So Canadian eh? : Tim Lam

Welcome back to a new year of So Canadian eh? with another fantastic line-up of amazingly talented Canadians! 

Little did I know when I started this series a year ago how much fun I would have getting to know Canadians involved in the design scene. I have had a chance to interview several of my design idols along with friends, designers and design bloggers living across the Great White North and abroad.

What a great way to start 2012 with a fabulous blogger and designer who has used his home to unleash his creativity!


 Tim Lam of Design Maze

He is

I first "met" Tim via Twitter, and through Rambling Renovator's blog and was completely floored when I toured his blog and condo! His condo is an ever evolving design lab where he changes the whole scheme continuously experimenting with colour, pattern and fabulous furniture finds. At first glance you would think Tim designs for a living and you will be surprised to find out his "day" job! His condo is jaw dropping, every nook and cranny beautifully styled, all looking like like he spent a million, but in reality he is a deal seeker and creative genius.

A few other amazing facts about Tim, the nursery he designed won Odeedoh's Small Kids Big Color Contest in 2011 in the International Division. 

A gorgeous cheery yellow colour scheme with a mix of high and low, is perfection!
Lucky little person who gets to chill in that room.

And Tim's condo was featured on Steven and Chris' TV show, a Canadian home, lifestyle and design TV show.

I see Tim's career in design taking off, he is uber-talented and I am in awe! I think he and I could be great BFF's :)

What I love his how his space evolves, changing over the year. He uses different colours, art and accessories to give his place a whole new look!

Tell us a bit about your background? your education? Has design always been in your blood?
Art has always been a big part of my life, and I owe it all to my late mother who discovered my artistic talent at a very young age. When most kids were out on the playground, I would sit quietly at my craft corner creating my master pieces. I remember one time my punishment for not doing my homework (I think I was 4 years old at the time) was a cancellation of an origami project!
I studied arts throughout high school, and was fascinated by art history and obsessed with architectural designs. I also had a brief taste of "interior design" at Grade 12. Unfortunately, my teacher's personal taste on interior decorating and a trip to the Spadina House (I haven't developed my appreciation for heritage buildings at the time), had me convinced that interior design was not my cup of tea. At a decision point, I decided to enrol for Accountancy Studies and became an auditor by trade. Yes I know, everyone dropped their jaws when I told them what I do for a living!
My passion for interior decorating was rekindled via Trading Spaces, The Painted House with Debbie Travis, and Room Services with Sarah Richardson. Thanks to my very understanding parents, I spent most of my holiday breaks redoing their house one room at a time during my university days! My first makeover was my old bedroom and I still remember the sea foam sponge I used for the "special effect" and my DIY stencil as headboard!
What made you decide to start a blog?
The idea of blogging actually came from a good friend of mine, Scott Young: an extremely talented photographer, who suggested I should document my thoughts and all the hard work I've done to revamp my 30 year-old condo. I then thought what an amazing idea to use my blog as a venue to share my thoughts and images of my newly renovated condo with friends and family, especially with many of them living in Asia. I'm so glad that Scott put this nail right in my head. It is absolutely one of my best decisions I ever made in my life!
What have you enjoyed about blogging?
I love sharing what inspired me at the moment and the latest products I found in my favourite stores on my blog. It is very rewarding to hear the supportive feedbacks and comments from my readers and other fellow design bloggers. Through blogging, I've met a group of amazingly talented bloggers, have the opportunity to be part of a great community project "Bloggers Give Back" to transform a garden at George Herman House, and attended the bloggers meet up and a tour of the Christmas Street at the Bay! All these amazing experiences wouldn't have happened if I haven't started my blog a little over a year ago.
How would you describe your design style?
Always inspired by colors, patterns, and stunning spaces in magazines or on TV, my preference in design changes constantly. However, the one design style that links all my spaces together is a timeless, elegant look with a twist. I believe in getting the fundamental elements as classic as possible for maximum versatility and longevity of the spaces. After all, not too many of us can afford to re-decorate the entire house from the ground up season after season, neither should it be anyway from an environmental stand point. It is with the twist where I inject bold colors and patterns to give any spaces its personality, and to experiment a little with trendy, cutting-edge accessories.
I am also a big believer of shopping green, especially when it comes to furniture. Pre-loved furniture are often solidly built and if they have lasted 40 years (and still standing tall and proud), these pieces may even out lived us! So instead of sending these well-made pieces to landfills, why not embracing the challenges to restyle them with new outfits? I found this up-cycle approach to furnishing rooms extremely rewarding. After all, it's all about your imagination and creativity!
{Hard to believe the sofa, slipper and womb chairs are thrifted}

