We had the pleasure of being invited to Lauren MacLean’s new apartment for a shooting session and not only did she show us her new amazing Parisian boho style apartment but she was kind enough to let us style the place and take pictures. Lauren’s previous apartment has been featured in Apartment Therapy and My Domain to name a few, and we can’t wait to see what she’ll do with this one. You could definitely say she’s a decor influencer.
(Shop this look: Beni Ourain Rug with dots, Square Pouf in Tan Leather, Painting by Zoe Boivin)
First of all, Lauren, thank you so much for having us over. Your new place is simply gorgeous and we’re so happy to chat with you about your inspiration and how you’ve managed to create such a great vibe in your home. You have such a flawless style and we’d like to ask you a few questions to inspire our readers who are home decor enthusiasts.
1. We know you recently moved into this apartment. What made you fall in love with your new flat?
My first apartment was a very special experience to me. From being so worried about living in a tiny space to turning it into a journey I was able to share and be proud of made for the perfect first apartment experience, so the decision to move didn’t come easy! But above all, I simply love designing in beautiful spaces. I had always known about this apartment across the hall, I would catch glimpses of it in passing and saw enough to know that it’s where I want to be.
The apartment was in terrible shape, but with all its charm and character (and a bit more square footage!) I saw its potential and knew it would be an amazing project to start from scratch and turn it into my home. So with A LOT of blood, sweat and tears, I created a fresh new canvas to work with which really let me connect with the space and make it feel mine.
(Shop this look: Pink Boucherouite Rug, Moroccan ceramics, Original Painting by Zoe Boivin)
2. We remember your old decor and it was just perfect. What was the biggest challenge with creating a new decor when moving into this new place and starting over?
When I design a room I let the elements of the space itself contribute to my approach, like the room’s architecture, natural light, and layout. These aspects inspire my ideas for colour palettes, textures, furniture size and placement. So with treating each space as its own I actually made a lot of changes. With more square footage I was able to embrace some bolder colour palettes and stronger pieces better suited to this space.
Though I didn’t keep many pieces from my last apartment, I maintained the approach of living minimally. From my last studio apartment, I learned the value of living minimally and saw how therapeutic it really is. It pushed my design and creativity, but also taught me a lot about myself and how to connect with your space. You pay attention to what is around you, you love and connect with those things because you choose them wisely, and there is no room to accumulate stuff that doesn’t bring you value. A small space might force this style of living at first, but it’s certainly a lesson I am so happy to have learned and will always take with me.
(Shop this look: Beni Ourain Rug with dots, Square Pouf in Tan Leather, Painting by Zoe Boivin, Sun Mirror, Peace & Love poster)
3. What is your process when you start decorating? Do you have a plan? Where do you start? Any tips you can share?
Most of my design remains as visuals in my mind. I am not great with translating design to paper or executing visions to mood boards because a lot of my design is influenced by feelings. I like to start with an empty space because this lets me visualize more options. When you are looking at a full space your imagination can be limited because your eyes are still set on what is already there. And I am a big believer in taking your time designing your space. Don’t fill it for the sake of being done. When you take your time it lets you find things you really love and connect with.
I also like to envision my line of sight. When I style a space I factor in what’s around it, what you also see when looking at that area. You might like an individual item, but when placed in your home it doesn’t have the same impact because you are now seeing in amongst other colours, textures, lighting, etc. Example, I might love the colour of that chair, but realistically in my space, when you look at the chair you will also see the couch and the colours together don’t have the same impact. I also consider this for furniture placement.
Some rooms may look like they have an obvious layout, but think outside the box and move things around. When I walk into a room I prefer to have my eye-catching design elements make the first impression oppose to the practical pieces like TVs and storage units.
(Shop this look: Moroccan ceramics, Original Painting by Zoe Boivin, Pink Kilim Pillow)
4. How would you describe your overall decor aesthetic?
I think I have an eclectic approach to a Parisian aesthetic. The foundation of my apartment is very Paris apartment with the mouldings and herringbone floors so I let this tell the overall story of my space, but I have also always loved the juxtaposition of classic architecture against modern pieces. So I add the odd modern piece to bring a bit more character to the space. I see furniture as art so this also lets the pieces have more of a standalone impact rather than blending in.
