There are several
things that set LMNO Arts apart from the run-of-the-mill landscape
or art business. Exclusivity is one of them. Scott Lindberg and
Cristie Thomas, the artistic power couple who are LMNO, run their
company more like a private art club than a public business-relying
mostly on word of mouth for business, and then scrupulously screening
clients before working with them.
open to the public; rather their large gallery of architectural
and sculptural home and garden ornaments, which is also the backyard
of their Aptos home, is viewable by appointment only for potential
clients. Lindberg and Thomas require that these visitors come prepared.
"We give them some homework to do to make sure they are actually
ready to sit down and design," says Thomas. "We ask them
to bring photographs of the site from all directions, and any photographs
or ideas of other things they like, to give us an idea of who they
are and of their style." This preliminary process may seem
arduous at first, but it is the special ingredient to LMNO's success:
working with clients who are "the right fit" allows the
artists to create a truly customized, perfect piece.
The two have
become experts at determining people's styles in order to achieve
this. They use the photographs the client brings in (of anything
from their personal art collection or interior decorating to quilts
or magazine cut-outs) and take in their style of dress, the car
they drive, and whatever other things they can. After drawing a
plan with the client, they then ask for complete trust and go from
there-using metal, wood, concrete, and glass to create a one-of-a-kind
bench, arbor, railing, awning, birdbath, or any number of items
from their repertoire. "We want to make something that fits
their lifestyle and also the architecture of their surroundings,"
say they have never made the same thing twice (even with fences
and gates, which are their most frequent requests), some jobs are
more adventurous than others. Their last project was a 50-by-2-foot
'House Necklace' for a woman who wanted a decorative, exterior piece
to go between the first and second stories of her home. Not only
was it an unconventional artistic endeavor, but the woman was also
a perfect client to work with, helping Lindberg and Thomas to reach
the best outcome. "The House Necklace client was ideal: adventuresome,
creative, trusting," says Lindberg. "She had no problem
telling us 'I don't like that, I like that.'"
that was huge," adds Thomas, finishing her partner's thought.
"She was also really positive and excited about everything."
Lindberg and Thomas consider themselves artists first, and a business
second. They started out as artists working in separate mediums,
and moved into pottery after meeting. They operated in in the realm
of ceramics from the '70s until the early '90s, when the itch for
a career change became an inescapable pull, leading to the formation
of LMNO Arts.
physical intensity of working with metal (and sometimes large-scale
structures) can be wearing, they have found happiness in working
on a personal level with clients on a project-to-project basis.
“It’s fun to give people something special, and help them realize
a dream they’ve had, sometimes, for a long time,” says Thomas. “It
personalizes the home, and takes it to a whole other level of interest.”
LMNO Arts will
be participating in Open Studios this fall, open to the public for
the only time this year. For more information on the company, visit