Meet Ariane Triay, a local mom and the interior designer behind La French Goose in New Canaan. Over the years, she and her family have lived in New Canaan, Darien and Stamford. Ariane is currently renovating her newest home, a fixer-upper in Stamford that’s “just over the hill from New Canaan.” As a designer @lafrenchgooseinteriors she considers herself “a godmother for your house that you never knew you needed.” Learn more about Ariane and some of her favorite design tricks.
Where do you live and what do you love about your neighborhood?
I grew up in Greenwich and moved to Darien when we had our first child. Since then we have been nomadic followers of our children’s schools, traveling from Darien to lower Stamford to northern Stamford to New Canaan. Now that we are finally empty-nesters, we bought a house just over the hill from New Canaan back in Stamford, but we’re a stone’s throw from the border and still so close to my office in New Canaan that we consider ourselves locals. We found a dreamy piece of land at the end of a cul-de-sac and are finishing up renovations on a real fixer-upper, my favorite kind of house.
For those of us who aren’t familiar, how would you describe La French Goose and what makes it unique?
I want to be the fairy godmother for your house that you never knew you needed. We offer full-service, low-stress interior design services ranging from room refreshes to whole home projects. We want to make it painless for you to update your home, so you love (and use!) all of your rooms and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Can you please share about your professional background and career highlights—how did you come to start La French Goose?
As is often the case, my passion for interiors has come full circle. My first job out of college was in the Schumacher showroom in New York, and I fell in love with all the wings of fabric and wallpaper, followed by a move to Virginia where I worked for an interior designer. Life happened and I found myself back in NY and was introduced to my next two bosses, this time in the event planning field (and as far as I’m concerned, they require the same skills: to help people figure out how to move around a space while making it aesthetically pleasing). Andy King let me hone my skills as I helped him host corporate and private events in and around NYC. I later went to work for David Stark and Avi Adler who truly opened my eyes to designing events outside the box. If you can conceive of it then it’s possible, and that taught me how to take risks. I took a break from events to raise my kids, but continued to plan events for local non-profits and also designed and renovated a bunch of my own houses. About four years ago a friend’s husband dared me to start my own design business. The next day I formed an LLC using the name I had saved years earlier, and the rest is history.
What are some design trends you’re loving?
I am the least trendy person you’ll ever meet (just ask my daughter), and I have no idea what’s trendy. I prefer to just fall in love with things.
What is your absolute favorite design tip or trick when working with private homes?
If I can only do one thing in someone’s home, I will update every last lightbulb and then make sure they’re all on a dimmer or 3-way switch. Bulbs need to be “warm” and no more than 3000K. The most gorgeous house is nothing without good lighting. When we drive around the neighborhood at night, I want to leave notes in the mailboxes of every house I pass that uses blue/cold light bulbs. “Your home will look so much better! Please replace your existing light bulbs with warm bulbs!” It doesn’t need to look like an operating room for the room to feel bright and cheerful.
What do you find the most challenging and most rewarding parts of being a designer?
The most challenging part of being a designer is when I know something will have an incredible impact on a space, but the client can’t see it or won’t invest in it. This is especially true when I suggest tons of different types of seating for just one room: conversational zones where you can swivel or perch from many different spots is key, and that means you need to have a bunch of new pieces. The most rewarding part is watching a family fall in love with a room that was formerly never used.
Favorite project that you have completed?
I love different aspects of every project. Sometimes I fall in love with a piece of furniture, something I have custom-made that takes so many tweaks and iterations to get it just right, and then to see it come to life (and better than I had even imagined) is a magical experience. Another time it might be that the layout and vibe of a room turns out just as I had hoped—as welcoming for two people as it is for twelve (that’s the event planner in me)—and I know the space will host years of future moments for a family. My first goal is always for a room to WORK well for the people who use it, otherwise what’s the point? And of course I love seeing drapery and lighting fixtures get installed—it’s like Christmas.
Any designers or aesthetics that inspire your work?
I was probably British in a past life because I am enamored with so many English designers. Kit Kemp is at the top of my list, a visit for lunch at her Crosby Hotel makes me giddy; that bar is a dream. I also adore Rita Konig, Sophie Patterson and Sims Hilditch. At the end of the day, they all share an ability to design the most comfortable, yet luxurious spaces where you can sink into yummy sofas surrounded by killer lighting.
How do you find a balance with motherhood and your career? Any tips for the rest of the moms out there?
I have to admit, it’s much easier now that both my kids are away at school. But when they were living at home (and not driving themselves) it was a struggle. Owning your own business is a 24/7 endeavor, and I definitely work seven days a week. But I absolutely love what I do so it’s never a chore. That being said, I am getting better at delegating. It’s really important to get help, but it took me a long time to put that into practice. I have a fantastic team and we all support each other. I’ve also learned to accept that everything doesn’t need to be completed today. As long as you’re up front with clients and explain the timing to them, things can wait until tomorrow or next week and that’s okay. I am also more mindful of the times we are together as a family, and I (try to) consciously put down my phone or laptop and really BE with my kids. The best perk of owning my own business is that I can take off whenever I want, so I make time to go to a lacrosse game or tennis match without any guilt.
Interior images by Tim Lenz
Ariane and La French Goose team photos by Julia D’Agostino Pierce
To learn more about Ariane, follow her on IG @lafrenchgooseinteriors or visit the website.