Interior design wasn’t Lucinda Loya’s first career, but she came by her skills early. “I always cared about how my surroundings looked. I was a neat freak—when I babysat as a kid, the families all loved me because I’d wash their dishes, fluff their pillows, drape the blankets. I just couldn’t help myself,” she says. As a young adult, friends clamored for Loya’s help perfecting their rooms. One thing led to another until she finally had her first paying client. “I just bootstrapped my way into this career,” she says. Twenty-seven years later, Lucinda Loya Interiors is a thriving design firm, with locations in Houston and New York City.
Making It Personal
“I think of my approach as ‘couture design,’” says Loya. “Meaning that everything I do is tailored to the needs of the client and based on their tastes and their home—it’s not my own style or some design formula that I follow for each project.” She does, however, see certain characteristics that carry through all her projects. An emphasis on texture, for example: “If a client loves color, we can have a lot of fun with that, but personally I can take it or leave it. What’s really important to me is incorporating plenty of texture with a mix of materials and surface treatments to create rich interest,” she says.
Making It Last
“When it comes to materials, long-term use is always in the back of my mind,” she says. “The first thing I’m after is good looks. The second is durability. You can’t have both all the time. You have to think about how things will be used: silk velvet upholstery on a sofa is beautiful, but not if you have pets.” The beauty of a material like Cambria is that you don’t have to choose between looks and long-lasting performance, she says. “It’s the easiest decision for any surface, because I know it will be gorgeous and stand up to anything and anyone.”
Making It Fun
“Of course I want my designs to look sophisticated and elegant, but I also try to create a sense of whimsy. You get that through character and eclecticism and personality,” says Loya. In the end, it comes down to that very first relationship-building step of the design process: understanding who the client is and what they need, so the design reflects their own style. Her goal as a designer, says Loya, is to create a space that reflects the client’s own style, not hers. “I want it to look like I’ve been there, but not like I live there,” she says.
[Updated on 12/05/2023]