So Canadian, eh? : Lauren McPhillips

My latest guest has been a presence in the web working for Style at Home. She was one the "voices" for Style at Home's tweets, helped launch the Style at Home blog, co-authored the Style at Home blog and has worked her way around the magazine we all love! 

She is one stylish gal!

Welcome Lauren McPhillips. 

She is 

Lauren McPhillips was the former web editor for Style At Home, where she also shared a few of her home projects on the Style At Home blog and most recently launched her own blog called "The Wee Lass

You must check out her blog, it is a gorgeous blog from the layout, posts and gorgeous photos! I am looking forward to following along with her newest adventures through her blog. She has even a little DIY thrown in, my kind of gal!

One of my favourite projects that she shared with us was her amazing thrift store chair makeover. 

She has recently decided to change direction in her career and has left Style At Home to pursue a career as a PR Media and Digital Specialist in the travel industry. Her online presence will at Style at Home will be missed. 

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and education? Have you always loved design?

I grew up in Oshawa, which is just outside Toronto, and I vowed that once I left, I was never going back! Well, after a few years in Waterloo and 5 in Toronto, here I am back in Oshawa, living in my first house with my boyfriend Mick and adorable/mischievous/adorable-again beagle Wendel.

I don’t have an educational background in design –I actually have a degree in English Literature and European History, and a diploma in publishing– but I’ve long been interested in decorating and making things aesthetically pleasing. My mum always took pride in making our home look nice, so I developed that from her, I suppose.

Before working as the Web Editor for Style at Home, what did you do? How did you get your big “break”?

I actually started at Style at Home right out of school! I interned for three months and during that time, they were relaunching the website, so I helped out with that. They were hiring for a web producer, so it was all about being in the right place at the right time. Down the road, I switched to work in print as a senior editor for the magazine and really enjoyed it, but missed the innovation and interaction of the web. Lucky for me {again, right place at the right time}, they were creating a job for a second web editor and I got hired for that.

You have recently moved on after working for Style at Home, how does the next chapter in your life read?

It was super hard for me to leave Style at Home because the team is so amazing and I really love the magazine. However, it was just time for a change for me. I’ve actually switched industries completely and am now a PR & Digital Media Specialist for a travel company. The travel industry is pretty exciting and fast-paced so far – I could never switch to doing something that didn’t keep me busy and inspired.

What tips do you have for aspiring designers?

Well I’m definitely not a designer myself, but I think the best advice anyone can take when designing their own space is to ignore the ‘rules’. Your home is meant to be the happiest place in the world for you, so fill it with whatever makes you happy. I don’t have family photos displayed anywhere because I prefer artwork {they’re all on my phone and computer}, but I know people who have loads out for everyone to see, and that’s great.

That being said, know what you like, but edit a bit. A cluttered space isn’t going to make anyone happy. It will only make you forget where you left that half-eaten banana.

What inspires you and the design direction of your living space?

What inspires me is a desire to live comfortably. I work fairly long hours and commute to the city, so my home needs to be a place I can retreat to and feel completely at ease. I know this sounds cliché, but I really love Martha. I mean, who doesn’t? Her aesthetic is so clean and relaxing and she really pays attention to the little details, which make all the difference.

I’m also inspired by travel and have been fortunate in my career to visit incredible places around the world. I’d say the most inspiring so far have been Paris, Amsterdam and Florence {I’m a sucker for Europe}.

 How would you describe your design style?

I’d say I’m modern with an eclectic edge. I used to have a really defined style, but after working at Style at Home, I appreciate different aspects of design. I used to be very Plain Jane, but I would get inspired by how design editor Christine Hanlon pairs colours and patterns. I also developed a love for antique accents through senior design editor Margot Austin’s amazing way of seamlessly pairing the old with the new.

Although I will say, my house still has a helluva lot of white in it, much to Mick’s chagrin.

What do you like to do in your free time?

What’s free time, again? J When I do get around to having time to myself, I usually read on my Kobo or check out my favourite blogs {my absolute fave is Katie Armour’s ‘The Neo Traditionalist’}.

