Designer Files: The New Industrial

A few weeks ago I shared an article that discussed which design trends from seasons past have had the strength to move forward into 2015.

One of the bigger décor looks that is finding traction is the industrial look – but it’s not the same heavy aesthetic that dominated the scene a few years ago. This refined “industrial” has a fresh feel that I’m looking forward to incorporating into upcoming projects.

To get a full insider scoop on how this trend has evolved, I asked some of Vancouver’s most talented artisans in the woodworking field to share their thoughts on the new industrial style.

Clint Moroz, The Longwalk Lodge

How have you seen the industrial trend evolve?

When this trend first became popular a number of years back, it didn’t gradually gain attention – it took off immediately and at a mass level. Seemingly every home, restaurant and shop had adopted the trend in a big way; we saw heavy pipes, rustic woods and distressed metals combined in everything from shelves to wall cladding to smaller household items.

As we look forward at how the trend is adapting to current styles, we are seeing an “industrial” that is much less stark and brute. Industrial pieces now are taking on more of a Scandinavian, clean aesthetic by comparison, and have looked to a new approach in order to remain relevant.
We are still seeing reclaimed woods, but they are being paired with more interesting design elements, such as painted metals in a bright palette, or coloured resins rather than the heavily worn bare metals we’ve seen in the past. The industrial colourway and combos of a few years ago became too monochromatic, especially when used in lofts (or other industrial-inspired spaces).

Have you noticed a shift in the attitude of consumers toward industrial pieces?

Definitely. Previously, people were jumping on the industrial trend without actually thinking about if and why they liked it. It was about having everything industrial, rather than considering how the trend would work for them.

Clients today are being more selective and seeking out pieces that speak to them and suit their own personal style. We are happily shifting into a modern eclectic movement, a design approach that is encouraging people to mix, for example, a custom industrial table with a Victorian sofa in a contemporary setting; we don’t have fully “industrial” or “mid-century” homes anymore – we use pieces from different eras that all are representative of our individuality. The mass production items are less in demand, while craftsman pieces are what consumers are interested in.

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Benji Nesdoly, Field in Town

What are you working on right now – what are you excited about within industrial/ custom woodworking?

I’ve been busy building new products and focusing on building up my collection. I’m all about working with new materials – taking the skills and styles that I’ve refined and trying them out with fresh materials.

Currently I’m really interested in working with hardwoods, I’ve been testing out combining beautiful Peruvian walnuts with complimentary woods to make unique combos (think: a stellar walnut with striking white woods). I’ve worked a lot with stains in the past, but now I see the direction moving toward letting the natural beauty of the woods take the focal point, so mixing the natural elements to create interest is where I’m seeing the look go.

You’ve been designing and creating for about a year and a half – what do you see as the future direction for Field in Town?

I think it’s really important as a designer to constantly be refining and improving your skill set. It’s all about the learning curve, you have to try in order to succeed, but also you sometimes have to try and fail in order to get a fresh perspective and see things in a new way. I keep gaining experience, and the more I do, the more I love it; the more I love it, the better my skills get. It’s a really positive loop.

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Craig Pearce, Union Wood Co.

How has the aesthetic of the industrial look has evolved since you began in the industry?

In my opinion there was a certain amount of crudeness to the industrial look, back in 2009 when I began making this kind of furniture. I think with the trend catching on that the crudeness has been exploited a bit. Our customers are looking for a more refined product, but still have interest in the industrial-style furniture.

What are you excited about in terms of industry trends moving into 2015?

There is so much I’m excited about in the industry trends. So many great materials, and so many willing clients these days. I’m really into seeing what other people are doing, and with social media, it’s so accessible. It’s inspiring to see others creating, and keeps me, as a creator, on my toes.

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Designer Files: design trends to watch for 2015

As we jump into a new year, there is always an abundance of ‘shop talk’ within the design community about what the hot trends will be for the seasons ahead. While some key elements have a strong shift, others remain the same and carry forward with a new importance in décor. By taking trends or styles that are currently within our homes and bringing them into a fresh year, we are able to achieve a more eclectic feel that offers stronger visual interest than swapping out everything for a new look.

I had a number of favourite design trends from this past year, some of which I’m stoked to see transition into 2015 and get a new spin. There was a lot of diversity within 2014 décor styles, which makes it fun to reinterpret popular ideas for a fresh take. From colour to hard finishes to textiles, 2015  design looks like it’s set to offer a beautiful amalgamation of styles that we have already seen and loved. Here are a few that I can’t wait to see stick around in a big way:

Mixed metals

It began with the introduction of gold a few style seasons ago, replacing the monopoly chrome had on décor; then we saw copper elements surface and take over for a short stint. This created décor dilemmas, however, as people weren’t sure how to introduce the new metals without replacing all their previous finishes. Thus, the trio of metallics joined forces and created one of the strongest trends to come out of décor in a few years: mixing metals together to catch an ultra-glam appeal. This has allowed designers and décor fiends alike to choose metallics in a carefree fashion, blending them together to create unique looks.

