Design Experts

Inside design: Joe Mimran

Inside design: Joe Mimran

Inside design: Joe Mimran Author: Style At Home

Design Experts

Inside design: Joe Mimran

SAH: You've spent a lot of time in high-end fashion and home decor. Why the move to lower-priced lines?
JM: As a culture we're embracing style. I've never seen this level of interest in stylish design in all my years. People are saying, "Hey, I'm not just interested in cheap products, I want great-looking ones, too." They want to live life with more gusto. There's lots of great style at the luxury end, but I believe there can be just as much style at the low end. My challenge is to bring a high-end sensibility to the discount category -- and I love it. It's much more difficult to produce something beautiful under incredible restrictions. For example, I just love the look of French style for the kitchen, but I don't like French prices. My job is to find a way to manufacture products that have the look, but not the price tag.

SAH: How do you do that?
JM: Innovation is a big word for me. Nothing I do for President's Choice is generic. Nothing is a knock-off. I want to take low-priced style to the next level; in fact, I have to. People's expectations are higher because they're now so well-travelled. They see millions of examples of great style on the Internet. Do you know there are around two million styles of shower curtains on the web? Which 10 do you present to your consumer? We're doing the work for you with research and innovation. We don't kill the consumer with overselection. Our job is to edit the choices down to the best few and then make those items functional, good-looking and affordable.

SAH: So what do you see as important, both in the design world at large and within your own line?
JM: More people are into home decor. They want to live in beautiful spaces. But many don't have the budget for renovations. It shouldn't be a huge investment to update and refresh your home. You shouldn't have to mortgage your house to satisfy your desire for style. That's why we spend so much time and effort choosing the right palette of colours for our bed linens, for example. As well, we've created a line of mercury glass vases and containers. Mercury glass has retro appeal, it's novel, beautiful and an inexpensive material.

SAH: But it's not just about good looks; functionality seems to play a big part in your designs.
JM: We're cognizant of the fact that most people don't have a lot of storage space. Nor can they afford both display and functional items. Most of us want our dishes to look good, but be sturdy enough for the microwave and dishwasher. It's not practical to have nice-looking items for show and ones you actually use but store. PC's waffle maker is stylish enough that you can leave it on the counter. Even our broom is so beautiful you won't mind leaving it out. We've designed other items with utility in mind -- magnetic spice racks and knife holders that save space yet are sleek, too. Lots of people have great taste -- now they can afford to express it.

Image courtesy of Shimizu Elliott 


Rich looks at rock-bottom prices -- that's the mission of President's Choice Home Collection creator Joe Mimran. How does he do it? Here are a few of his tricks.

Don't duplicate
Rather than investing in crystal stemware for weekend dinner parties and glass for every day, purchase one set in glass. Choose a shape and style so stunning that the stemware feels luxurious enough for parties and is an affordable price for daily use.

Go for classics
Buy timeless pieces that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. "Classic white plates, like our Bistro white dinnerware, look just as good with elegant linens as they do at a backyard barbecue with paper napkins," says Joe.

Keep it neutral
That way you can indulge in the look or colour of the moment without feeling like you have to redecorate your entire house. Says Joe, "It's amazing just how much a pop of colour in a throw pillow or blanket can freshen up a living room or bedroom."

Look for novelty
Don't go for the ordinary. The secret to creating a standout room is to incorporate standout materials. "I like the look of mercury glass over stainless steel this season, because it's so unique in the market," says Joe. "People really notice."

Freshen up
Use small vases and containers to create multiple floral arrangements that stretch your dollars. "I like the look of low vases used in combination with votives for the dining table."

image courtesy of Shimizu Elliott



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Design Experts

Inside design: Joe Mimran