So Canadian eh? : Gabrielle Savoie

What I love about writing this series is discovering talented Canadians that not only live in Canada but in other parts of the globe!  When you live in another country you are able to view Canada through a different lens because you are outside the cultural milieu that influences your day to day living. So I find it fascinating to talk to a Canadian that makes his or her home outside of Canada, like our family did for a few years.

So I give a warm welcome to Gabrielle Savoie from Savvy Home!

She is

Gabrielle hails from Adelaide, Australia but is originally from Montreal, where she briefly studied design before switching her career direction. Clearly design is her passion, her blog always provides us with a daily dose of inspiration.

Gabrielle sent me some photos of her place in Australia and from Montreal. Love the differences between the two. One space colourful while the other has that loft look you would expect in Montreal.

Love how she uses shoes as design accessories in front of her fireplace in Australia.

Bedroom in Montreal.



Her fabulous kitchen.

A few vignettes around her place.
I love the tray and are those black and white striped napkins or coasters?
Hello! Love them.

And Gabrielle has been honing her interior design skills by helping a friend re-decorate her space...

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your education, has design always been something you are drawn to?

My father is an architect turned full-time artist, and my mother works in music and media, so I juggled with both career paths, but I've always had a real soft spot for design...

From a really young age I was fascinated by my dad’s architectural drawings and I would try to replicate them to design my dream house. Then I started constructing houses for my Barbie dolls and eventually moved on to rearranging my own room every month or so!
I finished high school at 15 and went on to study Interior Design but eventually got discouraged by teachers repeatedly telling us that we would only earn $25,000 a year as interior designers! So I followed my mom’s footsteps and majored in Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. I'm really happy that I went and studied media, but now that I've graduated, I'd love to go back and finish my Interior Design course!

What made you decide to start blogging?

I started blogging 9 months ago when my partner and I moved into our first home. I wanted to document the process of making a house together, keep track of my inspiration, share the progress on our house, and keep friends and family informed of what I was getting up to in Australia. It was also a great way for me to channel my creativity and to reintroduce a bit of design spice in my life!

What have you enjoyed about blogging and what has surprised you along the way?

Blogging takes a lot of time and consistent effort, but I would never give it up! I believe that blogging opens so many doors! It's a great networking tool and it forces you to work a little bit every day at crafting your professional image, keeping up to date with the industry and exercising your skills which is really important as a young professional.

It’s also incredibly rewarding to have strangers compliment your work, comment on your posts, and in some cases become real life friends! I'm hitting new milestones every month and find it incredibly exciting to see where this little adventure will take me next!

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?

Inspiration is everywhere! My travels have really inspired and influenced me, but something as simple as the colors in the sky continue to inspire me everyday. I think you just need to be attuned to what’s around you.

Of course I also read countless shelter mags and blogs on a daily basis. In fact, I file dozens of inspiration images everyday. It’s a bit OCD but it’s allowed me to learn a lot about designing, styling and decorating.

I find myself going back to Spanish mag Nuevo Estilo, and the New York Social Diary House section for great interiors. Both publications have a real knack for featuring interiors that feel lived-in and tell the owner’s story as opposed to looking staged.

What do you do for work? Is it design related?

I actually work in website development which is ironic because I never get around to taking care of my own
website… I’m also quite busy with decorating projects. A few of my friends have asked me to help decorate their house and it’s a lot of work on top of a full-time job and a full-time blog!

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I have way too many plans for one lifetime. As a first, I would love to finish my interior design course and get the opportunity to work and learn with a great designer. I studied media in the hope of working for a magazine so I’d love to collaborate in a shelter mag. I also want to start a business someday, but I have a lot to learn first. I have always wanted to work for myself. And when I’ve achieved all of this, maybe I’ll write a book!

How would you describe your design style?

My style is very eclectic as opposed to “decorated”. I’m not a matchy-matchy person. I’m drawn to a mix of quality classic furniture, mid-century classics, a great art collection, a fresh mix of colors, and comfort! I hate interiors that look uncomfortable.

I guess my style might be best described as a bit neo-traditional. But most importantly my style is very personal - it reflects me as a person - it's influenced by my travels, my friends, the art I'm loving, the music I'm listening to and it’s ever-changing.

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us?

As part of my eclectic career path, I worked as a marketing coordinator for a Canadian record label in Montreal and helped release albums that you may have sang along to in your car...

I was also prom queen – although never really understood why – I was definitely not your typical popular girl in high school!

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone or do anything, what would it be and why?

This is such a hard question because I’m the type of person that would like to do everything and meet everyone. Let’s just say that my dream dinner party guest list would include a few successful women (Margaret Russel, Kelly Wearstler, Kelly Hoppen, Michele Nussbaumer) because I'd love to pick their brains; and a few funny men (Woody Allen, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson) because I love to laugh. If I could bring people back from the dead, I would throw a few musicians and artists in the mix as well (Miles Davis, Matisse, Giacometti, Johnny Cash)… I think it would make a fun night!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love the outdoors. I get a bit cranky when I'm stuck inside. I love to go for long drives on weekends. South Australia has so many beautiful coasts and wine regions to discover and they're all a stone's throw away so I make the most of it. I go with friends or with my partner. We stop for lunch, or wine tasting or antiquing – small towns are gold mines for second hand treasures! I’m also fairly active. I go for runs down the beach or go for hikes in the hills nearby: it’s great for spotting the occasional koala in its natural habitat…

And when I’m back home, I go snowboarding.

You are currently a Canadian living "down under" in Australia, do you find the approach to design different there? If so, share your thoughts.

There are many differences between Australian and Canadian design. We think Canada is a new country but Australia is even newer! I think this is reflected in their contemporary aesthetic. Kitchens and bathrooms here tend to be a lot less traditional than in Canada here and open plan living is the norm.

Australians have also mastered the art of outdoor living and entertaining, probably because Australia is such a warm and sunny country. Our design truly reflects our lifestyle and our weather!

Your first language is French, you were born in Montreal, and do you think that French Canadians have a different design aesthetic than English Canada?

Canada is a big country and so I think design aesthetics change slightly from one province to the next, not just from French to English Canada. The Atlantic provinces, where my parents are from, draw a lot from the coastal New England aesthetic, whereas I've always imagined British Columbia as more contemporary and eco-friendly. Montreal has very strong French influences and some Scandinavian influences too (probably because of the similar weather!) but overall, I'm sure we're not all that different!

13. What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I think that even though design is becoming increasingly global and Canadians draw on other countries' aesthetics, Canada does have a bit of a unique style: think of the famous Hudson Bay blanket! It’s everywhere these days!

I think of Canadian design as a blend of rustic and contemporary: wood beams, stone fireplaces and wool blankets mixed with the North American commodities… I also think that touches of worldliness in Canadian homes have been in our aesthetic for quite some time, well before the suzani blankets and berber rugs. It reflects our openness as a nation.

Thanks for visiting Gabrielle and for all your design insight! Amazing how we are all separated geographically yet through the internet, and more specifically through blogs we feel such a sense of connectedness.


XO Barbara


  1. Beautiful post and the interesting comparison on her home in Montreal and in Australia. Having two homes I find allows that freedom
    Have a great week

  2. She lives in a very beautiful part of Australia! Love all the little details and vignettes, in her home. She's obviously a talented woman! Great interview.


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