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So Canadian, eh? : DwellStudio - Christiane Lemieux

June 5, 2011


I was speechless when this week's guest agreed to be interviewed! After getting over my initial shock I sent off my list of questions, giddy with excitement!

Let me introduce you to a fabulous Canadian {a tidbit that maybe some of you didn't know}  Christiane Lemieux, the founder and creative director of DwellStudio, the rising star in home decor. DwellStudio is an internationally recognized home decor brand. This company has captured a niche in the home decor market bringing home owners and designers fresh, modern and innovative designs not only in fabrics but in linens, furniture and accessories. 



Christiane is 



Being a fabric addict, I especially love DwellStudio fabric. 
Most recently I purchased this:


and hope to purchase this:


On my bed I have this:




DwellStudio not only creates delicious fabrics but they carry everything from stationary to custom headboards!

Let me show you a few of my favourites from DwellStudio.



A puzzle perhaps?

Now you can have DwellStudio patterns on your wall!


Custom glider for your nursery?



Christiane has also delved into the publishing world by penning the book Undecorate, filled with a collection of awe inspiring images of amazing interiors.


Even Christiane's loft she shares with her husband and 2 children is uber fabulous!




Photos: Canadian House and Home


So without further adieu let me warmly welcome Christiane to my blog!



First off – Thanks for having me as a guest and I am always thrilled and proud to do the Canadian thing!!!
Here you go...



What is your background, tell us a bit about yourself, where you creative as a child? What prompted you to study art history and then fashion design?


I am Canadian from Ottawa which is a pretty idyllic place to grow up – frozen canals for skating, beautiful parks for hiking, world class museums and  truly bilingual schooling. My parents were also very big travelers. I got to see a lot of the world growing up. I think that made me appreciate design, interiors, art and travel too.  All of this is part of my DNA and I think it has informed my design.  I was also very focused on art and drawing as a child.  I always knew what I was going to do. I wanted to go to Design School after High School but my parents insisted that I get an undergraduate degree first.  I went to Queens in Kingston and studied Art History.  In retrospect – I am very happy that I did. I got a great education and l learned not only Art History and the historical context for design and art but I also learned how to research and write which came in handy for the book. When I graduated my parents understood that I was still very serious about design school so I went to Parsons School of Design in New York. I really love Fashion, Trend, Surface Design so I chose Fashion as a major.  I think all design is pretty interrelated and these days as a designer you actually need to be pretty multidisciplinary. I am glad I studied fashion because I learned surface design, construction, textiles, color and form.  All of these things can be applied to furniture design, product design and graphic design too. These days more than every the lines between fashion and home are blurred so my fashion background has given me an advantage.


You studied fashion design, what made you decided to foray into the world of home accessories and bedding design? What did you do before you created and founded DwellStudio?  

When I left Parsons I went to work for two companies – the first was Isaac Mizrahi where I worked in the fabric department.  I learned so much about construction, amazing European textile manufacturing, design and color.  It was am immersion into the best fabric mills in the world. I also wanted to try something big, so I also worked at the Gap.  That was also a formative experience. At that time the Gap was run by Mickey Drexler and was a well oiled machine.  I learned not only design but process, manufacturing and most importantly merchandizing. While at the Gap I got the opportunity to go and work at a home furnishings company in New York called Portico.  I was given carte blanche to design everything from soap to sofas. I just fell in love with interiors. In a way – I feel like we design and redesign our interiors today – the same way we think about fashion.  We are constantly tweaking our spaces.


Your company has created a fresh, unique and hugely popular home soft furnishings and stationary line, where do you find inspiration for your designs?



My inspiration comes from all over the place – travel, art galleries, flea markets, my children, hotels...everywhere really.  I just file things away in my brain and they all meld together in my mental blender and the result is our collections. I think being in New York has decided advantages in that you get to see emerging trends first. I just keep my eyes open.


You have a new book out "Undecorate"; tell us a little bit about it. Where did the idea/inspiration come for it?



Undecorate is really the celebration of a movement I see emerging in Interior Design.  Because of the advent of the internet and design blogs – we are sharing information, our spaces – inviting each other over virtually.  The result is we get to see amazing personal spaces that defy the rules of design. I get really inspired by these original ideas.  The book is a tribute to that. I was inspired to write about and substantiate it as a legitimate design style.  There is nothing formulaic or staid about these homes. The owners live with what they love and the result is amazing and inspiring.

 


You love to travel, where is your favourite place to visit, or is there a place you are dreaming of visiting?



I am now preoccupied with traveling with my family.  I am trying to get over the fear of long-haul flights. I have to be in Vietnam in July for work and I am thinking of bringing the whole crew.  I am a little scared of the flight with two young kids but how bad can it really be? I dream of visiting Laos and Bhurma as well.  I am obsessed with hotels and there are a couple of great ones in Vietnam that I would like to see.


