Candice Olson Talks Trends

I had the chance to sit down with Toronto designer Candice Olson last week. She’s busy spreading the news about her upcoming show Candice Tells All  (airing on W Network January 6th at 8 p.m. EST). Still, she paused for a moment to talk about the new show and how it’s different from her eight-season run on Divine Design. Plus, she shared some design tricks people should use more often, and the trends she predicts for 2011.

Candice really gets her hands dirty in Candice Tells All. She’ll be out on the town, tracking down the just-right items to complete one redesign per episode. Each project will focus on a theme — designing for a family with young children, making a monochromatic design interesting or creating a social kitchen, for instance. To gather inspiration and ideas for each project, she’ll visit art galleries, stores, and places of interest in Toronto. And it wouldn’t be a reno show without some complications! They’ll show those, too, with advice on overcoming common roadblocks.

The makeover element from Divine Design was hugely popular, so they’ve kept that consistent in the new show. The new angle? “We really wanted to film all the people involved in the process — the contractors, the retailers, the movers — that bring the design together,” says Candice. That’s what sets the new show apart, and trust me, it’s fun to follow this gal around.

So, which tips and tricks does Candice suggest to people looking to update their spaces?

1. Try to light each room in three layers. Depending on your budget, add or update lights to completely revamp a space. Start with the ceiling: splurge on recessed lighting or angle track lighting to draw attention to the different areas of a room. Then, move on to wall or dining lights: sconces, floor lamps and pendant lights add a soft glow that ceiling lighting often can’t. Lastly, don’t forget about task lighting: table lamps and desk lights add character and warmth. Remember to position your lights accordingly, too: “When you light everything, you light nothing,” Candice warns.

2. Take risks. Candice wishes more people would brave contrasting colours. She loves the look of a neutral sofa set against a bold, dark wall, for example.

3. Mix old and new. Instead of tossing your grandmother’s armoire or your mother’s ’70s coffee table, curate them into a space with newer items. Candice insists that old and new can coexist if there’s something that ties them together, such as a common colour or wood stain.

Here’s the completed dining room from the first episode. I love the reclaimed wood table (from Kimberley Jackson). In this makeover, Candice incorporates several principles she expects to be big for 2011. So, I asked her to elaborate on the trends she thinks will be hot in the new year:

1. Natural materials with organic textures and finishes. She chooses a custom dining table in reclaimed pine with a worn finish. It adds a hit of industrial style and will withstand the wear and tear of young children. Scrapes, scratches and dents will only make it more interesting.

2. Smart design and durable investment pieces that will stand the test of time. In the first episode, Candice also swaps the homeowners’ basic sofa in the living/dining area for an investment piece from Barrymore (shown above). Their sofas are well-made and well-designed. Instead of buying a string of cheap sofas over the years, Candice thinks more people are realizing the value of one sofa that will grow with a family — switch up the throw cushions or reupholster as your style and needs evolve.

3. Wall coverings and fabrics in unusual patterns and natural textures. Candice predicts that 2011 will see more and more patterns inspired by natural textures and finishes. She used this cork pattern wallpaper from York Wallcoverings in both the dining room and flanking the fireplace in the living room (not pictured).

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