By: Melissa Leclair, CEO, Leclair Decor Inc.
It’s hard to even begin reflecting on the past 10 years because SO much has happened for Sacha and I. It’s been a decade that has challenged us, inspired us, and deepened our connections to others and to one another. We truly had no idea that after saying “I Do” all those years ago, we would so quickly find a path of unified passion for creativity and design—but here we are. To kick off our 10th anniversary celebrations, we’re sharing our top 10 ‘firsts’!
PHOTO: Melissa and Sacha Leclair
1. Our First Home (2010)
Our first home was a project from the moment we were handed the keys in the summer of 2010. Paintbrush in hand, we were waiting to burst through the doors and make that house our home! We put off our honeymoon and invested all our time and money into working multiple jobs and getting creative with our home. We gathered pieces from antique stores, big box stores, yard sales, and repurposed old pieces wherever we could. After putting the finishing touches on our humble abode, we were so smitten that we decided to create our own website where we could share our story!
PHOTO: Our first home. We did everything we could to make our house a home. We were so thrifty that the bear print above was actually a wallpaper sample and those wooden cubes were Sacha's old record storage bins!
2. Our First Client (2011)
Although he wasn't a paying client, our first real project was a dream for us! Sacha's good friend was moving into a new condo and had very little coming with him, so we essentially had a blank slate to design a space in keeping with his style and our vision. It was so much fun to see another space come to life and this project further solidified our shared passion for the design world.
PHOTO: The Ottawa condo that started it all.
3. Our First Paying Clients (2012)
After a successful execution of the condo, we received a referral from a colleague of Sacha's friend to consult on the design for their new home and decorate the main rooms. At that point in time, we couldn't believe that someone was going to pay us in exchange for our services—it felt like a dream come true!
PHOTO: This West Side two-story had so many beautiful moments throughout.
Next, we were on to our friend's home, where they needed design assistance to decorate their main floor and their daughter's bedroom. We really loved designing this sweet space and went with an all-white base complemented by pops of pink and red to create a playful space for her to connect with!
PHOTO: Little L's room needed something special, so we added a custom-painted 'L' mural.
4. Our First Model Homes (2014)
The next milestone for LD was connecting with Richcraft, a local builder, who contracted us to decorate model homes at multiple sites throughout the city. What seemed like an Everest-sized mountain to climb ended up also being one of our most exciting challenges to date. I knew we couldn't pass up the opportunity, so we dove into the logistics and the vision for the design immediately and we’re still working with Richcraft today!
PHOTO: Richcraft Model Homes, Ottawa
5. Our First Out-of-Town Project (2014)
We weren't the only ones jumping at new opportunities. When a friend of ours landed a job in New York City and found the cutest spot in Hell's Kitchen, it was a given that we'd help make her little loft a cozy place to come home. With a tight budget, tight quarters, and no elevator, this small project was a big challenge. In the end, we came up with functional and stylish solutions for her new pied-à-terre!
PHOTOS: Hell's Kitchen Condo. Media Console | Custom Art Prints
6. Our First Nursery (2015)
This list of firsts wouldn't be complete without our first bundle of joy! The pressure of parenthood is one thing, but for us that was coupled with the pressure of so many people telling us they couldn’t wait to see what we did with the nursery. We knew we wanted to create a uniquely-designed space for our little one. Our creative juices were running as high as our nerves and we couldn’t have been happier with the result, which combined modern design with playful adventure!
7. Our First Team Members (2015)
The LD team officially began growing when we received inquiries from a couple of go-getters who wanted to help lighten our load and immerse themselves in the design industry! We gladly accepted and haven't looked back since. It wasn't our original intention to build a big company, but our ideas and workload just kept growing and we knew we couldn't do it all ourselves. These new team members jumped in, helped out with anything and everything, and were just what we needed to keep our heads above water as new parents and business owners.
Photo: Our first two team members: Grace Doyle & Marcela Gutierrez.
8. Our First Viral Custom-Painted Mural (2016)
Sacha has always had a love for creating mixed media using his graphic design skills, so designing custom murals was part of the fun in the early days of Leclair Decor. This mural was used as a focal point in an open-concept space to make a serious statement and add a bold conversation piece.
PHOTO: Landsdowne Project
PHOTO: We loved the mural so much it also became the wrap for our company van!
9. Our First Carte Blanche Project (2016)
Having carte blanche on a project is incredibly exciting as a creative, but also nerve-wracking knowing the clients won't see anything until the big reveal! Our friends fully trusted us to create a well-designed and functional space for their family, and it's safe to say they were thrilled with the end result.
PHOTO: Client Carte Blanche
10. Our First Client Kitchen (2016)
We gave this kitchen a refresh so this busy family of four could come home and gather in a clean and calming space. We knew we wanted to make it light and bright, so we removed some of the cabinets and painted the uppers a crisp white. Taking the tile all the way to the ceiling also added height and opened up the space even more!
PHOTO: Lower Cabinet Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey.
Thank you for looking back with us and stay tuned as we celebrate Leclair Decor's 10th anniversary all month long!
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