So Canadian eh? : Sheila Zeller

I have had the wonderful pleasure of hanging out with my guest this week at our recent design bloggers 
soiree we held in early October.

I have to admit, she is so easy to love. Always smiling and so sincere. 

But reading her blog you realize that this girl knows her stuff,  sharing her know-how from DIY projects to design tidbits.

Please give warm welcome to

Sheila Zeller from

She is so....

When I asked Sheila to send me photos of any projects that she was proud of she sent me these, never-before-published photos of a project she designed, a physiotherapy clinic from the sub-floor to completion!


The clinic wanted a professional yet personal look to their office, so Sheila transformed {with the help of her dad} a baker's rack to a coat rack!

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

I grew up on the Charlottes, so I’m a small town girl, but the city makes my heart skip a beat! I love the city vibe.

As far as education, it’s been a winding road. I have a diploma in business management, certification in special education, and about 4 years ago I became certified in home staging & redesign. But honestly, the best education I get now is through social networking. There is so much out there, and it allows us to connect with the design community in a way that just wasn’t possible before.

Design has always been in my blood, for sure. My Mom used to move the furniture around, switch out rooms, and just generally change things up! As I got older I was constantly changing my own room around, rearranging my closet, bookshelves, that kind of thing… I loved doing that! When I was younger and playing with Barbies, my favorite part was decorating their spaces, not changing their outfits! And I’m lucky to come from a family where working with your hands, being crafty, handy, resourceful is just what you do. Part of that was certainly the culture of living in an isolated area, but it’s also an inherent value that runs through my family. I am very grateful that I have had this exposure my whole life, because it helps me understand and appreciate what goes into design.

Do you work in the design industry?

I have my own interior redesign business. I’ve designed and staged, but my real passion is to work with what people already have… You know, their cherished pieces, things that they love, and bring a refreshed look and feel to their space. It’s so much fun to learn the stories that go with their pieces, and that’s what I try to honour in the process of reworking a space.

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?

I’m definitely a West Coast girl - the ocean is my favorite place to be, and I get a lot of inspiration from it. I love fossils and rocks, driftwood, glass balls… and I’m a huge fan of Mid-Century Modern, so I’m inspired by the designs from that time. But for a constant source of inspiration, that would definitely be other blogs and Pinterest, hands down.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

Hmmm. Hopes for my future… You know what? I would love to be really, REALLY good at repurposing furniture… and I’m not, but I’m trying! There’s so much I want to do, but I have so much to learn first! My dream would be to own a shop that carried pieces needing a new life - a little or a lot of TLC - that others could purchase and work their magic on. So, kind of like a ReStore, but with furniture and accessories only. No building materials, none of that. And maybe provide a few work spaces for people to rent who don’t have a working space of their own. If I could turn a profit doing this, still write my blog, and continue to offer redesign that would be a dream come true… But to be honest, I’m doing what I love, I just want to do more of it!

How would you describe your design style?

My style is a mix of West Coast, Mid-Century, and a little Industrial/Steam Punk.  I draw on natural elements, love vintage, and was into the whole reclaimed look and feel before I started in redesign. But, I like a little sparkle too!

What are your tips for creating a stylish space without spending a lot of cash? What do you think gives the most bang for your buck?

I believe in organizing first, decorating second, and knitting the two together. It’s so much easier if you know where you want to locate something, and then decide how you’re going to do that. Form following function – it’s one of those rules that I actually do try follow!

But for a quick go to, it’s paint and lighting, paint and lighting! I know that’s cliché, but it’s true. Paint a room, see it come to life. Paint a piece of furniture, it looks like new. Layer a room with lighting and there’s not a room where you can’t set the mood! These will give you the best bang for your buck!

You live on Vancouver Island; do you think that influences how people decorate their homes?

I do think living on an island has its own influence. Here, there’s a more laid back pace that infuses a casual style. That’s not to say casual isn’t elegant or glamorous; it’s more about the pride of being local, and reflecting that in our spaces with collections, or pieces that have been crafted by Island artisans, or from local resources.

