Creative Roots

Designer Lucy Harris takes cues from architecture, Mother Nature and her own childhood to create interiors rich with visual interest.

Informed by an artistic upbringing, a professional background in architecture and a passion for visionary minimalism, designer Lucy Harris creates interiors for her clients that speak to their lifestyles and offer harmony through curated focal points and a less-is-more approach.

“I grew up in beautiful places where people really put a lot of thought into what went into a home,” the designer shares. “An interior, as well as everything we put in it has to have something to say.”

Visual Interest | Growing up in New England, Harris’ childhood was alive with adventures in art, design and the great outdoors; Her grandmother was a furniture designer and sculptor; both her great-grandfather, Arthur Shurcliff, and great-aunt, Rose Nichols, were noted landscape architects; her father was a photographer; and her mother a weaver. Harris herself worked for several years doing architectural renovations before starting her own studio. This colorful background continues to influence her design decisions today.

“I look at interiors as ethereal concepts,” Harris explains. “Size, proportion, lines, a focal point, they’re all crucial. I love minimalist, quiet interiors that offer a unique vision and use color, pattern and texture to add layers. My work is contemporary but reflects my take on pairing down an interior.”

She describes her clients as “adventurous and aesthetically astute,” qualities that greatly match her studio’s design sensibilities. “Our clients know what they like, and they’re hiring us to help them tell their stories,” she says.

To bring vision to reality, Harris emphasizes the importance of determining how everything within a space will look from every vantage point. “I look to create areas of interest and a layered space that doesn’t feel cluttered,” she tells. “It goes back to psychology and how we see and perceive spaces and things. The ancient Greeks really understood the concept of where to add more detail and where to leave it out. There’s something to be said for having a place for your eyes to rest.”

Minimal Measures | Harris takes great inspiration from modernist architecture and furniture designers. “With architecture, there’s a lot of restraint,” she notes, adding that it is a practice that serves her interiors quite well. “With architecture, you’re designing something that will last 50 years or more, and that’s not usually the case with an interior. Still, it’s a great lesson because it creates thoughtfulness in how you choose pieces.”

Despite a passion for minimalism, Harris’ interiors often incorporate family heirlooms or newly acquired antiques to give the room character and ground the space. “To create a successful home, you have to mix time periods,” the designer states.

Natural Influences | You need to find a place for the natural world, Harris believes, either in palette, materials or actual plant life. Again, it’s a design influence that stems back to her creative upbringing.

“My memories are completely punctuated by the seasons,” Harris recalls, noting that the colors and sensations of nature are present with her always. “Eating maple syrup on snow, the smell of lilacs in the spring, my grandmother’s tiger lilies in June – there was a very earthy quality to my childhood.”

Like the greatest gardens, Harris’ interiors will feature pops of color, varied textures and seemingly individual elements that fall in unison, and together paint a greater picture than each would on its own.

“I love using natural materials and learning from the complexity of nature,” the designer says. “It’s life. You can find the most perfect design in nature.”

It’s this unique combination of creative influences and a lifetime of immersion in the importance of thoughtful design that informs Harris’ interiors and leaves her clients with the sensation of a story waiting to be told around every corner of their homes.

“Interior design is like art or poetry,” Harris explains. “You have to bring together the right combination of ideas. You have to have a point of view.”

Photography Courtesy of Francesco Bertocci

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