If you’ve ever looked for an interior designer in Montreal, chances are you’ve come across the name Amlyne Phillips.
Though interior designers play a huge part in shaping the settings of our daily lives, we rarely get to meet the individuals who decorate the places we inhabit. Amlyne Phillips is one such individual — as the founder of La Chambre Design, she’s the woman responsible for a number of Montreal’s most exquisite interiors. From the rustic resto-bar SuWu, to the homier vibe of Apt200, to the old-timey decor of L’Gros Luxe, Phillips’ designs all demonstrate her trademark antique-meets-new world aesthetic and keen eye for detail.
First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Amlyne Phillips: I grew up in the West Island with my three younger sisters, mom and dad in a typical suburban house. Sports were a huge part of my life growing up — I was your token tomboy. My best friends were guys and we played soccer almost every day. That’s when I met one of my best friends, Zach Macklovitch of Saintwoods, and to this day we still have the occasional soccer game together.
As much as I loved sports, I was always very artistic. Things like painting, drawing, singing and creating were always part of my life growing up. Eventually these things took over as I thought of my future.
How and when did your love for design start?
AP: My love for design started at the age of 6. I used to make doll houses out of pieces of plastic and cardboard from the recycling bin, equipped with two floors and a luxury car. I was also in charge of the decor for my bedroom and my sister’s at the age of 9 or 10. There was no way something pink, flowery or fuzzy was entering our rooms. I’ve always had more of a masculine take on aesthetics because of my dad — I think my love for design and furniture came from him. My trips to his woodwork shop influenced me tremendously. I grew up knowing that I had to be meticulous, hardworking and precise.
How would you describe your design style and how did this develop?
AP: My design style is eclectic with a touch of classic. I love anything with character and history and I love mixing different styles and textures. My base coat for any design project however, is always neutral and basic with straight lines and natural materials. This way I can have fun with the lighting, the textures and the accessories which makes the space come alive. Then there’s my not-so-secret design style that is “all white errythang”. You just can’t go wrong with white.
Are there any styles which you absolutely hate?
AP: Not so much styles as specific colours. I must admit that I dislike the colours red and orange but, because I’m learning to grow as an interior designer, I’m also teaching myself to use these colours in a way that pleases my eye. Red and orange are colours that are very aggressive in a space, so you have to learn to use them properly.
What is your design process like?
AP: It’s all about developing a concept. Once the concept is in place, then I can start thinking about layout, functionality, colours, materials, furniture and lighting. I also live, eat and breath design so that helps too.
Do certain things or areas in the city inspire you? If so, what, and which areas?
AP: The Old Port has always been my favorite place in the city. The first time I took a school trip to Point-à-Callière was the first day I fell in love with that area. I snuck out of the museum with my friend because to me, the buildings outside were more interesting and beautiful than the recently-renovated museum. I’ve always been in love with older buildings because of their attention to detail and their history. I can’t look at an old construction without thinking about how people used to live and how they used to care for and decorate the inside. My dream is to one day live in France or England because of its old towns and architecture.
How would you describe the design scene in Montreal?
AP: It still has a long way to go, including myself.
Do you have any favourite restaurants and/or bars whose design you really admire?
AP: I recently went to eat at Le Laurea on Laurier for the first time and I have to say the decor, design, food and service really impressed me. My favorite bar in Montreal is still Apt200, not because I designed it but because of the way I feel every time I walk in. It pleases my eye and it’s cozy. The best way to enjoy the space is 5 à 7 Tuesdays and Thursdays before the crowds.
Where are some of your favourite places to shop for decor?
AP: Hmmm wouldn’t you like to know [laughs]. Here are a few: Lux Decor, various antique stores, Marché St-Michel, MÀ, Amherst street and Home Depot. Yes, Home Depot! It’s actually my favorite store because of the fun tools and materials I can use to make wonderful and creative pieces for my spaces.
Can you tell us a bit about La Chambre Design?
AP: The name comes from the fact that I design different rooms. But because of my french-speaking background, I decided it would be classier to call it “La Chambre”. It started with my dream of one day opening a boutique, which will happen in the near future. This place would be called La Chambre boutique and so I knew that if I had an interior design company, it had to be called La Chambre design. I currently have two partners who suggest all the amazing projects and two employees, one of whom is Camila Gonzalez (my “right hand man”). She’s a workaholic just like me but also keeps me in check. She’s been by my side since June for the Suwu Terrace and will hopefully stick around for all the upcoming design projects.
What are your current projects?
AP: My favorite project right now is Jatoba, a mix of industrial masculinity and old-world charm that showcases their wonderful Japanese high end cuisine. Some of my favourite materials like brass, Walnut, leather and white ceramic tile have been combined to give you a cozy yet modern feel. By next Spring there will also be a renovated terrace — think secret garden meet The Standard Hotel in NYC. Our upcoming design projects include a new bar in the Old Port, a beer garden in Blainville, and two highly anticipated collabs with Saintwoods.
Featured image courtesy of La Chambre Design’s facebook page.