Designer Friday: Lisa Sherry

North Carolina’s Lisa Sherry was supposed to be a teacher. That’s what her mother wanted, anyway, but Sherry, with an eye for texture and transformation, took a different path. After a successful career as a set decorator and photo stylist, she made the jump to full-service design, and opened Lisa Sherry Interieurs in 2005. Lived in but dressed up, as Sherry puts it, is her take on residential design. She trades crystal chandeliers for wooden ones and luxe fur rugs for modern zebra throws. Working with light colors, shades of cream, and accents of wood and gold in her designs, her projects are upscale but comfortable. Take a peek at the neutral-hued North Carolina designs and meet Lisa in this week’s #DesignerFriday!

Swoon-worthy, replete with chaise longue. Photo by Ron Royals.

Andrew Joseph: What is your favorite time of day?
Lisa Sherry: I’m all about the power of reinvention so I covet mornings. They’re all about fresh slates. I wake up – -sans alarm – and start the day with coffee, quality time with my husband, and a workout. Sometimes it’s a bit of yoga, a run or strength training. Regardless, a headstand is always part of my routine. As I designer, I pride myself on looking at things differently. Headstands are great training!

Andrew: Vintage or new?
Lisa: Yes, please. I’ll have both. I love juxtapositions. Pairing time-worn and rough-hewn objects with the unsullied, sleek and new just delights me – my clients too. It’s a bit of a signature of my work.

Andrew: What are three things you can’t live without?
Lisa: My Range Rover for its white leather interior, capacious trunk and 100K mile dependability.

My iPhone. It measures, levels, balances, and tells me where to go and how to get there. It keeps me in entirely tuned in 45/5 (I have learned how to unplug).

Benjamin Moore China White. My spaces often start with clean fresh palettes. There are endless variations on the color white, and my favorite is China White.

The designer embraces a neutral color palette, like this bedroom bathed in white – China White and other neutrals. Photo by Patrick Cline.

Andrew: Best gift you’ve received?
Lisa: My husband gave me a house for Valentine’s Day. Hard to top. We would pass this rundown, vacant three-story Georgian affair in our evening walks. Almost on a lark, we decided to get more detail, including a peek inside, which revealed massive potential and the guarantee of a lot of work. We pulled the trigger and closed on VD a few years ago. We celebrated with champagne and cupcakes on paper plates with friends. Demo, reno, redesign followed. The diamond in the rough is our primary residence today.

Andrew: Who is your ideal client?
Lisa: Hmmm, this is a tough one. I believe in the perfection of imperfection. I think it’s the flaws, quirks and idiosyncrasies make people (and rooms) interesting. So that said, ideal clients are trusting, communicative and self-aware, but open to ideas. These ideal clients have high expectations for their interiors, but they are not in search of a pristine untouchable perfect home. They tune into this “perfection of imperfection” idea, and want authentic spaces that reflect their stories and lifestyle.

Andrew: A song you can listen to on repeat?
Lisa: Anything Carpenters. Yes, Karen and Richard. Don’t judge me.

About The Designer | “I’m not leading the life that was laid out for me. Thankfully.” says Lisa Sherry, who at almost every intersection chooses the unconventional path-not-taken – albeit one covered in Belgian hardwoods, doubled-dyed Indian area rugs or possibly French gravel. “My mom was intent upon my becoming a teacher. She was warm. As it is, I am a lifelong learner and experimenter, but the world of interior design is absolutely my calling.”

Ever embracing change (Lisa says it’s the natural order) and wary of the status quo, Lisa gracefully pivoted from a successful career in photo styling and set design to open her interior design firm in 2005. She does not look back, noting “it’s always the right time to hit the reset button.”

For Lisa, interior design is about the pursuit of happiness and not perfection. In fact, it’s intriguing perfect imperfections, and subtle surprises that humanize her spaces. With a keen eye for juxtapositions and coincidences, Lisa pairs rough-hewn and high-gloss finishes, mixes materials, adds layers, and favors modern silhouettes with historical references and winks.

Throughout, a neutral palette is apt to prevail. “It’s about discernment,” Lisa explains, “harmonizing textural shades of white and grey actually allows the eye to see more.” For Lisa’s clients, design is revelatory and real. Lisa’s completed interiors are where life in real-time begins.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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