September 2015

Highlights from the IDS West Show

Well, it was fun IDS – until next year! For those of you who haven’t heard about this show, you are missing out. This is the most exciting annual event the A & D (Architects and Designers) community has in Vancouver. Over the years it has grown to become even bigger and better. Showcasing more talent, drawing prestigious speakers and a larger crowd. When my friends and family mention going to the home show I always tell them forget about that (who needs to see more hot tubs and Ginsu knives?) this is the show to attend. Whether you are a trade professional or home owner, who doesn’t appreciate seeing some of our city’s finest furniture, tile, and finishes retailers and suppliers all under one roof?

Rounding out our favorites from this year

Social – this is a great event to network and catch up with your peers, suppliers, clients and friends. One doesn’t have to look far to find a pre-party, after party or party after the after party! Actually the opening night is always a ton of fun. Since you are so busy socializing you never really get a chance to see much of the show. Hence Friday is Trade Day!

Stages – Both Caesarstone and Gray provided inspiring and educational lectures and discussions by both local and international keynote speakers. The intimate Gray Conversations Stage was designed by our good friend Jen Hawk of Occupy Design. The Caesarstone stage was designed by HCMA. And how could you miss the many people taking a break at the Caesarstone Swings designed by Philippe Malouin? This playful and minimalist interactive installation had previously been at the Toronto Interior Design Show and Milan Design Week.

Monogram’s Dinner by Design – showcased three dimensional dining installations that were created by local and international talent meant to awe, inspire and delight. This is one of Vancouver’s most creative charity events benefiting the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. Our favorite was The Concept: Loupe by VDB inspired by topographic maps.

Open Studio – included 10 handpicked designers that were given the opportunity to turn a blank space into a conceptual or functional themed work-space. When I stopped by Heather Ross’s display I felt like I was able to take a glimpse into her own private painting studio. It very much reflected her stores’ aesthetic and what you have come to expect from this talented artist.

New products – and of course the discovery of new products. What designer doesn’t get a thrill from this one? I was very impressed with many of the talented vendors that participated in the Portland pop up. The whimsical and colorful hooks by Merkled Studio and Veslostirrups bike shelf by Quartertwenty were stand outs.

Well I could go on, but who’s going to listen? There is always next year……….. Share your thoughts, what were your favorites this year? #area3idswest


ids west pic



Sign up to receive our design blog updates

I Left my Heart in Montreal

Sitting here on my last evening in Montreal admiring all the people hanging out on the steps across the street from the MAC (the one museum I missed, just not enough time) and reflecting back on my time here. What have I learnt while visiting Montreal you ask? A few things for sure………….The population here is almost 2.5 times what we have in Vancouver. Try and walk down Saint Catherine’s Street on a Saturday afternoon and you will see what I mean (Robson Street pales in comparison). Old Montreal is like walking down the old cobblestone streets you would only find in Europe. Did I mention the coffee? Every restaurant seems to make a cappuccino that would challenge the Italians. Many coffee shops share retail spaces here. A great example was a cool store I stumbled upon called Espace Pepin. They even design and print in house their own wallpapers that mimic concrete, wood and stone (I see a model home in the near future).

Then there’s the food – maple syrup, bagels, smoked meat and of course the legendary poutine! These staples can be found on nearly every street corner. I don’t think they are many vegetarians here?

But, most of all I would say this city is vibrant, full of energy, exciting, historical, and of course full of culture. Patios spill out on to the streets and are crowded on a warm Monday evening along Saint Denis Street (maybe no one works here?) Buildings that are hundreds of year’s old, magnificent churches, and lots of art galleries and museums. I would highly recommend the MMFA (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts). This is actually three buildings in one with an underground passage that connects them all. I only made it through 1.5 buildings before closing time (so allow lots of time). My favourite exhibit was the outdoor public art on display at the Sculpture Garden (free for all to enjoy). This consists of 22 sculptures by local and international artists. The McCord Museum also has a summer outdoor make-shift park called the Urban Jungle, offering passerby’s a picnic area to enjoy their lunch under the blue trees.

Well, all good things must come to an end they say. Unfortunately that includes mini vacations. Wish I could bottle some of this Montreal energy and bring it home with me, as a designer this is one rejuvenating and inspiring place to visit. Have you been? Share your thoughts #area3montreal


