Lori Morris needs one thing to be abundantly clear: she is first and foremost an artist. Like a painter, or a sculptor, or an illustrator—only instead of working with oils or clay, she creates landscapes with furniture and archways.
Morris is technically an interior designer, but a mere glimpse of her work suggests that she operates on a higher level than most. Every inch of space is thoughtfully considered and carefully curated, resulting in living spaces that saturate the eye with rich texture. Morris functions at an accelerated rate, not only in terms of her fast-paced speech, but also in the quality of her output. Her job clearly envelops her, evident even as she speaks over the phone at the end of a long day.
“It’s very rewarding because you’re creating and building something, and get to see it to fruition—and it’s very exciting to see your vision become reality,” she says from Toronto in a distinctly no-nonsense tone. “I guess that’s why I do it: because it gives me lots of pleasure, I’m very passionate towards it, and I take it very seriously. I like to create one-of-a-kind, beautiful, sophisticated masterpieces for my clients to live in.” Indeed, each one is spectacular and unique, including the pictured recent condo project in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighbourhood. “I’m actually an artist, so I take a very artistic approach to everything I do,” says Morris, who also has many clients in metropolitan American cities including Dallas and San Francisco. “In particular with this condo, the client wanted an elegant, sophisticated design with a little bit of a sexy edge, which is what we’re known for as creative artistic designers. We like to create a personality that evokes both a sophisticated style and a little bit of sexiness and fun. For me, it’s never about colour or a set design—it’s about a feeling.” She likes to work in layers, creating multifaceted expressions that combine different surfaces, shades, and attitudes.
Morris doesn’t simply walk into a finished space and decide where to put things, however. She is there from the beginning with new builds and renovations, working architecturally as far as helping design pillars, archways, and columns that add not only character, but also storage space. When it comes to the furniture, everything is custom, and she works with a stable of trusted artisans to choose the specialty shapes, sizes, and fabrics. In the Yorkville condo, lush grey tones are mixed with accents of gold and green to evoke a mood that is sultry and chic, letting the eye sweep from one corner to the next with an idiosyncratic sense of flow. It’s an important aspect of her creations.
“It’s not about one focal point—the eye should move around the room and everything should make sense—it’s synergized and cohesive,” Morris explains. “As long as you look at the room and it stands in a cohesive, soldiered pattern of perfection, you know you’re done.” Undoubtedly, she gets there every time.
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