Making Room for Magic: An Interview with Designer Lori Deeds

Photo by Lesley Unruh Photography

When interior designer Lori Deeds described the turning point in her life when she made the decision to pivot from her pre-med studies to that of design, her enthusiasm was contagious. It is also a wonderful reminder to listen to our inner voices telling us what we truly want, be it in life or design. She describes it this way: “I think deep down I always knew [I wanted to be a designer], but in the beginning, there was an initial dream of becoming a pediatrician, and I completed almost two years of pre-med. Then, while on winter vacation, under the Christmas lights in a beautiful restaurant in Mexico, it struck me that I wanted more fantasy, creativity, and magic in my life. My mother and I discussed design, and I had chills from excitement and true alignment. So I returned, switched my major to interior design, and the rest is history!” Her ability to listen and turn her client’s dreams into a reality is part of what makes her such a beloved designer.

Photo by Lesley Unruh Photography

From her life-changing trip to Mexico to her current home in Florida, Lori finds inspiration in all that surrounds her. “I grew up on a tiny island in Michigan, and now I work on a tiny island in Florida. Both have the most beautiful style, gardens, and architecture a girl could ask for. I’ve always been surrounded by beautiful things- it makes for a beautiful life!” Even as a young girl, she was drawn to beautiful design that she would one day incorporate into her work. “My extremely creative mother always had the strongest influence on me. She loves design, and my childhood home was gorgeous, filled with treasures from her childhood of living and traveling overseas. Her love of worldly pattern, color & design transcended right through to me.”

Photo by Carmel Fasano Brantley Photography

Today, she can be found at Kemble Interiors, bringing her vision to life for clients all over the country. “A few months before I graduated college, I was blessed with an opportunity to move and make my career in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from Kemble Interiors. I quickly flew down, interviewed, and started working with Mimi the very next week. It has been over 24 years, filled with fun & hard work, all culminating at the beginning of this year with a lifelong goal to be published in an online article in Architectural Digest. I am still celebrating!”

Photo by Coastal Living Magazine

Her work featured in Architectural Digest was a stunning project that offered up a unique set of challenges and pushed her creatively- to wonderful effect. “I loved this project so much. My clients had such a sense of elevated design; they were a joy to collaborate with. They were open to the extraordinary, magical details, color combinations, and fun art. More was more for that home, and it worked! I kind of surprised myself!”

Photo by Coastal Living Magazine

Regardless of the style of home she is working on, her goal is always clear. “First & foremost, I want my clients to be happy. I want them to be at ease and relaxed at home, surrounded by a timeless design that will last throughout the years. Old mixed with new, layered with texture and pattern, so they never feel bored. I believe the details are the most important, not just in design but in my service.”

Photo by Carmel Fasano Brantley Photography

Making her clients happy clearly brings Lori joy, as her musings on the design process clearly show. “When I get inspired, it wakes me right up in the morning. I can’t wait to get it all out of my head and organized into files. I also love how much design evolves, sometimes taking a completely different path than first anticipated. And then I love the end. When it comes together and starts to look like a home, it’s the best feeling in the world!”

Photo by Carmel Fasano Brantley Photography

Her inspiration takes many forms, from “the gorgeous architecture and gardens of Palm Beach” to the “truly amazing & creative women” she works with every day. The result of these inspirations often takes the form of unique vintage and antiques used in her work. “[vintage and antiques] are what makes a home a home. The softness and age of vintage pieces sprinkled throughout are what separate great design from simple decorating. That and great architecture!” This method of sprinkling in vintage pieces can also be seen in her own home.

Photo by Carmel Fasano Brantley Photography

“I have two small children, so I need my home to be serene and calm. It is my sanctuary, so colors are soft- cream, stone, blush, and some deep earthy purples mixed with a lot of green from live plants and trees. I have a few Indian and African antiques to soften even more, but my favorite piece is a 10’ console made of a single piece of black eroded teak from Thailand. It holds a pair of Kelly Wearstlerlamps, my favorite art & design books, and my kids’ art that I’ve been collecting over the years.” Her advice for choosing pieces for the home? “Buy what you love; it will work somewhere at some point!” We couldn’t agree more!


Photo by Carmel Fasano Brantley Photography

5 Questions with Designer Lori Deeds

TLV: Do you have a go to color combination? Or most beloved pattern?

LD: I don’t like to do anything twice and I like to do it all. Colors and patterns are client-specific. I just try and channel their thoughts and dreams appropriately and bring their visions to life.


TLV: Favorite travel destination for design inspiration?

LD: I just got back from Paris and Santorini- both were so inspiring in different ways. Morocco this fall is next! Feels good to be back at it.


TLV: What are you currently reading / watching?

LD: I don’t watch tv. In the evening, I am surrounded by all of my design magazines and the book I am currently reading is Atlas of the Heart by Brene brown. She is a genius!


TLV: Do you have any dream projects or something that you would love to work on that you have not yet had the chance?

LD: I am currently commencing 2 of my dream projects. A historic home on Jupiter Island and a dream mountain house project with one of my favorite architects. It’s going to be a fun couple of years!


TLV: What are three words you would use to describe your work?

LD: Spirited, Detailed, Timeless

Click here to shop Lori Deeds TLV Favorites.

Photos Courtesy of Lori Deeds / Headshot by Studio B2 Inc.  / Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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