For over ten years, Lisa Carrier has been bringing new light (literally) into a slew of celebrity homes. Once an interior designer, the California-based artist parlayed her love of decorating into a successful home décor company. Today, her handmade candles are the beacon of this business, known for their ornate embellishments and gothic-inspired designs. Here, we sat down with the candlemaker to talk travel, scents, and even Cher.
Rue La La: Having Cher as your first candle client is a pretty A-list start. How did that come about?
Lisa: I had handpainted some ancient Latin and gothic tapestries on canvas for wall hangings for her, and I found these beautiful antique rosary crosses to put on pillars. It was a very unique present, just like Cher herself. I’m a big fan. Some of my celebrity clientele includes Barbara Streisand, Christina Aguilera, Oprah, Tommy Lee, and numerous others.
Rue La La: We’ve heard you find inspiration in ancient treasures, temples, castles, and cathedrals.
Lisa: I started traveling to Europe at age 16. I saw my very first castle in Bavaria and was hooked! Paris is my favorite so far, but next week I’m visiting London for the first time, so I’m incredibly excited. My dream is to travel to Morocco, Turkey, Marrakech, Dubai, and especially India. Ancient lands with temples, gorgeous architecture, textiles, oils – all these things stimulate my creativity.
Rue La La: We’re dying to know: What’s inspiring you right now?
Lisa: At the moment, I’m in love with anything gothic, medieval, and Moorish. I was so influenced by the Cathedrals of Paris, the palace of Versailles, and the Notre Dame Cathedral – every corner had beautiful candelabras, incense burners, gilded statures, and chalices. They’re all ancient relics from a time gone by but to this day they are still very magical pieces of art to me.
Rue La La: If you had to choose one scent to smell for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Lisa: That’s easy – sandalwood! It’s beyond my favorite. I love dark, mysterious scents and exotic, rich fragrances. Sandalwood is used as a base for incense and is the most-used scent in cathedrals, temples, and other holy places.
Rue La La: You were an interior designer in another life, right?
Lisa: I did everything from interior decorating to mural work and painted wall finishes. I still try to make time for small projects for some of my loyal clients, such as doing a tapestry or painting a beautiful wall. In my own home I love to change things around every season. I like to freshen up for spring by changing up my throw pillows to a lighter palette and then switching out all the items on my mantel and table top for a more dramatic fall look. It’s fun to even just rearrange things and add a new eclectic find from an estate sale. My last big project was a very famous recording studio. It was very fun and very dramatic – Carlos Santana was recording there at the time.
Rue La La: Where is your favorite, unexpected space to place candles?
Lisa: I have a big rock wall on my hillside with lots of little nooks and I put a big Buddha with vines and candles all over the rock wall. I also love placing them all over my art studio for inspiration.
Rue La La: Candles make great gifts for people – besides your own fragrant designs, what’s your go-to gift for friends?
Lisa: Goodies I find along the way. Great chocolates, charms, jewelry from unique places, and little boxes. I love little boxes you can stash some sweets in as a gift. I also love to give anything old. I find that most people love to receive something with a little history.
Our Lisa Carrier Designs Boutique opens today, September 7, 2011 at 11AM ET.