once a di­lap­i­dated man­sion, Lu­cinda and Javier’s home in Ken­tucky has been rad­i­cally up­dated with a har­mo­nious mix of sleek mod­ern de­sign and time­less vin­tage pieces

Living Etc - - HOMES - Pho­tog­ra­phy ⁄ Gianni Franchel­lucci Words ⁄ Steven Ef­s­tathiou

If the idea of an Ital­ianate man­sion in Ken­tucky may seem in­con­gru­ous to many Euro­peans, the stun­ning in­te­rior of Lu­cinda Loya’s home in Louisville will leave them barely able to be­lieve their eyes. ‘I love to blend the un­ex­pected!’ says Lu­cinda, a shock-and-awe tac­tic that achieves its aim in spades. From the vast ex­panse of verre églomisé glass pan­els in the liv­ing room to the rich, con­tem­po­rary colour schemes and off­beat col­lec­tion of art and ac­ces­sories, Lu­cinda’s vision of cre­at­ing chic mod­ern de­sign within a grand pe­riod set­ting has been re­alised with ef­fort­less style and panache.

Not that there wasn’t a se­ri­ous amount of work in­volved. Lo­cated in the Chero­kee Tri­an­gle neigh­bour­hood in the city, the prop­erty, which dates back to 1875, was di­vided into five derelict apart­ments when Lu­cinda and her hus­band Javier first came to view it. ‘The build­ing’s char­ac­ter and his­tory re­ally drew our at­ten­tion,’ says Lu­cinda, who had spent much of her child­hood grow­ing up in Louisville. ‘We were look­ing for an older home to re­model as a project and this house was in some dis­re­pair, but much of the orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture and fix­tures were still in­tact, and a lot of the rest was sal­vage­able.’

Lu­cinda, whose fam­ily moved to Hous­ton, Texas, when she was 12, has al­ways had an in­de­pen­dent streak, not to men­tion a gritty sense of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion. So much so that she left home at the ten­der age of 17 in or­der to make her own way in the city. Hav­ing al­ready been em­ployed in a fab­ric store (where the dis­counted lines gave her the op­por­tu­nity to make prom dresses, which she then sold to her friends), Lu­cinda was inevitably struck by the in­te­ri­ors bug. ‘I started off by re­ar­rang­ing fur­ni­ture while babysit­ting as I sup­ported my­self,’ she says. ‘I took a hobby to the next level by get­ting busi­ness cards made and later en­rolled at The Art In­sti­tute of Hous­ton.’ Once she had met Javier, then a com­modi­ties bro­ker, Lu­cinda em­barked on re­vamp­ing his bach­e­lor pad, which, in turn, led to more com­mis­sions from his col­leagues and friends.

Now, her ex­per­tise is such that she has a ros­ter of top-end pri­vate and com­mer­cial clients, each ea­ger to have the Loya magic sprin­kled over their spa­ces. With her stu­dio based in Hous­ton, Lu­cinda and her hus­band were drawn back to Louisville not only be­cause it was the place where she was raised, but also be­cause the pair are keen fans of horse rac­ing – the Ken­tucky Derby in par­tic­u­lar, which they like to come and watch ev­ery year. The ex­pan­sive man­sion is the ideal place to host fam­ily and friends, and also pro­vides a won­der­ful set­ting for phil­an­thropic soirées. ‘It’s de­signed with en­ter­tain­ing in mind,’ says Lu­cinda, ‘and is a happy, nostal­gic re­treat, which we love to share.’

It’s also, of course, a fab­u­lous show­case for her dec­o­rat­ing ideas, which – Lu­cinda would have us be­lieve – re­sult from ‘or­gan­ised chaos’. ‘I adore any­one who thinks out­side of the box and is will­ing to take chances, such as Parisian fash­ion house Mai­son Margiela’s “clas­sic-with-a-twist” ap­proach,’ she says. She’s also a devo­tee of Eu­ro­pean in­te­rior de­sign and spends much of her time vis­it­ing the an­nual fairs and fur­ni­ture shows. ‘I find so much inspiration on my trav­els,’ Lu­cinda says. ‘I stay cur­rent by at­tend­ing in­dus­try fairs such as Salone del Mo­bile in Mi­lan and Mai­son&ob­jet and Mai­son Paris Déco Off, as well as High Point Mar­ket here in North Carolina. I also fre­quent the art fairs in Mi­ami dur­ing Art Basel and the Ar­mory Shows in New York – I love both art and fash­ion!

‘Mod­ern Eu­ro­pean is a huge in­flu­ence on my de­signs, be­cause I like us­ing an­tiq­ui­ties and art from all over the world,’ she con­tin­ues. ‘My style is eclec­tic and can lean to­wards mod­ern, con­tem­po­rary and even tran­si­tional, along with any­thing in be­tween. What mat­ters most to me is that each project re­mains unique. Oth­ers may con­fuse mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary, but know­ing the dif­fer­ence is key to cre­at­ing a time­less aes­thetic…’

But what of this ‘or­gan­ised chaos’? Lu­cinda’s home looks any­thing but dis­or­gan­ised and ran­dom. What could she pos­si­bly mean? ‘If you don’t limit your­self, any­thing is pos­si­ble,’ says Lu­cinda. ‘Like a sym­phony, ev­ery­thing will come to­gether as long as you stay true to your ideals.’ Mu­sic for the soul, then, and a heav­enly cho­rus that makes your heart soar. We think that de­scribes Lu­cinda’s epic in­te­ri­ors pitch-per­fectly.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Lu­cinda’s in­te­rior de­sign work, visit lu­cin­daloy­ain­te­ri­

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