Blog Post 16 - Montreal

Sign up to receive our design blog updates

Move over Chrome

Well it seems that chrome needs to move on over and make room! Some serious contenders like brass, gold, rose gold and copper are popping up everywhere these days! Apple just recently released its IPhone 6s and this year’s new finish is rose gold. Scrolling through their site you can buy Apple’s beautiful accessories – Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Over Ear Headphones and Beats Pill 2.0 Speaker – both complete with gold accents. Talking about sleek personal accessories why not head over to a personal favorite? Michael Kors has so many amazing bangles in gold I couldn’t choose just one…….. you will find gold accents on his shoes, watches and purses. He even has a perfume line appropriately named Gold Collection Rose Radiant and 24K Brilliant Gold. Want to introduce one of these new metals in your home? No need to venture far. Locally, West Elm offers Gold Flatware and Perforated Metal Pendants. New introductions for EQ3 include the Metro Table Lamp and Ball Pendant in Copper. Over at Crate and Barrel they have many table options. Pictured below is the Lucida Side Table, CB2 showcases various photo frames. Provide Home offers local Vancouver Artist Martha Sturdy. Many of her pieces are available in spun brass. Blu Dot’s new 2D:3D medium bowl comes in copper. Last but not least – why not glam up that bathroom? Hans Grohe offers some of their Axor line in a gold finish. So it begs the question, are you on this gold spangled bandwagon or will you stay true to the classic chrome? What finish should win out in this metal mash up? Maybe there’s room for all? Share your thoughts? #area3designmetal

metal mash up


Sign up to receive our design blog updates

Top 10 Design Quotes

Well since its back to school time for many, (we miss you Joanne!). I found myself reflecting back to my school days and all those talented architects we studied. Some of them I still vividly remember and admire. Some I have had the pleasure of visiting their work in person. Two in particular really stand out (1) The Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe which was much smaller than I had ever imagined (text books really don’t do this space justice). But, it was far more impressive than I anticipated. It was really hard to believe this modern beauty had been designed in 1929. Talk about being ahead of your time! This architect’s design aesthetics is one I most admire. (2) The Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Desert Home which was originally his winter home, went on to become his school of architecture. I attended a several hour tour and listened to our guide explain how he would move a limited number of students (and their families) to live alongside him and his wife on this property. Here they would study, have meals together and socialize every day. Walking through the space you really understand his appreciation and love of nature. One of my favorite memories of Arizona.

There are so many talented architects (and designers) past and present. When we were preparing our website we decided to note our favorite design quotes with each of our bios. So here you will find our top 10 quotes. What is yours? Be sure to share using #area3designquote

design quotes

design quotes2

Sign up to receive our design blog updates

From Classroom to Reality and Back

It seems like just yesterday when I was anticipating the summer – long warm days and a change of scenery – but just like that it has gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to believe that after sixteen weeks of being a Junior designer here at Area3, I will be switching hats, trading spaces and going back to being an Interior Design student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Wilson School of Design. It has been an incredible experience being a part of the Area3 team this summer. Each project I have had the opportunity to be a part of has been a collaborative effort. This includes writing the blogs!  For those of you who have been following our weekly posts, I hope you have enjoyed them and found them to be a source of inspiration and help!


In my first blog post “The Real Deal,” I talked about what it is like to be a student. Now I will give you a glimpse into my experience as a Junior Interior Designer. I have mentioned before about the business of interior design – the coordination, communication, teamwork and creativity. Over the last few weeks, I have learned about how important that aspect is. Yes, Interior Design is about creating functional and beautiful spaces for clients, but before there is a finished space, there is all the behind the scenes work. Those Instagram and Pinterest stunning photos don’t show how you what is involved to get a beautiful image.


Most of the time you would think Interior Designers are on site or meeting with clients, but that is only a small part of the design process. Typically, I would spend most of the day on the computer sending out emails, sourcing finishes and products for specific projects. Sometimes I will be designing a custom millwork piece or helping with the actual construction drawings. Before a client ever sees a preliminary design concept or color scheme we have created, there would have been many hours in research and sourcing multiple variations. There are many ideas and finishes that we weed out and the client will never see.  After the initial concept meeting with the client, this concept will become even more refined or revised based on feedback. I have learned that whole process can take months!  This means that I have probably helped order in countless samples, requested pricing and have been in contact with many reps just to find the perfect fabric, tile, carpet etc. for a project. Does it get confusing?  Indeed it does, but that is part of being a designer, being able to juggle many projects at a time and always making sure there is clear communication. Behind each and every project we are involved with there is a team which we coordinate with. Depending on the size and nature of the project, we will be working with contractors, project managers, marketing, millworkers, and product reps. As you can see, coordination and communication is key!


Of course, there is a lot of hard work that goes into every design, but it is also a lot of fun!  This is where the team work and creativity comes in. Often as designers, we have many ideas but in order for them to come to life they have to fully form outside of our minds. It is always wonderful being able to bounce ideas off of another fellow designer – which we do on a daily basis here at Area3. Together we are able to come up with solutions that are best for our clients. Sometimes we have to get creative in order to carry out a concept through with the budget we are limited to, but that’s what makes design interesting. With every new project I have been a part of, I have learned something new, making each and every day I come into work exciting!


I will definitely miss coming into the Area3 Design studio on a daily basis – especially seeing everyone’s smiling faces as they come through the door each morning!  Going back to the interior design studio at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will take some adjusting to for sure. Hello crazy concepts and unlimited budgets!  Although the summer is over, I won’t be pulling a complete disappearing act. Keep following this blog as I will continue to contribute to future posts!  We have many more exciting blog posts coming up, which I am quite excited about, so stay tuned!



Blog 13 Image 2



Do you have any topics or questions you would like to see here?  Feel free to leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!


Sign up to receive our design blog updates