So Canadian Eh? : Vanessa Sicotte

It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Vanessa Sicotte, host of an amazing decor show, Sauvez Les Meubles ("Save the Furniture"} seen in Quebec on Canal Vie and creative director/founder of Montreal based Damask et Dentelle, a web directory of all things interior design. 

 Vanessa is....
I first met Vanessa, last May when I attended Blogpodium in Toronto. We met the first evening, when several of us bloggers went out for a night on the town. Over the course of the weekend, it was hard not to like her! With her dynamic and enthusiastic personality, she is a incredibly fun gal to be around. When we first met, Vanessa had been asked to be part of a new show that was premiering on Quebec television, Sauvez Les Meubles, which means "Save the Furniture". That weekend she was shopping for several spaces that were about to be worked on. I even accompanied her to Aberfoyle Antique Market watching her pile things into the back of her van.

 The premise of the show is Vanessa and her crew come into people's homes, using the furniture that they have in their homes along with a tiny budget of $500, they transform a space. Now if only HGTV Canada could come up with something that ingenious! Sadly, Sauvez Les Meubles can't be seen on English television but if you want to learn not only a bit of French but follow Vanessa along, the show now has webisodes.

 Can I say "tres magnifique!"

Here are some photos of spaces she has transformed.

The before.....

And after.





Photos courtesy of Canal Vie

Photos courtesy of Vanessa Sicotte

      Tell us a bit about your background. Are you formally trained in design? Have you always dabbled in design?

I have self-taught myself most of what I know in terms of design as I am an industrial psychology major as well as a business (marketing) graduate. My studies then brought me to do a master in International Business none of which brought me any closer to my true passion that is design. It is only in 2010, after I opened Damask & Dentelle that I finally decided to do a decorator & stylist’s course.

     You created and run a website called “Damask and Dentelle," tell us a bit about the site.

Damask & Dentelle is the fruit of my own personal frustration with renovating my first home and not being able to find boutiques and stores beyond the obvious big boxes. I wanted furnishings and accessories that resembled me but knew little of their retail locations. I then started a blog (Damask & Dentelle) telling the stories of my discoveries. The blog gained popularity and soon after the complete directory of Quebec’s independent retailers, creators & artisans was born.

      You are French Canadian, do you feel that Quebecers have a different approach to design?

That is a question I never wondered about and it is a good one indeed. Quebecers have a French sensibility when it comes to their tastes in fashion, food and hence I guess design. Although, over the past few decades that gap has considerably narrowed between our tastes what the rest of Canada feels is great design. We have learned to embrace our common roots, at least I want to believe we have as a society.

     You are the host and creative force behind a design show “Sauves Les Meubles”, which sadly can only be seen on Quebec television. How did you land that job? Tell us a bit about the show!

What a chance encounter that was! I was fortunate enough to meet a tv executive in a Christmas dinner 3 years ago and after a full year of discussions on my potential to appear on television, Sauvez les Meubles was born. It is a fun and lively show about decorating a room in a couple’s home using only vintage and used furniture. What I love most about the concept is the help of my carpenter who makes all my crazy design ideas come true. We try, every week, to reinvent the uses of daily objects by giving them new uses or completely reinventing them. Most stimulating really!!

      What have you enjoyed about designing with TV cameras around? What has been challenging? Any favourite episodes?

Challenging you say? Yes that it has been! I had never had any TV experience and hence not only did I have to learn how to create and make new and creative decors every week (I am a blogger and a sideline decorator, I did not have experience decorating strangers homes), but I also had to learn how to properly host and handle myself for the camera. Being very spontaneous by nature, it has been somewhat of a challenge. J

      What is next for you?

My head is filled with projects and developments for Damask & Dentelle… if only I can have a few minutes to myself to think them through and make them happen.

      What are your go-to design sources?

In Montréal I have a few “chouchou” (favourite) boutiques such as: Buk & Nola for their quirky finds and their West coast meets Scandinavian easthetics, Ludovik Boutique whom sells a curated selection of most avant-garde and stylish furniture as well as a large selection of Jonathan Adler’s creationt, L’Affichiste as I am a true fan of vintage posters (I have 6 in my humble home only) and Arthur Quentin for elegant and classic tableware.

I also often travel to Toronto to visit its many vintage boutiques. Some of my favorites are: The Arthur (550 College St.) Love the Design (1362 Queen St. East) Chief Salvage Co (1493 Dundas St. West) Metropolis Living Factory Store (50 Edwin St.) Made & Canadian Salvaged Timber (440 Dufferin St.)  & I have to add Elte (80 Ronald Avenue) for it is a design lover’s heaven!

      What do you enjoy doing when you have free time!

Being a mom of 3 little munchkins (my eldest is 8 and my youngest is almost 3), much of our spare time is spent together either skiing or spending time at the family cottage. If I happen to have any time to myself I try to enjoy a good book or a quick run which either have always proved to be excellent for the maintenance of my sanity in hard and stressful times.

      You are a wife, mother, entrepreneur, blogger and television personality, how do you find balance in it all.

One day at the time. I also get overwhelmed if I take too much time to think of all the things that ought to be done, and so I don’t think much about them and just do them. Self discipline has been a skill I have worked hard at developing and I am slowly starting to reap its rewards.

      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 am an extremely proud Canadian (not over-zealous but  one could be mistaken!) especially on the topic of design. I feel we not only have great talents that are gaining visibility internationally, but I also feel that our sense of style has matured and come into its own over the past few decades. My mom (who arrived from France in 1974) told me often the story of how she had to make her own wedding dress and hand pick her flowers in a field as there were no suitable options in stores at the time. It was the same for design (especially in Quebec), besides the traditional country pine furniture the offering was very meager. I now promote and represent over 1500 of those creators on my website… and that is in Quebec only! So imagine on the scale of a country as vast as ours!  

Thanks Vanessa! Now if only HGTV could snap you up so we can see something this creatively stimulating on English television! But I am thrilled that I can now watch your show via the webisodes. Maybe I can even brush up on my French at the same time!

XO Barbara


  1. This was a great interview Barbara! I got sidetracked pouring over vintage Canadian posters form one of her fave soutrces but I came back to finish Vanessa's story. Really enjoyed it!!

  2. Yay, so happy to see Vanessa on your series! Love her (obvs) - Hope you're going well Barbara :)

  3. Wow, that's so interesting. I'll have to check that out. I could use with some refreshing of my French and I might be more inclined to sit through a French tv show if they're talking about design:)

  4. I would love to catch this show even though I'm not fluent in French. Somehow I think design speaks it's own language and there would be so much to take in. The makeovers are fabulous!

  5. I've met Vanessa briefly a few times, but now I finally know more about her! She's a really talented and ambitious lady. Love the concept behind her TV show and I agree, HGTV TOTALLY needs to do an English version!

    I'm seriously loving the AFTER shots of the home with the exposed brick wall :-)

  6. wow goergous & smart! such an interesting/busy life she has. I shall have to go off to find her blog now! Thanks for doing the leg work for us!

  7. I'm catching up on blog reading. What amazing/creative space transformations! Love those pics!

  8. Thanks so much for this interview with Vanessa. I follow her along on twitter and FB so it's nice to see the person behind the name. I'm definitely going to check out her recommended online stores, Montreal is only 2 hours from here :)

  9. I've joined your Vanessa Sicotte and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful courtesy of Canal online stores and makeup online stores


Let's chat...