What brought you together as a design team? Eli and I had been friends for years before we started working together. Eli had just moved back to Victoria after her studies at Parson’s School of Design in New York City and I was working for a local firm. One night while chatting we realized that while we both have different design strengths, we have a very similar design aesthetic. It was our “a-ha” moment, and discovered that we should be working together. It came with a lot of thought and communication because we didn’t want a business relationship to compromise our friendship. We’re two years in and both agree, it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.
Where did the name Ivyhouse originate? We wanted a name that was simple, with an organic feel that described some part of the home. We often laugh at the irony that we’re hired to make homes beautiful, while ivy can actually be quite destructive to a home. We love it anyway.
How do you communicate the value of design to your clients? Hiring a designer can have so much value. A big part of our job is to be professional problem solvers. When building or renovating, there is the potential for a lot of issues to surface and mistakes to be made. Our job is to prevent the mistakes and provide solutions for the issues that do arise. Often the cost of hiring a designer is less than paying for the common mistakes that are made.
What has been the biggest influence on your personal design aesthetic Travel and nature. We both love traveling and it’s such a great way to draw inspiration. I was in France earlier this year and Eli went to Italy for her honeymoon. European design and architecture aligns with our love for timeless design. Nature is another big influence. We are both lucky enough to grow up in a city surrounded by ocean and forest.
What are the most important traits of a good designer? Communication, openness, and the ability to take criticism. Communication is key for any successful project from the beginning, right to the end. It’s very important that everyone starts on the same page and the client has communicated all their needs so the designer can find a way to achieve them. Openness and ability to take criticism can go hand in hand. It’s important for the designer to remember to not push their personal design aesthetic if it’s not right for the client.
Favourite must-have décor item in 2017? I love jute rugs — they add a natural elegance that we’ve been seeing a lot this year but also won’t date a space. The price-point is much less than wool rugs, creating a more accessible look for a lot of clients. They also look great layered with patterned rugs. Eli is going with bar carts that speak to both form and function.