Lara and Jeff live in East Vancouver (Fraser) in a standard little “old timer” house with their 2 school age children. Lara runs her own business (web design, digital marketing) and Jeff is a high-school physics/ computers teacher. Busy with work, kids, friends and cycling (they both workout 8+ hours a week), “decorating” always came low on the list, if it showed up at all. (And for Jeff, it never came up on the list!) “I wanted better furniture in our bedroom, and a better look and art in our living room,” says Lara, “But I found the thought of contemplating changes, shopping, ‘picking stuff’ over whelming, so it would be pushed into the next week, every week. Meanwhile, I’d have pangs when I’d see others’ homes with a pulled-together look. ‘I want that’! Place this ‘want’ against my strong values for ‘use it/reuse it’ and there was no action – we needed help.” In a “let’s deal with this” mood one day, Lara found MAD while searching “decorators Vancouver” in Google. Founder Anita Curry and her Design Consultant set up a meeting for 2 days later.
The MAD Process consists of a two part consultation, then an eight week phase, during which the MAD team sources and purchases items, and the client preps the space. Installation by the MAD team usually occurs in one long day. During Consult 1, a MAD Solutions Design Consultant, accompanied by (Vancouver or Toronto) Logistics & Operations Manager, meets the client. They discuss the space function, use, budget and preferred style. Lara and Jeff were looking for a beautiful eclectic space that was well put together, child-friendly (kids are 7,9), and felt like “home”. Lara had the bedroom (new furniture, lamps), living room (better art + lighting), and downstairs playroom on her list. (The kids had been wanting bean bag chairs, but what to do with the beautiful leather couch that they’d bought on Jeff’s request?)
During the consult, the MAD team also suggested an update to the dining room, which, in their observation, had chairs which were too dark, too big, and overpowered the space. A lighter look (perhaps glass table?) and smaller furniture would create more space (visually, physically) and allow the family piano to become more of a focal point.
The MAD Design Consultant pulled together a mood/style template board for each space. MAD picked colours for the living room and bedroom (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (HC-173)), as well as hallway and playroom (Benjamin Moore White Down (CC:50). Both were contemporary and brightening. “For Lara and Jeff, we wanted to keep flow in their small space, yet bring in style too. For the dining room, we wanted to bring the piano out of hiding, so sourced a glass table to pick up the glass in their new hood fan and the light from their new skylight.” (Jeff had taken out a chimney that summer between kitchen/dining to create more space).
“They wanted their bedroom to be warm and cozy, but, at 11ftx12ft, it was overpowered with the dark duvet she had. We went with fresh green and white and silver in their linens and accents to brighten things up. We found some warm yet spacious dressers and side tables in the perfect size, too.”
“In the playroom, we got rid of the couch and chose 2 funky purple and 1 silver fatboy bean bag chairs. More modular, more useful, more playful. We popped some colour on the walls with 8 large size green frames, which we filled with poster-art the kids and their friend created. Later, they could also use black and white close up photos in those frames.”
“Their project was also about repurposing some good things they had in a new way – like moving a TV cabinet from downstairs to up – moves like that help you get the most from your design budget.”
Lara’s thoughts: “All the rooms were amazing. It was like being on a design show, seeing how MAD ‘collected’ and moved the art we had and re-hung it in better and clever places, it was a surprise around each corner. My daughter loved showing me – she got home before I did and was pulling my hand, ‘Mommy, mommy, see this room now!’ What a transformation, and MAD paid such detail to the smallest, most beautiful details – like setting up a play area with Playmobile and kids books as décor.
“There is no way I could have ever pulled together furniture and ideas and decor touches like the MAD team did on my own. I’d have had to quit my job and gone to design school and spend 5 years studying,” laughs Lara. “That’s the benefit of leverage – I do what I do best (computer stuff) and MAD does what they do best (design). And, with MAD, there are no designer fees during the gathering process – their expertise and eye and time comes built into their room-by-room pricing.”
Steals + Finds
Find: Dresser/2 side tables – craigslist – (Coquitlam) – beautiful dark brown, curvy lines - simply perfect.
Splurge: Big (4ftx5.5ft) cycling abstract art (living room) – Home Sense – “I saw this piece on a trip to Home Sense and had my eye on it for weeks,” said MAD designer. “We were technically out of budget for the living room, but it was such a perfect piece with a cyclist in it, I just had to make it work.”
Resale + Repocket: Lara sold a bunch of her old furniture (including the leather couch) on craiglist, making $1100 in the process. Tied nicely into her values of reduce/reuse.