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Meet the Designer: Julie LaTraverse

HG Design

Julie LaTraverse

Meet the Designer

We asked Toronto-based designer Julie La Traverse of Julie La Traverse Design what fuels her work. The designer — who specializes in both residential and hospitality projects — is known for her contemporary, eclectic spaces that effuse calm and serenity. After studying Art History at the University of Toronto, the Montreal-born French Canadian did a stint at Parsons School of Design and has been working on projects in Montreal, Toronto, and across the United States for the past 34 years. La Traverse states that design is at the centre of her daily life, and that her goal is to use her expertise to help express her clients' aesthetic, not the other way around. "After all," she says, "design is the ability to express your authentic self with the things that make you happy and bring you joy."

HG: How would you define your style?


JL: I define my personal style as classic with a modern sensibility, edited and ordered, with a bias for clean lines and neutral tones.

HG: When did you first become interested in design?


JL: To this day, my father is a very talented decorator, and although it was not his profession, his passion for design was an early inspiration for me. With the collaboration of my mother, we grew up in considered, well-designed and beautifully curated homes. From a young age, I was exposed to continually evolving interiors, and thus began my interest — and curiosity — in space and design.

HG: Who or what inspires you?


JL: I draw inspiration from architects and designers who embrace the "less is more" approach. Contemporaries like John Pawson, Christian Liaigre, Piet Boon and SheltonMindel are some of my idols. I aspire to achieve their philosophy of consistency, simplicity and restraint in every project I undertake. I also love Japan for its restful minimalism and Nordic countries for their Scandinavian grace. All of these guide my approach to design along with nature, fashion, art, architecture, food, wine and Instagram. Inspiration is everywhere, and it's endless!

HG: What's your favourite part of the design process?


GG: It's at the initial stage of the project when I draw on my intuition to interpret my clients’ vision and subsequently articulate it into their unique aesthetic and style of living. I also love the excitement I feel when I roll out my tracing paper and sketch away the realm of possibilities until I find the ultimate solution.


HG: Styling tip?


JL:  Styling is creating visual harmony and displayIng the things you love in a curated way. It's a never-ending dance of composition, proportion, scale, balance and juxtaposition. It can also be about a single beautiful thing because it is simply visually encompassing on its own. Think of your home as a playground and allow yourself the freedom to try and tweak until you get it right. Embrace imperfection, take your time and have fun with it.

HG: Favourite room in the house?


JL: My dining room for its simplicity, function and neutral scheme. With a mix of traditional objects and modern classics, it feels inviting and casual yet with a subtle hint of formality. It is the perfect canvas for experimenting and curating versatile table settings. I love that about it.


HG: Best entertaining tip?


JL: Like Carol Shields (an author I love), I love setting the table. It's my favourite ritual because it's creative, relaxing and rewarding. The attention to detail and time you set aside to create a beautiful composition tells your guests "I care."

HG: Your happy place?


JL: It's a state of mind for me — I feel most comfortable and relaxed in any airy, uncluttered and ordered space. The colour white evokes freshness, lightness, clarity and calm — maybe that’s why my bedroom is my happy place.