So Canadian, eh? : Emma Reddington

I am thrilled that this week's guest was willing to be interview for my series!
Not only does she write a fabulous blog but is such a talented designer whose home was recently featured in Canadian House and Home Makeover Edition and her work was featured in Chateleine as well!

Without further adieu please welcome.....

Emma Reddington

She is 

Emma, a talented designer from Marion Melbourne, hails from Toronto and is so incredibly talented which is evident in her design work and her beautifully written blog, The Marion House Book . Her blog is one of my favourite reads, full of design inspiration and I love her series, "Hello! neighbour" where she gives us tours of neighbour hood homes. It satisfies my voyeurism, where I always love to peek into other's homes to see how they design their space. 

One of my favourite spaces is her son's bedroom where a gorgeous wall mural composed of wall paper pieces creates such a statement.

A kitchen she has designed.
You can read about the before and after here.

Her fabulous living room.

The bedroom she created that was featured in Chatelaine.
Can you believe it is rental?

 Another fabulous space she and her design partner worked their magic on!
See the fabulous transformation here.

Tell us a bit about your background? Your education? Has design always been in your blood?

I like to think that design has always been in my blood although I didn’t start out as a designer. My first degree was in Cultural Studies from McGill University. I followed that with a brief career as a chef but I couldn’t see any longevity in it so I returned to school and studied Interior Design. After graduating from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Interior Design I started work as an exhibition designer at the Art Gallery of Ontario where I still work today. Being part of the Frank Gehry designed reinstallation of the AGO was a huge learning curve for me. Recently, I’ve opened my own design studio with another partner, Yasmin Zeitler. Our company Marion Melbourne is about two years old and I’m happy to say extremely busy!

How would you describe your design style?

I appreciate authenticity in design. I think design should reflect the people you are designing for. It should be about them and tell their stories.  I’m drawn to spaces that are well lived in and I think that only comes about when the narrative of the owners is told.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I draw my inspiration from everywhere particularly places that aren’t necessarily interior design related -books, travel, fashion, music, art.

What tips do you have for aspiring designers in getting their design work published or to hone their skills?

Those are two very different things! I think honing your skills comes with time and experience. I believe you can learn a lot from studying designers and rooms you respect but you really need to spend the time pulling them apart and understanding all the elements that go into making that space a success.
As for getting your work published, starting a blog is not a bad way to go about it! It certainly worked for me. I think if the work is good enough to be published and you put it out there someone will notice it. Of course, having a talented photographer take photos for you doesn’t hurt either!

What is one design faux pas that you wish could be banished?

I think in today’s market where you can buy affordable, original art from online sites, student shows, small galleries and art fairs there really is no excuse for hanging factory-made, generic art on your walls. Support an artist! And then don’t forget to hang it at the right height!

As a mother to one child, you are actively involved in his daily life, how do you balance your family life and your work?

First off, I’m really lucky to have a husband who is equally involved in our son’s life. Between the two of us (and an amazing network of friends in our neighbourhood) we manage to balance most things.  However, my work day is long. I start about 7 am every morning and work through to 11 pm every night. The only break I take is between 5pm-8pm which I spend with Henry. Even weekends are usually filled with writing, designing, photographing, planning. Luckily, I enjoy doing all these things so it doesn’t seem like work to me.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Once a month we try out a new restaurant with another couple. I really look forward to that night out – it’s what keeps me going most months!
 I also can’t resist losing myself in a good book each night. Lately, it’s the only thing that helps me fall asleep.

What goals or aspirations do you have for your design business and/or your blog?

I’ve never been good at goals or aspirations.  I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and see what happens.

If you could meet anyone or do anything who or what would it be? 

Such a hard question! Off the top of my head, I wouldn’t mind having dinner with both Anna Wintour and Tina Brown. I’m pretty fascinated by the world of publishing and I’m sure these two women would have some interesting stories to tell!

You are surrounded by such amazing design inspiration, how do you decide what and how to decorate your own home?

It’s really an organic process. Like most people, I have to work with furniture I already own, realistic budgets and architectural constraints. It’s really a balancing act between being thrifty, working with what you have and investing wisely.  Somewhere in there it all comes together!

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?

Geographically, Canada is such a big and diverse country that I think it is hard to pinpoint a Canadian style so to speak. What works on a lake in the Okanagan in not necessarily going to work by the seaside on Prince Edward Island or on a mountain side in the Canadian Rockies.  However, I think some of the best Canadian design, particularly architecture, comes about when we respond to that diverse landscape.

Emma, thanks for visiting and sharing your insights on my blog today.
I so enjoying reading your blog, it is like reading a fabulous design book or magazine, never fails to inspire!

XO Barbara

All photos courtesy of Emma Reddington.


  1. I absolutely adore Emma- she is so genuinely talented and her aesthetic is one that truly inspires me...I think her living room is on my top 5 favourite rooms of all time so yes, love her work. A fabulous interview Barbara...loved learning even more about Emma!!

  2. Great interview! She has a fabulous eye. And I love that she returned to school for a degree in design.

  3. Gorgeous rooms!!! And a fellow Ryerson grad! (well, in 8 months I'll be a grad haha) Lovely interview Barbara!! xo

  4. Barbara, how wonderful! I love the Peacock blue design project!! her style is fabulous!

    I hope you will visit my site and let me know what you think of my Autumn decor, so far.....


    Art by Karena

  5. Lovely to read all about Emma! I'll be checking out her blog shortly.

  6. Emma's home is gorgeous and I was so excited when I first saw the spread in H&H. Well done!

    Nancy xo

  7. Emma has such great taste, and a fabulous blog too! Great to learn more about her.

  8. What a great feature. So interesting learning more about Emma. I really enjoy your So, Canadian series.

  9. I love her!!! I had a little write-up on her on my blog about a year ago. Talk about an authentic and creative girl. And I love her "new" wood logs by the fireplace. A nice accent.

    Hugs to you both!



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