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Our guest Lisa Aiken is the founder of Terra Firma Design and she gives us a glimpse what it is like being a designer and why she specializes in terrace designs. Lisa shares several tips on what you should do if you are thinking about starting your own interior design business.

Guest Bio:

Lisa Aiken founder of Terra Firma Design began a new venture in her life in 2001.  She opened a store located in Bloor West Village in Toronto.  The store was soon recognized as being unique and featured on City Line.

A natural transition was to include interior design which has now become a major part of her business.  Terra Firma Design is known very well in Toronto for renovations throughout the city and building onto existing condo terraces and in gardens.

In 2006 her first terrace was completed in Yorkville.  It has been photographed and featured in magazines across Canada and Europe.  It is about to become part of a prestigious hard cover book featuring some of the finest designs internationally.

Today, 2019, Lisa has a wonderful and talented team who have been at her side for many years. A true sign of success and it continues to grow.


3:50 – Lisa shares that opening a store was by chance and for a reason.

4:45- Hear how Lisa got her first terrace project in Yorkville that is still being used in magazines today.

5:25- Lisa tells us about how her designs were unique.


6:15 – This is where Lisa explains her niche and how it is changing.

7:55 – Penny asks Lisa about her niche and how she decided to get into it.

9:25- Lisa shares how her partner that is a contractor taught her about business.


9:59 – Difference between a designer and a decorator.  A list of skills is listed particularly for condo projects. Lisa mentions all kinds of restrictions when designing a terrace.

15:05- Conversation continues about terraces and how important lighting for a terrace.


18:56 – Penny asks Lisa what she would suggest to someone that wants to become a designer.  Her first suggestion is having a passion and a love for what you do.  Work with a designer to get a better understanding what a designer does daily. Plus, the importance of having great people skills.

23:17- How TV design shows make it look so easy but its not.

23:48- Discussion on bookkeeping, pricing and employees.

26:56- Conversation about how important the contractors/ trades are for all projects.


32:05- Finding your ideal client base gives you a better insight and takes you to another level.  Penny explains why she worked with Lisa to have a better understanding of her ideal client.

35:50- When is the best time to hire someone to help you with a marketing strategy. Also, how being featured in a magazine can help business.

41:11- The people that you surround yourself with can make your project more successful. Put yourself in your clients shoes.

42:30 – Lisa’s message to all women is …..just do it!!

How to connect to Lisa:


Follow Lisa on Instagram- terrafirmadesign_lisa

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