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From the 1980s to Now: My Journey in Interior Design


If your path has been anything like mine, you may have noticed that life does not always follow a straight line. Although design is exactly what I am meant to do, it took me a while to figure out that I was headed here. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and when I really look, the seeds of design were always there, slumbering amidst the very fabric of my childhood…

Early 1980s: Merging Design with Entrepreneurship

Growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s, surrounded by East Coast charm, I had never heard of Interior Design, let alone considered it as a possible career path. My mother wove the first threads of design into my life. With an innate sense of style and a deep appreciation for fine furniture, she worked hard to curate the perfect home for us. 

In fact, I think my undying love of wallpaper started in my childhood bedroom, outfitted with Holly Hobby wallpaper in the colours of the ‘70s — avocado green, gold and orange. I was also deeply influenced by my father, a tenacious entrepreneur who worked hard to build his business, a small chain of gas stations. 

From simple beginnings in a one-bedroom house on a beautiful piece of land overlooking the city, to involving their then junior-high aged daughter (me) in selecting timeless finishes during a major renovation, my parents set the foundation for my love of interior design and entrepreneurship.


1990s: Early Influences & the Path to Design

Fast forward a decade — who doesn’t want to forget high school? — to my time at McGill University, where I began my studies in Psychology and English Literature. I wanted to remain in Montreal over the summer after my first year, and to convince my parents, I secured a position at Pier 1 Imports. 

To my surprise, my time at Pier 1 turned into more than just a way to pay the bills; it was an encouraging workplace that fostered creativity and growth. 

The day that I was asked to create the window displays at our flagship store on St. Catherine’s Street was a highlight. This was the first real, public display of my design abilities — thousands of pedestrians walked by those windows every day! It wasn’t long before I was promoted to merchandising manager, leading a team responsible for creating all of the in-store displays. 


2000: Difficult Lessons & Humble Beginnings

In 2000, I moved to Ottawa and started working at a family-owned furniture store specializing in beautifully crafted, made-in-Canada, Mission and Colonial style furniture. Despite how much I loved the store, my journey there lasted only three months. The reason? My ambition to become an interior designer was deemed incompatible with their vision. Fair enough.

This setback, however, became the catalyst for me chasing my dreams. In that brief period, I absorbed invaluable insights into quality furniture construction and I made important connections, including a designer who would become my first real mentor.


After being let go from my furniture sales job, I spent almost 2 years as a decorator at a local design firm. This was a true “trial by fire”. With no formal training, I had to learn the ropes quickly. It was a stressful and challenging time. A significant car accident on my way to a jobsite prompted my then-boyfriend (now husband) to encourage me to venture out on my own. 

In the year 2000, Simply Home Decorating was born. Externally, my Ottawa-based business appeared to be very successful, with frequent press coverage and plenty of referral business. Internally, and like many new business owners, I was working incredibly hard to please my clients for very little return. For the first year, to make ends meet while I built up my client base, I even accepted a part-time position at a locally owned kitchen supply store. 

This time reinforced that I was a creative person who loved what I was doing, but it also made me realize I still had much to learn about running a business. 

2007: Mentors & Moving Business to Vancouver

In 2007, I made the move to Vancouver when I was 7 months pregnant and utterly burned out. At that juncture, I seriously contemplated quitting, as I wasn’t sure that I had the energy to start over. Instead, I enrolled in a Business of Design seminar with Kimberly Seldon, a choice that would prove to be absolutely life-changing! 

Kimberly’s Business of Design program equipped me with the knowledge I lacked about running the business, managing client expectations, and taking responsibility for my mistakes. This marked the pivotal shift that finally moved my business forward. It is hard for me to believe that was nearly 20 years ago!


2024: Living By Life’s Biggest Lessons

Admitting that I didn’t know everything was a hurdle for me to overcome in the early days of my career. Fear of appearing inexperienced, coupled with what is now known as “imposter syndrome”, held me back from seeking help when I needed it most. This reluctance not only slowed down my learning but also led to considerable stress. In hindsight, I realize that I should have asked more questions and sought help sooner.

In the current stage of my career, I am comfortable acknowledging that I am not omniscient. Even with 20+ years of experience, each project teaches me something new — either about design, our local community, our team, or even myself. 

Now, rather than fear the unknown, I enjoy leveraging these opportunities to expand my knowledge, to enhance our designs, to refine our systems, and to elevate our clients’ overall experience working with us. 

I have come to realize that business and life, like design, is a continuous journey of growth and improvement. We iterate and edit until only our best remains.

— Lori

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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!