We spent the afternoon at the home of Los Angeles furniture and interior designer Liza Reyes, a dear friend and maker of the most perfect wooden stool I have ever owned. As a third-generation Californian, Liza’s design ethos is rooted in both her Mexican heritage and a childhood spent exploring nature. These inspirations provided her with a deep connection to hand-crafted objects and textiles, as well as raw and natural materials.
Today, we’re celebrating Liza’s new handcrafted home designs - the perfect stools, candle stick holders and cutting boards - being released under her new company, Flor de Higo. Read on to meet the fabulous Liza and then grab a stool fast, they go quick!
Q: I love the name Flor de Higo! What is the significance of its meaning?
A: It means fig flower. I love figs. I had a giant tree at my favorite house growing up. It was huge and felt like a giant, ancient friend. A fig is actually an inverted flower. People think fig trees don’t flower but the fig is actually the flower all seamed up. The perfect symbol for an introvert like me. Ha!
Q: How did the environment and community you grew up in inspire your design philosophy?
A: I am Mexican American and I experience much of my life, including design, through that lens. I grew up in Central California in the 1980’s, as an only child, raised by my grandparents who allowed me the freedom to discover myself and explore the outdoors. There were vineyards and trees and elderly neighbors who only spoke Spanish. The tiny town, Easton, where I grew up was made up of many family owned farms which made for an interesting group of cultures. My school friends were Japanese, Armenian, Sikh, and Mexican. I look back at those childhood experiences, which no one would have envied at the time, and feel so lucky. I still hold that connection with nature, culture and trusting myself.
My upbringing and Mexican-American culture is probably most visible through the materiality, source material and my appreciation of craftsmanship. I love how a person imparts some of their energy through their hands when they make something. As an Interior Designer in LA, I get to work with some of the most talented craftspeople in the world, who almost all happen to be LatinX - from furniture, to draperies, to construction, to making lighting fixtures, to sewing pillows, I could go on and on.
Q: You know I'm obsessed with your stools, I’ve had one next to my bed as a book and tea holder for years. Why do you think stools are such great pieces for the home?
A: It means so much to me that you’ve kept those early pieces. I remember texting you when I got home from the farmers market that first day I had the idea of making a series of stools based on mushroom shapes. Flor de Higo is going to release the stool I made for you as our next product. You have the prototype!
I like using stools as furniture in the homes I design. Some of my favorite designers like Charlotte Perriand, Luis Barragan, Roy McMakin, William Haynes, and Jean Royer designed gorgeous stools as part of their practice. They add a little touch of something unexpected while still being utilitarian. Stools are often the hard working beauty in the room - acting as a side table or extra seating where needed. They are especially great to have around for entertaining!
Q: You’re an extremely talented interior designer as well as furniture designer. Which came first and how did you blossom into the other?
A: Well, that is very generous of you to say. I do love working on interiors and the furniture design goes hand in hand with my practice. My husband and I have always designed furniture together for our own homes. When I began doing interiors it was natural to design pieces for my client’s homes. I often can’t find the piece or frankly, don’t have the budget for what I envision in the space. I have a small practice so I get to really spend time with my clients and work on all the details together, including making custom pieces of all kinds, not just furniture. I worked with Commune Design for many years and learned so much not only about design and an incredible array of designers, but also to approach projects as a collaborative effort with craftspeople.
Q: Your cutting boards always sold out on the first day of the Echo Park Craft Fair. Where can people get one now?
A: I miss those days! Stools are available at the Flor de Higo website and you can follow us on instagram to keep up with new design offerings. I hope to keep adding pieces as time allows. My interior design business has its own website and instagram as well.
Thank you for taking an interest in my work, Rachel! Your curiosity about everyone and everything around you is one of my favorite things about you.