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So Canadian, eh? : Victoria Lambert

August 14, 2011


My guest this week was one of the first commenters and followers of my blog. She has encouraged me throughout my whole blogging experience and has become someone I can call a dear friend. Not only have we developed a friendship but together with Karla from Kerrisdale Design and Nancy from Marcus Design, we created the Canadian Design and Lifestyle West blogging network. We found that western bloggers interests were not met in the grand social media scene and decided to join forces to bring a support network for bloggers living in the western Canadian provinces. We are excited about upcoming plans and working with sponsors to put together a fantastic meet-up in the fall!
{Enough about that, onto my special guest!}

Please give a warm welcome to..

Victoria Lambert from Edin's House.


She is so



You may know Victoria from The Design Ties, a blog she co-authored with another fabulous Canadian, Kelly from Jax Does Design. {I have featured her here}. Victoria is a super talented, creative and down-right genuine woman who I am proud to call a friend. Not only does she work full time but has been renovating her 73 year old character home with her partner, aka her "Fella". Nancy and I have had the privilege of having a tour and she has done a remarkable job! Most recently, Victoria and her "Fella" have gutted their basement, installed a to-die-for bathroom and if that wasn't enough, tore up their backyard as well! I don't know where she gets the energy!

Her renovated kitchen:




Her dining room.



Her latest renovation, a fabulous bathroom.




Victoria took Pax wardrobes and created a "built" in closet!


Some of her design work:





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


Without a doubt, design and creative activity has always been a part of my life. My mother Laura was a wonderful artist (later in her life she achieved a degree from Emily Carr University of Art &; Design) as well as a passion for architecture and interior decorating. I have so many wonderful memories of the rooms Laura created ~ wallpaper (on the ceiling once!), coordinated upholstery, gallery walls, perfectly placed furniture, inspired art on the walls… she was unbelievably creative! Laura used to say though that my brother Brad ~ an illustrator, sculptor, animator & claymator, faux finish painter (film industry) & musician ~ had more talent in his little pinky that she ever had! I love and take pride in their creativity and talent!!!
So what about me? Well… that was their shtick! I was the smart one ;-) They’d include/involve me in their creative processes and successes, but I never for a moment considered that I was creative too; that I could bring design INTO my life. Looking back I now realize that I was creating all the time, just not the way my mom and brother did! I was conceptualizing spaces and renovating houses in my mind, I was decorating lovely rooms of my own and employing concepts like flow, form, function and balance, and I was painting walls, floors, cabinets & furniture using stencils, faux and distressing techniques. It wasn’t until Laura passed away about 8 years ago that I fully acknowledged my creativity, embracing the skills and talents I’d had all along. I see my “new found” creativity as a gift from my Mom!!
Since then I’ve immersed myself in design! I’ve staged multiple homes for sale, and with my Fella I renovated 2 condos and (almost finished) a house. I’ve designed for clients too and I’d very much like to do more!!


What made you decide to start blogging?


Back in 2005 Brian and I ~ newly “married” ~ bought our first place together. I was in bliss and very excited about our new home. I’d always been a renter, so you can imagine how excited I was that for once in my life I could do anything I wanted (Brian’s a pretty easy going guy) to make our home OURS! When doing some online research for kitchen ideas (our first major project) I came across the Canadian House & Home forum and started participating. It was so much fun to share ideas, get feedback on my design decisions, help other members decide on wall colour, fabric, flooring and so on! It was there I met Kelly James. We found we had soooo much in common: we were both married to Brians, we both loved our pets… and we both loved interior design & decor! Only she lived in Ottawa and I lived in Vancouver. I suspect that we were the two most active people on that forum, posting our projects and interacting with members. After about a year Kelly and I found that we weren’t enjoying the forum as much as we had. It lacked dimension, continuity… and challenge. It didn’t allow us to fully express our ideas and inspirations; it didn’t support (at least for us) the development – from conception to finished reality – our projects. I suggested to Kelly that we start a blog and she agreed! So we created DesignTies (two people tied by design) and had two really fantastic years together posting about things we loved and making fantastic blogger friends!! It was sad for both of us to walk away from DesignTies, but my health was/is a concern for me and I needed to take on a different pace… and Kelly, who was starting her own interior decorating business (JAX Decor & Design), felt it was time to create her own identity. So we parted ways in the fall of 2010… although every once in a while we say to one another, “wanna do it again?!”
Kelly has her own fabulous blog now: JAX Does Design. Feeling a little more in control of my health, and wanting to get my business (Edin Home & Design) off the ground too, I started Edin’s House this last spring. So far so good!!


