Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Lucy Harris’ interiors achieve exactly this. An oasis in the bustle and clatter of hectic New York City, her rooms are clean, serene, and timeless in a way that declutters the mind and calms the soul.
Lucy’s childhood greatly affected her artistic style. Growing up in a historic home in Concord, Massachusetts, she lived in a place that spoke to her, as great art often does. And her interiors accomplish no less. Memories and the past subtly echo through the striking and flowing rooms like sound from a record player. They are timeless, because they hold more than just furniture, light, and color. Her interiors hold the experiences of generations, the unique stories of the homeowners, as well as Lucy’s own memories.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Lucy about her career, her business, and of course, her past. Read our exclusive interview below.
1. On your website you state that you often design for busy professionals. How do you tailor your designs to that lifestyle?
The home should be beautiful, but it should function very well. We spend a lot of time with the client in the beginning talking about how they use their homes. We’ll spend time with out clients in their current home, even if they're not keeping much, and see how they live. It's about being sensitive to the functionality of everything. I think that's the secret of good design.
2. As a busy professional yourself, how do you organize your life and business?
Prioritize. Good design is synonymous with living a good life. I try to keep my home life and studio life as streamlined as possible. Declutter as many parts of your life as possible. Get rid of things you don’t need or love. I try to get enough sleep. I walk everywhere I can and do pilates and yoga to undo the time spent sitting at a desk. I spend time with people I love: my husband, family and friends, as much as possible. I get out of the city. I travel a lot in Europe for inspiration and sourcing. But even just a hike in the woods upstate or time on my parent’s island in Maine helps me be more creative and focused.
"Good design is synonymous with living a good life."
3. What would be your best advice to young interior designers trying to emerge in the industry?
Work a lot. Spend a little time working at a big firm, then more time working at a small firm. Pick places that believe in the same things as you believe and get in a little over your head. Find a place where they're going to give you the ability to learn by doing, but also support you. Travel. Get out of your element. Live abroad if you can. Living immersed in another culture makes you more creative. Seeing how other people live can give you endless inspiration. My time living in Greece, Bali and Italy has deeply influenced who I am as a person and as a designer.
4. You design both residential and commercial spaces. Which do you prefer to design and why?
All of my work starts from developing a personal aesthetic that tells the client’s story, whether the project is commercial or residential. My focus is certainly residential, but a commercial project where hospitality and an aesthetically strong interior is a priority is exciting for me.
5. Did you have a defining moment in your life or was it a gradual journey to becoming an interior designer?
My parents renovated our house when I was 12 and that was actually an “Ah hah!” moment for me. I said, “I want to be an interior designer.” And, I then forgot about it for a while and came back to it after living in Rome for a few years and being inspired by the aesthetic beauty of Italy. The home is very important to me. That’s something represented in my work, because a successful project is one that enhances people’s lives.I think we all as human beings desire beauty in our lives. It doesn't matter where in the world you live, how much money you have, how many resources you have, but we all need beauty around us. I believe that the work I do is really enhancing people’s lives and giving them the foundation from which to live their lives.
"I think we all as human beings desire beauty in our lives."
6. The light fixtures you select for rooms are captivating. How do you select light fixtures and how do they contribute to the feel of a room?
Lighting should be treated as sculpture to ground space. I want my work to be fresh. Even if I use pieces from design history, which is important in creating a layered design, I want you to see them in a fresh way. Or I want to show you something that you’ve never seen before and you have a bit of an “aha” moment and I think lighting is a really great way to do that.
7. How important do you think technology is to the interior design industry?
Behind the scenes, technology is so integral to what we do. It’s a little bit like The Wizard of Oz, behind the curtain there’s a team that’s cranking it all out. It’s finding the tools that work for you, that allow you to do your job. Every one of my staff has a laptop and a monitor so they can unplug their laptop, go to an install, and work from anywhere. That’s absolutely a necessity in our lives, that we can be transportable, movable.
Lucy Harris Studio is a full-service Manhattan-based interior design studio. Lucy Harris Studio designs timeless interiors rooted in modernism and with a vision – for busy professionals and top brands. Lucy is involved from developing a unique conceptual narrative that tells the clients story, through design development and installation. The studio has designed homes and interiors for numerous financial, entertainment and advertising industry clients and for Boqueria, one of the top New York City tapas restaurants. Learn more at www.lucyharrisstudio.com.