The first thing I learned about Lucianna Samu is that she played hookie a bit as a child. Well, it was parentally sanctioned hookie. Her mom often kept her home to help her with decor projects around the house.
With beginnings like that, how could Lu be anything but inspired to become a "serial renovator"?
As an adult, Lu expanded her passions when she met man who is, today, her husband of twenty five years, Mark. Exposure to new design ideas with Mark, an established photographer, opened the creative door again for Lu and she began to experiment with paint. Her hobby turned into a career quickly. "I learned faux techniques, I took courses, I eventually worked with the best of the best and I learned a great deal!" she says.
And she was in love (with both Mark and with the art of painting).
Soon enough, the magazines started calling Lu to create vignettes that told the design and color stories du jour. Lu says her house "became a factory of design for magazines." Eventually, she realized she could also be pouring her talents into redesigning her own house, too.
Her exploration of creative methods coupled with her natural affinity towards precision and order have led her to be very successful with the architectural and designer set. Over the last 10 years, Lu and her family have renovated 6 houses!
Lu's attitude is just right for these projects. She has the vision to imagine the possibilities, the gumption (yes, gumption) to get the project underway, and the belief that she can always make it work. Nice perspective to have in any life situation, don't you think?
Specifically, I love that Lu integrates the environmental aspects of design into her work seamlessly. Rather than tearing down beautiful (yet bruised) old houses, she helps to rehabilitate them, preserving a little bit of American history through design and promoting the ideas of reuse and recycling materials.
While Lu has won two Sub-Zero awards for kitchen design, been featured in many magazines, and published three books on the topics of color and design, her way of thinking is what's most resounding to me. Simply put, Lu believes that "really great design is not precluded by lack of budget."
I couldn't agree more.
Lu is currently contemplating her ideas of color for the walls of her home. I wonder what she'll come up with next! Check back in when we explore her newest project...
All photos used in this post are courtesy of photographer Mark Samu.
Read more about Lu Samu at Benjamin Moore's Expert Exchange.