Lisa Mende, a luxury interior designer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently worked on her courtyard at Grove Hill House for Lloyd Flanders’ Summer Style event. “When we bought our house, I must admit the courtyard was what drew me in,” said Mende. “I love to travel to Europe and the courtyard felt very European. Working with Lloyd Flanders was so easy because they have beautiful furniture and great fabric options.”
Mende is a self-described Southern traditionalist who loves color and whimsy. “My work always has layers of well-edited accessories and details that reveal something about the homeowner,” she said.
To draw out these details, Mendes first visualizes how her clients will live in the house or, if outdoors, how they want to live outside the home. “From my extensive interview process, I determine the function, then I begin to lay the floorplan out. Last comes the furniture and fabrics,” said Mendes. “I plug fabrics and furniture into the floorplan based on how the family wishes to live in the space. Lately we have been using more performance fabrics than ever. Sunbrella is a fabric we use over and over inside and outside of the home.”
Because Mende believes that fabrics drive design, she first chose Sunbrella fabrics before deciding on furniture frame colors. For this project, Mende chose blue and white striped Kinzie Aqua with the geometric pattern Meandor Shamrock, as well as Aquatic and Sailcloth solids as accents. After, she considered rugs, accessories, and any other items to complete the design, such as throws and decorative accessories.
Mende advises considering your surroundings and the mood you want to evoke. “Do you want a lively environment with bright colors, or do you want a serene space with minimal color? If you are on the fence about what you want, it is always a good plan to keep the base fabrics neutral and pop pillows and accessories in pattern and color, because these items are easily changed with the seasons and are less expensive to change out,” she said.
Mende also places importance on thinking outside of the box. “Don't just do what was done before. Think about how you would like to live in the space. Do you want to dine, relax, converse, or watch TV? How many people would you like to accommodate in the space? Play with many different scenarios before settling on ‘the chosen plan,” she said.
“Always incorporate items that make the outdoor space feel like an indoor space, such as rugs, lighting, and cozy items like throws or ottomans,” she said. “The more layers, the better in my world.”
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our other Designer Spotlights!