Home Maker

Interior Designer Lisa Mallory Makes a House a Home

Article by Jeannie Tabor

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Your home is arguably your most important asset. It is where you sleep, eat, raise your children, host celebrations and maybe even where you work. Your home is your domain, your territory, and, therefore, a reflection of you. The functionality and aesthetic of your home are shaped by your art, family heirlooms and furnishings. Your home helps to tell the story of who you are to all who enter.

Not everyone uses an interior designer, but those who do generally have specific reasons why they lean on professionals to help them create a happy home. Many homeowners do not have access to the resources that will carry out their vision. Others are happy to hand their keys over to someone who spends their days finding unique and special pieces to make a home feel complete. An interior designer can contribute significantly to the overall success of a beautiful, smoothly run home.

A common theme emerged when talking to several homeowners who have relationships with interior designers. The most successful interior designers are flexible, adaptable and open-minded to new designs and styles. They are good listeners and genuinely care about the functionality of their clients’ homes. They take inspiration from everything, everywhere, including design publications, the work of their contemporaries and directly from nature.

Lisa Mallory, a beloved Memphis interior designer, embodies all those attractive qualities. Many, if not most, of Lisa’s clients are habitual. Her clients use her to help decorate many homes and refer her to their family members and friends. Believe it or not, she has decorated 33 houses for one client over the last 25 years! Lisa loves to travel and always uses that time to explore and find new sources in every town. Lisa currently has projects in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri and California.

Lisa is so busy and has many repeat clients because she has built strong client relationships based on trust. It is vital to Lisa that the client comes first. “The homes I decorate reflect the personality and style of my clients. I put together a home that reflects its owner and combines their things with new additions perfect for each unique home.”

“I always tell my clients at the first meeting that I will not be living in the home, and they will, so please do not hesitate to tell me if you do not like something I have presented. I would never want a friend to walk in and say, ‘Oh, this house looks like Lisa Mallory.’”

One of her local clients commented that she and her mom had worked with Lisa for over 25 years. “She keeps detailed records of her work over the years and can even produce fabric samples from 20 years ago. She never wants us to buy anything unnecessary. She works with what you have to create a new and modern feel.”

For example, in a client’s new home, Lisa used their collection of antiques and art. “We recovered and refreshed what they had and added new pieces to the existing. This way, the new home felt like their own and made them comfortable.” In the formal living room, Lisa helped them select a Maysey Craddock piece that hangs behind the grand piano and a starburst mirror purchased from France to place over the mantle. She used a large rug to cover the entire space and upholstery to compliment the rug and art. Pillows and a small side chair introduced more color into the room.

Another client adds, “Lisa’s attention to detail is amazing. She remembers the artwork we own and makes those pieces integral to a new project. She always makes us feel like our project is the most important. Her vibe is fresh and modern, all while honoring my style.”

Lisa says she doesn’t like boring or expected spaces. “I love quirky, unique, unusual choices that give a room personality. I also love a clean, sophisticated, updated style. It all depends on what the client loves. Every job is different – whether we start with a piece of art, a favorite rug or an empty room.”

When an out-of-town client purchased a Memphis high-rise condo, they wanted everything new and more contemporary. The clients love art, and Lisa helped them find a Mary Simms floral painting that added color to clean white walls and furniture. “We added a cream leather chair in a more updated style to go with a white linen sectional. Wool sheers on the windows created a softer light,” Lisa describes, “Different textures, surfaces, sleek lighting and a stone table added interest and depth to the condo.” Lisa used a custom-made stereo cabinet to house the clients’ vinyl record collection.

Lisa’s retail space in Chickasaw Oaks is a true reflection of her style – clean and curated with color and neutrals. A little traditional and a bit contemporary. Since opening her store, bedrooms and bathrooms have become essential to her design business. “We provide mattresses, pillows and everything for the top of the bed. With the added benefit of 6,000 square feet of retail space, I have the luxury of displaying a large inventory where clients can sit on chairs and sofas. I always keep sofas, chairs and lamps in stock to view and try out. My motto is, never buy anything that I would not take home!”

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