We had the chance to chat with award-winning international interior designer, Lonni Paul about her mid-career change, the projects she’s most proud of, and how travel is intrinsic to her passion as a designer.
Design Campus: When did you first become interested in interior design and know you wanted to be a designer?
Lonni Paul: I developed a love of architecture while I was working and traveling as a fashion model in Europe. I built several spec homes in California and was always asked to do interior design but since I loved building so much I would always turn it down. I finally agreed to do the interior design of a celebrity’s home in Bel Air and from then on I was hooked!
Design Campus: What advice do you have for other designers?
Lonni Paul: That’s easy! To photograph the project IMMEDIATELY after it’s completed!! It’s way too hard to come back afterwards because you have to style it all over again. People “live” in their homes and they don’t always look the same as when you did the installation.
Design Campus: Your turn to brag a little bit: What past project are you most proud of?
Lonni Paul: I’m very proud of the Chicago brownstone I just finished for Giuliana and Bill Rancic. It was published in Trad Home and I was nominated for an international design award for the design.
Design Campus: Could you envision yourself being anything other than a designer?
Lonni Paul: An Actor
Design Campus: Do other designers or artists inspire your work?
Lonni Paul: Yes, I love a lot of the work work I see from other designers but most of my inspiration comes from travel, architecture and art. I love Marc Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, Picasso, Tadao Ando, Philipe Stark
Design Campus: Tell us more about how travel is central to your work.
Lonni Paul: My projects are located all across the country and internationally as well. I couldn’t do my job without the travel. But luckily for me I love traveling!!
Design Campus: What are your favorite cities?
Lonni Paul: Florence and Chicago
Design Campus: What sets your aesthetic apart from others?
Lonni Paul: I feel that I have a very clean, classic aesthetic with a modern twist.
Design Campus: What advice would you give your younger self? What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your business?
Lonni Paul: To hire a really capable person to do all the paperwork from the beginning! The paperwork is so overwhelming and has to be kept current and organized. It takes so much time and energy away from the design process. Having someone who takes that off your plate helps you to be able to do what you got into the business for in the first place!
Design Campus: What does your own home look like?
Lonni Paul: I live in a very traditional home filled with modern furniture! Light, airy, white, creams and taupes with splashes of blue.
Design Campus: What’s your favorite color to work with?
Lonni Paul: BLUE! Any shade of blue from pale silver blue to cerulean blue, to deep navy. It’s calming and invigorating at the same time. I’ve never met a blue I didn’t like!
Design Campus: You’re someone who has done it all: hospitality and residential, international design and design TV. Is there anything left on your career bucket list?
Lonni Paul: To design a boutique hotel.