International WoodTrends Influencing Architecture and Interior DesignSummer 2012

Celebrity Los Angeles Interior Designer Lori Dennis International Wood Logo


Summer 2012

Celebrity Los Angeles Interior Designer Lori Dennis International Wood Celebrity Los Angeles Interior Designer Lori Dennis International Wood

There is an idea that architects build a house and interior designers fill it, and in the words of Rudyard Kipling, “never the twain shall never meet.”

The fact is that customers want their homes to flow smoothly from drafting all the way to interior design requiring architects and designers to work together on specifications.  

That is not to say the process is always smooth.  An architect and a designer may conceptualize a space very differently and both those visions may clash with what the owner wants or needs. However, the harmony the harmony that eventually results can produce magazine worthy space, examples of which are showcased throughout International Wood.

Both our interior designer and architect were quick to note the place wood has in their work.  In looking at their portfolios you can easily see how wood blends in with the spaces they have created.  So whether it’s a reclaimed dining room table or mahogany floor, wood is appreciated by designers and architects alike, and it unites their professions in the creation of beautiful spaces.

Interior Designer Lori Dennis ASID, LEED AP

Designers often get the short end of the stick, sometimes derided as mere decorators. But they are in fact the glue that holds a space together.  What use is a beautiful space with exposed beams if there isn’t a sense of flow in the furniture as the client walk through? A designer does not just throw a few pillows on a couch or change the drapes; they dig deep into how the space will be used and create a harmonious intersection of beauty and practicality for the client.  Lori Dennis is a multiple, award winning interior designer who has appeared in magazines, websites and television screens throughout the world, and she knows the value of wood in her design. “Anegre is also hot right now and we will continue to see more of it in case goods and built ins for home offices, libraries and media rooms.”

Q: Lori, what wood do you specify most often? Why?

LD: I love using reclaimed woods.  Right now I’m a huge fan of French oak in herringbone pattern for floors.  It adds elegance to a room.  I’m also using a ton of Ipe because so much of my work is indoor-outdoor in Southern California. Ipe really stands up to the climate.


Q: What woods do you see as growing in popularity in the future and why?

Rosewood is coming back in a big way. I attribute its popularity to the interest in Mid-Century Modern furniture. The award-winning show Mad Men has had a lot of influences on this style’s resurgence, affecting everything from clothing to music to furniture.  Anegre is also hot right now and we will continue to see more of it in case goods and built ins for home offices, libraries and media rooms.


Q: What do you find are the easiest wood to work with? Which are more difficult?

A floor with a Greek key inlaid border or a herringbone pattern is more difficult to install than straight 8’  plank.  I also get of lot of complaints from my installers that Ipe is difficult to work with because of the density.  True, it is one of the densest woods in the world, which is why I only hire installers who know how to work with this wood.  It just takes more pre-planning.


Q: What do you do if your client selects woods that conflict with your vision?

I guess I’m lucky because my customers usually listen to my ideas about a cohesive vision and agree with me in the end.  It’s all about educating them on the materials and making sure they understand what works stylistically.


Q:  What do you do if  the materials specified by the architect conflict with your vision?  

There’s sort of a sibling rivalry between architects and interior designers.  In many cases, they both push for their ways.  When I’m working with an architect I really try to understand the vision of the architect and go with it if I can.  An integral key to the way I design is to make sure the interiors flow with the architecture.  Hopefully you get to work with great architects with impeccable style.


Q: For the majority of your projects, what stage of the design process are you brought into?

Generally, I am brought in at the initial stages. I will often aid in hiring an architect.


Q: Are there any online resources you find very useful when selecting which types of woods are best suited to a project?

When it comes to materials I like to see, touch and smell.  I rely heavily on trusted advisors from showrooms. But I can certainly research the quality, price and orgin on the Internet.