Coming Full Circle
Lisa Harrell Interiors revives owner’s longtime passion for creating spaces
By JUDY ROYAL
Ten years ago, Lisa Harrell never dreamed a new career and business would be part of her life. But then again, her passion for interior design has always been there. In middle school, her aptitude for drafting and industrial arts led a teacher to encourage her to study architectural design, but life ended up taking her in a different direction.
After studying Zoology at North Carolina State University and working at the Dental Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later as a dental hygienist in her husband’s dental practice in Charlotte, Harrell rediscovered her passion for creating spaces while renovating her family’s home.
“That’s when people started asking me to help them with design ideas,” Harrell said. “I did it more as a hobby for many years.”
That all changed when her husband’s business expanded and built a new dental implant surgery center within his practice.
“I had the opportunity to do a brand-new, fresh space,” Harrell said. “People just went crazy over it, and then I thought, ‘OK, I need to start taking this more seriously.’”
She launched Lisa Harrell Interiors two years ago and has since worked on a variety of projects, including a complete renovation of her family’s second home in Lake Toxaway last year.
Lisa Harrell Interiors focuses on interior design in association with residential remodeling and new construction. She also offers commercial design services.
Harrell can work with clients to select finishes, paint colors, moldings, cabinet styles and furnishings. But her work is about more than aesthetics. She prides herself on having a knack for spatial planning and visualizing and maximizing the best uses for spaces.
“My design services are so much more than simply buying sofas,” Harrell said. “When I take on a project, I want to bring my vision and vibe to the space that I am creating. There are so many elements to go into making a space feel amazing.”
She said she is cognizant of working within clients’ budgets while also making their spaces shine.
“I am not a brand snob,” Harrell said. “It has to be well-made quality but work well for the client, and you do not have to spend a fortune to do that.”
Focusing on the client is her main objective, and Harrell said this is an area that sets her business apart from others.
“I’m smaller and more boutique, and I don’t take on massive amounts of jobs,” she said. “I focus more on a few jobs at a time so I can really give the client the attention that they need and it not be overwhelming and stressful for them.”
After two years of offering her services professionally, Harrell said the biggest surprise is how much she thrives off of what she’s doing.
“It feeds my soul,” she said. “I didn’t expect to have such fulfillment. My creativity is so alive and flourishing and, to me, better and stronger than it ever was.”
Her clients do not hesitate to sing her praises.
“She has such vision, and the things that she thinks of and the creativity that she has, it’s really just mind-boggling,” said Charlotte real estate broker Sara Roche, who is working with Harrell on a project at her personal home. “I cannot say enough about how creative she is and how you can just see the wheels turning when she’s looking at a space. She’s very talented and has a great eye for design and a great eye for designing things to work in a space. I just put Lisa way up there at the top as far as her design skills.”
“She was just so accommodating and easy to work with and just nailed the paint colors,” Nichols said. “She was also very conscious of our budget. She’s got a good sense of spatial planning and is very creative that way.”
As for the future of Lisa Harrell Interiors, Harrell hopes her daughter, who is a senior in high school, will join the business after she completes her studies in interior architecture. And while COVID-19 has resulted in some minimal scaling back, Harrell said she thinks the pandemic could actually increase demand for her services.
“People are wanting a second home after all this because everyone is realizing in a minute that things can turn on a dime,” she said. “They want a place to take them away from the stresses of where they are, and they can see the benefits of a getaway in the mountains.”