Fashion magazine

Get to know… Lucia Tait Tolani, a fabulous interior designer based in Hong Kong

Lucia Tait Tolani tells Tatler about her journey from fashion to interiors (Photo courtesy of Lucia Tait Tolani)
By Tara Sobti

By Tara Sobti

June 21, 2021

Lucia Tait Tolani tells Tatler about her transition from fashion to interiors, how Hong Kong influences her design projects and her funniest customer request yet

Lucia Tait Tolani is the kind of person who arouses intrigue as soon as she walks into a room. You can spot her from a mile away, with her long jet black hair and meticulously curated styling choices. The mother-of-two moved to Hong Kong from New York eight years ago and has since taken the interior design world by storm with her eponymous design company and stylish homes at prestigious addresses across the globe. Hong Kong Island. Tolani’s signature uses her fashion background to transform her clients’ spaces into rooms filled with character, pops of color and pizazz.

Prior to focusing on interior design in 2018, Tolani was co-director of her own private buying company, Coup de Coeur, which offered expert styling advice and access to exclusive benefits at buyers. “Instead of going to a client for the typical closet cleaning, we designed a personalized itinerary that took them right to stores, designers and showrooms,” she said. Tatler in 2015. The same year, she developed an exclusive personal styling events company, which invited designers, brands and retailers to the city for a unique shopping experience for high-end customers. Although she still hosts these private events, Tolani now has a strong focus on interior design. Here, Tatler get to know her a little better.

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When did you move to Hong Kong?

I moved to Hong Kong at the very end of 2013. “Moved” is overkill because I came with a few bags and kept my apartment in New York for many years. I had to make sure I liked the city … and my future husband! I don’t miss life in New York anymore because home is where you do it, but I miss the sightseeing, mostly for the culture, the street vibes, and my old friends.

What did you study?

I have a Bachelor of Science in Advertising Communication and Marketing from Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

What was your first job?

It was in the marketing department of a [private jet lifestyle] magazine called Elite Traveler, which was subscription-based as well as distributed on private jets and in luxury hotel suites. It was focused on the lifestyle of the ultra-rich. I had just finished a few internships at Nylon [a pop culture and fashion magazine], which was a fairly different demographic. I really liked the publishing world.

See Also: Top Interior Design Trends You Should Try In 2021, According To Experts

How did you come to interior design?

He was the right customer at the right time. Friends had been asking me for help for ages, but I wasn’t ready to change course. When I was referred to a friend of a friend who also lived in my apartment building, I couldn’t say no. Now I don’t look back anymore. In many ways it feels like personal style, but I love the permanence of the interior design and the way it involves [input from] the whole family, not just an individual.

Describe a typical day in your life.

I respond briefly to international emails while having coffee and breakfast. Doing this first thing in the morning gives me the ability to speed up claims processing while the US is still open, as I order a lot from the US and Europe for my clients. An hour later, I’m exercising, like walking to the Peak, playing tennis or yoga, which clears my mind for the day and gives me time to think about creative solutions and ideas. project ideas. I then spend a few hours at my office. After lunch, I travel around town visiting vendors in Central, Wan Chai, Ap Lei Chau, and Wong Chuk Hang, followed by another round of emails from Europe. If I have a site visit, I will come back with lots of other ideas for a space, which is always energizing.

See also: Tatler Insiders on the best of interior design in Hong Kong

How would you describe your aesthetic?

My personal aesthetic is eclectic and layered, with nods to the past and an interest in color and pattern. For clients, I try to marry my natural inclinations with what they gravitate towards. This makes each project more traditional or more contemporary, more sober or more alive. I love to learn from my clients and there is always an element of collaboration.

How does Hong Kong affect your design?

Hong Kong definitely affects my design as the projects really have to evoke a sense of belonging. I am very interested in faraway destinations and often try to infuse the rooms with a traveler spirit, but I also need to show that the project location is here in Hong Kong. I love the craftsmanship of the local artisans, but it’s just a shame that much of the talent is not passed on and is fading with this generation. I am very intrigued by the idea of ​​preserving local crafts, and this will be more central to my business in the future. I take a lot of photos on the street of small details or beautiful patterns, which I classify to incorporate into later designs. There is inspiration everywhere. I also wish there was more foresight put into preserving historic buildings, but at least I can digitally imagine the Hong Kong of yesteryear with Instagram accounts like @oldhkincolour.

Who is your dream client?

One with an open mind and a flexible budget (OK, read: big!). Someone who is as excited as I am about design, and who shows no fear in believing that their space can and should be extraordinary.

Have you had any funny customer inquiries?

I am currently upholstering my client’s dog bed to coordinate with our new decor scheme. No family member is too small or too hairy to be considered!

What’s the most common misconception about you?

Probably most of my life has been spent wearing fabulous clothes, attending events, hosting dinner parties, and traveling the world (before Covid). I’m actually an introvert and love to stay home in my pajamas watching Netflix and on special occasions ordering pizza and opening a bottle of white wine. However, I have to say that my pajamas are quite fabulous.

See also: Tatler Insiders on the best of interior design in Hong Kong

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes

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