When Texas-based designer Lucinda Loya set out to transform a cold, corporate apartment in London for rising model Maya Henry, there was one thing that sold her on the project: A pair of chairs. “How often do you get to use blush fringe chairs?” Loya asks. “It’s not every day we get to take a full ‘girl power’ approach to interiors.” But since Loya was given only one month to complete the entire project, she placed the emphasis on adding color and personality to the space, as opposed to starting from scratch.
Having previously worked with Henry’s family in Texas as well as in New York, Loya had a strong foundation when looking for complete creative freedom. “I really enjoyed discovering new sources in London, while adding a few local pieces to welcome a U.S. native to her new country,” Loya says. “Maya has a large Instagram following and dates a high-profile musician [former One Direction singer Liam Payne], so the pops of color are perfect for young romance.”
Here, Loya shares her process for designing Henry’s apartment in London’s Mayfair neighborhood.
ELLE Decor: Tell us about your background and how you began working in interior design.
Lucinda Loya: I was raised by a single mother in a small town, and my beginnings were humble. I was searching for a creative outlet and had a natural knack for interiors, so my first dollar earned in this industry came when newlywed friends purchased their first home and needed help with the decor. As projects kept coming my way, I enrolled at the Art Institute of Houston. Full speed ahead—I have developed a thriving design business, honing a timeless and sophisticated aesthetic.
ED: How would you describe your design style?
LL: My firm and I hold the belief that art and design are something to be experienced, not just admired. I love expressing an artistic edge through texture, pattern, contrast, and splashes of color.
My approach to curate dynamic interiors includes blending the expected with the unexpected. I also believe that a sense of humor serves us well in decorating, as it adds charm and individuality to the composition, even in the smallest places. Mixing high-end art with budget-conscious pieces can also help in applying a twist to classic aesthetics. I have learned through experience that elegance can also be livable.
I’ve always had a love for fashion and design, and I think my eye for style marries the two and results in eclectic, timeless interiors.
ED: What can you tell us about this particular apartment?
LL: This chic two-bedroom Mayfair flat is the London base for up-and-coming model Maya Henry. My firm has worked with her family previously as clients in Houston and New York. I wanted to take a young, fresh, feminine approach to outfit this flat as a stylish home for her. The upstairs study was transformed into a closet to accommodate this young fashionista’s growing wardrobe and accessories.
ED: The space is quite youthful—even funky—while maintaining a sense of sophistication. How do you create that sense of balance?
LL: I always begin each project by paying attention to the classic lines, and then I can infuse the space with femininity and a stylish edge. We enjoyed providing a fun, bold design for a career woman.
ED: How did you choose the artwork? These pieces pack such a punch of color and personality.
LL: Most of the art was chosen from her family’s private art collection. We selected items that would complement our design and had them transported to London.
ED: Were there any major design obstacles to overcome?
LL: We were on a bit of a time crunch to beautify the space—we had only about a month! It was a pre-furnished corporate flat with pieces that neither functioned well nor pleased the client. So the existing pieces had to be moved out and put into storage before anything new could be installed.
ED: What’s next for you?
LL: We have several exciting things on the horizon! Currently we’re getting ready to start a new build on a 40-acre Mississippi property with a private lake. We are also honored to be working with Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and his family for the seventh time, to design their newly purchased Greenwich, Connecticut, residence. Look for us this fall as we are proudly participating in the House Beautiful Concept Home in Colorado!
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