The Home Front: Celebrating Canadian Design Talent

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We caught up with three talented industry professionals to hear about their latest projects and how recent world events impact them.

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There is a lot to celebrate about Canadian design. We caught up with three talented industry professionals to hear about their latest projects and how recent world events impact them.

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Vancouver interior designer Stephanie Brown from Stephanie Brown Inc. specializes in high-end residential design. Originally from Calgary, Brown has lived in Vancouver for 10 years. She’s been a designer for over two decades and loves the modern west coast aesthetic.

Over the past year, they’ve designed many vacation homes, she says, in places like the Sunshine Coast and the Okanagan, with their guests keen to retreat to relaxed natural surroundings.

“It’s been a hot thing for people to have a getaway that’s not too far away. A place they can depend on and customize for themselves. I think the pandemic has a lot to do with it, ”she said.

Mount Pleasant House designed by Stephanie Brown of Stephanie Brown Inc.
Mount Pleasant House designed by Stephanie Brown of Stephanie Brown Inc. Photo by Phil Crozier /PNG

Views of the ocean and lake, vineyards and desert landscapes are certainly an inspiration for these type of projects, says Brown, and there is a growing preference for lighter finishes. “With cabins or houses on the coast, or in Whistler, where historically people have always thought of using dark woods and slate, everyone has kind of moved on to a brighter, airier look. With one of our projects in Whistler we used a concrete liner on a fireplace which is really cool and gave it that textural, almost industrial quality without being heavy and dated as we have often seen. in the past.

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Brown is a staunch supporter of local Vancouver talent and Canadian design, including the work of Lock and mortise and lighting by Bocci.

Travel is something the designer usually does a lot for her job and says she’s missed it for the past 18 months. With design projects underway in Maui and the Bahamas, she hopes she’ll be back on her trip soon.

Toronto interior designer, Rebecca Hay from Rebecca Hay Designs, says his company is committed to sustainable design practices. “I had a little revelation a few years ago that the design industry was so wasteful, and I wanted to make a change. We are now doing our best to talk and educate ourselves on sustainable products.

Toronto interior designer Rebecca Hay, passionate about sustainable design.
Toronto interior designer Rebecca Hay, passionate about sustainable design. Photo by Rebecca Hay /PNG

Hay has just bought farmland outside of town and built a farm. She is determined to use sustainable building practices to do this.

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“I have never built for myself before. I am extremely excited, ”she said.

Hay says the pandemic has affected her professionally, in that when she first struck and labor slowed down, she launched her podcast, Resilient By Design. And they’ve reassessed what kind of work they want to do, focusing on fewer, larger-scale projects.

“It’s more fun for us, and so we can have a much bigger impact,” she says.

Large, nature-inspired home designed by Toronto interior designer Rebecca Hay.
Large, nature-inspired home designed by Toronto interior designer Rebecca Hay. Photo by Rebecca Hay /PNG

Like Brown, Hay says she enjoys working with Canadian suppliers: “Lately we’ve been working on a lot of custom furniture through Abacus Furniture here in Toronto. Shayne Fox Hardware makes beautiful custom cabinet knobs, and Rubinet faucets are gorgeous and all custom made right here in Canada.

Vancouver’s Once A Tree furniture just celebrated its 40th anniversary; no small feat in the design world.

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Founded in 1981 by husbands Ann and Sam Nielsen, the company is now run by their daughter, Daphne Nielsen.

Daphne Nielsen who runs Once A Tree Furniture (founded by her parents 40 years ago).
Daphne Nielsen who runs Once A Tree Furniture (founded by her parents 40 years ago). Photo for Once A Tree Furniture /PNG

“Our range of custom-made furniture, the STUDIO collection, is made entirely in Canada from solid wood, ”explains Daphne. “We’re proud to design and manufacture as many as possible here in Vancouver. “

This past year has been busier than ever for Once A Tree, with people spending more time at home than ever before and investing in their homes.

Right now, people are investing in their outdoor living and dining spaces, she adds. And their business has certainly been hit by the pandemic as it experiences production and shipping delays.

“It’s definitely something to think about if people are thinking of any home renovations or improvements this fall / winter. We are already encouraging our customers and designers to order furniture now to avoid delays and disappointments, ”says Daphne.

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