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So Canadian eh? : Lloyd Ralphs Design

February 19, 2012


Featured this week are two amazing designers who are well known on the international design stage. Together they have created a well known design firm, one that is known for creating classic and timeless interiors, with a dash of the eclectic and loads of elegance.

Welcome to the fabulous design duo....

 Christine Ralphs and Michelle Lloyd from Lloyd Ralphs Design.


They are so...

I have always been fond of the interiors by Lloyd Ralphs Design, as a fan of black and white I am drawn to their soothing and classic design aesthetic. 

Despite the lack of bright colours, they create drama with layers of texture, objets and pattern.

Below are a collection of some of my favourite spaces designed by the dynamo duo. Each photo tells a story of the space, a sense of who the space is designed for and who lives there.








Canadian House and Home | Photo: Jason Tse



~Michelle Lloyd~

Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood?

I was born in Toronto where I took commercial art at Northern Secondary.  I worked in small boutiques and manufacturers in the city learning the fashion business of design and styling. I opened one of the first fashion/design boutiques in Toronto, OnlyYou. Design is where I draw my daily confidence, it has always entered into every aspect of my life.

 It is my understanding that both you and Christine worked together at Club Monaco. Was fashion your background? And if so, why did you decide to venture over into interior design?

I was the Senior VP of Fashion Design at Club Monaco for 18 years.  The transition to interiors came easily as each season at CM was viewed from a lifestyle point of view.  Who was the girl or guy and how or where did they live? 

How do you find harmony and balance in working with a design partner? What strengths do you bring to the relationship?

 Christine’s design skills are completely complimentary to mine.  We decided long ago that there is no time for disharmony when you are creating something special together. 

How would you describe your design style?

Vintage classics with a chic simple world feeling.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Vintage movies, books, Palm Beach, Miami, New York, South of France.

What tips do you have for aspiring designers in getting their design work published or to hone their skills?

Intern at the best companies out there.  Your resume will set you apart and give you a head start.

What is one design faux pas that you wish could be banished?

Painting every room a different colour in one’s home.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Travel, photography, gardening, art shows, spending time in New York with my daughter who designs for J. Crew. Collecting anything raffia.

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!

I was always an avid seamstress from very young.

What goals or aspirations do you have for your design business?

To spread the joy we have for the design business by creating world class environments.

What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

The young guard of Toronto today are leading the city in innovative design.  Shops and cafes are popping up everywhere.  They are experimenting with looks on a very small budget with loads of style.  This method is where most ideas are born.

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~Christine Ralphs~

Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood?

I was born in Milwaukee Wisconsin and went to University in Ohio.  My major was in Journalism and Art but my heart was always in fashion.  I used book money to buy handbags!   So I naturally followed fashion as a career.  First working in Display for Neimans and then Harrods in London.  I moved to Canada just in time to be part of the creation of Club Monaco with Michelle where I spent 18 years as Senior Vice President of Store Design and Marketing.

1.      It is my understanding that both you and Michelle worked together at Club Monaco. Was fashion your background? And if so, why did you decide to venture over into interior design?

At Club Monaco I was in charge of Store Design and Construction so the move to commercial and residential design was seamless.  What separates Lloyd Ralphs Design from other firms is that we are able to do commercial and residential work with backgrounds as diverse as fabric and actual building construction!  A corporate retail background gives Michelle and I the ability to relate and interact with a variety of clients.

1.      How do you find harmony and balance in working with a design partner? What strengths do you bring to the relationship?

We had so many staff in our previous careers that change to a small intimate company fosters more creativity.   Because our skills are complimentary Michelle and I often have different roles in our projects.  The most important thing is that we have extremely similar taste levels and our goal is always making our clients design happy.

How would you describe your design style?

Having a background in retail store and window design I always go for a focal point ( something be it art or furniture or architecture) in any space…I like drama.  My style is a real mix but edited in a simple way….a large French mirror mixed with a 70’s sculpture and a touch of zebra!  Don’t forget to have fun!!!

1.     Where do you find inspiration for your designs? 

Travel, vintage furniture stores, art shows and galleries, basically everywhere because I’m always looking and hunting for the next new thing to fall in love with.

1.     What tips do you have for aspiring designers in getting their design work published or to hone their skills?

Go after your goals.  Look at the experts in your field.  If you need experience go after a position with the companies you admire.  Aim high.
If you are aiming high, your work must reflect this.  It takes talent and hard work but if you love what you’re doing it will pay off.

1.     What is one design faux pas that you wish could be banished?

Speckled granite countertops in any room of the house. 

1.     What do you like to do in your free time?

Photography, time at my island cottage or in Miami, swimming anywhere and anytime, windsurfing, creative projects, collecting as the mood moves me.

1.     Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!

I wanted to be a television weather girl.

1.     What goals or aspirations do you have for your design business?

After 10 years in business our goals are really being realized.  We have a wonderful group of international clients who inspire us to grow and evolve our business.

1.     What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

I think that Canadian designers have an optimism and friendliness that is intoxicating.  What is most important is that the level of talent in this country is being recognized on the world stage.  It’s all about branding really.  

Michelle and Christine, as a longtime fan I am so truly honoured that you gave us a peek into your lives! 
We can all learn that being a successful designer is not only being creative but also having a keen business sense and drive. Something that the two of you have truly mastered.

XO Barbara

11 comments:

  1. I love the elegant feel of their designs. I could really see the inspiration from the old movies that Michelle mentioned as one of her inspirations.

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  2. I recognize lots of these pics! Nice to put a face(s) to the design! :)

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  3. Lovin' their style ..... right up my alley with the black and white and they are oh so talented Torontonians!

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  4. Love every space! Such talented ladies.

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  5. Wow, Barb they really need to add you to their team. Those interiors are you big time!! Great interview and so nice to learn more about this dynamic duo.

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  6. Their hard work had truly paid off-very talented and driven ladies to look up to. Great advice from the top! Thanks for sharing Barbara:)

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  7. Oh I have always been a big fan of Michelle Lloyd. I remember their apartment in House and Home years ago with a Parisian vibe. I think I still have magazine clippings of that place. Then I loved the re-do of the house with the galley kitchen....fabulous. She has incredible taste.

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  8. Great interview...long admired this duos work! I love the fresh feel & the mix...always a hit with me!
    Thanks Barb AGAIN!

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  9. Another fantastic interview of great Canadian talent. Thanks so much for this feature.

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