Lia Martinucci - interior designer
- Credit: Archant
Interior designer Lia Martinucci may be based in Yorkshire, but her work takes her all over the UK and abroad, as she creates beautiful homes utterly bespoke to her clients’ desires.
Lia Martinucci started her international career in interior design almost by accident, following her work on a holiday home in Majorca that caught the attention of friends on the island.
‘It all grew quite organically,’ Lia says. ‘I restored a couple of old properties and once my friends saw what I’d done I was asked to work on their homes too. From there it became requests from friends of friends, and so on. All my work has come from personal recommendations or returning clients wanting me to work on a second or third home.’
Lia’s design talent and appetite for hard work hasn’t simply sprung from nothing, it’s written into her very DNA. Her Tuscan father was an internationally renowned chef and was awarded the Knighthood of St George e Carinza for his creativity and inventiveness. Lia’s grandmother was a dressmaker and from an early age Lia would peep from behind the curtain and watch her Grandma cut out and pin patterns on clients for each new creation. Many of Lia’s earliest memories of her mother involve scouring antique shops and making exciting discoveries, learning a lasting appreciation for history, craftsmanship and the importance of preserving the past.
In 1992 Lia returned to the UK, where she soon realised that while her design talent was unquestionable, her knowledge of software programmes and digital design was somewhat lacking. She also decided to put to rest a personal bugbear: supercilious tradespeople telling her that what she wanted wasn’t possible, knowing that she didn’t have the training to debate the issue.
‘I undertook a post-graduate course in Business Administration and a series of City & Guilds courses in Advanced Upholstery and Antique Restoration at Leeds College of Art & Design. Now when someone tries to tell me something can’t be done I can explain, with authority, that it can be done and so will be done! It’s often a case of “if I can draw it, you can do it!”’
Initially Lia opened a showroom in Harrogate, but soon realised that this was simply a distraction from her work, which requires significant commitment both creatively and of time.
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‘My clients don’t want a mood board and pointing at where to find what they want. My clients simply want someone to come in and create them a beautiful luxury home. This can be in the UK, Europe, Russia, the Middle East or even further afield; location is almost secondary to the desire for luxury, comfort and style and they know I can deliver this.
‘They want someone to provide first the ideas and the inspiration and then to come in and do the actual work. My interior design practice is more than simply the finishing touches, or even the décor, it’s an architectural design practice which means that before we get anywhere near colour schemes it’s all about the invisible but absolutely vital work that results in lighting schemes, electrics, heating, plumbing, media and all the preparation required to create a luxurious lifestyle for the occupants of a property.’
Lia’s talent drew the attention of TV production company ITV Studios, the team behind daytime TV hit 60 Minute Makeover.
‘They approached me to work on a number of episodes, and at first I was very wary,’ says Lia. ‘I was very busy myself and the work really didn’t reflect what I did myself. I decided however that it would be a bit of fun and went for it. I learned a great deal, but it’s absolutely no reflection on how any interior designer truly works! Having such constraints forces you to be absolutely spot in with every single detail – no room or time for re-thinking or working through a challenge. It does show however just how a cleverly designed interior can change someone’s entire life and it was a great honour to do that.
‘Unlike 60 Minute Makeover, most of my work is on 18 month to two year projects. I work hand in hand with the architects and building contractors from the basement up.
‘The key to working on a prestige property, to creating a truly luxurious living environment, is as much in what you don’t see as what you do. From media rooms to bedrooms, the fine detailing is what makes the difference.
‘Ideally, I don’t want to see my client ever again once the project is complete – unless they’re calling me to work on another project, of course! My ethos is that my clients should love their completed home so much that they never want to change it. Everything I do is built to last for decades; it’s style over trends.’
Lia’s love of her work and her passion for creativity and excellence in everything she does is apparent in every word she utters, though she is rather modest about her achievements. You need to study the images from her gallery to really gain an appreciation of her skill.
‘At the end of the day I am simply a designer of luxury homes; I don’t have a ‘look’, you won’t recognise a Lia Martinucci home just by looking at it. Just as no two clients are the same, no two homes are the same. Every client’s lifestyle varies and their homes reflect this. Every job I do is a work of art in its own right
‘I would be so bored if I was churning out the same old format every time and horrified if a client recognised something from their own home elsewhere! I am very lucky that as a designer I evolve and develop with every project; that’s the beauty of it and that’s what makes it so fulfilling.’
Lia Martinucci Interiors
www.liamartinucci.com | 01904 863254