The Juliette Interviews: Lynda Murray
Before I worked in real estate, I bought, designed, and remodeled houses (in fact, I still do this and on average I redo one house a year). The design of a home is what hits you emotionally and makes you want to buy it, own it, and be in it. Designing a home is a gift that not everyone has. I had the opportunity to interview award-winning interior designer Lynda Murray, owner of Lynda Murray Interior Design who is based out of LA and is truly gifted with an eye for design.
Lynda is a native Angeleno and as a child, she enjoyed selecting fabrics for her bedding, artwork for her walls and was continually rearranging her furniture. Realizing her lifelong passion for interiors, Lynda decided to pursue her dream and study Interior Design at the UCLA Interior and Environmental Design program. Whether she is conceptualizing ceiling to floor glass sculptures for her impressive client list, including Michael Bay and James Cameron, Lynda always keeps the details at the forefront of her design concepts, and there is no detail too small regardless of the size of the space. She has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Town & Country, and Entertainment Tonight to name a few.
Read on to find out a little more about the world of interior design from one of the most in-demand and top designers in LA!
JH: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
LM: My aesthetic is contemporary. I love clean lines and monochromatic neutral tones with a splash of color where needed. The homes we build have a lot of glass and steel so I use a lot of texture on walls with wood cladding and things like chiseled stone to warm up the spaces.
JH: What is the best design advice you can give to a client?
LM: Paying close attention to lighting is a big one for me. I always say that you can spend a fortune on furniture and finishes but if it is lit wrong, everything just looks bad. The opposite is true, you can have a room that may not have super high-end furniture but if it’s lit really well everything looks incredible. I think most people don’t realize how important lighting is when designing a space.
JH: What’s the most useful thing you have learned about renovating a house during your career as a designer?
LM: Renovating a home is a lot harder than building from the ground up but it can be really fun and rewarding. I think before starting the project it is extremely important to hire a great contractor that specializes in renovations. These types of jobs can run away from you really quickly because more often than not you don’t know what you are going to find when you start opening the walls. Being very prepared and having a designer or architect do plans is key. I often hear clients not wanting to pay for the service of a designer for renovations but inevitably we get the call after they have spent a lot of money on costly mistakes. Trusting a good team can save you money in the end.
JH: How has the pandemic affected your business?
LM: Fortunately, we do a lot of construction which is considered “essential” so we never really shut down. I was able to retain all my employees thankfully and we worked from home. We learned to get things done via zoom which has been a real eye-opener and time saver. Not everything can happen over zoom when doing our line of work but for meetings, it has been amazing.
For people renovating what renovations are now more expensive because of the pandemic?
Almost everything. Materials like wood, roofing, stone, doors, metal. I can go on and on. Beyond being double and sometimes triple the cost, lead times are also through the roof. We have to wait literally months for things that would normally take 2-3 weeks. It is very rough right now so buyer beware!
JH: What trends do you see emerging for 2022?
LM: I am not really a trend follower but I will say a few things that we are noticing are becoming more popular.
1) Metal windows and doors. Everyone seems to want these for both classic and contemporary homes. They are pricey but totally worth it.
2) Board form concrete is very popular and a nice change from using stone and tile.
3) Plaster wall finishing with a hint of color to emulate concrete is something we do a ton of on our projects.
JH: What project are you most proud of and why?
LM: The job I am most proud of was designing the movie studio of Lightstorm Entertainment for James Cameron where all the Avatar sequels are filmed. Not only was it the largest scale project we have done to date but it was also the goal to build the “greenest set in Hollywood” and that was something extremely important to Jim. He is a fierce supporter of all things ECO and so it was an amazing challenge for me to pull that off while also being very creative. Bonus that it was published in Architectural Digest.
JH: What is the oddest request you have received for a project?
LM: Ugh…it’s almost too embarrassing to say but I will. We built a “special” room with two-way glass to watch certain things that may be happening on the other side. I will let your readers decipher the rest!
JH: What trends will be out of style by next year?
LM: Again, not really a follower of trends but I know for me personally, I don’t love anything super kitsch or things considered “trendy.” I think there is a time and place for that type of design but I also think it gets old and tired looking the minute it’s done so I steer clear of all things trendy! Sorry.