As I am eagerly awaiting the thrills of spring…a fresh start, spring cleaning and new beginnings…I had the privilege of connecting with two amazing architects based here in New England, Ann F. Clark and Lena Georas. Their passion for design led them to create LAMOU. LAMOU design is beautiful, one of a kind furniture made for you by both you and the company.
As a renter, I daydream daily of my dream house while pinning away how I would design it on Pinterest. I swoon over all white kitchens to minimalist rooms to bright pops of color through accent walls and statement pieces. One of my biggest challenges of home design has always been how to narrow it down and make it ‘me’. This spring I hope to have a new home to share with you.
What I love about LAMOU is that you have the ability to create a one of a kind piece that marries both your custom choices with the design of an artist or LAMOU collection. With today’s technology, you are even able to upload your own special images to place on their sleek tables. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the bold color of their S Dot table and chose a white side finish with natural steel legs for the accents. I imagined all the beautiful dishes I would place on the table with colors and plants. The crisp white pulled it all together.
When I got in my table I was in love. I easily ripped apart the expertly secure packaged table to find the simple to understand and execute instructions. Pulling out my pink electric screw driver, I had the table up. I was LAMOU ready.
In connecting with Anna and Lena, I couldn’t help but ask for their expert advice. It’s not every day that you get to chat with seasoned professionals for making homes beautiful. Their enthusiasm over LAMOU and expertise in this interview had me jumping into excitement ready to hit reset on my home. Nothing short of Instagram inspiring!
Tell Us About LAMOU
“LAMOU was created by Lena and I, two seasoned architects, with the intent of bringing the opportunity of co-designing to a larger audience. We both felt that design and architecture are too elitist and that it should be more accessible to a wider audience. Often the perception of design is that it is exclusive instead of inclusive. Today people are able to find current clothing fashion trends in all sorts of price ranges, but furnishings and architecture are left mostly for the wealthy with a certain amount of disposable income.”
“LAMOU started with the idea of combining current print technology with furniture with our high-end product (the Epic Collection: bent plywood tables, benches, consoles with printed wood veneers). Then we soon realized that we wanted to include a larger audience and developed a product at a much more affordable price point.”
“LAMOU was founded in January of 2015 in Providence, RI. Lena and I met many years ago in architecture school and coincidentally found ourselves in Providence after being out of touch for over 20 years. We both left our “homes”, Lena spent 20 + years in Athens, Greece, and I in Chicago (where I was born and raised and subsequently raised my children). Though Lena was born and raised in Providence, her adult life was established in Greece, so coming back was not exactly a homecoming but a re-introduction.”
“After many discussions, Lena and I came about LAMOU. LAMOU is a word we created which is “L” for Lena, “A” for Ann and “mou” in Greek which means “mine”. We thought this was an appropriate name for a company that encourages personalization in home furnishings plus it sort of rolls off the tongue, don’t you think?”
“LAMOU digitally prints on wood tables. A customer can choose from one of the LAMOU collections (there are 8), one of the artist collections (soon to be 4), or design one of their own tables using the toolkit builder on the website by uploading a photo, design, pattern, or piece of art onto the tabletop, choosing legs, and edge colors. The product is flat packed and drop shipped from our facility in Michigan. Tables are easy to assemble with a screwdriver as the table is pre-drilled for the leg attachment.”
“We developed www.lamoudesign.com as an e-commerce platform so that anyone can buy a table online and have it completely customized and delivered to their door.
We want to create a community of empowered creators: people who may be a little timid about their creativity and have more than likely been stifled in their early life. As people design their own tables, we will ask them to post on Instagram to share their ideas and inspire a larger creative community.”
How Do You Begin a Room?
“The first step in beginning a room, is to understand the purpose of the room. I am not talking about a bedroom which is for sleeping, a kitchen which is for cooking and eating. We all know that and we all make assumptions about the names of rooms and their basic functions.”
“I am talking about the mood or the aura of the room, which actually leads to the secondary or ultimately, main purpose of the room. As a designer, it is important to listen to your client to understand how they perceive and wish to use a room. For example, you may think a kitchen is a functionary room where food is prepared to be put on a table for a meal. But what is the interaction of cooking, preparing, presenting and eating?”
“Cooking can be an act of relaxation, an act of love, an act of creativity or an act of obligation. If it is the latter, it might be difficult to ‘design’ the kitchen. If it is any or all of the other, the kitchen becomes an inspired space. Think about how you want that room to feel when you are living in it, acting in it.”
“You don’t need a designer to help you with this. You will know how you want the room to feel based on how you feel in the room when you are cooking, sleeping, relaxing, socializing. This must come from you first. Use these ‘mood’ descriptors to carry you through the theme of the room and ask yourself if the elements that you are choosing fit the criteria.”
“For example, if you find cooking relaxing at the end of a work day, will you choose a soft linen paint color for the cabinetry, or a bold red?”
When You Find a Statement Piece You Love, How Do You Make It Flow?
“As you are considering that ‘statement’ piece, think about what the statement actually is. Is it “look at me,” “look at who chose me”, “look at how I complement my companions in the room (ie., supporting cast members of other furniture, textiles, textures, patterns, objects?) You will soon find out that the “statement” says something about you and that it did not appear out of nowhere, but evolved over time with your sensibilities, experiences, and natural inclinations.”
