Designer Profile: Les Ensembliers

Richard Ouellette from Les Ensembliers wants to take you to the moon and have you feel at home there! The interior designer from the Montreal-based studio creates elegant and collected interiors throughout America and Europe. A stunning dressing room at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House and Les Ensembliers’ textile collection with Brunschwig & Fils reveal just a glimpse of his craft.

What inspired this career path for you?
I started my career as a fashion designer and loved everything about the fashion world but always felt something was missing. When I met Maxime, my husband and architect partner, it became ever so clear that interior design was the path: within a year of our relationship, we had created the design and décor branch of Les Ensembliers. For the last ten years, we’ve built this beautiful brand and we’ve never looked back!

What is your go-to source for inspiration?
We have busy schedules, and traveling, in our lives, is part of the routine. I make sure to use those trips to take in as much quiet time as possible and feel present in those moments. For me, that’s when inspiration and creative flow come in. Strolling around cities and taking in all the architecture truly inspire me. Same goes for a morning walk to the office. I love that moment alone when I can plan, organize, and create in my mind!

In the country, a day spent with Max and Zack (our dog) on our farm, with its surrounding nature, is my biggest love and inspiration source. And you can’t forget books. They are a huge part of our lives and keep our minds inspired. You can never have enough books… or shoes, but that’s another story!

Tell us about your creative process.
We love homes! When clients ask us to visit a potential project, we are most likely the first ones on site. Walking through a home and figuring out its best features, reorganizing the space and flow, and creating that first vision on the spot, that’s what Max and I love to do. Within hours, we’ve put down on paper the possibilities, the feel of the space, and the signature of the project.

We have a very organic way to create and, funny enough, even though he’s an architect and I see things from a designer’s point of view, we sometimes battle it out on each other’s turf. We challenge one another for the best options and vision, and in the end, we always see eye to eye. I guess it’s from being together for ten years, day in and day out!

When flow and spaces are done, we move to interiors; that’s when textiles, textures, and colors come in for me. They are always my starting point for any creation, and my love of fabrics is an integral part of my fashion background. They are the soul of our projects and they just make me happy!

Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Understated, elegant, world-traveled, collected, artistic, and easy to live in

What’s a staple in your tool kit?
I always want a home to feel like a home, not a perfect showroom. I love to bring in unexpected pieces that have patina or age… they tell stories and bring soul to a space. Next to new pieces, they bring character and warmth.

Who do you look up to in the design world?
Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurent, Mies Van Der Rohe

If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I love creating holiday homes for all our clients. They have such a special vibe about them. They are the homes were we relax and create the most special moments and memories. We feel and perceive these moments so differently while on holiday!

I would love to create a compound estate with guest houses around one center home on a sunny warm desert island. No windows — simply large openings and a spectacular flow from inside-out. That’s my dream oasis for Max, the dogs, and me… and a few of our favorite guests!

Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Good design is forever. –Zelina Brunschwig

To create Les Ensembliers’ textile collection for such a house as Brunschwig & Fils still blows my mind to this day! It is the most extraordinary, fulfilling, nerve-racking, creative experience a designer could ever dream! Making time with this collection is hopefully, forever.

Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
My favorite Saturday morning moment is when I have AD, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and The World of Interiors stacked on my nightstand. I am old-school and love my printed magazines, but Instagram does have its perks with the endless inspiration and the ease of sharing with the team.

What do you love about Viyet?
It’s the first link I get on my phone at 4:30am! I love browsing with my first cup of coffee… it’s perfectly organized, easy to navigate, and always full with inspiring and amazing finds!

Shop Richard’s favorite Viyet picks!

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