Toronto-based interior designer Lori Morris is unapologetically herself and infuses all of her creations with a touch of whimsy and edge. The interior design veteran of nearly four decades, and her team of designers and architects, works internationally on some of the most luxurious properties. Rare for a designer, no two of her projects look the same.
Several clients (many with six- to seven-figure budgets) request homes inspired by their travels, and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, her designs have never been more timely when borders worldwide are closed and many aren’t able to travel as they used to.
Morris’ design philosophy is simple: “no” isn’t in her vocabulary. Morris is known for her intricate and authentic designs, whether it’s a Rococo-inspired wedgwood bar or traditional French molding, as well as her preference for pastels. She loves to mix old and traditional design elements, as well as unexpected color and material contrasts, often inspired by the natural surroundings of a home.
Morris talks exclusively with Forbes on projects inspired by her clients’ travels, how to easily transform a space and her anticipated product line.
Do many of your clients incorporate travel into their homes?
Lori Morris: Many of our clients are interested in putting some of their world travels and or experiences within their home. It can be something as simple as a spa they went to, a fabulous hotel, some treatment they got, some vision that they saw or a feeling of a space. Sometimes it’s not necessarily just travel-inspired. Sometimes it’s a feeling of when they were in a different country that they’d like to incorporate within their home. When a client builds their dream home, it’s an accumulation of all of their experience they’ve had throughout their lives that they want to emulate within their house.
What are you seeing in terms of the designated rooms people are adding into their homes?
LM: I feel that in particular with this pandemic, it’s made people notice, ‘What happens if we can’t go out? What happens if we can’t entertain?’ We found that a lot of clients not only are trying to adjust and may repurpose their existing homes, but in the new homes that we’re building we’re actually setting up entertaining spaces. We’ve always done catered kitchens per se, but now it’s more like if clients have to have a party house, a fully functioning guest home or an entertaining space that will be set up in lieu of going to restaurants if this should happen again, or if they don’t feel safe again.
The other thing is with homeschooling the children, and the kind of homework area in the house. We’ve always had libraries and offices in the homes because it’s always been part of the palette. You want something that is a very functional and efficient space that would be both work orientated, but beautiful because