The Home Front: Individual, local and sustainable design trends

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Canadian industry experts discuss what they’re working on and what’s next

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There’s a lot to celebrate about Canadian design. We met three talented industry professionals to find out more about their latest projects and how recent world events have impacted them.

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The interior designer Stephanie Brown from Vancouver from Stephanie Brown Inc. specializes in high-quality home design. Brown is originally from Calgary and has lived in Vancouver for 10 years. She has been a designer for more than two decades and loves the West Coast Modern aesthetic.

Over the past year, they have designed many vacation homes in locations like the Sunshine Coast and the Okanagan, whose clients have wanted to retreat to relaxed, natural surroundings.

“It has been a hot thing for people to take a short vacation that isn’t too far away. A place that you can rely on, that you can design for yourself. I think the pandemic has a lot to do with it, ”she says.

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

Ocean and ocean views, vineyards, and desert landscapes definitely provide design inspiration for these type of projects, Brown says, and there’s a growing preference for lighter surfaces. “For cottages or houses on the coast or in Whistler where people in the past always thought about using dark woods and slate, they have all shifted to a lighter and airier look. On one of our Whistler projects we used concrete cladding for a fireplace, which is really cool and gives it that structural, almost industrial quality, without being heavy and out of date like we’ve seen many times in the past. “

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Brown is a loyal supporter of local design talent from Vancouver and Canada, including the work of Lock & Mortice and the lighting of Bocci.

Travel is something the designer usually does a lot for work and says she missed it for the past 18 months. With design projects ongoing in Maui and the Bahamas, she hopes to be back on the road soon.

Toronto-based interior designer Rebecca Hay of Rebecca Hay Designs says her company is committed to following sustainable design practices. “A few years ago I had a little insight that the design industry was so wasteful and I wanted to change something. We are now doing our best to talk about sustainable products and find out more about them. “

The interior designer Rebecca Hay from Toronto, who has a passion for sustainable design.
The interior designer Rebecca Hay from Toronto, who has a passion for sustainable design. Photo by Rebecca Hay /PNG

Hay has just bought farmland outside of town and is building a farmhouse. In doing so, she relies on sustainable building practices.

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“I’ve never built for myself before. I’m really happy, ”she says.

Hay says the pandemic hit her at work as she started her Resilient By Design podcast when she first arrived and work slowed down. And they’ve reassessed the type of work they want to do, focusing on fewer larger-scale projects.

“We have more fun and we can do so much more,” she says.

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

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

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

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

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

“Our bespoke furniture line, the STUDIO Collection, is made entirely in Canada from solid wood,” says Daphne. “We pride ourselves on designing and manufacturing as much as possible here in Vancouver.”

The past year has been busier than ever for Once A Tree as people spend more time at home than ever investing in their interior design.

Last year has been busier than ever for Once A Tree as people spend more time at home and invest in their interior design. Right now, people are investing in their outdoor living and dining areas, she adds.

  1. Fig Faces location on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver, designed by Scott & Scott Architects.

    The home front: creating quiet spaces

  2. Murphy wall bed and sofa system from Expand Furniture.

    The home front: making optimal use of small spaces

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