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


What I enjoy about blogging and what has surprised me about blogging are very easily one and the same thing = the connections and friendships I’ve made with so many fantastic and creative people! Making connections, sharing ideas, supporting creativity has been beyond fun and enjoyable. Is it any wonder that I wanted to take these connections even further? So in partnership with you Barbara, and with Karla (Kerrisdale Design) and Nancy (Marcus Design), I participated in the creation of the Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers WEST Network… and after a year we have close to 100 members! Members from the Network have met 4 times so far with big plans for a September event, we have a dedicated blog where we post about our members’ successes & the Network’s plans, and we have a Facebook group page where members can support and interact with one another. So you see, blogging is so very enjoyable AND the ever-growing success of our Cdn.d &lbWEST Network is wonderfully surprising and satisfying!! :-)


Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?


My posts are generally motivated and inspired by what project I’m working on. Sometimes it’s a method of brainstorming and working around ideas. In those posts I’ll share thoughts and inspiration photos found from other blogs, online magazines and designer websites. Other times my posts are journaling my/our progress on a particular project. Every once in a while I just see a room, piece of art, accessory, come across a store, go on a trip and/or experience something wonderful that I just MUST share!


You are currently renovating a historical home {the kitchen and downstairs bath are truly stunning}, does the history of that home and the area drive the way you approach the design of your home? Tell us a bit about the background of the home and your design vision for the home.


The renovation of our little house is absolutely influenced by its 73 year age! Our city – New Westminster – is known for its historical homes, particularly in the Queen’s Park neighbourhood where you’ll find beautiful Victorians, Edwardians, Four-Squares, Arts & Crafts houses and the like. Well… we don’t have one of those houses! Instead, we have what I call a “working-man’s cottage”; a sweet little house that’s almost as plain as the day is long!! What?! Well… let me explain. Apart from a lovely leaded glass casement window in what was originally the front bedroom, the only character that was built into our house was put into the living room… the room where, back in the olden days, you’d entertain your company on Sundays :-)  In this room you’ll find oak floors inlayed with walnut, lovely coved ceilings and a cute fireplace. (Ironically, we had to replace the leaded glass casement window that I was so drawn to [all the windows were single paned, this particular window was broken and painted shut, so they’ve all been replaced with a window style that’s ideal for the cottage feel I’m creating] AND we refaced the original fireplace… but now it’s charming instead of cute!!) All the other rooms in the house were devoid of design or embellishment. I knew the moment we saw the house that with the help of my Fella, I could bring much deserved architectural character to it!
How have I done that?
First, I looked at what the house needed. A perfect example: the house didn’t have a dining room, so I had my Fella convert the front bedroom into this much needed space. In doing so we both moved and removed walls to support flow and to tie the living room, dining room and kitchen together. I couldn’t leave the new opened “doorways” plain because then they’d look like something added 73 years after the house was built… so I took inspiration from the coved ceiling in the living room and had Brian build forms that he mounted in each corner of the doorway that were then plastered over. The result is a phenomenal archway that looks like it was part of the original plan for the house!!
Second, I’ve taken cues from those wonderful Queen’s Park houses. Two examples:
  • Our window and door casings ~ I took Brian to an open house, pointed to the casings and said, “Can you do this?” He looked closely, examined a fillet piece, measured size with this hands and said, “Sure”. And that’s what he’s done for me throughout the house. It’s soooo terrific!!
  • The wainscoting Brian’s installed for me through the kitchen, hallway and dining room… love it, and it adds so much charm to our city cottage!!
We’re currently finishing the renovation of our basement and main floor bathroom. We’ll be bringing the same finishes and architectural character into these rooms too. Continuity of design is extremely important to the overall look and feel in any home!
It should be noted = Brian has no training or prior experience with millwork or construction. He’s my magic man!!


