Based in Toronto, Lori Morris has been helping high-net-worth individuals improve and outfit their spaces since 1987. Her firm, Lori Morris Design, works on projects throughout North America—including San Francisco, Florida, Texas, New York and all across Canada—often using a style she’s coined—“Sexy French.”
Ms. Morris connects clients to craftsmen and artisans from all over the world in order to provide truly intricate moldings, artful flooring, and walls that take advantage of some of the most exotic and rare marbles on the market.
We caught up with Ms. Morris to discuss what high-net-worth owners want now, which trends are likely to stick around post-Covid and more.
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Mansion Global: What has changed for your business since Covid began last March?
Lori Morris: We’ve never been busier. We’re working with repeat clients but we’re gaining new clientele, too. From our existing clientele, we’re seeing people adding to their spaces, changing them or moving. People are a) extremely bored, and b) saying “this doesn’t work for my family anymore.”
Wellness centers, spas and outdoor spaces are more important than ever. Now they’ve upped the ante to include things like pilates reformers, manicure and pedicure stations. Everything that people need and want is all in one place.
Bowling alleys and squash courts are popular, too.
People are buying the house next door to expand, or creating coach houses to create a full-on private dining experience at home. In Canada, where the lockdowns have been very serious, people want to be able to do everything they usually do, but from home.
Everyone’s had an emotional experience both positive and negative. People are more interested in making their home a sanctuary.
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MG: Are there new trends you think will last beyond Covid-19?
LM: I think all of this will continue beyond the pandemic. People have enjoyed being able to have these amenities. They’re convenient even when you can go out. Personally, I’m doing a country estate for myself in the house I grew up in—and I’m making sure I have all the amenities I want.
MG: You love bold patterns and prints, how do you pull that off without feeling like it’s “too much”?
LM: I love everything and can do any style or design. I’m an artist to the core. What I do is artful, creative, and something that feels bold, fun, and is a playful mix of textures. It’s not that I don’t like neutral palettes, but I find this to be more challenging and different. I like to create feelings of magic.
My creativity level is always on high alert no matter what, whether the clients want a French romantic feel or a pure white or angelic palette. But I’m going to always put my spin on it. Bold patterns or colors are going to be there. It’s not a color or pattern that creates the magic, it’s all the pieces together. It’s just like fashion in that way.
But first and foremost creating a feeling is what I do. I always ask: “What do you want to feel when you walk into a house?”
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MG: How do you define luxury?
LM: If you walk into your house, and it hugs you and it puts a huge smile on your face, that’s luxury.
Everyone defines it differently, but it’s something that feels special to have. To me, it’s so individual. You can’t define it by saying, “if your house has a certain number of rooms, it’s luxury.”
MG: Describe your dream property.
LM: I’m creating it right now in my childhood home.
I would want to be in the country. You can build the landscape into your home and create a cohesiveness of the inside and outside. I would want beautiful materials. Also, to me, art is what defines a space. It helps define the personality, and add personality to a space.
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MG: Has anything surprised you during this difficult time?
LM: People are buying more properties for retreats. In our area, Muskoka is so busy because of its cottages. That business has really ramped up. People are grateful and thankful that they’re alive.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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