time. 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 objective, I usually tell my clients, is not to settle for just okay or I kind of like it. If they don’t love it then I don’t think we should use it. I like to encourage 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 a project approximately 23,000 sq. ft located in Weston, FL .My client really had an eye for design, so working alongside and collaborating with her was really amazing. But the best part, was the reveal after their installation. When we were nearing completion of the project, we had requested that they leave for the week prior to their install. They were living in the same development while their home was being built.It took a toll on them watching their home being built for over a year and a half, so I asked them, to leave for a week, while I worked on the finishing touches before revealing their home to them. That was the best thing we could have done, because when we had the reveal they walked in and broke down in tears. It was the best moment ever, to be able to truly see how much they loved their home.
If you designed your own dream home what is one thing you would have to have in it?
I would want a home with a courtyard plan. I love a courtyard that the home wraps around. This living outside/inside, where you see your main house and guest house and they coexist around a beautiful courtyard garden area.
When you are not designing, what are you doing for fun?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and my daughter who is headed off to college next year. So, this summer, we are looking for colleges.