Interior Designer Spotlight with Lori Miller
Owner of Lori-Girl Creations, Long Island, NY
While working on Rikers Island as a social worker, Lori Miller started at a wall paper store during her weekends. Her boss there encouraged her to go back to school for interior design, which she did. Upon graduating she worked at a furniture store and for an interior designer. Since 2000, Lori has owned her own interior design company, has been a Best of Houzz for the past two years, appeared in House, on the cover of LIhome, in USA TODAY and more. She holds degrees in both Interior Design and Psychology and is a member of the Interior Design Society and the American Society of Interior Designers.
Join me as Lori shares her insights on decorating trends, myths about hiring an interior designer vs. doing it yourself and lots more…
Is Traditional Decor Making a Comeback?
“I think I’m going to be the only one who says this because at the different events in the city everybody always says traditional has to go away. And I am seeing so much more traditional design coming back! For a while the economy was really tight and people were on a budget. Instead of buying one really good piece they would go to HomeGoods and pick a sofa that wasn’t going to last long. Now, I’m seeing younger people buying better major pieces and going to HomeGoods for accessories. We did a kid’s room and the parents spent a lot of money on a bed and a dresser. They are having another kid and now they don’t need to buy another one. So they are very happy with the purchase.”
How Do You Choose Designer Rugs for Your Clients?
“Sometimes I’ll use what they have and move it to a different room where it would work better. For example, a couple had this designer rug in their dining room. It didn’t work in the dining room so we moved it to their living room.”
“The rug worked so beautifully with their furniture, and it was cost effective. Then I personally customized a designer rug for them in the dining room to coordinate and balance with the fabrics we used in both rooms, since they flowed into each other.”
“We try to go with colors, the theme, and their lifestyle. Do they have a lot of kids or animals? Lets make it durable, fun, and playful. If there is an accident—no one is going to care. The client wants to know what it’s made of. Will the rug last, is it easy to clean, and of course will it fit!”
What is it Like Being an Interior Designer on Long Island?
“We have the benefit of not having to stick to the same style since we have the coastals. We have the Hamptons, the north shore on the lakes, the bay, and the ocean. So you get that coastal edge. But you also can do the city which gives us a variety of work. We just did a house for a man from Tanzania. It was a bit cutting edge contemporary and a little bit of tribal. You also get the farm and the traditional. We have such a great variety of cultures and people that we don’t get stuck with one specific look.“
Do You Have a Specific Decorating Style?
“I go into my clients heads, so it’s really not my style. But what I’ve noticed throughout the years, and what people have said to me—is that I always leave that Lori Girl touch. I did a bathroom and the wall paper had women walking dogs along the top.”
“Now obviously, I wouldn’t do that for a man. But whether it’s using a rock or an owl in a picture in a bathroom, or a little whimsical piece that gets in there, I think when it’s your home, you have to have fun. So no matter how elegant it is, there has to be something that is endearing to you. It could be a cookie jar in a kitchen, a pillow, or a framed piece of artwork. I think that’s where my style comes in.”
Is it More Expensive to Hire an Interior Designer Than Doing it Yourself?
“When you are working with an interior designer the myth is that it’s going to cost more than if you did it yourself. And what I tell people is that this is not necessarily true. 99% of the time we get it right the first time. And we charge less than some retail stores while staying within your budget. Someone might like a really expensive piece in a retail store, and when we know the product, there’s a chance we might be able to get something similar for less. I’m always budget conscious which is why a lot of my clients choose me.”
How Do You Work with Couples?
“It’s really difficult to combine the two needs. Men want their big leather chair, they want their recliner, baseball hats, and memorabilia. And women want it very neat. They want it tidy, soft, luxurious, and with sparkles. Nowadays, everyone wants glitter and glam! So it’s a combination of the two and making it functional where everybody gets to have what they like.”
Which is Your Favorite Interior Design Magazine?
“I love Traditional Home. I think their rooms are just beautiful and fun to look at. The designers they choose know what they are doing—these designers went to school and learned how to place things. There are a lot of decorators who do a good a job, but when you adhere to the basic rules the rooms just come out so much better. I think Traditional Home really sticks to those key elements.”
Where Do You Do Source Products?
“It’s 50/50. I do a lot of catalog and internet shopping. One problem I’ve had with websites like 1stdibs and OneKingsLane is that I’ve sourced pieces and by the time the client has had a chance to look at it and purchase—it’s gone. So that’s frustrating. I hate for a client to fall in love with something and then not be able to get it.”
Do You See Any Colors Trending Right Now?
“I would say blue, yellow, and green are definitely back for sure. I’m seeing that a lot. The old traditional colors. I really see them coming back.”
For more on Lori Miller visit: www.longislanddesigner.com