Thomas sat down with Match to give an inside look at this in-demand designer!
Match: What is your design niche?
TL: Luxury, high end homes, custom condos and penthouses.
Match: How do you describe your work?
TL: Distinctly original with classical precedences, whether that is applied to traditional or contemporary design.
Match: Who or what is your inspiration?
TL: There are several inspirations, but I would say that I have always admired John Portman, an Atlanta-based architect and developer. He has had the luxury of developing his own ideas, something I have recently begun. He is the person who popularized the open atrium spaces used in the Hyatt Regency hotels throughout the world. The level and scale at which he does business has always been something I have aspired to achieve.
Match: What is your proudest professional achievement?
TL: Reflecting on all my past projects, it would be hard to say. There is not a singular achievement that I’m more proud of than another, but there is a point at the completion of every project that gives me a great sense of accomplishment. For me, there is no greater feeling in the world than standing in front of, or in something I’ve designed and hearing people praise it.
Match: What do you want other people to say about your work?
Match: What is your favorite part of your job?
TL: The kudos once a project is complete are great, but I also do enjoy the design process, however, my own impatience leads me to say that I like the completion of the process best, and my clients are able to take possession and finally move in.
Match: Do you have a credo?
TL: Quality over quantity! I’d rather see someone live in a smaller space, done extremely well, than a larger space, where they were forced to compromise.
Match: What is your favorite color?
TL: Purple. Even though it’s not used very often in anything I do!
Match: What would be your ultimate dream project?
TL: Every designer, architect, or otherwise, has ambitions of doing some iconic and well-known structure like the Freedom Tower in Manhattan. But I’ve always had a bent towards residential architecture and design, so I would have to say that I would love to be involved in designing something for an estate on the scale of Viscaya in Miami or Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach.
Match: What are three words that best describe a home?
TL: Comfortable. Welcoming. Proportionate.
Match: What does your home look like?
TL: It’s the shoemaker’s shoe syndrome. I’m always in between residences. I have had several different condos under construction that I have designed and then received offers to buy them before I can move in! I usually end up living in the back of my office. But I currently have a penthouse under construction in Tampa’s Channelside district. And to prevent my usual tendency of selling my own place where it is near completion, I have purchased several units in the building for investment. So maybe, if I’m tempted to sell, I have several chances to sell and still keep one for me!
Match: Would you rather take an old, existing home and renovate it, or build completely new and create it from nothing?
TL: I prefer new. When I take an existing home, if it is something of historical significance, or a good example of a specific architectural style, it is not so much the creative mind working as it is the historic mind working. You have to do all the research to make sure all of the details are accurate. Now, taking an older structure with no historic or architectural significance and turning it into something that is architecturally correct, and therefore much more aesthetically pleasing, is something I also enjoy, but I would have to say that I prefer starting from scratch.
Match: If you didn’t do this for a living, what would you do?
TL: Most people don’t know this, but when I was an undergraduate at Notre Dame, I also completed all the pre-professional requirements for medical school. I actually toyed around with the idea of becoming a plastic surgeon as it seemed like the only field of medicine that involved some creative license!