One of the questions I ask my stupendous Canadians is:
"What has surprised them the most about blogging?"
More often than not, they usually answer:
"They didn't expect to make friends and feel part of a close community"
One thing I never anticipated was the friends I would make through blogging, one of them is my guest this week.
We met in the early spring and have hit it off, sharing our love for thrift store shopping and turning our finds into something fabulous.
Please give a warm bienvenue to
Carol Smyth from The Design Pages
Carol is such an encouraging friend and an inspiration!
Her DIY projects always knock my socks off.
Her blog, part of my daily read, is so witty, chock full of Carol's fabulous humour.
Not only is Carol a DIY diva but she is a trained Interior Designer, and used to own her own home decor shop!
A recent Vancouver transplant, Carol moved from Toronto a few years ago and is on the move again.
Her family is moving to our province's wine country....I am sad to be losing my thrift store buddy, but now can't wait to hit the wineries with Carol!
Here are some photos of some of her residential client work.
Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood?
Design has definitely always been in my blood. When I was a little kid I would spend endless hours flipping through and cutting up the furniture pages from the Sears catalogue and creating some of my very first floor plans and elevations. I recently came across a book my mom had put together of my childhood memories. When asked what I wanted to be when I was in grade 4 I said an Interior Designer. Sadly, I didn’t follow my heart and spent many years in post secondary education pursuing various programs before settling on business (yawn!). I spent many unhappy years in what appeared to be a fabulous career in marketing for a large software company. When my son was born I decided to go back to school and pursue my dream of design.
What made you decide to start a blog?
I think like so many other bloggers, my blog began by reading other great design blogs. One of the aforementioned educational experiments was in journalism so I do love to write and figured this could be a great outlet for both my design and writing passions.
What have you enjoyed about blogging?
I think everyone says this but the friendships that I’ve made both in real life and in blog life have been amazing and surprising. I sometimes make reference to my online blog friends and people who don’t have online friends really don’t understand how real these friendships can be. I think blogging has also pushed me further as a designer. I see so many great and inspiring ideas and it keeps me on the cutting edge of things.
What is one thing you feel that one can do to inject style into their home without breaking the bank?
Art, art, art. I love art and photography and I think everyone should be using art to add their own personality to their space. It’s so easy to find amazing and inexpensive pieces either through sites like etsy at art and craft fairs or through art shows at colleges. Even if you go to Ikea and buy frames and create your own little masterpieces it works.
Where do you find inspiration for your projects and your blog?
In the past, most of my inspiration came from books and magazines but I would have to say that now it’s other blogs. There’s soooooo much look at and be inspired by. I see other projects on blogs and it gets my creative juices flowing.
What is one design faux pas that you wish could be banished?
I think big box retailers are great for big furniture items in your home but I really dislike using these stores for art and decor. It definitely requires more time and patience but there are so many artisans out there selling one-of-a-kind pieces for the same price as the mass produced pieces that you’re going to see at all your neighbours’ houses.
How would you describe your design style?
My design style is a mix of contemporary and eclectic. I love really clean lines and uncluttered spaces but I also want my home to feel lived in and well loved. I love being in a home where I can see pieces of the homeowner throughout the entire space.
What do you like to do in your free time?
We love to entertain and I just love having friends and family around and enjoying good food and wine. Thankfully I also enjoy being active which helps to counteract the good food and wine. I love hiking and biking and skiing but most of my activity takes place in a gym and I’m a little bit addicted to Zumba at the moment. I also love to read although blog reading seems to be taking over and I often have to pull myself away from the computer and sit down with a book.
Tell us one thing that would surprise us!
This question completely stumped me. I feel like there’s nothing surprising about me. My husband said that he thinks the most surprising thing about me is that I like westerns. You may or may not be surprised to know I love tattoos and graffiti, I’m left handed, I’m a vegetarian, I am completely addicted to almonds (as in can’t have them in the house) and that I could easily survive on a diet of thai food and sushi with coffee and red wine thrown into the mix.
What goals or aspirations do you have for your blog?
I have so many aspirations for the blog. I would love to build a strong online e-design business. I would also love to pursue the diy projects and work on making the tutorials more polished and see where that could take me. Blogging is so much more than just writing the post and I struggle with my poor photography skills and my non-existent photoshop skills. I would also love to write design and diy articles for larger publications and get paid actual money for writing.
If you could meet anyone or do anything who or what would it be?
If I could do one thing I would love to spend a year or two living in France to try and understand the European perspective on design. My husband’s family is French so he needs no convincing. We have a dream about an old stone house in the Brittany countryside. My French language skills would also benefit from this.
What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?
I think Canadian design is so vastly different from place to place based on the geography and the regional surroundings. A home in Whistler looks nothing like a home in Quebec City but they both incorporate their unique setting into the design of the home. There is such an abundance of design talent across Canada.
Carol, I am so thrilled that we have struck up a fabulous friendship. We truly have a lot in common, I used to pour over Sears catalogues and create rooms with all the items. My dream bed was the frilly canopy bed, the one I never got :(
But I am so incredibly sad that you are leaving the Vancouver area...
so looking forward to your visits when you need to head back to
get some retail therapy!