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So Canadian eh?: Andrea Lauder Johnson

February 26, 2012



Visiting this week is a local blogger and designer who with her infectious smile dresses to kill! 

Every time we meet, or bump into each other running errands, she is stylin' and smilin'. You can not help but love to be around her.

Give a warm welcome to the ever so incredibly talented.....

Andrea Johnson from Andrea Johnson Design



She is

Andrea has such amazing taste, her sense of style is impeccable, and it translate into her interiors as well. 
If I ever get my dream house one day, Andrea would be one of the first designers I would call upon. She is a master of mixing the high with the low, creating a seamless and cohesive space that drips with style.

Her spaces are drool worthy!

Don't believe me? 

Check out her portfolio....


 My favourite rug, the ever elusive rug from Ikea!


 Marble topped breakfast table - yes please!


Her kitchen....speechless..




 All photos by Tracey Ayton 


Andrea also writes the fabulous blog, From My Living Room, where she shares her design projects and dilemmas, designers that she adores, her latest decor finds, and feature her amazing wardrobe ensembles!

Be sure to pop by and say hi!




Tell us a bit about yourself; what is your background, your education? Where you always interested in design?

I studied at Langara College for two years before transferring to SFU with my main focus being child psychology!  I know, it seems odd to me now but at the time I really thought that’s what I wanted to do.  I never ended up completing all the years necessary to make that happen.  I realized that I didn’t have the passion for it anymore so I took some time off from school to work and make some money.  I ended up working for a telecom company and then a reproduction art company, got married and had a baby.  I then decided to go back to school and study Interior Design.  I went to BCIT and did as many courses as I could while pregnant with my second baby.  I then gained some experience working with a local designer.  I didn’t decide to start my own business until both kids were in school all day and my business took off from there.  It’s funny looking back because I have always loved interior design from a young age and why I went off track to study psychology I’ll never know.  I would have saved a lot of years in school and student loans if I realized this when I was much younger!

What made you decide to start a blog?

I came across interior design blogs while surfing the net and started to read them on a regular basis.  I thought that it was such an amazing outlet to express your style and creativity with like -minded people.  After following many blogs I decided to bite the bullet and start my own blog.  For the most part I didn’t think I would have anything interesting to say nor did I think that anyone would ever read it.  It’s scary to put yourself out there!

What have you enjoyed about blogging, anything surprise you?

When I started blogging I had no idea how many people I would meet along the way and what a supportive community it has turned out to be.  It has also been a great avenue for my business.  Clients have found me through blogging and anything that helps to grow my business is a great thing!

What hopes and dreams do you have for your future, where do you hope to see yourself, say in the next 5 years?

To keep building my business and making clients happy.  I feel blessed to be able to do something that I am so passionate about.

When you get a new design project, how do you start each project, what inspires the direction of your designs?

Inspiration can come from anywhere, it could be the view outside, from something a client already has like a painting or a throw blanket, or a fabric swatch is a great jumping off point and can inspire a whole room. Once I have an understanding of the style the client is after I will put together some fabric and colour options as well as furniture pieces to present to the client and make sure we are on the same track. 

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

I would love to meet Kelly Wearstler and Mary McDonald.  I think they are both amazing designers.  I love the glamour they bring to a space as well as their use of bold colour and pattern.  There’s a fearlessness to their spaces that I admire.

You are a working mother, how to find balance between your work, blogging and family life?

First of all, I wish I were a better blogger!  I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to fit everything into my life that I want to do.  It helps that my kids are in school all day and I try to do the majority of my work while they are in school.   Having said that, it can be difficult because no one is telling you to turn your computer off and go home!  Let’s just say that finding balance is an ongoing juggling act and I do the best I can.

As a self-employed designer who is building an amazing portfolio, what advice do you have for anyone just starting out?