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Industrial elements within modernity

The industrial look was huge for 2012, with every- and anything rustic taking storm over décor; the following year nearly abandoned the trend, but it started to creep back in for 2014 in a more subtle way. As we look ahead how to use industrial elements for this year, we are seeing the heavy details of re-purposed and found items being used sparingly and paired with softer, modern spaces to gain balance within a room. Rather than everything having raw edges or rough finishes, we see one or two feature industrial pieces standing out within a simplistic space for an overall organic feel.

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Masculine and feminine harmony

It’s an age old décor battle: the ultimate bachelor pad approach vs. the super femme touch. I often play mediator for clients that can’t find a way to agree on the design of their space – it tends to be that men prefer less fuss, more neutral colours and supreme comfort and functionality, while their female counterparts place emphasis on layering, tonality and more intricate details. Last year, however, we saw a compromise – an introduction of a style juxtaposition between the masculine and feminine elements, hard edges mixed with soft finishes to create an unexpected (yet beautiful) effect. This will stay strong for 2015, offering further exploration into the marriage of male and female design tendencies.

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Ethnic influence

Human nature often encourages us to look outside our own cultural norms for creative inspiration; we saw 2013 and 2014 décor explore Central Asian (Ikat, anyone?), Egyptian, Native American (most commonly Navajo) and Moroccan style. A global outlook on design stimulation is carrying us forward into the new year, although we are seeking a hyper-local approach to receiving it. I’m looking forward to the discovery of new cultural influence for the year ahead.

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Bright whites

For me, nothing creates a dream space faster than a fresh canvas to work within – gallery white walls combined with hard finishes, cabinetry and flooring that mimic are the key elements to my favourite designs. The benefits of using crisp white details are plentiful – the illusion of more space, increased light reflection and a a perceived openness even to the most tucked away nook. I look forward to fresh white details being incorporated into different design elements for 2015, and encourage the idea of mixing whites within applications and finishes – matte with gloss, white counters with white cabinets, and a variety of décor bits in a range of whites to finish off a space.

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Designer Files: Winterize your decor



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I’m a bit of a décor addict. While I have my signature style, I cannot resist the temptation to swap out the “feel” of my home with changing moods, design advancements, and seasons. I always keep a true reflection of my personality in the details of my design, but the overall ambiance can  – and does – shift.

For the winter season, people often focus heavily on holiday décor; it’s exhaustingly available and seems like a quick fix to give a fresh feel for the changing season. The trouble within this approach to design is that as soon as Jan. 1 (or Dec. 26 in my case) comes around, we cannot wait to rid our décor of the nostalgia of holiday-themed pieces, in search of a fresh start.

Rather than spend your décor budget on items that are specific to a particular holiday, the modern approach is to consider a “winter décor” – choosing pieces that offer a seasonal refresh to a space without limiting the longevity to one day or week. Consider working with items that add a warmth and inviting feel to your décor. Even the festiveness of the holidays can be achieved by adding in pieces with a little sparkle.

Playing with colour, texture and heavy layering are the keys to “winterizing” a space; you’re able to participate in the dressing up of your home during the season, but you end up with a design that suits your own personal style and remains chic all season long.

Here are a few pieces that I’ve seen on my style hunts that amp up the essence of Holiday, but could remain as a fab addition almost any décor, long after the festivities are through.

Tangled Web macrame wall hanging from CB2, $199:

This wall décor plays up the cozy capabilities of art for winter, while at the same time addressing the ultimately hip boho vibe that has become so coveted as we move out of 2014 and into 2015.

I love how the neutral palette allows the emphasis to remain on texture and the finer visual details; without colour to draw the eye in, we are engaged by the heavy tactile effect and asymmetrical pattern of the macrame.

This is a piece that could either act as an additional layer to any space, or stand alone as a statement within a room.

Knitted Sequins throw (ivory) from West Elm, $79:

Throw blankets have always been a designer’s secret weapon for swapping up the feel of a room; they are an easy and effective way to introduce new colourways, patterns, and textiles to suit a changing décor or season, while adding depth to the overall feel.

This blanket, inspired by the stunning traditional Moroccan wedding blankets, offers a subtle layering tool in a neutral palette, but amps up the glam side of  winter décor with the sequins stripes. It lightly references holiday décor, yet easily translates into an upscale ambiance suitable for the full winter season.

