Designing women

I just realized that I forgot to post my third “Faces and Places” column, which was originally published in the Moss Rock Review in the January/February issue. I just filed my next column, which made me think about it. Anyone in need of some home design? These two were a delight to interview.

Originating from ancient China, the concepts of yin and yang “describe two primal opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe”[1]. I was reminded of yin and yang during a recent visit to Acacia Interior Design Studio and my spirited conversation with owners Patricia Stafford and Kasey Sorsby. These two complementary opposites have been collaborating in their interior design business for almost a year. While Kasey is the credentialed interior designer (she graduated from Pacific Design Academy four years ago), Patricia is the seasoned ‘creative director’ with 30 years of design experience.

Although very different, Patricia and Kasey’s skill sets are a perfect match. Patricia is the ‘structural’ expert who can take your whole house apart, move walls, and design your furniture and your cabinetry – hand-drawn on paper, of course. Kasey’s expertise, on the other hand, lies in putting your house back together – in colours, concepts and finishing touches. She loves doing renderings on the computer and is creative and whimsical. On paper these two women could not appear to be more different, but in reality, they agree on almost everything and get along extremely well. Like yin and yang, they depend on each other and what they offer their clients as a team is more than just the sum of their two parts.

Why do people hire interior designers? Sometimes Acacia’s clients just need a little help shopping while others might need colours, flooring or cabinetry chosen. Some clients want large renovations done. Patricia and Kasey can project-manage a whole range of design changes in their clients’ homes, and pass along savings to them when they can along the way. “Yes, your designers are going to cost you money,” Kasey says, “but we get discounts all over town.” Discounts that individuals just don’t get. The designing duo also notes that hiring designers in the beginning of a project can save clients the headaches of do-it-yourself projects gone wrong. They have developed relationships with suppliers, builders, contractors and other trades people and know where to get quality workmanship. In their words, hiring an interior designer “can be the best money you’ve ever spent.”

What mistakes do people make in their homes? Kasey and Patricia lament that many people paint their rooms first and then try to buy furniture to match, which doesn’t really work. They recommend first choosing what’s going to be there the longest, like flooring or furniture, then finding paint (which is much less expensive to change) to match. The twosome also notes that people often make the mistake of buying quality products, but don’t want to pay the appropriate labour costs to install them. “You can buy the very best cabinetry in the whole wide world and pay a fortune for it, and pay $10/hour to install it and they’re going to destroy it. That’s a big faux pas,” advises Patricia.

What should people know about interior designers? Acacia’s clients sometimes expect – after watching the design shows on TV – that the designers will be doing all the hands-on renovation work themselves, which isn’t actually the case. “We don’t do the painting, we don’t build the cabinets, we don’t sew the pillows,” Kasey says. And they certainly don’t do all their work in 48 hours. What they do do is ask many questions, listen intently, do their research, put together a presentation for their clients, and manage the work. Their two-for-one approach aims to pull their clients’ wishes out of their heads and down onto paper.

In their own words, Patricia and Kasey’s design partnership is “going over really, really well.” When two creative talents such as these get together, they should be a force in the universe indeed.

Acacia Interior Design Studio can be reached at (250) 385-8993.


See my two previous columns here:

The man behind the plaster
The new ‘old fashioned’ general store

Click here if you’re wondering why I’m doing this. PS It’s the best job!

2 thoughts on “Designing women

  1. What a great team Patricia and Kasey are! Must’ve been a fun interview. Great job on the article as usual. Glad you’re enjoying the job so much!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s