(Shop this look: Moroccan Pouf in Natural Leather, Pink Striped Boucherouite Rug, Boucherouite rug with diamonds, Original Painting by Zoe Boivin)
5. Where do you mostly get your inspiration for your own decor? Any resources or inspiration sources you’d like to share?
We have access to amazing inspiration today so I certainly use things like Pinterest where it’s so easy to just type in a word and have endless content to scroll through, or platforms like My Domaine and Apartment Therapy that aren’t limited to a specific style, but can show you amazing design that lets you expand your ideas.
I also like to use movies or shows to feel inspired. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am almost never paying attention because I am only focused on the design happening in the background! Design for me is mostly about a feeling, so when I am watching something that takes place in a city, or setting that I love, it’s like seeing design come to life and you can take from it more than just physical objects placed in a room. ‘The Longest week’ being a favorite movie of mine is a great example of this type of inspiration for me.
But with so much inspiration at our fingertips it can become overwhelming. I treat my space as a way to reflect who I am, a space to really connect with so I try to encourage others to do the same.
A lot of this comes to trusting your instincts on what you really love, because you love it for a reason so why wouldn’t you want to live embraced in that feeling? Trends will always come and go and help guide us through design, but finding inspiration within yourself can actually make the difference between connecting with your home and just living in a beautiful space.
(Shop this look: Boucherouite pillows, Original Painting by Zoe Boivin, Rattan Sun Mirror, Moroccan vase in Purple.)
6. Is there a home decor trend you forecast for 2018 that you are really into right now?
The upcoming trends I love and feel will make a big statement this year is ‘natural’. In furniture I see materials like chunky, solid wood and rattan making a big statement, but designed in a way that isn’t limited to a specific style. Natural elements like these mixed in amongst bold colours, metals and modern pieces helps a space look more effortless and eclectic. It can really help to balance and offset and overly styled or decorated room. This is certainly a trend I am embracing!
7. What object in your décor do you most cherish? Is there a piece you would never part with? Why?
When I moved into my new apartment I made a lot of changes to suit the new space, but there are certain things that can adapt to any space because they mean something special to you. For me this includes art. Art is so personal and is something that I choose simply based on my response to it, not how it will look in my décor. When I first moved to Montreal I met artist Lysa Jordan* who created my 2 large canvases. Having art by a local artist was important because it felt like part of my experience in a new city, a way to embrace what the city has to offer. And now I will always be left with these beautiful pieces, but mostly a super cool story of friendship and experience to share. Something I wouldn’t part with!
*Note that in these pictures the artworks you see are from our latest collab by artist Zoe Boivin, You can see the collection right here. We also love Lysa Jordan’s work which is usually showcased in Lauren’s home, find her work here.
(Shop this look: Moroccan Pouf in White Leather, Ceramic Mug in Purple, Cactus Silk Kilim Pillows, Original Artwork by Zoe Boivin)
8. In your opinion, what makes a home cozy, welcoming and inspiring? Any particular must-have items?
I like to pay attention to all the senses, looking past the physical objects in your home, as a way to create a cozy and approachable space. Lighting is a very important design element for me. It has its practical purpose, but its impact can be so much more. I always distribute table or floor lamps in all corners of a room using low wattage, soft bulbs. This brings a warm and consistent glow across the room which really sets the tone of a space. And I like to have fresh plants and flowers because they add life to your home. They aren’t just objects so they become something you really connect with. I think that creating a welcoming space is really about finding balance. Break up bold colours with softness, break up strong patterns with neutrals.
Take your time finding a scent that you love in candles, oils, etc. This is an impactful way to make your space “yours” because it’s personal to you, and I believe that all these little personal reflections are how we can make an inspiring space of our own.
Thank you so much for sharing all of this, Lauren, we’re feeling so inspired, and speaking for myself, I can’t wait to get back home and add some Parisian boho touches! -Stephanie