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Bringing Homes to Life – Amanda Hamilton

July 24, 2018 0

Bringing Homes to Life - Amanda Hamilton

Amanda is one of a kind. She is an award wining interior designer and entrepreneur in Calgary but is renowned throughout Canada for her bold commercial and residential designs. She sat down with us to talk about the design process, why you might want to hire a designer for your next project and what goes into creating the perfect mood in your home.

How did you get started in interior design?

Despite having an eye for design, interior design wasn’t something Amanda got into right away:

“I actually didn’t know about interior design when I first started. I was actually in visual arts, music and theatre growing up. It was two years into university, and was not doing so well in my classes. The studies were just so general. I sat down one day and started trolling the internet one day, as one does, and went down a rabbit hole and found out about interior design. I had never heard about it before. I was living in Edmonton at the time, had done some research and really wanted to go and get a degree.”

The rest is history, despite some unsure parents when Amanda decided to move from Edmonton to Calgary to attend Mount Royal University.

 

How do you get started with a complicated new project like a home renovation or commercial space?

Amanda recommends starting fresh and have inspiration at hand, but make no assumptions.

“I like to approach every client with a fresh start and an open mind. Clients and designers alike want to dig in to a project. They want to start talking about finishes and materials, and plumbing and lighting right away. But there are so many more important steps that have to happen before that. We sit down and do a design discovery meeting. From there we assess what a client needs. We have a rule in the office that we don’t copy anyone else but we also don’t copy ourselves. I don’t like to reuse the same light fixture or plumbing fixture or sofa or finished material because I want all of our spaces to be a reflection of the client and not a reflection of us.”

When it comes time to start the project, it all starts with the space itself.

“I love space planning. It’s my favourite part of the process. I grew up doing puzzles with my grandpa. There are rules around doing puzzles, there’s a strategy and a process. You start with the edge pieces and work your way in. That comes into design. There’s a process there.”

One of the first things is to figure out the different areas and how to arrange the different elements in a pleasing and functional way.

 

How do you educate clients?

“We educate our clients from start to finish in the design process and we do that through challenging them. Clients will come in with an idea; a rough idea on their Pinterest boards or images pulled out of a magazine. Our job is to take their vision and make it better than what they could have imagined. Otherwise, what’s our value if we’re just giving you what you came with? It’s our responsibility to introduce clients to different brands, concepts and ideas.”

 

How do you know when a space is finished?

“There’s a lot of psychology behind how space affects people. When you walk into a space, it just feels right. The reality is that behind the scenes, the designer has considered every single detail. It goes beyond design. For example, in a restaurant, it’s the music, the design of the menu, the branding and creative — everything down to what the server is wearing and the verbiage they are using. It gives you an overall picture of the experience. There are literally thousands of details that got you to feel that way”

But she wouldn’t say that it’s complete at that point:

“A space is never complete. A space that is well designed continues to evolve”

The important thing is to make it your own, and use the space as a springboard for making it fit your life.

 

What makes or breaks a space?

The top elements that contribute to the feel and liveability of a space are the furniture and lighting fixtures.

“Those are the “character” pieces. They are the ‘jewels’ that give the home character and brings it to life.”

Each of the elements in the home bring something different to the table.

With lighting, it’s not just the decorative aspect but the mood that these elements create.

According to Amanda, “Emotion and mood is created by lighting.”

Plumbing and hardware is also one of the more unappreciated categories:

“There’s something about when you touch and feel a really great quality faucet. That’s something you’re doing on a daily basis. If you’re just using something flimsy, you can feel that.”

 

What do you look for when finding a vendor to supply those products?

For a top designer like Amanda Hamilton, finding the right products easily is very important, given the demands put on a designer under a tight timeline.

“When working with a vendor it’s important that they have product lines that have depth. Quality is really big for us. I like working with Robinson Lighting & Bath because they have so many great products. They have great products with great quality and price point, and those individual product lines have so much depth — from traditional to transitional to contemporary. It’s nice to go to one place and be able to specify everything rather than all over the place.”

It also comes down to finding someone easy to work with who understands the breakneck speed of the design process.

“Customer service is really important to us. All of the vendors we work with, we think of them as extensions of our company. We have chosen them as part of our family and recommended them to clients. We want to make sure that everything is working smoothly

Choosing the right vendor makes our job easier because they do a lot of footwork in the background. They know how much interior designers have to specify and deal with in a day, so they make it easy by ensuring that it’s quick and easy. They need a fantastic website, and if we call, there’s someone to speak to. If we need a price, they’ll get back to us.”