“Be open to your inclinations. Don’t say to yourself, “I have no business thinking about design” or “I have no design sense.” You do. You just don’t think you do and have talked yourself out of it.”
What Are The Upcoming Design Trends For 2017 That Will Stay Timeless?
“Fortunately, nothing really remains timeless, but if I had to choose a trend for 2017 that might stay timeless, I would hope it would be the following:
Faux finishes which are budget friendly and a more reliable alternative to some of the actual products has been around and will always be around. People like the look, but not the price or the maintenance. LAMOU offers a product like this. Take a look at our “It’s A Wrap” Collection for a faux snakeskin, cowhide or rooster feather table. Or the “Off the Wall” Collection featuring tiles patterns that would otherwise be heavy and impractical from a mobility and care standard.
“Mixed and layered patterns are trending right now and this is something that has intrigued the design eye for centuries. Patterns on patterns and textures are more visually stimulating than solids and single color schemes. Creating unexpected havens of calm and tranquility. In our very technological overloaded age, calm and tranquility will become an essential to people.”
How Do You Break Free of Neutrals and Add Color to a Room?
“To borrow the Nike marketing slogan, ‘just do it’. As I page through Room & Board and Crate and Barrel catalogues, it is so obvious that the general strategy is to remain neutral so as not to insult, shock, or disturb. Keeping it safe with the status quo using neutrals leads to boring.”
“Favorite color? Why not use it in your living room? Don’t be afraid to commit to a color you love in more than a throw pillow. Throw pillows, means it can be thrown away when it is tiresome. You don’t have to choose the Pantone colors of the year. In 2018, they will be new and you may feel like you need to have a new throw pillow or two to keep up with the color trend. Choose what you enjoy.”
“Love magenta? Use it! Paint the top or the legs of a salvaged coffee table or end tables magenta and don’t be afraid of your color choice. Choose one or two objects in the room to assign your favorite color to. All colors work with neutral, so don’t second guess yourself.”
“If you are really adventurous and gutsy, mix up more colors and see what happens. If you want to test the waters first, get yourself a paint deck (Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Ralph Lauren or for more limited and sophisticated colors, Farrow and Ball) or go to the paint store and start pulling colors that you like. You don’t have to buy the paint. Just arrange the colors on a piece of paper or board together and put the board on the wall in your office, or a space where you spend a lot of time. You will consciously or unconsciously ‘look’ at this and one day will either decide the midnight blue works beautifully with the persimmon and ecru, or you hate it and replace it with a deep green that you were originally considering.”
How Do You Create Beautiful Hidden Storage for Homes with Kids?
“First of all, don’t “kid” yourself. You can make beautiful storage for kids, but don’t expect them to use it or find it beautiful. If you want beautiful storage for your kids, remember you will be the one using it and appreciating it.”
“This can be done with built-in cabinetry (preferably appropriately low for children to assist in the clean-up effort), or a separate specific piece of furniture which is fun, clever and toy-like to encourage your kids to participate in clean-up efforts.”
“Drawers are more practical than shelves because you can look from the top down into a drawer standing up (think 5-year-old). Things tend to fall off/out of a cabinet with shelves.”
“Make sure the drawers are full extension so that you can see everything in the back of the drawer (it will be messy) and always use soft close glides so that there is no chance of slamming fingers in the drawers. Also remember to optimize the drawer height so that things don’t get buried in the bottom of the drawers. Take an inventory of what will be stored in the drawers for best storage functionality.”
“If custom cabinetry is not an option, choose a piece of furniture (not too high) with multiple drawer heights (if possible) using the guidelines above. If there is a way to personalize the furniture, either paint, stencil, decal, or sticker the piece with your child’s favorites in mind.”
How Do You Make a Room “Instagram Worthy”?
“Keep things simple and light. Remember to introduce color in a way that expresses who you are. Don’t over clutter or over accessorize a room.”
“If you love to collect, make sure to curate your collections and think about how they are displayed. Are there crowded areas? That’s okay, but the eye needs to rest, so be sure to break up the collection so that the objects can be seen and that there is some visual relief. Highlight a few of your favorite pieces by creating more space around them. Then cluster some of the less important pieces together creating a composition. Think of it as a still life that an artist might paint.”
“Scale is important too. This goes for your collections as well as your furniture. Vary the scale of the items in your collection when you display them. Boring is a room with same scale furniture throughout. Change it up a bit, but pay attention to over exaggerated scale changes. Scale changes in furniture should be done with care. Collections are easier to manage because typically the items in a collection will dictate this anyway.”
“Natural light and beautiful sculptural lighting fixtures make for an Instagram worthy room. Limit this to one floor lamp, a pendant, or a pair of lamps though. Again, don’t overdo the room with lighting.”
What Are Any Room “Must Haves”?
“A well considered wall color/wallpaper. A blend of textures including natural materials such as wood or stone, with textiles and wallpapers. Something handmade brings an intimate, human vibe to a room. That can be achieved with a piece of furniture, a handmade tile, a carved sculpture, piece of pottery, or a vintage rug from Morocco or Persia or a painting or two that mean something to you.”
Special thank you to Ann Clark and Lena Georas for their time and partnership on this post. For more on LAMOU please visit http://www.lamoudesign.com and be sure to check out their inspiring new blog at http://www.lamoudesign.com/blog
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