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!

I graduated from a class of 12! No, that’s not a typo!

Tell us; are you a coffee or tea girl?

I’m a coffee in the morning girl. One or two cups, but it’s that first cup I look forward to. Okay, it’s that first cup you don’t want to mess with! After that it’s water. Wine counts as water, right?

What do you like to do in your free time?

Explore new places, go antiquing, be near the beach, curl up with my magazines, putter in the yard… I like to golf a little bit… and just spend time with my family when we’re not all running in different directions. And I love discovering tucked away places that serve interesting food! I’d love to go to Ruby Watcho for dinner... but I have to make my way to Toronto first!

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

If I could meet anyone… well, I would really like to shadow Cari Cucksey. I think she has a great business model, and I would like to know more about how it all works.

You are a mother, how do you balance your work, blogging and your daily life?

It’s been a journey to find that balance. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something unexpected comes along that wasn’t part of the plan. That’s life. So I think knowing what’s important, and then working hard to stay focused on that. For me it’s my family. If they’re not ok, I’m not ok. We work hard at communicating, adapting, and being respectful in the process. What helps make all this work? My husband prints out his schedule for me, my daughter BBM’s me, and we sit down to dinner as a family during the week. The dinner hour is the best time for us to catch up and check in, so it just works.

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 Canadian design is gaining momentum on the world design scene. We are a collection of cultures, and that is reflected in the feeling of our spaces more than the look of our designs. There is a warmth about our spaces that translates across the nation, no matter what the style, or where the location. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly, you just know it’s there. It’s a welcoming feeling that isn’t forced, and that’s what I think sets us apart. 

I am so impressed by you! You are such a grounded individual. Your love for design is so evident in all you do.
So glad we have the opportunity to meet and get to know one another a bit, can't wait for the next get together!


XO Barbara


  1. Yay, another Vancouver Island gal!! Nice to meet you Sheila - your clinic looks fabulous!

  2. Thanks for another amazing interview, Barbara. I admire Sheila for being so well-grounded and focused. It's inspiring to learn about such great Canadian talent.
    Have a lovely Sunday!
    ~ Wendi ~

  3. I had the pleasure of bunking with Sheila for our blogger soiree and got to know her in a short period of time. We had great chats and she is truly a kindred spirit! Great interview:)


  4. I completely agree with your assessment Barb. Sheila is always smiling and a complete pleasure to be around. I'm happy to have learned a bit more about her.

  5. Fun interview, loved getting to know her better!

  6. Lovely meeting you Sheila! You sound so genuine and so gifted! Wonderful interview :)

  7. Yay! Great interview, Sheila is one of the sweetest people, I had fun getting to know her at our weekend of fun in Sept. Sheila I hope we can see you again at Christmas!! Hugs to you both,
    Nancy xo

  8. Another great interview! Such talent! Love hearing about Canadian designers.

  9. I love how Sheila says that she is doing what she loves and just wants to do more of it! I feel the same way! So glad to have met her at IDSwest!!

  10. This is such a great series. I love reading about all the talented people we have here in Canada.

  11. I found Sheila's blog not too long ago and I'm so glad I did. She always has great information and is also working on some great projects too. These interviews are so much fun to read!

  12. Sheila is an absolute doll. So gorgeous and talented as well. Thanks for letting us all know just a little more!

  13. I love Sheila!! soo soo sweet :) so thankful I got to meet her. She adds a lot of amazingness to the world :)

  14. Great interview Barbara! I love sweet, genuine and full o' smiles Sheila too! Yep, she sure does know her stuff and I'm happy she shares it.


  15. Another great interview! I love her idea of a ReStore for furniture and accessories only - I'd want to rummage in there all day long :)

  16. I really enjoyed that, Sheila and Barbara. Thanks.

  17. Thank you so much for this Barbara! I am completely overwhelmed by all the amazing comments, and I would like to say a big thank you to each and every one of you who left a comment.
    From the bottom of my heart,
    XO Sheila


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