What are your hopes and dreams for your future?


Brian and I talk about this all the time, but it usually starts with the sentence, “when we win the lottery…”! I might say, “…I’ll build an extension on the back of the house with a room large enough for a farm house table and French doors to the back yard, a much needed garage and a lovely principal bedroom on the second floor with a fabulous ensuite bathroom and an unbelievable view of the Fraser River and Mt. Baker!” Not even remotely excited at the prospect of a garage he’ll respond, “We’ll buy a new house!” Me: “To renovate?!” “NO!” he’ll say emphatically!!
Truthfully, I have a couple ideas floating around in my head and they all involve self-employment and creative license! Right now I’m baby-stepping my way into building my business Edin Home & Design. It’s challenging while working full-time and renovating the house!! Once the house is done I hope to jump into EH&D with both feet :-)


How would you describe your design style?


Contemporary and classic with a touch of the eclectic ;-)  I’m anxious for the house renovation to be complete so that I can pull some of my special things down from the attic and shop for furnishings that represent my design style and perfectly fit our little cottage in the city!!


Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!


…um….well?? I can’t think of anything! :-/
Okay, how about this: I attended 12 different schools in 11 different cities from grades K through to 12. In fact, grade 7 was spent at 3 different schools and in 3 enormously different parts of North America! My parents instilled in me a desire for location changes that saw me live in 22 different homes from the age of 18 through to now, and – not including my apartment in South Korea – that was in only 3 BC cities!!   When I’m not moving home I’m making changes IN my home from as simple as changing around the art or moving the sofa to a different wall, to… well… renovating like we are now. We’ll have lived in this little house for 4 years come October… and I’m already finding myself thinking about moving!! Don’t tell Brian!! 8-0
 
If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone or do anything, what would it be and why?


With your hopes & dreams question in mind (above) Barbara, I’d like to share what I’d do if given the opportunity :-)
Last November Brian and I went to Maui and had a wonderful time! Since then we’ve been kicking around the idea of buying a condo there, which would be fabulous!! Now… I’m a plus sized woman and there I was in paradise surrounded by fun Hawaiian shirts, dresses and bathing suits made for smaller women. No surprise there. The funny thing is that many of the female tourists I saw were also plus sized, and many of the Hawaiian women are plus sized too. So why couldn’t I find a women’s Hawaiian clothing store that catered to this demographic? Well… if given the opportunity, I’d open a store on the main strip of Lahaina, Maui and stock it with Hawaiian plus sized clothing for women! Not big “trashy tourist” Hawaiian print muumuus! No way!! I’d source out contemporary Hawaiian prints (I saw some wonderful things there!) and manufactures that can make on-trend dresses, shirts, capri pants, shorts, bathing suits and so on… all for us plus sized women! I KNOW there’s a demand for this!!
Ahhh… a girl can dream ;-)
 
What do you like to do in your free time?


What free time?! Right now I work full time, guide my son, participate in the renovation of our home, blog, assist in coordinating the Cdn.d&lbWEST Network and engage in social media. Soon I’ll be decorating our home (I can’t wait!!) and I’m easing myself into my design & staging business (baby steps!). I read fantasy, sci fi and murder mysteries, and I watch HGTV Canada ;-)
 
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?


