Podcast, Ep. 119: designer Lisa Furey

Designer Lisa Furey talks to use about building from scratch, why she hates accessories, and more


Interior Designer Lisa Furey joins the show to talk about keeping neutrals chic yet interesting, her award-winning luxury boutique firm, Lisa Furey Interiors in Philadelphia, and how she fell in love with her Palmetto Bluff vacation home. Lisa shares how she went from a career as a divorce lawyer, her passion for the “bricks and sticks” aspect of design and building, and her approach to creating beautiful and practical homes that are just as livable as they are beautiful.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials and Triumphs featuring misbehaving bats, ruthless bin cleaning, leaf blowers, and delegating out Christmas light tasks.
  • Tips on ribbons and accessories that are both kid-proof and beautiful for the holidays.
  • Real talk on where everyone stands on ornaments as Christmas gifts.
  • How Lisa’s core business is Lisa Furey Interiors in Philadelphia on the mainline, but she also does work in Georgia and South Carolina.
  • More about Lisa’s projects including the Beach Cottage in South Carolina, the main house in Palmetto Bluff, and her own personal home featuring an upside-down design of the living room upstairs with floating stairs.
  • How Lisa fell in love so much with Palmetto Bluff that she came home and purchased a loft for her personal use.
  • More about the original cottage that people loved so much that it led her to a carriage house, and then a main house.
  • Fun fact: Lisa was a divorce lawyer before a designer and actually attended two colleges at once.
  • Lisa describes her style as minimal with an emphasis and natural and simple. She enjoys using clean lines and nice materials that create a relaxed and welcoming feel.
  • Why Lisa loves using woven pieces to give spaces an organic look.
  • A glimpse into the process from when Lisa decides to work with a client to working with them on a large renovation, remodel, or building from the ground up.
  • Some risks Lisa has taken recently in her own home and work, including some fun blue cabinets and an upside down home.
  • What similarities and differences Lisa sees between working in Philadelphia and the South.
  • While we do love some photos of your cute pets, we are all for editing and trimming out the unnecessary parts within a room.
  • Tips for matching appliances, and how to use different shades of the same color with it still looking clean and cohesive.

Decorating Dilemma

Hi ladies! 

I love your podcast, it has given me lots of great inspiration while remodeling my home recently.

I’m struggling with furniture placement in the living room. It is a long rectangle with lots going on. I have a walk around fireplace separating entryway from livingroom on one long side with walk ways on both sides of the fireplace. On the other long wall I have two sliders leading to a sunroom. On one short end of the room I have a solid wall with vaulted ceiling and the other short end is open to the kitchen with a walk way to the dining room.

I am struggling because the walkways from entryway to sunroom cut the space into thirds with the fireplace floating in the middle of the room.  I was thinking about putting a comfy couch for reading or entertaining against the one full wall and also have comfy chairs for reading or playing cards around the fireplace.  Then put bar stools at the kitchen counter.  What do you think?  

What would you suggest for rug shape / placement?

Suggestions on decorating the fireplace?  It’s huge – what on earth do I put on it?

Suggestions for decorating a wall with vaulted ceiling?  Do I hang art all the way up or do I cut it off at some height?  Would book shelves on this wall look weird because they don’t follow the contour of the ceiling?

I need to buy the couch for this room. Suggestions on brands/ styles that are comfortable? We want a piece that will last for a long time.

More info on us – the house is on a 3/4 acre lot in Merritt Island, FL.  We have 2 small girls (3yr & 18mo).  This space will be heavily used by everyone, but no toy storage is needed as the sunroom will be more of the kid play area.  

I’ve attached photos and a floor plan to help make sense of the space.  We are set to move into the home next week – sorry for all the boxes and folding table in the photos!

Thanks for your help!  


Congrats on your place! Lisa would cover up the gray tile with as much rug as she could using natural fiber rugs. She recommends two, maybe an indoor / outdoor version to kid proof them, and if you are looking for more color you can put a prettier rug on top. A pendant light would bring the ceiling down, and make it feel a bit more comfortable and welcoming.

If you do the bar stools, one option would be to get the saddle ones without backs, so that you can tuck the stools under the table for easy storage.

Instead of a mirror above the fireplace, Lisa suggests a wreath or tobacco baskets with two candle sconces on either side. She would also have the layout of the space be: kitchen on one side, fireplace in the middle, and built in on the other side to elevate and bring in a sense of balance.

Mentioned In This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.