In Focus - La Maison
At Wigoders we love creativity and passion! That's why we're here after all - to share our passion for interiors and help you create a beautiful home that you can enjoy year after year.
As part of our Get Creative Campaign we've put together our In Focus section where we put our questions to creatives and designers from gardeners to painters, craftspeople to architects and more. If you'd like to get involved just get in touch and we'll get right back to you.
Meet Claire McDonough, co-owner of La Maison, Interior Design Services
Tell us about your business
My friend Anne Blake and I set up La Maison in 2005 as a home and gift store in Letterkenny. Our inspiration was French and Swedish interior styles. Our store stocked top quality home brands such as Lexington, Villeroy & Boch and KitchenAid. We aimed ourselves at the wedding gift and new home markets. Having trained in Rural Development and Catering respectively and worked together in the Local Authority we didn’t come from an Interiors background so felt the need to retrain in Interior Design. We completed training in 2008 and expanded our business to include Interior Design Workshops, Furniture Painting Classes and a full Interior Design Service.
What inspires you?
Well, that’s easy one! All things interior!! I love seeing a new fabric and my mind races straight to possible schemes. Equally I love walking into a ‘before’ space for the first time as I love how an idea begins to take shape in my mind. I suppose that describes what we call the creative process! I really get a buzz from the ‘after’ taking shape in my mind. The source of the inspiration can come from anywhere from nature to my morning coffee!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Well as a Mum, I would have to say my two super kids Grace and Finn, but on a professional level I do feel very privileged that I can go to work every day in a workplace of my creation where the environment is supportive and creative. All our staff are very busy working Mums who juggle work life and busy families, so Anne and I consider it a priority to be as flexible and supportive as possible.
What is your greatest indulgence?
A long bath followed by a cosy evening by a roaring fire with as many interiors magazines I can get my hands on, enjoyed with a lovely G&T!
What piece of advice would you give some interested in this field?
For anyone interested in Interior Design, I would say get stuck in at home first. Tackle some small, manageable projects. Paint is a great place to start and the easiest way to make the biggest impact. Pop along to Wigoders as the paint department staff have a wealth of experience. Whether you need wall paint or you are thinking of tackling a craft project such as creating a blackboard wall or upcycling some furniture, you will find all you need in Wigoders! I regularly pop in when in Dublin to see my Mother In Law each month. The staff are so knowledgeable and helpful.
What is the most stressful part of setting up in business and how you overcame it?
We didn’t find setting up the business to stressful at all as we were so enthusiastic about providing a new retail offering in Letterkenny. We loved every minute and for the first two years we had a super experience and the business performed really well. However, as he recession began to dawn we felt we really had to adapt and upskill in order to reinvigorate the business. Training as interior designers in face of a property crash flew in face of rational thinking but we were confident to our ability to adapt and in the strength of the reputation and trust we had built up with our customers. Thankfully a decade later we have completed transformed our business and now employ six people full time; three Interior Designers, two curtain-makers and a fulltime Design Assistant. Having our own dedicated manufacturing on site means we have full control of quality and can be more creative.
Plans for the year ahead
Our latest addition to the business is ‘Wild Atlantic Interiors’ our very own collection of WAW inspired cushions which are rooted in the Donegal land and seascapes. Our ‘Donegal’, Fanad Lighthouse and Bunny cushions have been most popular. This year we plan lots more inspiring design projects, including topic based workshops such as Managing a New Build which kicked off on Feb 16th, welcoming our 7th member of staff, as well as officially launching our cushion range. Watch this pace it will be a very busy year!
Where can people find out more?
We are currently consolidating our La Maison website with our new Wild Atlantic Interiors website so for daily updates on all our services, classes and projects follow us on Instagram @lamaisonlk and on Facebook at La Maison Letterkenny.