Where do you find inspiration for your fabulous condo and your blog?
My condo was hugely influenced by the first season of Sarah's House. I loved everything room and all the details Sarah and Tommy injected into the house. For instance, I applied the cream and grey colour combination for my kitchen cabinetry, installed high baseboard for extra visual interest, and of course my favourite part of all, the mix of patterns and textiles throughout the house!
My condo is my playground to test out different ideas and be experimental. After living with bold colors accessories for a couple of years, I am now drawn toward neutral and refined home décor and accessories. And just like magic, my space is now full of neutrals and rich in textures! If my colourful condo represents youthfulness, then my neutral refined condo is classic, elegant, and all grown up.
What is one design faux pas that you wish could be banished?
Never one stop shop! I know it is easy to go to your favourite store, hand over your credit card, and wait a few weeks for the entire living room set to pop right at your house. The difference between a house and a home is its character and personality, and that can never be achieved through one stop shop. Just because the pieces play well in the showroom doesn't mean you will like them forever in your own home. My approach has always been visiting stores at different price points and then mingle my finds together for an eclectic, yet cohesive and dynamic look.
I'm currently working on a beautiful home and will be doing just that! Can't wait to share more of this gorgeous home with you all in 2012.

{Tim's high and low dining room.}

What do you like to do in your free time?
I don't get too much free time these days between my day job, blogging & related media functions, and a couple of decorating projects on the go. However, I do make an effort to squeeze out a few days every now and then to visit a couple of my favourite B&Bs in the Collingwood areas, where I unwind and relax. This is the time when I "do nothing": sitting by the window with my green tea and simply watching the water (yes, the B&B has a pond) or taking in the breathtaking landscape our nature has to offer.
Tell us one thing that would surprise us!
I actually go camping once a year! We are not talking about log cabin or car camping with facility on the side. It is full blown putting everything on a canoe, paddle over to a remote island, set up a tent, and rough it for a few days out in the nature. Somehow people never seem to be able to picture a city boy like me roughing it in the wilderness.
If that fails to surprise you, this will! My classmates used to call me "the walking snowman" from Grade 3 to Grade 6, since I actually weighed heavier back then than I am now!
What goals or aspirations do you have for your blog?
My goal for my blog is to inspire my readers to try out different ideas in their own homes, may it be great finds from my store alerts, the latest innovative projects from design shows, my one of a kind DIY ideas, or interior decorating ideas through my transformation projects.
I am also very excited to start a new series on my blog featuring gorgeous homes of some amazingly talented design bloggers in town! I'm also considering the idea of adding a pillow line on etsy! {Me too Tim!}
If you could meet anyone or do anything, who or what would it be?
Well, I actually have met Sarah and Tommy, but I would love to work with them on projects to witness how the dynamic duo creates all these stunningly beautiful spaces. It would be an out of this world, inspirational experience for me to "live through" the entire design process with the SR team from concept, sourcing, custom work, to polishing up the room with finishing touches.
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 Canadians definitely have a unique sense of style when it comes to designing and decorating our homes. The fact that our communities welcome and embrace all culture from around the globe certainly has a significant impact and influence on the way we live and how we decorate our spaces. Canada maybe a young country compared to other European countries, but we are certainly the pioneers when it comes to incorporating other cultural references as our own and reinterpreting "Canadian Style" as a whole. This gives Canada its leading edge as a key player of innovative designs and sets our designs apart from "North America".
One of my favourite Canadian items is the classic stripped blanket in pure wool from the Bay. This century old design is simple, the blanket is well-made, not to mention it is filled with cherishable memories from our canoe trips, cozy evenings at the chalet, and quiet moments with our loved ones. Now that's our Canadian design!

Tim, I am completely blown away by your talent! If Sarah and Tommy don't snap you up quick, they are missing out!

XO Barbara


  1. Wow! I am in awe. And yes, I would have never believed it if he told me he were not an interior designer by trade. His use of color and texture, and the little details is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful design blogger with us!

  2. Wow, wonderful interview! He's got such a great sense of style, and obviously isn't afraid to take risks!! I love how he's brought it all together in his condo!

  3. I love his beautiful and stylish home. I also adore his fantastic use of colors, patterns and accessories. I remembered seeing his home a while ago in blogs or Apartment Therapy and I was in awe! He has so much talent!

    Thanks for this wonderful interview, Barbara. Have a lovely Sunday!


