Design Experts

20 questions with Vanessa Francis of Decor Happy

20 questions with Vanessa Francis of Decor Happy Author: Style At Home

Design Experts

20 questions with Vanessa Francis of Decor Happy

Interior decorator Vanessa Francis believes home should equal happiness - a mantra she strives to achieve with every client. Once a professional in human resources management, Vanessa left the field to pursue her true passion - interior design.

Vanessa's classic and timeless style is accented with playful uses of texture and pattern. There is an overall ease and comfort to her designs that's influenced by both traditional and contemporary styles. Founder of Vanessa Francis Design and the blog Decor Happy, Vanessa continues to grow in the industry, as she continues to transform "ugly duckling spaces into beautiful swans".

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Photography by Leah Kirin

1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?
Vanessa Francis
I love the work of Victoria Hagan. Her portfolio is diverse and the spaces are timeless, beautiful and elegant. I would love to know the thought process behind her designs.

2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?
VF
Watching films from the 1940s to 1960s. I'm always hitting the pause button so that I can hone in on a piece of furniture, lighting or detail that would look current by simply tweaking it.

3 Favourite restaurant?
VF
My favourite local restaurant is La Toscana in Milton. The food is mouthwatering and the building, with its original stone walls, used to be a hotel dating back to the 1840s.

4 What’s your favourite room to decorate?
VF
I would have to say family rooms. It's the room where everyone gathers so making a comfortable and stylish space the whole family can enjoy gets me every time!

5 What’s your current paint colour obsession?
VF Im obsessed with anything light and airy at the moment. Painting some rooms in my house shades of cream, white and grey really changed the mood and feel of the house - I love it!
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Photography by Leah Kirin

6 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
VF
Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.

7 What’s the one store you could spend hours browsing?
VF
Well, it's not really a store but Christies Antique Market which occurs twice a year just outside of Toronto.

8 London, Paris or New York?
VF
I have a real affinity to London as I was born there. In all these years, I have only been back once so I am dying to visit again.

9 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
VF
A house on the water. It doesn't matter where - PEI, Vancouver, the Hamptons, south of France...

10 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?
VF
Oh, how to choose? There are just too many. I can say that I never tire of Bentwood cafe chairs. Hard to believe that they were designed by Thonet over 150 years ago and are just as relevant today. 

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Photography by Leah Kirin

11 Favourite movie?
VF
Forrest Gump. My husband and I saw this together when we just met 17 years ago so it has a special meaning to me.

12 What’s your favourite movie interior?
VF
I know it's been idolized to death but I have to say the beach house in Something's Gotta Give. It still looks fresh and current today even though the movie came out in 2003.

13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?
VF
Using paint, whether it's to lighten up the walls or transform dated furniture pieces.

14 Best coffee table book?
VF
Anything decorating or design-related. My most recent purchase was Phoebe Howard's book The Joy of Decorating.

15 What’s your favourite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
VF
Sleep in, go out for brunch and if it's not too hot (or cold) go for a hike on one of the nearby trails. And, of course, flipping through my ever growing decor magazine collection and stalking Pinterest at the end of the day.

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Photography by Leah Kirin

16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
VF
Be entertained. It's much more relaxing!

17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?
VF
A kitchen renovation. Getting the right layout then using the prettiest finishes is always worth the investment. 

18 What is your favourite space that you’ve designed?
VF
All of them are my favourite! But I love this bedroom I recently completed - the upholstered headboard, panel molding, fabrics and lighting all work together to create this pretty space. (I also adored this client, which makes it not seem like work at all!)

19 What’s the biggest design faux pas?
VF
Not hiring a designer! I have seen some really bad design decisions that are difficult/costly to fix after the fact.

20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?
VF
Jackie because she showed tremendous grace and strength amidst tragedy.
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Design Experts

20 questions with Vanessa Francis of Decor Happy