Want to know more about Amanda and her work? Check out her projects in our design gallery or visit www.amandahamiltondesign.com and follow her @ahidstudio


jung-ae.park@baronbinson.com'

Bringing Homes to Life – Jaclyn Peters

July 24, 2018 0

Bringing Homes to Life - Jaclyn Peters

Happily balancing work and family life on the Canadian prairies, Jaclyn Peters launched her interior design career after the renovation of her first home. Specializing in residential spaces, Jaclyn Peters Design was founded on the idea that every space should be as functional as it is beautiful.

We sat down with Jaclyn to discuss how she brings homes to life.

How did you get started in interior design?

When I got married, my husband and I bought our first house, and bit by bit we made it our home. We painted walls, we did tile work, we got new furniture and made it our own space and I remember loving that process and loving how I felt.

Then a number of years later we bought a bigger home to accommodate our growing family. We bought an old home that needed to be renovated so we gutted the whole main level and started fresh. Again, I was just loving it. I loved putting pieces together and making it beautiful but also functional for our family.

After that, we would have friends and family over and they thought “Wow. You did this yourself?”

I just loved it. I loved the process. I wish I could do this every day.

And so from then on, people would inquire “Could you do that for us?”

So it really started from that.

 

How do you approach a project with a new client?

Every client is so different. Often I’ll talk to a client and ask them “How do you want to feel in this space?”

Some say “I want to feel cozy. I want to feel calm.”

I just had a client who wanted everything to look dark and moody because they both have day jobs so they’re not home during the day and therefore daylight wasn’t really on their radar which is different from what I’m used to. But, they entertain a lot and wanted to have lots of lighting options to create a dark, moody space.

So each project is different in the way I bring it to life. With that client, we brought in a lot of dark materials but then we added in texture and lots of layers. Bringing that to life was different than the next person who might want organic materials and greenery and bright light and white walls. I think each one is very different from the next, so it’s a different challenge for me to really make that client feel like they’re home.

Often, we’ll talk about how they use the space. If you have a young family, that could be very different than a retired couple who might use it very differently than maybe someone with toddlers or even teenage kids.

A lot of clients know what they like, but they really know what they don’t like.

 

How do you bring homes to life?

Everyone’s life is so different.

For me, 90 per cent of it is how you feel when you’re in the space, what brings them joy, what makes their family feel like they’re home.

It could have different meanings for everyone. But really, that feeling when you walk in your home, you love your space, you can let go everything that happened in the day, all of your stresses, all of the messiness that comes with life, you can sit down, you can have a glass of wine and love your space. I think, that, to me, is design. Function obviously plays a huge part in that if you have a young family, things still need to flow and make sense and be workable when you’re in the kitchen or in your bathroom. But that feel and that emotion of when you’re in your space is just huge for me. That to me is design.

 

What’s your favorite part of the process?

My favorite part of the process is presenting my design concept to a client. I may have spent hours, and hours, and hours, creating something, finding the perfect light, finding the perfect fixture, finding the perfect rug to really tie a room together, and then being able to show that to my clients.

It’s something they would never be able to put together themselves and I just feel like that’s why I’m there. That’s why they hired me. I feel like all of my hard work, everything that I’ve done and worked towards is being rewarded in that conversation.

They love it, they’re excited to move forward, they’re excited about their space and we get to create something new for them.

 

What do you look for when finding a vendor to supply those products?

For me, customer service is huge.  It’s easy to pick a product from a catalog or a website. But maybe something was shipped wrong or something is damaged. It’s that customer relationship and vendor relationship that I have with companies that keeps me coming back and wanting to use that company again.

Going the extra mile to make sure something was replaced that was damaged, giving my clients peace of mind that if something is going to go wrong a year from now they have a great warranty and they’re going to have anything fixed that needs fixing.

Then there’s the social piece. I get to meet so many different people along the way. Even though you’re not with them on a day to day basis, working together with people that are trying to achieve the same goal that you are — making your clients happy.

[Robinson] has been such a huge part in helping me create unique spaces. Maybe I found this certain piece that I really want to use it so they’ll hunt it down for me and bring it in for me. I love the relationships that we have. The ease of me not having to find every single specific piece that I’m looking for.

If I need a shower, they’ll tell me what I’ll need with that —all the valves and all the drains, and all the other stuff I know I need but I’m not focused on.  I need that expertise and I can be comfortable that they know plumbing, they know everything that I need for that job and they’re going to make sure that I can get it.


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390 Beaverbrook

July 16, 2018 0

390 Beaverbrook

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Lakebend Residence

June 7, 2018 0

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jung-ae.park@baronbinson.com'

Northern Lights

May 28, 2018 0

Northern Lights

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