The most important thing I have learned since starting my own business is that it’s 20% design and 80% business.  This was an important lesson I learned from Kimberley Seldon who is an amazing designer and business woman!  I didn’t come from a business background, I am all about the pretty!  Whether you like it or not the business side always plays a larger role than the fun stuff like doing floor plans and decorating.  I had so much to learn and I am still learning all the time.  Clients teach you a lot about what is or isn’t working in your business and I’ve learned a lot since I first started out.

How would you describe your design style?

I would say that it’s fresh and youthful with lots of colour.  I love mixing prints and interesting colour combinations. 

You are really good at mixing high and low, what tips do you have for my readers where to splurge and where to save?

Yes, I think it’s important to be able to mix high and low since most people don’t have an unlimited budget.  I also like mixing vintage pieces with new pieces.  I think it adds personality and keeps a room from feeling like a showroom.  When it comes to the budget I would prefer to spend money on the bones of the room first if possible.  It’s a challenge to work around something that just isn’t right.  For example, a floor that needs updating, or a room that’s calling out for some great millwork.  If you have great bones to work with then everything else will fall into place. Even if that means you can’t furnish the whole space right away.  When it comes to furniture I like to spend more money on the larger pieces and less on things like pillows, side tables and lamps as well as things that are considered trendy.  If you have a good quality classic sofa it can be mixed with either a modern or more traditional space and it ends up being a great investment piece that will stand the test of time.

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?

We have so much talent in Canada and I think we have an interesting perspective on how we approach design.  Across the country we have such a diverse landscape from the west coast to the east coast.  We have beautiful oceans and mountain views as well as the vast grasslands in the prairies and we like to incorporate our views into our homes.  We like bringing the outside in whether it’s using colour that reflects our landscape, large windows to take in the views or using natural elements in our interiors to reflect our surroundings.  

Andrea, I will be calling upon you when I get my dream home - I LOVE your design style!
Maybe you can also start giving my some fashion lessons as well? 

XO Barbara

14 comments:

  1. I am so happy to have met Andrea in "real" life. She's such an amazing person and clearly a designer to keep an eye on.

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  2. Another great interview Barbara, and thanks to the lovely and talented Andrea! I have also been an bit of a part time blogger lately, but life can get busy :) Nice to see a fresh palette with spring approaching! Have a great week!

    Michelle

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  3. Fabulous style! That kitchen IS amazing and I really love the backsplash. I love her take on mixing high and low - so true!

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  4. So awesome to get to know Andrea a little better! I LOVE her kitchen, and the clean lines of her designs. Can't wait to see more!

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  5. I love this Canadiana series. Nothing like a bit of home-grown lovin'. I also recently did my own Canadian inspiration. Feel free to check it out on my blog (www.robertandjoseph.blogspot.com) -- you might have to scroll down a few entries.

    Robert

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  6. What a beautiful home! The kitchen is perfect, crisp, clean and streamlined. LOVE!!

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  7. Love that girl! What I find interesting in your interviews Barb is that everyone struggles with balance and I think we learn from reading these interviews that when you love to do something enough, you make it work and you do a kick butt job. Andrea has proven to us that she has that passion!!!!

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  8. Andrea is such a talented gal! Her home is gorgeous. I think she does pretty well, as a blogger, considering she had kids too! I don't know how anyone does all of that, to tell you the truth. ;) Another fab interview Barbara.

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  9. Thanks so much for introducing me to Andrea!! I love her style and you are so right, she will be the one I would have consultation with when I do another home reno! Also love Andrea's take on High/Low and how to get the biggest bang for the buck!!

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  10. Lovely to read all about Andrea. I'm off to check out her blog, I think we are like minded when it comes to where to spend your design dollars.

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  11. Changing the way in which you go about remodelling your kitchen countertops is one of the best ways in which you can save money without sacrificing the finished look of the room.

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  12. as always.....great iterview!
    Thanks for doing this for us every week Barb!

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  13. I LOVED reading about and her kitchen is ah-mazing!! wowzers!!

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