Design Experts

20 questions with Lisa Canning

20 questions with Lisa Canning Author: Style At Home

Design Experts

20 questions with Lisa Canning

Lisa Canning is young, beautiful and filled with an enthusiasm for designing homes that’s positively contagious. She’s got an impressive resume that’s growing steadily – she kicked her career off on HGTV’s Marriage Under Construction and launched her own design business shortly after that. Her modern approach to design was just what I needed when I enlisted her services to update my condo and the result is a fresh space that truly reflects my style and my lifestyle.

We figured it was time to get better acquainted with Lisa to find out about the designers who inspire her and what advice she has for designing a room.

1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?
Lisa Canning
Kelly Wearstler, Kelly Hoppen, Nina Petronzio. Fabulous, fashionable, fierce women with a distinct point of view.

2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?
LC
Garage sales and thrift shops. Particularly for vintage textiles. I’ve gotten some great drapery panels and handkerchiefs that I have repurposed into unique pillows and accessories.

3 Favourite restaurant?
LC
For an evening out, hands down The Boulevard Café on Harbord. It serves authentic Peruvian food (or as authentic as you can get in Toronto!) and the ambiance and staff are as good as the food. I also love Coquine at Yonge and Eglinton (lovely breakfast) and Le Pain Quotidien (amazing
French toast). And Starbucks; does Starbucks count?

4 What’s your favourite room to decorate?
LC
Living / dining room combos in tiny condos. I love the challenge of finding appropriately sized furniture and making the space feel like the homeowner’s regardless of budget or space limitations.

5 What’s your current paint colour obsession?
LC
Purple. I had my logo recently redesigned by the fantastic graphics team at Sali Tabacchi and they pitched purple and I have been obsessed ever since. I love that it can feel regal and dramatic in deep hues, and feminine and dainty in lighter shades.

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Beautiful People Set: An example of Lisa's work, this space was used for Slice TV's show Beautiful People, a great huge loft space converted to an office set. 6 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
LC
I have absolutely no idea! But included on the soundtrack would definitely be Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, a few Broadway show tunes and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

7 What’s the one store you could spend hours browsing?
LC
Locally, Teatro Verde, Holt Renfrew, Anthropologie. Abroad, ABC Carpet & Home and Dylan’s Candy Bar.

8 London, Paris or New York?
LC
I’ll take all three but if I had to pick just one, New York.

9 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?
LC
I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one piece – it’s way too difficult and there are way too many parameters to consider. However, I will always love the organic and simple curves of the Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen. But to narrow down the most iconic piece of the past century … too hard.

10 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
LC
A vacation home for my parents in Greece or Costa Rica. Which we would naturally visit them at.

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Condo makeover: Feminine and functional. I love how much this space is a reflection of its homeowner. 11 Favourite movie?
LC
One Fine Day. A romantic comedy from the late 90s that is always so comforting to watch.

12 What’s your favourite movie interior?
LC
The Holiday. I love the comfort and cosiness of Rose’s cottage and the spacious, neutral palette of Amanda’s LA pad. Oh - and Amanda’s closet, which you get a peek at in the special features. Finally, the fashion closet in The Devil Wears Prada. Needs no explanation.

13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?
LC
Changing your paint colour makes a big impact -- but I wouldn’t say it’s an easy update! I am a horrible painter! I always leave painting to the pros.

14 Best coffee table book?
LC
Anything personal to you. If I had a proper coffee table (we are sans coffee table as my toddler son would just destroy everything on it) I would have the custom photo book we made with our honeymoon photos and probably a second photo book of our son. I’m very sentimental and love revisiting memories.

15 What’s your fave way to spend a lazy Sunday?
LC
This is a FANTASTIC question, as I am a pro at lazy Sundays. Mine would include an early rise to read a book in a quiet house. Once by husband and son are up it’s a huge breakfast of pancakes, sausages, eggs, potatoes, fruit salad, and coffee (with steamed milk). This is followed by attending Sunday mass, and then if the weather is good, out to a park or in the van for a drive to visit family out of the city. Then a nap - a long, luxurious one (or as long as my child will allow, he is our human alarm clock!) followed by more laziness at home. I try to get all house chores done during the week so that the weekends really are about relaxing. After some tickles and fun with my son before he goes to bed, probably a movie or listening to a podcast of some kind with my hubby.

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Steve's condo: I used paint for an inexpensive way to create a masculine,
strong point of view.
16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
LC
As the elaborate Sunday breakfast would suggest, I love to entertain! I’ll use fine china on a regular day to have a cup of tea in - these simple pleasures and luxurious details make me so happy.

17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?
LC
The one that you will enjoy the most. While resale is important to a certain extent, you cannot discount the value that is in LIVING and USING a room YOU enjoy. I always advise clients not to do renovations with resale as the bottom line. YOU will be enjoying it for at least a few years, not the person buying the house from you. So make it yours!

18 What is your fave space that you've designed?
LC
I have two projects that just wrapped- one is a condo in Mississauga and the other a condo at King and Brant. Both I think are a true reflection of their owners - and that for me is an important measuring stick for evaluating successful design.

19 What’s the biggest design faux pas?
LC
Too much laminate or plastic in one space! While a budget can constrict a homeowner from the types of materials that can be purchased, to have at least one element in a room that is authentic and luxurious (I love the integrity of natural wood) makes a huge difference.

20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?
LC
Another difficult question - but I’m going to go with Jackie. Graceful and feminine and always in a fantastic shoe.

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Steve's coffee table: I love adding a touch of vintage in an otherwise modern space.
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Design Experts

20 questions with Lisa Canning