  4. WOW!!! i LOVE it! that nursery makes me sorta want a baby so i can have that room!

  5. I love Tim's work. So great to see all his great projects in one place! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great feature! I so look forward to these! You, my dear, have a good eye- as you pick some great bloggers to share with us!
    And a thank you to Tim for sharing his home-

  7. Definitely a fan of Tim. The video was great and the pictures were amazing. So fun.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  8. I love Tim's eclectic and elegant home. His living area with the blue wall and grey sofa has to be my favorite. I also feel a kinship to Tim, as I love the world of art and interior design, but I'm also an accountant by trade... not a career typically associated with creativity!
    Have a lovely day, Barb!
    ~ Wendi ~

  9. Love Tim's ideas about upcycling and "changing outfits" on old pieces of furniture. I love how he put that...

    One thing that really strikes me about all of these images is Tim's ability to fit pieces of furniture together like a puzzle. I really like how he's laid out every room.

  10. Love this feature, and especially the focus on TIm's designs! Time, you've done a phenomenal job with your condo - not just once but on an ongoing basis.

  11. Great stuff! I'm a follower (and fan) now! Thanks for the wonderful feature. Great learning about new designers :).

  12. What a talent!!! I'm so glad you introduced him to us. I'm off to check out his blog.

  13. Wow ..Thanks for sharing all those pictures Tim & Barb! Great interview!

  14. I'm happy to call Tim a "BFF! and have seen his gorgeous condo in person. He is so talented and I don't know how he fits it all in with his day job. (Sad though that he was called a "walking snowman" - he is in amazing shape now.)

  15. Great interview! Tim's condo is beautiful and I'm so happy to find his blog now!

  16. Thanks you so much for all these sweet and very encouraging comments!! I love putting the different looks together at my own condo. Yes, I do have to admit that I'm a serial "decorator" and just can't help myself but being inspired to redecorate my place every now and then... like 2 times a year! That's normal right? :)

    Thanks again for this amazing opportunity to be featured by your blog Barb! I'm so honoured to have now made it to your guest list at So Canadian, eh?

  17. Tim does have "it", doesn't he? He is a phenomenal talent and has accomplished so much in a short period of time. I know we'll see even bigger and better things from him! I just wish I didn't have to fight Tim for all of the good finds at the thrift stores ;) Great interview Barbara!

  18. I really enjoyed this interview. What an amazing talent! And I really like Tim's answer to the design faux pas - it's the way he said it that was so awesome.

  19. Awesome interview.. LOVE his style. Trendy yet super unique and colorful (which I love).

  20. Awesome interview Barbara! Could you imagine Tim's tent while he roughs it? Probably as beautiful as all the rest of his interiors!

  21. What a fabulous interview Barbara. is soooooo nice to know more about you. You're so talented, have an amazing condo and fabulous ability to style and photograph interiors. Can't wait to follow along on your 2012 adventures!!!

  22. Great condo and a talented designer :-)

    I love the wallpaper in Tim's dining room. I actually considered it for our dining room a couple of years ago, but ended up going in a different direction.

    The mirrored wall in Tim's living room creates a great illusion of space, and love the furniture pieces that he upcycled.

  23. Tim is so talented and I am so glad to learn about him! Love the wallpaper in the bedroom and dining room. And that black tulip table with the vintage wood chairs- amazing!

  24. Tim is such a sweet wonderful that you featured him in your great Canadian eh series!!

  25. Tim is one talented Canadian! I love all the spaces he has designed, totally up my alley. And it was great to learn more about him here, what would I do without your fantastic series Barbara?
    Nancy xo

  26. Tim is an amazing designer, and such a talent!! I love the way he combines fabrics, wallpapers and colours - he always gets it just right. So glad to have had the chance to meet Tim and become friends, all thanks to the blogosphere ;-)

  27. Now there's a man with some serious pattern mixing skills! I love the way he injects vibrancy into each one of these spaces, esp that nursery. Can't believe he isn't a full-time designer!

  28. Amazing,, this is so cute!!!!!!!

    i love this blog!!

    Storage Boxes | Bubble Wrap

  29. I'm late commenting on this latest post, but I wanted to say how interesting it was to read about Tim. By the way, I love that soft fern wallpaper in the bedroom.

  30. Wow - these are some inspiring spaces. I need to take another look.

  31. And even the best primer made specifically to stick to laminate doesn't stick all that great. Plus you have to rough sand the kitchen countertops before you prime, meaning you can never really strip it and leave it plain again.S

  32. wonderful that you featured him in your great Canadian eh seriesFoldaway shoes


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