My guest has made an appearance twice on my blog in the recent weeks! Yesterday her Rast hack was featured, and she shared her rental tips in, Loving Your Rental.
Kelly Anderson from
Kelly is a designer who makes her home in Calgary, a metropolitan city nestled between the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the Prairies. Calgary is booming city, an oil town, where there is a cutting edge design community. Kelly has decided to join that community but with a twist. She focusses on sustainable design, where her motto is to reclaim, renew, refresh.
But she does not create a frumpy space, reusing and refreshing items, her spaces are fresh and inviting.
Photos courtesy of Kelly Anderson
Tell us a bit about your background? Has design always been in your blood? How did you get into the design field?
I was always the kid who rearranged my room every week and I remember creating elaborate “snow fort houses” with many rooms and furniture in every one! I’ve always loved shelter magazines and have helped friends with decorating, but I never did it professionally until a year ago. I finished a design certificate program and started a blog and a part-time business in addition to my “real 9-5 job.” I’ve learned a tremendous amount in the past year about the theory and history of design. I’m much more confident now that I am gaining the knowledge to complement my eye for decorating.
How long had you been blogging? Why did you start a blog and what has been one thing you have enjoyed about blogging?
I started blogging just over a year ago, and I have to say I’ve learned so much from the experience. It has forced me to identify my style and things that I want to focus on, like sustainable design. There are lots of things I enjoy about blogging, not the least of which is the community it has allowed me to become a part of, but the thing I enjoy most is that it has allowed my creative side to flourish! I was an English major in university and have always loved writing, so now I get to write about a creative field. I’ve also learned photography, Photoshop, a bit of graphic design, started painting, and this year I’m committed to learning how to sew. I had no idea the right side of my brain was begging to be let loose!
Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?
There is such a tremendous amount of inspiration out there that I feel like I am only skimming the surface and wish I had time to devour more. Design and also lifestyle blogs are amazing sources of info, and I also read traditional shelter magazines (the Canadian ones are still the best!). I also pay attention to retail outlets, restaurants and office spaces - there are some really great cutting edge designs happening in Calgary.
Your blog and design work is all about reusing and redesigning spaces. What tips can you share in creating a space without tossing things away, repurposing what you have, etc?
There are often things that a person already owns that can really work when redesigning a room—you just have to think about how to use them in a different way. An old run-down dresser in a bedroom can be repainted and used as a cool new credenza in the dining room. Paint is your friend, and is easy and inexpensive. Whenever possible, I use paint on kitchen cabinets, furniture, flooring and things like lamps and picture frames. Almost anything can be saved and refreshed!
What would be some shopping tips you can give my readers when buying something used to repurpose it into their space?
I think that a bit of vintage adds character to a room. Scour yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets for picture frames, interesting bowls, boxes, baskets and trays, along with furniture with good clean lines. Look for classic shapes that will never go out of style. Even the ugliest brass lamp can look great when spray painted if it has a good shape. But one thing to keep in mind - just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you need it. Always stop and think: is it functional? Or is it absolutely so beautiful that you would pay a lot for it? If the answer is no, then it will just clutter your house (or your garage), and it is not a smart or sustainable purchase.
How would you describe your design style?
Modern-vintage, with some industrial thrown in. I love light, bright and usually white spaces. I like colour in moderation, and I’m really drawn to navy and soft pastel colours right now.
Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!
My friends call me Monica (from Friends)! I’m a planner, an organization freak and a little bossy! Hey, I just call it being passionate. ☺
What do you like to do with your free time?
You can usually find me vintage seeking, but I also like to enjoy the Rocky Mountains as much as possible, so I hike and ski. Calgary is such a beautiful spot it would be a crime not to take advantage of it!
If you could meet anyone or do anything what would it be?
In the design world I’d love to meet Samantha Pynn and shadow her for a day as she executes a client design. I’ve always loved her style and she was the one who made me really think about sustainability in design.
Outside of that realm, I’d love to meet Stephen Lewis and ask him how to make a difference in third-world countries. I’ve followed his good work for years and hope one day to travel and help people who can only dream of having a home to sleep in, let alone one that’s decorated.
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 highly regarded world-wide and that may be because of Canadian designers’ wide range of design sensibilities. We are a country of significant geographical distinctions, and therefore our designs vary from coast to coast and reflect our surroundings. At the same time, we are a group that loves to constantly share and learn from one another, so we will include really great tricks that work into our designs and use them again and again. I think that our classic, natural, interesting and un-showy style is what sets us apart.
Kelly, I love how your friends call you Monica! I can't say the same for me. I try to be organized but always manage to do too many things at once! Love, love your space. Still can't believe that is removable wallpaper!