Pods porcelain sculpture art from Peridot Décorative Homeware, $14 each:

Pretty little things with big impact are my ultimate fave when it comes to décor. When a strong statement can be delivered with a subtle piece, especially at an approachable price point, I relish the moment.

What I most love about these wall-installation pieces is their versatility – they make a stunning impact whether used individually as a hook, or grouped in a structured or organic pattern.

With a matte exterior and iridescent finish within, these eggshell-like Pods add the shimmer of the holidays without becoming overwhelming; these are pieces that not only transcend the holiday décor realm, but also have the longevity and softness to suit your space though all four seasons.

Designer Files: Sid Dickens hits the floor

Well-known artist, Sid Dickens, explores the imagination with a new rug collection.

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When we think of dressing a room, the primary thoughts go to neutrals for the large furnishings, texture within the drapery and area rugs, and colour and pattern via smaller textiles, accessories, and art. Generally, this is a great rule of thumb for a well-designed room that is both stylish yet offers longevity in it’s décor.

However, as experience has shown, some rules are meant to be broken. Certain décor pieces, styles, or an overall ‘feel’ can lead you to blend the composition within a room and gain visual aspects from unexpected areas to create a unique effect. By this, I mean that we can find interesting pieces that go beyond their expected function and visual purpose, offering an additional décor element to a space.

One such example is the newly-launched Sid Dickens rug collection for Burritt Bros., Vancouver’s flooring fashion house since 1907. The forward-thinking team behind Burritt Bros. has become well known within the design, fashion, and art communities for bringing these industries together via collaborations with leaders in the creative fields. A long-time client of the flooring house (with an admitted weakness for beautiful area rugs), I am so appreciative of the support they offer our local arts scene here in Vancouver; I fell head over heels with the line they did with my lovely friend Zoe Pawlak, and am once again met with results beyond expectations with the Sid Dickens collection.

The line is derived of a soft hand and calm palette, yet offers the illusion of striking texture through the an artistic approach to pattern. I find that these pieces offer the beauty of classic art forms with a street art undertone; it is this juxtaposition of traditional and urban references that affords this collection the versatility to work within a variety of spaces. The neutral colourway of these rugs is an inviting – and often recommended – choice for many people, while the pattern and visual content of each piece offers an artistic style that carries the rugs from the realm of a functional layering piece within décor, to that of a vibrant visual element within a room. In short, this collection brings art from it’s usual place on the walls, underfoot.

Sid Dickens is a local talent who’s artistic journey is rich with story, heritage, and experience – the culmination of which is what makes his work so inviting. From a childhood offering the remoteness to foster freedom, curiosity, and imagination, to the exploration and travel of Europe and Haida Gwaii, Dickens shares the inspiration of his voyages through his work. After training his artistic eye at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Sid explored his abilities in pen and ink, sculpture, and true mixed-media and eventually found much success with plaster. The Sid Dickens Memory Blocks have become a solidified art form that he continues to refine and explore in his studios in both Vancouver and Haida Gwaii; Sid himself describes the six-foot by eight-foot storyboards as his opportunity to bring “places and times and faces and feelings to a tactile reality.”

Now, as Sid’s art takes a new tactile journey with his collaboration with Burritt Bros., we are able to see how art can be both explored and exposed in unexpected forms to create expressive layers within the home. The collection is now on display and available at the Burritt Bros. showroom at 3594 Main.

Designer Files: three Vancouver vintage hotspots

The most common reason that potential clients reach out to me for design help is not because they have no idea what they like; nor is it because they don’t know what to buy. It’s because they don’t know how to put all the things they like together in a cohesive, but also personalized fashion. People want to work with me to help them write their own style story.

There is a wide variety of clients who are still looking for their story: from those who are moving into a new space, to those who have been there for years and never advanced past the ‘we just moved in’ look to a place that is reflective of their individuality. One of my first questions for clients is “are you comfortable with vintage pieces?”; some people are already in-the-know about the cool factor of vintage, while others are both surprised and hesitant with my ask.

From an environmental standpoint, opting for vintage items is awesome because it keeps pieces out of our landfills, while also reducing consumer demand for new production. From a design perspective, I find it important to bring in vintage for the variety it provides to the overall look and feel of a room. When you are looking to create a style story, what better place to start than with pieces that have a story of their own.

Vancouver is a hot-spot for vintage finds. There are so many fabulous hidden (or not-so-hidden) gems to scour for something unique for your home, whether it be large or small. I have a few favourites that I have worked with for years, and lean on when I’m in need of super cool items to pull a project together.