I like to bake as well, but don’t generally indulge in what I make {who can eat an entire cake by themselves?}. My boyfriend is my guinea pig and my dog wishes that he was.

Oh and let’s not forget my love affair with Peenie. {link to:}
You recently started a blog called The Wee Lass, what made you decide to jump into the world of blogging?
I’ve always loved the idea of blogging, and even though my job at Style at Home was creative, it was still a job. So, I wanted to start my own blog as a creative outlet outside of work. I also have a different style of writing than what I could use in a professional setting {a few swears, a lot of quirk}.

All I needed was a great name and a good designer. I wanted the name to be personal but still generic enough for people reading it. I came up with ‘The Wee Lass’ because my Dad always calls me his ‘wee lassie’, which is still endearing even though I’m over the age of 10 {my parents are Scottish, so I also will also buy pretty much anything that has tartan on it -- it’s a weakness}.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

In the design community, I would love to meet Eddie Ross. I interviewed him over the phone once and he seems completely fabulous. He also has such a good eye for antiques and vintage wares.

Out of anyone in the world? Jimmy Fallon, hands down.

Being the former web editor for Style at Home, what role do you see social media playing in the future of design publications, both print and online?

I am such an advocate for social media – so much so that I’ve made it a big part of my career! I think that whether editors want to embrace social media or not, they pretty much have to. Readers aren’t satisfied with having a wall between themselves and the design ‘authority’ anymore – they want to interact with the editors and create relationships and really put a face to the name.

I think that social media is also a great avenue for editors and publications to connect with the design blog community, who are coming out with fantastic spaces and trends. I see the future of print as more of an integration of the two mediums -- it’s more of a discussion than one outlet providing all the information.

What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I think the world sometimes forgets about Canada having great designers and an original aesthetic. I always get excited when I see bloggers from around the world discovering Style at Home or House & Home and being really impressed by the quality of work within the pages.

I definitely think we have a unique sense of style that is quite modern and borders on quirky. Since we’re so multicultural here, we have a lot of influences to draw from, but to me, signature Canadian design is modern rustic, with plaids, warm tones and an appreciation for nature.

**All photos are courtesy of Lauren McPhillips, unless otherwise noted.

Lauren, thanks for giving us a peek into your world. We wish you all the best in your life of travel. Looking forward to travelling vicariously through your blog!

XO Barbara


  1. Thanks for the intro to Lauren, Barbara. I'm off to take a peek.

    I just redid my chairs (last night) in the same fabric as hers :)

    BTW thanks for turning me on to Tonic Living.

  2. Great interview! Lauren has a really inspiring story and fabulous advice! Am off to check out her blog now...

  3. Great interview! She's had such an interesting career so far and how fun to work with the team at Style At Home. Off to check out her blog... :)

  4. Love this interview. Her career sounds fun and interesting. I am off to check out her blog now.


  5. How fabulous! Definitely loved her contributions at Style at Home, but I'm sure she'll have so much fun in the travel industry! And I love her blog name!!

  6. Another fun interview, you ask great questions.

  7. Saw you over at Remodelaholic and had to come by and say hey. Your tufted headboard came out amazing. I am your latest follower. Your blog is awesome. Hope you will stop by and say hi.

  8. Lauren's blog is amazing. I love the design, the photography, all of it!

    Barbara, I hope you've stopped the water! ;)

  9. That chair is amazing!! Wonderful interview Barbara!

    Art by Karena

    I have an amazing Giveaway from the Artisans at Novica. You will love it!

  10. Okay, I want to be her!! Another awesome interview.

  11. Such a great interview, and I'm excited to have learned about Lauren's new blog! I will hop over to check it out right away!!
    Nancy xo

  12. Great interview, Barbara. Lauren is the best and I want to steal all her jobs!

  13. You are all so sweet -- I'm overwhelmed by your kind words! Thanks so much, Barbara, for featuring me. I'm beyond flattered!


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