Interview with Larry and Andi Hook

Words by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Cassidy Nunn.

As a couple, your journey in design and construction began south of the border. Tell us a bit about how you started working together in California and then moved to Canada to start Hook & Hook Designs in Sidney. In 2006, after studying interior design in New York, I moved back to Southern California to work with my mom in her design firm. As it turns out, we hired Larry to build the custom cabinets for that particular project and he just never went away! Just before the recession in 2008, we made the decision to move our family and our business back to Canada. Since moving to Vancouver Island, we’ve put down firm roots in Sidney and have enjoyed watching both our business and our son, River, grow.

Your skills are obviously complementary. How is working together advantageous to your clients? We’re not the only husband and wife team in the area, but I believe we are the only couple on the island that offer design/build services, interior design, and custom millwork in our beautiful new 2,000-square-foot design centre where our clients, as well as other local designers and builders, are welcome to bring their clients. Our design centre carries everything you will need for your project including Hunter Douglas window coverings, fabric samples, furniture, flooring, lighting, cabinetry, millwork, rugs, and décor.

What can clients expect when they come to you with a project? When we schedule the initial consultation with a prospective client, Larry and I always go together. We discuss the client’s wishlist and while Larry’s investigating the structural aspects of the project, I’m able to discuss the design details. Most of our clients are pleasantly surprised that Hook & Hook Designs is a family-owned and operated, one-stop design shop.

How has your experience working and designing in the United States informed your design/build process in British Columbia? Design trends in the U.S. are typically five years ahead of Canada, so we have that advantage. Seriously though, I think the experience we gained running our business in California prepared us well for the market here in British Columbia. Coastal California and Vancouver Island have similarities in geography and therefore, a shared design sensibility that you don’t often see anywhere else.

What is your preferred type of project to work on as a team? We enjoy working on all our projects but some do stand out more than others. We are currently starting a new custom-built cottage in North Saanich that will be just under 1,000 square feet. Our clients want to build it on their property to function as a guesthouse for their family to enjoy and they plan to live in it when their primary residence becomes too much for the two of them. The smaller scale of this project offers us the opportunity to pare down, get creative, and include all the necessary comforts into a compact design.

We really enjoy projects that require us to consider the future for clients and incorporate features that allow them to age-in-place. If your property is large enough for a small structure, it makes sense to invest in building a smaller home on the same land. There are many advantages including increasing your income for your retirement years.

Are there any standout projects you have worked on locally? We recently completed a large-scale reno on the water in Sidney and the differences between the before and after are extraordinary. We moved the entire location of the kitchen from the front of the home to the back, allowing the clients an expansive view of the sea from their primary living spaces. We took down several walls, installed in-floor heating under beautiful new marble flooring throughout the home, added new lighting, and an abundance of custom cabinetry. It’s truly a beautiful project that was exciting to work on together.