Faces in the Office: Meet Luly


Happy holidays everyone! This week, we’re featuring one of our principals, Lourdes “Luly” Melarti. Luly is a founding member and principal of Terracotta and we owe so much to her eye for detail and thoughtful guidance. Read on to find out more about Luly and learn a bit more about Terracotta as well.


RP: It’s great to chat with you, Luly! Let’s start at the beginning, where did you grow up?

LM: Miami, Forida.

RP: And were you always interested in design?

LM: I would say that I became interested in design when I was a teenager. I had a knack for drawing and always spent my time sketching whatever I could. I drove my mom crazy sketching up dresses that I would then have made. I still have some of those dresses in my closet. On the other hand I was also good at math was drawn to problem solving. Architecture and design became a way to marry these skills in a very creative way. And today I still find myself drawing, calculating and creating on a daily basis.

RP: So great! How did you and Ili meet and decide to go into business together?

LM: We met freshman year at Georgia Tech in the architecture program and became instant friends and eventually roommates. We remained close throughout the years and spent a lot of time together. At some point, we each had children, left our jobs and started separate companies. As we started to compare notes on each other’s work, we realized that we were both doing the same thing and it would be much better (and not to mention more fun) to be working together! Shortly after, we started Terracotta and never looked back. We each have different skill sets and strengths that we bring to the company and it has really served us well through the years. Plus I get to come in and work every day with my best friend – how great is that!




RP:  What a great story. Who are some of your design heroes?

LM: I have always been drawn to the classic modernists like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. They truly challenged the traditional world of design and made a lasting impact on what we think of as modern. They were also able to think and design at different scales from urban planning to furniture. Zaha Hadid is also an inspiration for how she lit the world on fire when she came into the design scene and I think she will continue to have a legacy on design for years to come. A lesser known designer who I think is very inspiring is Patricia Urquiola. She is a Spanish designer who has collaborated in every area of design. She has an extraordinary ability to impart her unique yet simple design style all types of work.

RP: How would you describe your personal style?

LM: Simple, minimalist and modern. I definitely believe that less is more when it comes to design. I am personally drawn to the Scandanavian design aesthetic where the inclusion of natural light and materials as well as an elegant simplicity play a very important role in everything.

RP: Tell us about your family and life in New Jersey.

LM: I am a Floridian at heart so it has taken me a while to get use the cold in the northeast. However, my family loves it. Living in a colder climate has given us access to outdoor activities that we did not have in the south. We also live very close to New York City, so I consider the cold a small trade off for being so close to “the city”. From a design and cultural perspective, NYC has so much to offer and we get to take advantage of it all. In addition, my family life is pretty full as well. I share my life with my husband, three children and our cocker spaniel (the newest member of our family). Our children are very involved in activities that they enjoy which translates to us constantly participating in swim meets, crew regattas, soccer tournaments, music concerts, camping, hiking, skiing, traveling and most recently, sailing.

RP: What is your dream project?

LM: It’s hard to decide. I am torn between a house built on a cliff overlooking the ocean or an estate on a vineyard.

RP: And last but not least, what’s your favorite color?

LM: That one’s easy – black!


Thanks, Luly! It’s great to hear more about your inspiration and the origins of Terracotta as well. For more on the Terracotta team, check out our features on Kirstin, Katelyn, and Nicole. We hope everyone has a beautiful holiday and gets a little rest and relaxation this week with the ones you love.

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