What do you like to do in your free time {that is if you have any}?

I love to travel.  If I could be somewhere different every weekend seeing something new – I would (funny – I am writing this blog on a plane.) I am restless in one place too long.  If I am at home in New York – I love to explore –everything from new museum shows, art galleries and flea markets.  The restaurant and hotel and design in New York is amazing too.  I love to check out anything new and exciting.


What are your hopes and dreams for your company?



We are hoping to make DwellStudio a lifestyle company that provides customers everything for their homes. We are also committed to quality – we are dedicated to designing and manufacturing to the highest standards. 


What tips do you have for aspiring designers?



Look to get work experience in different places.  It will help not only your design but it will also help you decide where you want to go.  I know from experience that you may start one place and end up in another.  Keep and open mind and see where it takes you.  Also don’t be afraid of risk.  This can open doors that you never expected.


As a Canadian designer living and working in the US, do you think you have a uniquely "Canadian" perspective when it comes to your designs? What are views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene?


Canadians have an interesting perspective and advantage.  We see things through a lens that is both North American and European.  I think that makes us nimble. When I design – I tend towards the cleaner and cool colors – I think that is my Canadian outlook.  The light in Canada is more white and cool.  I  I am attracted to that. 

I meet so many Canadians in New York through work.  I am always so surprised.  We are undercover everywhere. Canadians are great designers and because of the whole internet design world- it is becoming apparent to everyone.  I think Canada’s influence in design will only grow as people become more aware of the amazing versatile talent.

First of all I want to thank Christiane for being such a willing participant in my series. I know she leads a very busy life and I truly appreciate the time she took to answer my questions. Christiane is truly and inspiration to me.

XO Barbara

20 comments:

  1. FABULOUS interview Barbara - I learned a whole bunch I didn't know about Christiane and I think her philosophy about being open to whatever comes is so important to success and happiness in general. Wonderful series, I am always looking forward to your next interview!!

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  2. Ohhhh had no idea Christiane was Canadian! What a great person to add to the list.. Great interview and love her ability to open up and share her perspective with us minions!
    Thanks so much,
    Meagan

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  3. Firstly, congratulations Barbara on getting an interview with Christiane. She truly is an inspiring Canadian design icon. Another fabulous post. Christiane's talent and hard work have obviously brought her well deserved success. DwellStudio products are so unique and fashion forward - they seem to work in almost any setting. Such a great success story!

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  4. Fantastic interview! Love all the photos of her home. Wow. Does she ever have incredible talent.

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  5. Awesome interview!! I am a huge DwellStudio fan! I am loving the new furniture line and have always loved their bedding. My son has the kids cowboy bedding and it is such great quality. Love the photos of her home. That chandelier in her dining room is to die for. Thanks for sharing:)

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  6. Thanks for this terrific interview Barb! I knew that DwellStudio was Canadian and I love, love, love her textiles! If I had room in my budget, I would totally have DwellStudio textiles for window treatments and pillows in my home!
    Angie xo

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  7. You are a big time mover and shaker Barb. I am honoured to be in your company tomorrow:)
    It is so great to learn more about such an inspirational woman. Love that she's Canadian!!

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  8. Barbara, what a great interview, very inspiring. Now I need to find those gold tables, TDF!

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  9. Christiane is such an inspiration to all of us design loving Canadians! Way to go Barbara!

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  10. What an amazing opportunity to interview such an inspiring woman. Great interview, I enjoyed reading her responses.

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  11. Fabulous interview Barbara! You have had some of the best people on here! It's so neat to see Canadian designers doing such amazing things!

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  12. She is so awesome. Great questions and answers. I love her company and fresh, happy style...another talented Canadian. :)

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  13. Fantastic interview Barbara, congrats!! Christian is truly an amazing inspiration, what an awesome success story. Thank you for sharing this with us, sure makes me proud to be Canadian :)
    Nancy xo

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  14. Fab interview, totally swooning over that chandelier above the dinning room table. Ahhhhh.....

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  15. I love everything about this post. Those photos are incredible, and Christiane seems like a really amazing person! Not only is she Canadian, but she is from my hometown of Ottawa (granted, not a mecca for design but lots of other positives as she mentioned). Fabulous feature!

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  16. Barbara, I really enjoyed reading this interview and am so looking forward to reading Undecorate (it's at the top my birthday wishlist).

    Also, not to be crass, but SCORE!

    Camille

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  17. I so enjoyed that. I didn't realize Christiane was a Canadian - yet one more reason to love Dwell Studio! Thanks Barbara and Christiane.

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