Lonni Paul’s journey into interior design stared with spec homes. She was asked by a celebrity to do some work on their home, and she said yes. Due to their visbility, more work soon followed. From there, Lonni was fortunate to be asked to be a handful of television shows, and she ended up spending three years on The Giuliana and Bill Show – a series that she gives a lot of credit to for propelling her career to where it is today.
“That and hopefully good design had something to do with it!” Lonni Paul commented.
Take a look at our interview with Lonni Paul below.
Tell us a bit about your day-to-day – and what you love most about what you do.
My days are long. I start early, getting up and getting my 12-year-old twins ready for school, dropping them off, and then it’s straight to work, whether that’s on a job site or going to the office. At the end of the day, I spend time with my kids and after they go to bed, I work longer. I’m definitely a night owl but I pay for that in the morning! Ha!
I do travel a lot and I actually love that part of my job. I traveled for many years when I was in the modeling business and it really does something for me. I enjoy being in different countries and being around different cultures, people, and architecture. My travels really inspire my work.
When you first meet with a client – what questions do you ask in order to get a good feel for the look they’re looking to achieve?
I really try to get as much information as I can. Besides the basic questions like kids, pets, parents, etc., I learn how they live on a day-to-day basis. What do they do when they wake up? What do they do for fun? What is meal time and bedtime like for them? Do they entertain or host? If so, how often? Then I ask how they see themselves because that is very telling. Sometimes people see themselves in a very different way than reality suggests. But that is what I strive to achieve for my clients: the most beautiful version of a home in the style they love, with everything in place to make their live work with the way they live. And most importantly, that they are able to see the version of themselves they have created living in their home.
Do you have one project that sticks out over others as a personal favorite?
I have truly enjoyed working with the Rancics. They are such good friends and have been extremely supportive of me and my career. Any project with them sticks out for me!
Tell us a little bit about the Lonni Paul for Duralee collection? What inspired you to start it?
All of my clients have kids and/or dogs, and really enjoy being in their homes. I truly believe no room should be off limits and that the whole house should be used. I have used performance fabrics for a long time for indoors. In fact, when I started PetitNest, we were the only company using performance fabrics on our gliders at the time. But the problem for me was that most performance fabrics looked a bit stiff and uninviting. You couldn’t use them everywhere. I wanted to create a line of fabrics that looked as good as the non-performance counterparts and show people that you can have an elegant, fashionable home, and still actually live in it!
What piece of advice would you offer to new home owners who are starring at a blank canvas and trying to figure out how to create an inspiring environment for themselves?
I would tell them to make a list of what daily rituals are most important to them and items they can’t live without. What “things” make them happy and what are the feelings they want to feel when they walk in the door each day. Knowing those things are essential to creating and inspiring an environment for yourself.
What’s been the most challenging project you’ve worked on?
My project in Saudi Arabia. The clients have been great, but the construction team has changed about times times over the last three years and my office has had to take. over the architecture and project management just to keep everything straight. That’s a lot considering how far away they are, the time difference, and the government control of the Internet.
Do you have a specific person that’s inspired you or mentored you, that one specific person that’s really influenced you?
I do but not so much in the design business. I have many designers that I admire and who inspire me with their work but the one specific person who’s really influenced me the most is my father. He taught me at a young age that if you don’t have integrity and a good character, you have nothing. And you have to work hard for the money you earn; always go the extra mile. Those lessons have always been guiding principles for me. That’s how I live my life and run my business.
What apps or software can you not live without in your business?
Dropbox, WeTransfer, Basecamp, Studio Webware, and TripIt.
What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to someone looking to get started in interior design?
First and foremost, make sure you have a business plan in place. Hire a great accountant and honest, hardworking people who are invested in your business. And don’t be afraid to let someone go who isn’t adding to your company (I struggle with that one myself!).