Words by Michelle Heslop.
Tell us about 55DESIGN. 55DESIGN is a full-service interior design firm. We have been in business since 2005 servicing clients throughout North America, but primarily in the Toronto area where we were located until 2017. We are settled here in Victoria now and are so glad we made the move.
When were you first exposed to the design world?
Moore: A big shoutout has to go to my very creative and talented mother, and design magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Architectural Digest, Sunset and Family Circle really established my interest. Studying art and design throughout my life and working in graphic design, floral design, space planning, showroom and store design helped lead me to this rewarding career in interior design.
Kocsis: I too was introduced to design early on. My family lived in many homes over the course of my childhood. It was completely normal for us to pick up, move to a new home, and decorate it. As children, it was so exciting to go to the building sites. My sister and I were involved in the selection of colours and finishes for our bedrooms… after we argued over who got the bigger room. She always did!
How do you think your experience in Toronto will influence the work you do here on the West Coast?
Moore: Fortunately, we moved around a lot and have experienced many different abodes. We bring years of hands on experience. That experience gives us a great appreciation for the trades involved in a project as well as our ability to speak their language and clearly communicate our expectations to them.
Kocsis: We were fortunate to have direct, hands-on access to a vast array of trade resources that are not available outside of large urban centres. We acquired a solid foundation of technical product knowledge from these resources and a true understanding of what is available to us.
What does good interior design look like to you? There is harmony, flow, and a quiet excitement in good interior design. There is no visual noise.
Guide us through your design process. Usually, the space and how it needs to function for the client will inform what direction the design will take. We are able to see the whole picture and how important seemingly minor choices and decisions can be in affecting the whole. Once a realistic budget has been established, we are very good at managing the project and communicating with our clients, trades, and suppliers. A good relationship with all parties involved in the project is key to a successful outcome.
What design advice would you give someone embarking on a renovation or new home build? A well-crafted interior space will work for the client’s needs. Ensure there will be ample natural light and enough space for the furniture and tasks a room has to perform. Use the best finishes that you can afford, that are appropriate for the space, and have longevity.
In your opinion, what design elements should every home embrace? Simplicity and balance.
What can we live without? Excess — avoid clutter.
What are your thoughts on interior design trends? Trends keep the industry fresh, some we embrace, others not so much. We find them fascinating. But by definition, usually by the time it has been identified as a trend, it’s over! For this reason we are very selective when it comes to elements we introduce into a space. Good design should last for many years… not just a couple.
Has the world of social media impacted the way clients engage with designers? Social media sites and the plethora of design shows on television have been helpful in establishing a want or need for a better designed space. Although, when faced with an information and visual onslaught, it can become a challenge for clients in the decision-making process. This is where a designer is invaluable. We help to establish focus and narrow down options. Often, we are given a client’s Pinterest or Houzz account to peruse and have to distill what is truly valid for their space.
What three items could you simply not live without?
Moore: My Leica Disto laser distance measurer makes quick work of measurement details, my iPhone/iPad are invaluable tools for fast information, photos, files, and communication. Facetime works well with contractors and trades who are on the job site when questions or problems arise. And Robert, of course.
Kocsis: Though design is a creative field, technology plays a key role in making good design happen. Devices, software and e-commerce are all things modern designers rely on. Especially when you live on an island!
Favourite thing about living in Victoria so far? The sheer beauty of this island, and the weather, of course.
Dogs or cats? Dogs.