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5 Design Truths Gleaned from My 24 Years in Interior Design


Each chapter of my life has inspired my unique perspective on design: my childhood surrounded by East Coast charm, my studies in Psychology and English Literature at McGill University, the Design MBA program that I completed, talks with my business coach, as well as books and podcasts. These have all played a role in shaping my approach to my work. 

As I look back on my personal history, and on my 24 years in interior design, several key themes rise to the top. These are the lessons — design truths, really — that impact everything I do and every project that comes through our door. I hope they change the way you feel about your home, too.

1. Inspiration comes from within.

Any truly creative person will tell you that the best ideas are not replications of what has already been done. They are inspired from within — in this case, by my experiences as an interior designer and by the clients who call their spaces home. 

When envisioning your own interiors, I invite you to seek inspiration without visual limitations. Instead of relying solely on your favourite design magazines for the right “look”, go deeper within your own heart and mind to discover what delights you most. I love asking questions like:

  • Where are your favourite places in nature? Why?
  • What family trips or memories make you smile when you think of them? 
  • What experiences from your childhood feel extra precious to you as an adult? 
  • How do you love to spend your leisure time?

By taking the time to really listen to your answers and hear both your spoken and unspoken desires, I can design a home that becomes a beautiful extension of you.


Lions Bay Home Renovation: Home to a couple who loves nature, entertaining, and quiet moments gazing over the water.

2. You and your style will evolve—and that is okay.

In the early 2000s, my design influences were primarily traditional and rooted in East Coast aesthetics. However, my move to the West Coast brought about a shift towards a more relaxed, modern approach. Today, I find myself embracing the best of both coasts, blending their distinct styles and creating my own signature bi-coastal aesthetic.

In other words, change is a natural part of life, and we all have the privilege of choosing which of our past experiences we wish to bring with us into our ever-unfolding present. 

As your own tastes, values, and lifestyle evolve, the way your home supports you is also likely to change. Rather than fight it (or ignore it) — I recommend that you embrace it. Keep what you love and usher in new elements where it feels right. 


PEI Estate: An ode to their love of nature, with locally sourced artwork and a custom ottoman/coffee table.

3. Meaningful pieces & people are the best investment.

One of the joys of my job is collaborating with local artisans and craftspeople. There is something special about supporting individuals who are just as passionate about their craft as I am. When it comes to designing your home, there is an added benefit of sourcing locally, too: you know exactly who created your piece and where it came from.

This creates a sense of place and invites stories into the room. That painting in the entryway? Maybe it came from your favourite artist in the city. The unique coffee table in your loft? You remember the craftsperson who made it just for you. The driftwood artfully arranged on your mantle? It washed up on the coastline only 15 minutes away.

This approach does not just apply to new pieces either. I also love incorporating any of your most treasured art and furnishings. It further invites your personality and history into the room, eschewing cookie cutter in favour of authenticity and one-of-a-kind charm. 

P.S. I am in the process of developing The Simply Home Lifestyle Collection, a curated selection of my favourite furniture pieces from projects over the years. I think you will find that they fit this description!


Traditional Dollarton Home

4. Nurture your own physical & emotional wellbeing.

In my experience, having a home that makes room for your passions and celebrates your successes is a home that nurtures the spirit.  (Not everyone is comfortable celebrating their successes, but if you can’t do it at home, where can you?) The way this is expressed will not look the same for everyone, and that’s the beauty of it. 

For you, it could look like displaying the art you gathered on your travels so you can reminisce. It could mean installing a home bar to display that scotch collection you painstakingly amassed over many years. Or, it could inspire action, like finally having a butler’s pantry where you can get creative, experimenting with new recipes to your heart’s content.

In my own home, I indulged in an infrared sauna for my health, created a separate, creativity-inspiring suite for SHD’s design headquarters, and invested in high-quality materials that I can trust to withstand our two dogs and my very outdoorsy husband. This is what brings me peace of mind and elevates my sense of wellness. What will do that for you? 


5. Forward planning creates peace of mind every time.

I have come to learn that life is a constant balance between being grateful for your past, living in the present, and intentionally designing a future you will love. With the lessons I have shared with you so far, these three — past, present and future — have been fully addressed. 

However, I would like to invite you to go even deeper into “vision-casting” for your future. Yes, making room for your passions is important, but how else can your home set you up for long-term ease and joy? Is your retirement on the horizon and going to change how you use your home? Are grandchildren a possibility in your future? 

Planning ahead is not only smart from an investment standpoint, but it also ensures that you have complete peace of mind when that eventuality arrives. After all, that is the whole point of a well-designed home: it should be your “happy place”, a haven where you and your family can relax, recharge, and embrace what you love most, now and in the future.

– Lori

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Complimentary Guide

Uncover the hidden potential in your home.

Whether you live in a mid-century gem in need of an update or a modern new build ready for personality, these creative solutions will change the way your home looks and lives.

Thank you!