Lime Design Makes Performance a Priority
As the owner of commercial design firm Lime Design, Lisa Boltz knows that pretty is as pretty does. We talked with her about the importance of finding materials that look luxurious but can also stand up to heavy use and even abuse—a sweet spot she’s always seeking for her projects in health care, hospitality, and senior living.
What are some surprising places you look for inspiration?
Honestly, I’m always looking for inspiration because you never know from moment to moment when something might present itself.
You’ve owned your own design firm for nearly 13 years now, what do you wish you would have known before starting out?
I had the benefit of working at a small firm for many years before I started Lime Design and pretty much knew what I was getting into. I would encourage anyone starting their own business to have a plan for bookkeeping, taxes, etc. It’s definitely the “not fun” part of the business, but unavoidable, nonetheless.
Where do you think the design industry still has room to grow?
I expect the continuation of technologies that will improve product performance and appearance.
Does creativity “strike” you? Or is it more of a deliberate process?
I suppose it’s more of a strike process that comes after time spent looking for it. For me, many projects evolve from a certain carpet, a beautiful tile, a color combination in a photo, etc.
Last new thing you learned, go!
Charcoal in hand soap looks good until you use it. Then it becomes very messy and unattractive.
Commercial design is your specialty, specifically healthcare and hospitality environments—how do these differ from residential spaces? Do you ever feel like shaking it up and working outside of your niche?
The big difference is the resources. Some cross over, but many do not. I’ve been taught to think about the worst-case scenario and find materials that hold up to high-abuse situations. Many commercial products could be used, but are they the best choice? That being said, visually, senior living is actually residential design in many regards because it is home for the residents.
I’m not opposed to working outside of my niche but juggle that with the desire to be the most qualified designer I can be for my clients. I don’t want them to be subject to my learning curve if it’s an area I’m less experienced in.
You often specify solid surface for your designs, what features of the material work so well for your particular focus?
The ease of maintenance and the perceived element of luxury it can give.
Have you ever had a total “crash and burn” project? If so, what did you learn from the process?
My “worst” project was a government project where the owner was forced to hire an interiors person (me) despite there being one from the government who would drive the project (unbeknownst to me until later). The owner didn’t want to know me and showed no respect for my position, my contributions, or time spent on it. What I learned was not to take a project like that again OR be very upfront about the reality of it and write my contract accordingly. Always make sure you know who is signing your contract.
Any exciting new projects on the horizon?
They’re all exciting!