How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I like the call my style modern eclectic. To me this about marrying the old with the new through a contemporary lens. I love spaces to feel modern and storied – they should feel like they have been collected over time.
Tips for bringing life to a space with minimal renovations?
Paint and wallpaper are the two most cost effective (and minimally disruptive) ways to drastically transform a space. I also don’t like to forget about ceilings (they can be a great blank canvas for a feature paint colour or Wallcovering for an unexpected dramatic moment). While I love the construction and renovation process, I am also a firm believer that furnishings and decor can make all the difference – so if you aren’t thrilled about the bones of your space and aren’t able to renovate, don’t feel discouraged you can accomplish a lot through great furniture, fabric and decor selections.
Where to save, where to splurge when designing your home?
Art and lighting (which I also consider to be sculpture) are always two of my favourite places to splurge. Working with a lot of clients who have young families – or just don’t want to feel stressed by having items that are too precious? Spending your money on items that hang on walls or ceilings is a great place – there is minimal wear and tear! They also serve as great jumping off points for the rest of the home and are easy to move with you (unlike custom upholstery which is amazing but often tailored to a space). Another place I always encourage clients to spend the money is on custom window coverings. There is often a bit of sticker shock on how much this costs but I really feel it makes a world of difference.
What was your vision for the GSD Newlyweds project?
As our hashtag hints at, this project was designed for a newlywed couple who also happened to be planning for their first child. The house is an old character home with so many great quirks, and because major renovations (or a build) were in our clients long term plans, we embraced the character of the house and focused our effects on truly decorative elements. We were so lucky that these particular clients really trusted our vision – we wanted to create something unique and they were all for it! Our focus was really to layer texture and experminent with shape to create a space that really does capture our signature modern eclectic style.
Art and lighting (which I also consider to be sculpture) are always two of my favourite places to splurge. Working with a lot of clients who have young families – or just don’t want to feel stressed by having items that are too precious? Spending your money on items that hang on walls or ceilings is a great place – there is minimal wear and tear!
Living well – Gillian’s favourites
No. 1. Your number one travel destination?
Paris! I know it’s cliche but there really is no place like it. LA is always my go-to though for a quick getaway.
No. 2. 3 things you can’t live without?
No. 3. Favorite inspirational audiobook or podcast:
The Skinny Confidential and Second Life – both tons of boss-lady inspiration.
No. 4. If you could tell your 20-year-old self one thing…
That it’s ok to say no to things. It’s easy to get sucked into saying yes to things out of obligation but motherhood has really taught my that time is our most valuable commodity – saying yes to one thing can me a no to something else. Prioritizing my time is so important and I wish I had been more thoughtful about it sooner.
No. 5. Best advice you’ve ever received for living the life of your dreams was…
Independence. My parents always taught my sister and I to be independent and this has given me so much confidence through my life. It’s a powerful feeling knowing you can stand on your own two feet no matter what.