Located at 230 East Pender, Space Lab has a more industrial take on vintage; this incredible house of curiosities offers many found items, antique art and artifacts, as well as an in-house design studio for custom lighting, woodwork and furniture. Clint Moroz (owner) has recently partnered with Draft Dodger Designs and Bootleg Barbers to create The Longwalk Lodge at the East Pender shop; together with these allies, Space Lab is bringing a heavy dose of creativity and community to Chinatown.

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A long-running Main Street staple for the mid-century market (4609 Main Street to be exact), ReFind brings high level nostalgia and charm to all that enter. Specializing in high quality decor from the 50’s and 60’s, Bart Taylor (owner) offers his clientele everything you can remember or even imagine from the mid-century period; from teak furniture to mod lamps to kitschy oddities, ReFind is a stellar source for whatever you’re on the hunt for. And so much more.


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Lillian Reimer (owner) was bang-on when choosing her shop’s name – this Commercial Drive destination (944 Commercial) is a sure win for those on a vintage decor treasure hunt. Featuring designer pieces from the 30’s to 70’s, Attic Treasures is a fun spot to spend time perusing through mid-century housewares, jewellery, lighting and furniture. If you’re cruising the Drive, keep a lookout for the shop’s signature vibrant orange outdoor trim, beckoning locals and visitors since 1988.

– See more at:

Designer Files: a gift guide for the design freak

Raw Crystals (prices vary) 

Add a little sparkle – and positive energy – to your gift list this year. Perfect as a hostess gift, a pretty  piece for your gal pals, or a little something special for yourself, enjoy the beauty and healing properties of natural rose quartz, amethyst, or geodes. Available at The Crystal Ark Cottage, 1496 Cartwright.


Ring of Fire wall décor set  ($239) 

The perfect gift for the decor-ista in your life, this three-piece wall hanging adds an unexpected touch of glam to any space; with a metallic finish, this set is right on trend for the season – luxe detailing and sophisticated lines make the Ring of Fire that chic statement piece gift. Available at Moe’s Home Furnishings, 1728 Glen Drive.

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Sena Acacia Servers, set of 2 ($19) 

Forgo the standard flowers and wine and up the ante at your next holiday affair with a hostess gift that boasts both flair and function. These mod utensils in a solid acacia wood with colour blocked white stems ensure your “thanks” will be remembered – and put to good use – long after the night is over. Available at Moe’s Home Furnishings, 1728 Glen.

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Designer Files: it’s gonna be a ‘haute’ Hallowe’en

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I often get asked how to update for a new season: What are the insider design tips for creating a fresh take on a space to coordinate with the time of year? While the usual tricks are playing with layering and texture, seasonal style can still get a little more interesting.

“Theme décor” can be taken as gaudy decorations en masse – the usual characters plastered around. But there’s a way to amp up the chic when decorating for events that swap out the gaudy for glam. As you consider how to add some oomph to your space on a theme, you want to consider items that won’t read as tacky or juvenile. Avoid over-obvious pieces that you’ll wish would disappear faster than the holiday itself.

With Halloween just around the corner, I’m excited about sinister-inspired décor that offers a more permanent take on style, playing up the edginess that Halloween brings. There are a ton of fab finds around town that fit the bill for high-style spookiness that will be chic year round.

Designing a space begins with the walls; I’m a huge fan of fabulous wallpaper. Once a taboo aspect of old-school decorating, wallpaper has made a massive return to glory over the last few years. With so many advancements in the papers and their application, wallpaper is a fun and totally customizable way to add a huge hit of personality.

I recently came across The Red Palette, a local artist who converts her fine art into stunning wall coverings, and one is ideal for this time of year: An eerily chic skull print that adds both edge and depth to any room. Inspired by the sombre, darker work of Da Vinci, the “Kinda Punk Rock” paper is sure to make a kinda perfect backdrop to your Halloween décor. $425 per 2’ x 12’ roll décor

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Lighting is another design aspect that can be themed without reading as over the top. Actually, with lighting, it’s nearly impossible to be over the top. There are so many lighting options available that it’s easy to put your own twist on style in a big way before traditional decorating even begins. So when you’re looking to amp up the edge for Halloween, the possibilities are endless. One of the best that I’ve come across lately is a blend of stark minimalism and organic business: The Apollo Pendant Lamp at Nineteen Ten Home is a black powder-coated frame that plays up sharp angles in the frame, yet creates a spider-web like appeal within. $265.


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Hunting around town for other edgy accessories, I found a ton of options at Moe’s Home Collection. From decorative black florals and toss cushions, to a super chic, all-black Director Table Lamp, to a retro-inspired fashionable take on the classic black cat (the Walking Lion) – Moe’s has Halloween covered. I think that my ultimate pick for their Halloween décor item is the bronzed finish Bull Head 1; it’s a fresh twist on the more typical skull, but with a cozier feel that will transition well into later fall and winter décor. $465

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