Today we’d like to introduce you to Laetitia Laurent.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always loved art and history. Growing up in Paris, I was surrounded by art and monuments everywhere. In between high school and college, I did one year of prep school, and it was adjacent to Musée Rodin. Then I studied art and history at the Sorbonne, which has so much history itself as a 13th-century building. I ended up getting a Master’s degree in history and international relations but always wanted to focus on the design sector of that. I founded Laure Nell originally in 2009 as a women and children’s fashion line with a home décor branch and eventually became more interested in focusing on home. I had been importing fashion and décor pieces from Paris and as I was placing them in clients’ houses, I would notice myself rearranging their furniture and accessories. I slowly began working with contractors and architects and purchasing more and more furniture, and over time I dropped the fashion because it wasn’t as fulfilling for me. I still go back to Paris to bring pieces and inspiration back as often as I can.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It can be tempting to churn out same look that’s worked for you before, but I find it’s so great when I have a client who pushes me in my choices. I had one client, for instance, who is American but had lived in Paris for two years and wanted to basically recreate Versailles in Boca Raton. The couple wanted a Parisian boudoir feel—think red velvet furnishings and super intricate molding, which is very different from my usual aesthetic. They were over-the-top in the best way and I was paring down and in the end, it became the perfect marriage. I have another client who really loves the vibrant, saturated colors you find in India. That has forced me to incorporate color, which is a departure for me, but it’s enabled me to look for hues that are muted but still rich and full of depth. Brands like Farrow & Ball do that really well. I find that no matter what, if I go back to the Parisian rule of ensuring good scale and high quality, that I can be playful with colors and textures. Scale and quality are paramount.
Please tell us about Laure Nell Interiors.
Paris is one of those places (and all of Europe to a certain degree) where history and art is so ingrained in your everyday life. But there’s also a sacred element to that. Form and proportions are revered because you’re surrounded by masters who did that so well like Da Vinci and Le Corbusier and Haussmann. So I grew up in this very classic kind of environment, where Parisians are super structured and have a classic eye but also take risks. My aesthetic is all about the right proportion of the room—the right space planning—and I spend a lot of time figuring that out. I’m not really a layering artist; my interiors can oftentimes actually feel sparse but they’re always filled with the perfect piece in the right scale. Coco Chanel would take one accessory off before she left the house, and that’s the way I approach design—less is more if the “less” that you’ve chosen stands on its own. Minimalistic doesn’t have to mean empty; it’s more about having the right scale and balance of objects.
Another thing to note is that spaces in Paris tend to be smaller—apartments, wardrobes, appliances, everything. If you don’t have a huge closet, you want to shop for that one perfect dress and that one perfect pair of shoes. And it’s the same with design. If you don’t have much space to work with, then you want to pare down to the perfect table and the perfect lamp.
I also design for the homeowners’ lifestyle. People in Paris truly use their homes to the fullest extent. Here, people find entertainment by going out to restaurants or concerts. In Paris, they have dinner parties and have an opera singer come to the house to perform. They sit on the floor so they need a Moroccan pouf. They need a place to put down their drink, so there are side tables next to the chairs. A home needs to be functional and feel lived in and not staged.
Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they play / how did they help.
My kids. Like a lot of working moms, I struggle with balance. But they get to see my projects from the time we tear down a house to the time it’s completed. When my son Nicholas was young, he would come to construction sites with me and use the blue tape to mark where I wanted the furniture to go. I’ve also spoken to my daughter Siena’s class for Career Day and she goes through color swatches and helps me pick lighting. Kids understand the whole Lego-construction-color concept, so they might say mom you work so much but they’re also happy and excited about what I’m creating.
- Website: laurenell.com
- Phone: 954-465-1372
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portrait and lifestyle shots: Francesca Coviello of Coco Prop Shop; Interiors: Anthony Rayburn