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February 24, 2011

Renovator, Painter Lu Samu Creates Paint Magic

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). 

Van Guard bedroom after 
 Master Bedroom Makeover

Van Guard bedroom before
 Master Bedroom Before 

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.

Nelson Ave Kitchen After 
 Kitchen Renovtation

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?

Fireplace before  
Fireplace Before

Fireplace after
Fireplace After

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. 

 Saratoga House Ext
Exterior Before

Saratoga House Ext After 
Exterior After

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.


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Oh, how lovely! The interior made it such a cozy place to live in. And with the exterior, it would be better if she played with colors a bit to have a livelier aura. And I guess some ornamental plants would be lovely!

such striking before's and afters. wow. Can't wait to see more

Nice! I really like the checkerboard kitchen wall...

Great article. I was first introduced to Lu's work 15 years ago and never tire of seeing her fabulous projects. Always so beautifully done and completely timeless. Truly a talet.

Lu has a genius for color and design that can elevate anything from the the lowliest to the sublime without the slightest hint of pretension in her work or personally. I'm looking forward to more Lu!

What a wonderful interview!! I am a huge fan of Lu's work, having fallen madly in love with the incredible renovation of her own home. Her taste and style are clean and absolutely flawless. Creative beauty at every turn. I truly admire her abilities and her vision. They are a gift, for sure!

nice job- love the fireplace mantle makeover.

Beautiful renovations!!! Can't wait to see more!

Lu is a columnist for the magazine I edit and seriously one of the most talented designers I know. Part of her appeal is that she is so down to earth and so able to do real design for real people.

Lucianna has become one of my favorite decorators who's attitude toward style is refreshing. Her artful eye has inspired me in many ways in my own business and I've shared her tips and techniques with customers from all over the world.
I look forward to each installment of her blog and each new book.

Wonderful post about a wonderful and tremendously talented woman! This article really sums up her personality and her renovation photos are always so inspirational. Thank you - I can't wait to see what Lu does next either!!

Thanks for the glimpse into Lu's rise to stardom!

Thanks Sonu, for your charming interpretation of my colorful adventures! My mother would be so proud:)

The fireplace is great - love the master bedroom color but the fireplace just really sings to me - thanks

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