For over 25 years now, Canadian interior designer Candice Olson has been transforming homes with her clean-lined, classic-contemporary style. She describes her brand as an “eclectic fusion of contrasts” – a philosophy that she is ever willing to decode for fans of her HGTV shows, Divine Design and Candice Tells All, and through her series of design books like Everyday Elegance and Candice Olson On Design. “I always talk about the ‘Whys of design’ or what makes great design. The answer lies in fundamental design principles – scale, proportion, balance, etc. They’re beautiful and there are scientific reasons, so what better starting off point in any project!” she summarises.
Infusing the essence of classic design into new materials and techniques is what Olson does best. Her most recent endeavour was an ambitious addition to her furniture collection with US-based furniture manufacturer Highland House Furniture. The line employs multiple finishes and materials to effect a distinctive look. “The intent of mixing interesting or even exotic materials, like shagreen, mother-of-pearl, and vellum, with walnut and antique brass is that each piece blends seamlessly into your space, no matter what the existing style,” she elaborates. This material palette also features in a new outdoor furniture collection with American residential furniture brand Century Furniture, as well as lighting solutions with US company AF Lighting.
It’s not just her individual style that has earned her recognition and a loyal fan base. It is also her ability to understand and respond to client/audience needs. Take, for instance, her book Candice Olson Favorite Design Challenges, which tackles interior design based the shell (architecture) of a space, rather than a single style. Then there’s Everyday Elegance that is the answer to creating a home that’s both, glamorous and liveable. “This idea of Everyday Elegance isn’t a matter of expensive furnishings and high-end luxury. Rather it’s the selective design of a space based on beauty or interest, as well as purpose and function – the end result reflects a unified yet effortless style,” says Olson.
While Olson enjoys the variety that her mixed bag of career profiles offer, she is particularly proud of the 12 years of design television she has produced. “I think it came at a time when people wanted to see and learn about great design on television and not just watch a design ‘soap opera’. I wanted to show the professional side of interior design, and have fun along the way. Mission accomplished!” she elaborates.
During her downtime, the designer prefers to unwind amidst her greatest inspiration, Mother Nature – “From palettes and patterns to materials, there is no one that has had a bigger impact on my work.” She recalls a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, where she was awed by vibrant geothermal features and emerald pools. So strong is her love of the elements that the master bedroom in her Toronto home was designed to overlook a long valley and meandering river. “We renovated several years ago and backed the house in glass to take advantage of the view. With the changing seasons it’s like an ever-changing art installation!” she enthuses.
While on the subject, her upcoming line of wallpapers with York, scheduled to launch later this year, will showcase nature-inspired and classic patterns like florals, paisleys, damask and architectural grillwork executed in 3D, pearl or iridescent inks. The use of offbeat materials like glass beads, sand and glitter, make it a much-awaited book. Until then, fans in India can satiate their need for an Olson design here.