Interview with Lindsay Smart

Words by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Dasha Armstrong.

Tell us how Lindsay Smart Interior Design came to be. I graduated from Vancouver Island University with a diploma in Interior Design in 2004 and gained experience in lighting before moving into residential design. Working alongside a variety of talented interior designers from Kimberly Williams Interiors, Samantha Weeks Design, and KM Interior Design has allowed me to expand and evolve into the designer I am today. Now that my son is in school, the timing felt right to embark on my own and start my own design practice.

What guides you in making important design decisions? My client’s lifestyle and functional needs are my first consideration for every design project. Aesthetics are always important but there is no sense in making a space beautiful if it doesn’t function optimally for the people living with it. Connecting with my clients to build a trusting relationship is what allows me to learn how they live in their home so that I can design a space specific to their needs.

What design advice would you give a friend embarking on a renovation or new home build? Do your homework and give ample thought to what you want and need before enlisting help. Consider both design and functionality when perusing resources for inspiration. Photos of what you like and what you don’t like are helpful to provide clarity and narrow down all of the options available. It can be a lengthy and involved process so relax and enjoy it as much as possible. Don’t try to rush the process; take the time to do it right the first time.

What do you do to fan your flame when you are feeling uninspired in your practice? If I’m feeling stuck in a creative moment and can’t move past certain elements to see a concept come together, I’ll take a break and do something less creative like tidy my office with loud dance music or step out for a calming walk with my dog. Once my mind is cleared, I can regroup with a fresh perspective and restart the process with one element that I know my client wants to incorporate into a design. Whether it’s as significant as an architectural feature or as simple as paint colour, I use that as a jumping-off point to create a mind-map/ spider-diagram that includes images and samples. I use Pinterest to find images to support design concepts and as a resource to view installations on features I have never done before.

What would you consider your greatest design achievement to date? As a designer, two projects that are close to my heart were both completed when I was working with Kimberly Williams Interiors. Working on Jeneece Place, a home where children and families can stay in Victoria when a child is receiving urgent medical care was so special to me. It is such an exceptional place, I hope that the work we did can at least alleviate some of the stress on children and families. The other exciting project was Hotel Zed. This was a true concept-to-creation project like nothing else I’ve worked on; it was amazing to be involved from the start and to see what it has become today.