Designer Lori McRae
Originally from Toronto, Canada, this Ryerson University alumni has spent the past 17 years advancing the design profession in Bermuda and Grand Cayman.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, this Ryerson University alumni has spent the past 17 years advancing the design profession in Bermuda and Grand Cayman. She has carved out a niche in the corporate and commercial industries providing her clients with creative and value added solutions. When not in her office, Frederick + McRae Ltd., the former President of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman can be found indulging in culinary adventures with family and foodie friends.
RL: Describe your design style and how it has evolved.
LMcR: I like clean lines and clutter-free spaces, which I try to incorporate into projects while capturing the identity and vision of my clients. Although my career philosophy has remained pretty consistent, it has adapted as new materials and furnishings have been introduced to the market.
Carey Olsen, Cricket Square
RL: What are the challenges of working in the Caribbean?
LMcR: Sourcing samples can be very challenging. If we’re lucky they might arrive within a few days, otherwise it can take weeks. This can really throw off a schedule. I also miss being able to take clients around to showrooms to "kick the tyres," particularly with seating. There's nothing like sitting in a chair.
Ernst & Young, Camana Bay
RL: What is the trickiest room or area to design?
LMcR: Boardrooms. There is usually a varied team of contractors involved to ensure the audiovisual equipment and data-communications are all coordinated with each other and the furnishings. If one of the contractors drops the ball, then the whole project can be impacted.
Silhouette Lingerie Store, Camana Bay
RL: How is interior design affected by new technologies?
LMcR: Technology continues to have an impact on furnishings, most noticeably on systems furniture design for the corporate office environment. Also, providing convenient electrical outlets for charging devices that have become part of our everyday life is critical.
The Discovery Centre, Camana Bay
RL: Of what achievement are you most proud?
LMcR: I still get excited to see my designs translate from paper to reality; however, starting up my own design firm with Architect Lyle Frederick in 2011 is the highlight of my career. On a personal level, my beautiful, creative daughter, Ally, makes me very proud.
RL: What inspires you today?
LMcR: I’m thrilled by the growing appreciation of good design in Grand Cayman. The Dart organisation raised the bar with Camana Bay, which is having an impact on design throughout the Island. My clients are becoming more aware of the importance of a well-designed space and understanding how that can translate into both cost savings and employee benefits.
RL: How can interior design be mindful of the environment?
LMcR: The specifications of recycled ‘green’ products has become standard practice for our interior projects. I was fortunate to have been involved with the Cayman Islands Government Accommodation Project, which achieved a Silver LEED rating – the first commercial building on the island to do so. All of these things contribute to raising awareness of good environmental practices.
To learn more visit: www.frederickmcrae.com
To get away from it all, I go to: My pilates class twice a week.
Favourite place to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, destination anywhere.
Ideal travel companion: Someone who is passionate about visiting new places to experience great food and wine. Fortunately, that’s my husband, Alan.
Top place to indulge in a lip-smacking meal: David Chang's Momofuku Ko in New York City. The tasting menu with pairings rates as my best culinary experience ever.
My suitcase must contain: A corkscrew.
Best kept secret: My age.
Lori's Top Five
1. Designer: Andrée Putman.
2. Furniture: Anything by Knoll Studio; classic design pieces that are timeless.
3. Artist: Local Cayman artist, Al Ebanks; international sculptor, Henry Moore.
4. Book: Most recently, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. An inspirational read, particularly for working mothers.
5. Music: Soundtrack from Out of Africa; Bob Marley; Coldplay.
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