There’s a wonderful design aesthetic developing here in Canada that is fresh, eclectic, contemporary and yet classic that I absolutely love! It’s design that doesn’t take itself seriously: it’s livable, organic, tactile. Sometimes it’s colourful; sometimes it’s neutral. But it’s beautiful nonetheless. It’s taking styles indicative of other regions – like Belgian raw or pickled woods, English bold contemporary colours and traditional styles found in the Southern US – and taming them almost. Each element remains, yet with a twist (adding soft, fresh colours to Belgian inspired furnishings for example as designer Amanda Nisbet did in a beautiful dining room featured in the August issue of Style at Home [pull your copy! pg. 93] ). If you think about it, our design reflects us as Canadians: we’re a mosiac of peoples, and our design is shining representation of worlds coming together!


Thanks for all your amazing insight Victoria. You are always full of ideas. I love how you dream and dream. I can relate! Thanks for being such a wonderful supporter and friend.

XO Barbara



19 comments:

  1. What an interesting sounding woman! Love her philosophy on life! Off to check out her blog.

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  2. Love, love the interview Barbara and Vicoria. I am too blessed to have met Victoria. She is pure passion, grace, and REAL. I love that about people!

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  3. I love your interviews Barbara - thank you for bringing an up close and personal interview with Victoria to us! She's so awesome, and because of your interview I just got to see a little more of that. Thank you! :-)

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  4. Great article, I'm always happy to learn more about Victoria - what a fascinating gal !

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  5. Fabulous interview Barbara and Victoria! V, I loved reading about your Hawaiian dreams, what a great idea!! And PS. the new bathroom looks ah-mazing. Looking forward to seeing both of you lovely ladies soon.

    Thanks also for the link love!! :)

    Nancy xo

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  6. What a wonderful, genuine interview. I don't know how I have not been over to your blog, Victoria, but count me among your new followers.

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  7. I SO miss writing DesignTies with Victoria! We had a great time blogging together. And even though we've only met a few times over the course of a weekend, we've developed a wonderful friendship from opposite sides of the country :-)

    That being said, I just learned lots about V that I didn't know before! Love the idea of opening a plus-size clothing store in Hawaii. Well, I think starting ANY kind of business in Hawaii is a great idea :-)

    Thanks to both of you for the shout-outs.

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  8. Victoria is an inspiration to us all. She is one busy lady and an amazingly nice person as well.

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  9. I absolutely loved that you featured Victoria this week! I've never met her but I feel like she is an old friend. I love keeping up with her renos and diys on FB and her blog.
    Maybe you guys can make it down east to visit - I know Kelly would love it too!

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  10. Victoria's joy, passion, and zest for life just leaps out of this interview! I've never had the pleasure of meeting Victoria, but she strikes me as very as very sincere and hard working. And that bathroom reno - wowza, what a transformation! Well done Victoria & fella!

    Keep these interviews coming Barbara. They're a highlight of my Sunday! xo.

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  11. Great interview!....Nice to know more about a multi talented lady!

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  12. Great interview! I am still madly in love with that orange dining room of hers, and the ceiling details are amazing.

    xoxx Linda

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  13. Edin always leaves the sweetest comments. She's a dear. Thanks for helping us get to know a little more about this lovely lady ;)

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  14. I'm overwhelmed at all the marvelous comments! Thank you so much Barbara for asking me to participate in your wonderful interview-series!!!
    Victoria

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  15. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED reading this post. Can't wait to see more of your decor/design work Victoria. Remember, there are soom TTBs who would love to meet you IRL in Ottawa. Come East for a visit.

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  16. I knew I liked that Victoria person!!! And oh my isn't she talented.

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  17. Great interview Barbara and Victoria! I am so thrilled to have had the pleasure of meeting Victoria. She makes everyone feel welcomed, is so real, encouraging and an inspiration. Thanks for being YOU!

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  18. I'm so glad to have met both of you! Victoria, you are a talented lady. I need to harness your energy!!

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  19. Great to learn a little more about you, Victoria. Your home is lovely. Thanks for putting this together, Barbara!

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