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My Design Journey: Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski on Her California-Cool Style and Vintage Store Venture

Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski headshot.

Patrick Biller

Maybe you know of Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski from her former design blog, swooned over her soothing spaces, or dreamt of visiting her beautiful beach house rental. But, perhaps you’ve simply come to enjoy following along with her bubbly personality via Instagram, where Piotrowski addresses everything from design conundrums to behind-the-scenes snapshots. As part of our series, My Design Journey, we spoke with Piotrowski about her design school days, her ‘California cool meets Little House on the Prairie’ aesthetic, and her plans for her first home north of Toronto. 

On Her Path to the Design Industry

Piotrowski always appreciated decorating and aesthetics, even as a child. “I had a passion for interior design from a young age—setting up the Dream House was my favorite part of playing with Barbies as a little girl, and as a teenager, when all of my friends were watching MTV, I was watching HGTV,” she reflects. “I lost my way a little bit after a careers class in high school that unfortunately discouraged creative paths in favor of more traditional careers."

She chose to study English as an undergraduate with the goal of becoming a teacher before realizing that this path wasn’t the right fit. “Halfway through that degree, I knew my passion was still in design, so immediately after graduating, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Interior Design program and got to work,” Piotrowski explains. 

As a teenager, when all of my friends were watching MTV, I was watching HGTV. I always knew that one day, I would launch my own firm.

On Her Former Design Blog 

While a student, Piotrowski began writing a design blog, documenting her own projects, and sharing inspiration with others. This became a key career tool for her, too.

“When I started working for another firm, it was my creative outlet to continue to develop my own design voice while representing someone else’s at work,” Piotrowski adds. “I built a small, but mighty community through the blog and that community continues to support and uplift me today—in fact, 90 percent of our current client inquiries find us on Instagram.” 

On Launching Her Own Firm

“I always knew that one day, I would launch my own firm,” Piotrowski says, citing the entrepreneurial tendencies she exhibited even as a child. “My parents will tell you all about me setting up a lawn chair at the end of my driveway and selling my original works of art to my neighbors at age five.”

Eventually, the timing was right for Piotrowski to go off on her own. “When my landlord sold my apartment and I moved in with my partner in a different city, I knew it didn’t make sense for me to spend four hours a day commuting to the firm I was with when I could spend that time building my business,” she explains. “After almost five years of working for someone else, I felt ready to take the creative reins.”

That said, Piotrowski has worked through her share of challenges over the past year, just like any small business owner. “My business was only a year old when the pandemic hit, and we didn’t know how it would affect the design industry,” she explains. “It was scary, and I was determined to use the first lockdown to continue to grow my business.”

Piotrowski tapped into her creativity and introduced an array of new offerings to her followers and clientele, launching an online vintage shop, starting a ‘‘Design Dilemma’ series on Instagram, and rebranding her website. She adds, “The industry is busier than ever, and we are so grateful to have a full roster.” 

On Her Online Shop, TLD Curated

Piotrowski’s latest venture? Launching TLD Curated, an online shop offering everything from vintage and found items, like woven bowls and brass candlesticks, to new offerings such as chic rattan boxes and wooden trays. And yes—shipping is offered both within Canada, where Piotrowski is based, and the United States.

“I love vintage shopping—it’s something that brings me a great sense of calm and comfort,” Piotrowski reflects. “Some of my most favorite days are spent at an outdoor vintage market, hunting for that perfect rustic find.”

After parting ways with some of her vintage pieces due to space constraints and selling these goodies to clients, an idea was formed. “I realized that there was a demand for a designer-curated collection of vintage goods and that I could service a wider audience by starting a small shop,” Piotrowski says. “We do four vintage drops per year, and I love the excitement of drop day and the excitement of our customers racing to snag the perfect piece.”

On Her Style’s Evolution 

Looking back on her early days of blogging, Piotrowski asserts that her style has since developed greatly. “I remember my first apartment, which I promptly filled with every new trend, from a chevron pillow to a ceramic zebra to a gallery wall of colorful prints,” she says. “It was a bit of a hodge-podge, and I hadn’t found my ‘voice’ yet.”

I often describe my style as California-cool meets Little House on the Prairie.

As she grew older, Piotrowski developed a love for a more soothing palette. “Over time, I learned to develop a signature style that feels right to my soul,” she explains. “It’s a mix of neutral, calming colors, chalky white walls, textural elements like jute and vertical shiplap, and a healthy dose of vintage items. I often describe my style as California-cool meets Little House on the Prairie.” 

On the Amabel Beach House 

While still in her twenties, Piotrowski purchased her first home, the Amabel Beach House. “I was 27 living on a single income and itching to get into the real estate market,” Piotrowski explains. “The housing prices in Toronto were way out of reach, and so I started thinking outside of the box and decided to purchase and renovate a small, fixer-upper cottage by the beach.”

In addition to serving as an investment property and vacation rental, the home also provided Piotrowski with a means of demonstrating her design talent during the time she was still working for another firm by day.

“I’m happy to say this is my third summer with the cottage fully booked,” she notes. “We’ve taken a fairly large financial hit on it since Ontario is in its third major lockdown and has a ban on short-term rentals, but I’m excited for a new group of families to make memories in the beach house this summer when the lockdown lifts." 

On What Lies Ahead 

Piotrowski and her partner recently purchased their first home “and we are excited to document the journey on our social media channels,” she says. While she plans to slowly take on renovations, Piotrowski is eager to enjoy her lakefront home’s outdoor spaces and make smaller cosmetic changes in the kitchen.  

With her move comes a new career goal, too. “Since we are relocating to north of Toronto and closer to Muskoka, I’m really hoping to tap more into the luxury cottage market in Ontario, helping clients to create the cottages of their dreams,” Piotrowski explains. “The lake has always felt like home to us, and so doing work on lakefront properties is one of our very favorite things.”