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Lori Carroll & Associates

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When Lori Carroll launched her design firm Lori Carroll & Associates in 2000, she could not have predicted how successful it would become. With hundreds of notable projects throughout Arizona, Carroll has left a definite impression on the region and says that’s due in no small part to the careful approach and collaborative spirit her team sets in motion on every project.

As a graduate of the University of Arizona’s interior design program, Carroll spent a short time working for a local furniture store before breaking out and establishing her own company. Working alongside two partners for more than twelve years, Carroll’s business was flourishing when she decided to set out on her own once again. Today, Lori Carroll & Associates specializes in high-end interior design for a wide range of residential and commercial clients throughout the Tucson area.

Over the years, Carroll and her firm have developed a reputation for delivering what she calls “the ultimate design experience.” Lori says this is possible because of the focus she and her staff of design professionals have when providing clients with the complete realization of their ideas. “I would say, as I look back at my projects over the years, it’s important to listen to what the clients’ needs, wants and desires are, and help them fulfill their dreams,” she says.

For example, a gorgeous custom home site in one of Tucson’s most desirable neighborhoods; add an incredible floor plan and enterprising clients and this is the dream scenario for any interior design professional. Surrounded by nature and finding a way to integrate it in to a design plan is what inspires Lori Carroll; a fresh new perspective for each project, from the outside looking in.

To illustrate, an open-concept kitchen surrounded by incredible views, a master bathroom as the ultimate place to relax and unwind and a powder room being the perfect spot for a little design drama are the benchmarks that drive Lori Carroll’s success. Architecturally, one of Lori’s favorite properties has it all; spacious floor-plan, limitless natural light, a stunning multi-level ceiling and an overall style that fit the personality of the client. The versatility of materials like Brazilian multi-color slate flooring or Avalon polished quartzite countertops from Cactus Stone & Tile were the ideal foundation for unifying these spaces. The steel blue background along with tinges of rust in the slate reflect the divine landscape just steps away. For a client who loves to cook, a complete Viking kitchen from Arizona Wholesale Supply provided the ultimate in “performance and design.” A home of this size needs cohesiveness, so selecting products and finishes was contingent on the fact most rooms are visible both inside and out. “Dendrites” or branching patterns in the quartzite covering walls and floors throughout the master retreat resemble graceful twigs and leaves, creating a soothing, au natural effect. Distinctive plumbing fixtures from Ferguson Enterprises embody the spa-like appeal. You can find hidden bonuses behind every door too; custom closet and storage systems from Tucson’s Closet Trends. From floor to ceiling, a client can have it all. Interesting patterns, rich colors, textures and an enchanting allure; homes like these make a statement. 

The Right Look

Whether designing a living space or a place of business, Carroll says she doesn’t believe in over-designing; preferring a simplistic, less-is-more approach for just the right look. Just because her creative philosophy is more streamlined doesn’t mean Lori’s designs are minimalist. Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, she isn’t afraid to mix and match styles in the same space if they blend well together. “I think an important factor we bring to the table is the ability to intermix interesting combinations of color and texture; flawlessly incorporating them into the overall design,” she says.

Many times, Carroll says, she strives to develop a focal point contrary to the predictable. Lori points out, in many cases, features like flooring or cabinetry become the focus simply because they take up so much space. Although some interior designers might take this as a given, Lori works to bring distinctive pieces to the forefront, taking the emphasis away from the expected and introducing something unique to catch the eye.

With this in mind, dust off the good dishes; the formal dining room in a newly built custom home is set for fine dining. There is something nostalgic and romantic about enjoying a meal in a place dedicated to dining. This exquisite space was designed to be sophisticated enough for elegant dinner parties, yet casual for weekend breakfast with the grandkids. The open concept gracefully transitions from kitchen to great room and then to the dining area. A commanding iron chandelier became the focal point, suspended over a beautiful wood plank table. Surrounded by sculptural hall chairs and graceful draperies fabricated and installed by Arizona’s premier window covering expert, Today’s Interiors, each element complements the other for a grand dining experience.

Team Spirit

Carroll says the internal culture at Lori Carroll & Associates is based on providing the highest level of customer care, and that is made possible by building a strong team of professionals. Teamwork extends to supporting and encouraging each other. Carroll says her associates often share “spirit tags” in the form of notes that recognize a co-workers’ efforts whether inside the office or when interacting with vendors or clients. These messages encourage everyone to reach even further on the next project.

“I love working with a team,” Lori says. “The results are a highly successful experience for our clients which makes for the ultimate end-product.”

Specifically, assembling a team of designers, suppliers, artisans and craftsmen to create a front entrance embodied the overall character and style of one house and demonstrates solid teamwork. A custom, black iron double door, 24-inch walnut travertine and concrete pavers trimmed with precast molding come together both architecturally and aesthetically, giving the exterior a distinctive flair. 

Making It Count 

Carroll explains, keeping the budget manageable for each particular client is something she is always aware of on a project. Her insight and creativity attracts clientele, however, Lori says “A lot of times, I find myself working with and incorporating a lot of exclusive materials and products and uniqueness comes with a price.” 

This is especially true with larger, custom built homes that have more square footage to work with. By approaching a project with an open mind and willingness to explore one-of-a-kind design solutions, clients are assured the outcome will be distinctly “them”. Lori Carroll & Associates’ mission is to find ways to maximize the design, deliver what the clients wants and create a remarkable space the homeowner will love. 

One particular project that started out as a quick color consultation developed into an extensive interior design assignment. After a devastating fire destroyed the family home, a determined couple vowed to build again; bigger and better. What transpired was more than they ever imagined. After raising three children; now as “empty nesters,” they could actually envision a home that would be less about practicality and more about style. Initially the clients had tried to do the design work on their own but then put their trust in Lori. Consequently, joining the project later in the process was a challenge and meant modifying selections the homeowner and builder had already made. Making creative changes ensured cohesiveness, however, changes required the client to re-evaluate their budget to include higher end materials. Comfortable, with a rustic elegance describes the aura that now surrounds this house. Much like a mythical Phoenix – the legendary bird that rose from its own ashes, this beautiful home is making it count, symbolizing transformation and rejuvenation.

Looking Good

Granted, the balance between residential and commercial projects the business has right now is a comfortable groove for Lori and her team, but that doesn’t mean they won’t continue to explore new opportunities that will generate a fresh appeal for prospective clients.

In fact, Carroll describes the recent increase in requests to design and complete interior design renovations for some of Tucson’s most iconic resorts and destination hotels. Lori says the work she is doing for these properties, along with industry partners such as Dal-Tile Corporation and others, is an advantageous sampling of her residential and commercial design sensibilities. 

No matter what direction Lori Carroll and her team take moving forward, she will remain committed to delivering the highest-quality designs for her clients and continue the highly collaborative approach with team members who believe in each other. “Our goal is to continue designing distinctive properties for clients in a range from mid- to high-end,” Carroll says. “I want to be a part of showcasing the very best that Arizona has to offer.”