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Pro File: Kelly LaPlante of Trove Market on New Adventures

When Kelly LaPlante calls, I am all ears. We reconnected back in 2007 just as I was finishing up my degree in interior design. We hadn’t seen each other since we were children–we are cousins or second cousins rather and I happened to visit her mother with my parents, who informed me Kelly was an interior designer as well. I looked her up and therein began my secret obsession with Kelly–someone for me to look up to. She is whip smart, obvious from the moment you meet her but also a creative force to be reckoned with. You won’t find Kelly marching in line with the rest of us–she marches to her own beat and I greatly admire her for that. She is best known for her involvement in sustainable design, from her interiors work to the online magazine she launched and directed from 2010-2013. She is now on a new venture with Trove Market and we caught up with each other via a little “designer Q & A flip flop”. I got to ask her all of my burning desire questions about her career–which you will see here. To read her questions and my answers, head over to the Trove blog!
 Kelly with her adorable son, Stosh
JJ: I’ve watched you go from an amazing LA based interior designer to founding and being the editor of Standard Magazine, which was a favorite publication of mine. Can you tell us what inspired you to branch out into the media side of the design business?

KLP: I like to say that journalism is in my blood. We’ve got lots of journalists in the family, so I figure it is my birthright to put words down on a page. I caught the editorial bug while writing my book and there was no going back. I started Standard a couple of years later and adored being the Editorial Director… since we closed in 2013 I’ve just been missing that kind of work so much! So when the opportunity came to be the Editorial Director of Trove Market—how could I resist?

When I lived in LA, there were lots of opportunities for on-camera designing and now for Trove we produce videos that are similar to that (but much faster!). I love designing with the challenge of cameras rolling.

I wear a lot of hats—designer, writer, editor, producer. In the same day I can be both on camera and behind the scenes. But somehow it all comes together to form a fairly seamless career and I’m really grateful for that.

JJ: These days it seems as if everyone has a book out! When you published your book, écologique back in 2008 did the market feel as saturated with design books as it does now? What was the process of putting the book together like?

KLP: There weren’t as many design books—and certainly not as many about sustainable design! I truly felt like there was a need for a book like écologique because there were many misconceptions about green design, at the time.

I was living in LA and was lucky to be working with a lot of interesting people— authors, actors, politicians—they had each come to me specifically because they wanted green design. A friend suggested that we start photographing the projects specifically with the goal of making a book that would illustrate how green design could coexist with any style, and I loved the idea. Then I started reaching out to people in other parts of the country to see if they wanted to participate and the response was really wonderful. My team and I would just travel all over the place, working on the homes of people we’d just met and becoming fast friends with them. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
JJ: You are a pioneer of the sustainable design movement. Using vintage is sustainable and is so hot right now in design–something I saw you implementing years ago in all of your projects. How has your design aesthetic evolved over the years and are you still loving vintage now as much as you used to?

KLP: I’ve always loved vintage and I still do! I believe the greenest (and often, the most stylish!) thing you can do is to use something that is already existing. There’s no new environmental footprint—and that’s pretty fantastic!

Trove vintage chairs

Mid century chairs available on Trove

Trove vintage chests

Set of MCM chests available on Trove 

As I type this, I’m sitting in Round Top, Texas, during the antiques fair. It’s so much fun to see what people bring out and what people go home with. A lot of trends start here, out in the dusty fields. A few years ago we spotted some antique pommel horses that one vendor was selling and months later we saw them peppered into chic little shops all over the country! It’s funny to think that there are trends in vintage and antique, but there definitely are… especially with the quirky stuff!
Trove team at Roundtop
 The Trove team visits Round Top, Texas

JJ: Your career path has been an inspiration to watch. Can you tell us more about your current venture with Trove?

KLP: Thank you! Like everyone, I’ve had my ups and downs and, truthfully, I was a little lost after closing Standard a couple of years ago. It took me some time to find my way to something that was a perfect fit. It was the first time I hadn’t just catapulted from one adventure to the next and I was incredibly frustrated by that.

Trove and I found each other organically, through mutual friends, and one thing lead to another. I was Guest Editor for a couple of months and then was offered the opportunity to stay on as Editorial Director, which just felt right to all of us. I deeply identify with our mission of helping people connect to vintage and other unique pieces that are local to them. There are so many cool technological bells and whistles that we make use of at Trove that encourage the local shopping experience—that means a lot to me because shipping has such a huge impact on the planet.

Being an Editorial Director for a brand like Trove is a little different than holding the same position at a magazine, so I’m getting to learn a lot of new things! There is some inevitable trial and error in finding Trove’s “voice” but it is such a fun endeavor—and I’m blessed to know so many talented designers (like you!) who will come and play with me in the sandbox as I create content.

JJ: Since minimalism is the current topic on the Trove blog can you share with us what minimalism means to you and possibly a favorite minimalist space?

KLP: I’m definitely a less-is-more kind of person. I’ve always under-consumed and thought a lot about what I buy and what role it will play in my life. I want the pieces I own to bring me joy, every day—that’s a tall order and it sort of makes me a minimalist by default, although my personal taste is a bit more eclectic what one typically thinks of when they think of minimalism.

A designer who does a fantastic job of capturing my aesthetic is Lukas Machnik, who won American Dream Builders with his beach house design. It was a controversial win—his look definitely pushes the envelope and not everyone can envision themselves living in a space like that. But, to me, it was so spot on! He layered textures and merged styles to create an eclectic space but also kept everything relatively monochromatic, which gave the overall design a more minimal aesthetic.

Lukas Machnik
Lukas Machnik
Thank you, Kelly for sharing a glimpse inside of your impressive work life, past and present! To read my answers to Kelly’s question, head over to the Trove blog.