Fabric of Family
Home and travel inspire sister designers' textile and wallpaper company
Colors both vibrant and delicate pop from every direction in House of Harris, with design samples lining walls and idea boards at the high-end fabric and wallpaper company.
“The textile piece of it is so tactile, and it brings a lot of beauty into a space,” says interior designer LIZ HARRIS CARROLL. “It can be bold and bright, or it can be subtle and natural.”
Carroll co-founded House of Harris (houseofharris.com) in 2017 with her sister, interior designer CHARLOTTE HARRIS LUCAS.
They run the company out of Carroll’s Wilmington business, Liz Carroll Interiors.
Carroll (above) and Lucas – who runs Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte – work with U.S. fabric and wallpaper companies to manufacture their design products.
The sisters have spent years attending design markets and exploring furniture, textiles, and wall coverings, Lucas says.
“Liz and I are very complementary of each other in regard to how we work,” Lucas says. “I went to design school, and she went to business school.”
Carroll is the big sister, and Lucas is the middle sister. (Their youngest sister, TEENY HARRIS MORRISON, is an interior designer and photographer in Charleston.)
The Harrises grew up in several cities throughout North Carolina while their father, Andy, worked for Coca-Cola. Their mother, Sherry, is a designer.
“Our mom was so skilled at quickly getting in a house and making it feel like a home,” Carroll says. “She wanted us to feel acclimated. I think she did a really good job of instilling that in us and setting an example.”
The sisters’ shared passion for design led to House of Harris, which the Greater Wilmington Business Journal recognized with a 2021 MADE award in the arts category.
“We said this would be a really fun way and a creative outlet for us to express a story and something that we love and a narrative,” Carroll says.
Carroll and Lucas created their first House of Harris line after a market trip to Paris.
“We were inspired by a lot of the beauty,” Lucas recalls. “In Paris, we would attend the flea markets there, where there’s beautiful vintage and antique textile markets.”
“On the plane when everyone was sleeping, she and I got coffee and Diet Coke and drew the whole line,” Carroll says.
House of Harris’ first two collections are Avenue and Destination, and design names come from streets they lived on or streets with cherished memories. Designs are personal – some include sketches and influences from Carroll’s artist father-in-law, BOB CARROLL, who passed away in 2020. “Vanderbilt” has his pen-drawn watercolor floral design, and “Essex” is partly inspired by his interest in pinstriping cars.
Inspiration also came from the nostalgia of growing up in North Carolina, Lucas says.
“With some of the florals and some of the geometric patterns, there were pictures of things that we saw back home or florals that are native to North Carolina,” Lucas says, adding they reinvented them in a more modern manner for the collection.
Personal design styles are different, the sisters agree.
“We use a lot of color and lot of pattern and mixture of textures and materials and wall coverings,” Lucas says of her Charlotte business, adding that for Carroll, “She’s much more coastal casual and uses more muted colors and blues and greens and sandy colors.”
“Charlotte uses a lot of vintage pieces, antique pieces; she definitely has a more bold and colorful aesthetic,” Carroll says. “I tend to lean toward more neutrals, lighter colors, a little bit calmer maybe.”
Merging styles has never been a problem, they say, and it helps provide a broader appeal.
“Liz and I work so well together,” Lucas says. “We have such a great respect for each other.”
While the pandemic has made supply chain issues more challenging, demand for business has grown, Carroll says.
“People have been home, in their houses, and so they realize that they really want to make an investment in the space that they’re in,” Carroll says. “They want to love where they live.”
Carroll looks forward to seeing their designs continue to grow in depth, and she says wallpaper is having a moment as people are ready for color and pattern. Lucas says House of Harris plans to release more mural wallpaper designs after the success of their Hillside hand-painted trees pattern.
Working together and seeing their designs in projects are among the rewards for Carroll and Lucas.
“It’s really been so much fun to work with my sister and really exciting to be able to actually produce something in a creative way,” Carroll says.
“You get designers all over the country using our products in different ways,” Lucas says. “It’s amazing to see how their visions come to life.”
To view more of photographer Stephanie Savas’ work, go to stephaniesavasphotography.com
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