If it was not enough for the Canadian-born founder and creative director of DwellStudio to have grown a successful design business with a global reach, Christiane Lemieux has also gone on to create a number 1 bestselling design book, as rated by the Wall Street Journal. Undecorate was released in Australia last year by Random House, and features 20 homes that embrace "the no-rules approach to interior design". It includes one of my favourite homes - the Brooklyn apartment of Kim Ficaro and James Wilson (pictured second from the bottom). And Christiane has included her own New York loft too (pictured bottom).
Which five words best describe you? Whirlwind, passionate, disorganised, light-hearted, honest.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York with a degree in fashion design. I started working in fashion for Isaac Mizrahi, then the GAP. I got a chance to design for a home furnishings company called Portico. While there, I started trying some graphic textile designs and realised that was a big market for a modern look in the home furnishings market. That is how I decided to go out on my own. The author part of my career is very recent, but I really love it and I am ready to do my next book too.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Never be afraid to take a risk and try something new. I like to learn something new every day.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Undecorate is one for sure. I never thought I would be an author. We also recently launched our first furniture line. Pulling all of that together from the fabric to the wood finishes to the forms was an amazing experience.
What’s been your best decision? Besides having my children – going off on my own to start my business. I now employ 35 people who are like my family.
Who inspires you? I am inspired by the people who change the world and there are many... From someone like Anthony Lake the Executive Director of UNICEF – who helps children all over the world – to philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates who are putting a stop to childhood malaria.
What are you passionate about? That is a long long list. I am passionate about microfinance for entrepreneurs in developing nations and organisations like Kiva. I am passionate about UNICEF and eradicating childhood poverty and disease. I am passionate about our local organisations like CMOM in New York that promote literacy for children in at risk situations.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Again, so many. Off the top of my head: da Vinci, Hillary Clinton would be very interesting and I think dinner with Jon Stewart would be funny and cool.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I would really like to get my pilot's license and fly. I would love to fly a plane around the world.
What are you reading? Right now I am finishing up Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.