Picking the Brain of An Interior Designer

Picking the Brain of An Interior Designer

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
By Ani Mouradian July 14, 2021

Linda Allen is Lights, Emotion, Action!

Most homeowners are on one side of the kaleidoscope of interior design; wondering what style they should choose, the furniture they should fill their space with, and how they are going to determine the right color palette. On the other side of this creative but very technical journey is the interior designer, ready to help bring clients to the light, where the chaos of endless options is organized and structured. 

What might help those stuck with interior designer’s block is stepping into the mind of an interior designer? That’s what we got to do with Los Angeles creator, Linda Allen, and discovered a place where true skill and artistry meet to fluidly realize the spaces many homeowners have trouble picturing on their own. We realized there’s a lot of fresh perspective homeowners might not be getting if they decide to DIY home design.

The pun was intended with “bringing clients to the light” because Linda Allen’s passion is light. And it was a pleasant surprise to discover where this passion stemmed from.

Q. Where did you grow up? When did you realize you wanted to be an interior designer? 

“I grew up in Los Angeles, California. I loved designing my bedroom as a teenager. But, I fell in love with theatrical lighting as a competitive and professional ice skater watching all of the colored lights dancing around the skaters. I knew then that I wanted to be in design.”Although ice skating is a few rinks away from interior design, the discipline along with the family support she had seems to have carried its traces and reflected in the tireless, hopeful, and long journey Linda triumphed in inventing and patenting her own wireless outdoor lamp.

Q. What do you wish everyone knew about lighting?

“Without light we can’t see. So, lighting is everything in design. The wrong light can make fabrics, texture, and mood look dismal and flat. The proper lighting can make fabrics, texture, and mood look romantic and enchanting. Mood is everything.”

Q. Color or texture?

Texture creates depth to color - so both.

Q. What is one of the craziest experiences you’ve had with a client?

“We raised the ceiling to make the mirror we bought fit! And when I was at Disney, I once ended up at a tire hubcap shop shopping for light fixture props!”

Disney California Adventure - Entry - Linda Allen

Disney California Adventure - Entry - Linda Allen

Q. How much do you allow your personality and tastes to shine through in client’s projects?

“I love customizing and creating signature environments for my clients. But, there's always a thread of my design esthetic in my client’s work. That’s why it’s important for clients and designers to interview each other. You want to make sure it’s the right fit.”

The right fit is everything in interior design. You can end up with a professional, who if you allow them, will dictate what’s best and trending, and your voice and presence will end up missing in your home design. Alternatively, if you get lucky in hiring an interior designer who speaks to you but most importantly listens to you, you can uncover your personal style and together create a home that lives and breathes along with you.

Obsidian - "I am Good enough” Artist Studio by Linda Allen  - Photo: by BADG

Obsidian - "I am Good enough” Artist Studio by Linda Allen - Photo: by BADG

Q. What kind of information do you wish your client would come with at the start of your work together?

“It would be great if they understood the mood that they want to convey. Designing for the mood is like cinema; it becomes emotional vs just designing for a look.”

“My designs are based on my client’s voids, wants, and needs.”  

Q. Do you prefer cases where the client knows exactly what they want, or when you have to help them figure it out?

“I like it when clients have an idea of what they want because it gives me parameters. It’s not common for someone just to give you carte blanche on a feel or style; there’s too much room for not giving them what they want. It should be a team effort.”

Obsidian - "I am Good enough” Artist Studio by Linda Allen  - Photo: by BADG

Obsidian - "I am Good enough” Artist Studio by Linda Allen - Photo: by BADG

Q. What helps you relate to a client and understand what they want?

“Their background and what they’ve grown up with is an important layer. I had a client who came from a country in Europe and loved palaces. That was in her head on what she wanted; a palatial home.”

Linda Allen not only helps her clients with implementing elements of their background but also members of the Black community. Her contributions to Black creativity and its community help bring awareness to talent that may otherwise not receive as much exposure. This helps bring color, textures, and character that may often not be considered in typical home design to a visible platform. And what a world of opportunity awaits when we invite culture to interior design.


Q. Could you comment on your beautiful design, “I Am Good Enough”, for the Obsidian Virtual Concept House?

“I got involved with Black design forums to help bring awareness to the talent that’s overlooked. That’s why I designed an emotional space in the Obsidian Virtual Concept House that focuses on the vulnerable mindset of a Black overachiever that has to overreach to be accepted in their career. If you look back, there are great people who have invented life-changing products who are Black, but you may not know about them.”

Q. What do you look to for inspiration?

“Movies and set design that can make you laugh or cry. I love emotional design.”

Q. Which artists (older or contemporary) inspire you in your designs?

“I’m inspired by Fine Artists and architects from the French Art Deco period, as well as architects who design furniture. I’m also in love with the art of lighting. So, I love to follow lighting and neon artists.”

Photo by Alex Vertikoff

Photo by Alex Vertikoff

Q. What other forms of art (music, poetry) inspire you in your designs?

“Movies and Cinema that use filtered and colored lighting, music, as well as furniture that tells a person’s story.”

Q. Can you touch on what determines your own personal style specifically? And how often would you say it evolves?

“My style is polished, giving nod to the architects of the midcentury period (the 1920s-1960s) with a touch of whimsy, and yet stylish perspective. I started in commercial interiors and lighting design which honed my skills architecturally, then designed for Disney’s theme parks which helped me understand the details needed to pull on your heart.”

Linda also runs a blog on the philosophy of interior design where, besides her beautiful designs and delving into the reasons behind how we choose, you can discover how, as Linda puts it, “design is emotional”. The personal style and philosophies an interior designer brings to a table for your project, therefore, does matter and can make all the difference in creating a home that you really love. So, when it’s time for you to hire the perfect interior designer, it would be totally justified for you to ask about things outside of the typical interview-question list and really get to know the professional you’ll be working with.

Written by
Ani Mouradian

Written by Ani Mouradian