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IDC Interview – The Upside of The Downsize – Sep2015

IDC Interview - The Upside of The Downsize - Sep2015

IDC’s Sarah Bradbury caught up with Ariel Muller to get the scoop on this chic Yorkville condo.

For those seeking a lifestyle change, downsizing often comes with the territory. But to make a smaller space feel functional and roomy can often be a challenge. One couple, who downsized to a condo in Yorkville, wanted a space with maximum storage and maximum impact. Not only did they need to accommodate their belongings, they also wanted a modern and luxurious area to display their art collections, entertain friends and kick back and relax. So they called on Ariel Muller, ARIDO Registered Interior Designer and Owner/Principal Designer/Creative Director at Ariel Muller Designs Inc. to create an interior space that reflects their new lifestyle and fulfills their needs.

Could you tell us a bit about your background?

My parents, who are still in the design field, exposed me to the wonderful world of interior design at an early age. So, it was inevitable that I would be immersed in this exciting profession. I originally studied architecture and then realized that my passion was for designing interior spaces and custom furniture. I have always been very aware of my surroundings and how interior space makes me feel. As a result, I studied interior design and have never looked back! Over the years, I have had the chance to work on many custom interiors for both condos and homes, as well as some select corporate and commercial projects, locally in the GTA, as well as internationally. I have realized that it is a special privilege to be able to create inspiring living spaces for people. It is very fulfilling to create bespoke interiors that are tailored to the lifestyle of the client in a way that they never could have imagined was possible.

Why is interior design important?

Interior design is the art of creating a space that fulfills and inspires! Great design is the artful balance of form and function while using the latest technology to enhance a person’s lifestyle. Many people think interior design is simple, but in truth, when they try to do it by themselves, they find out very quickly that it is a much more involved and difficult process than it appears. If a space is not professionally designed, it can potentially result in added costs due to mistakes as well as extended timelines! Interior design requires a special talent and is a profession which takes many years to master. Proper selection of materials, the look and scale of the furnishings and how they relate to each other, as well as the right colour mix are crucial. The careful manipulation of texture and light is what creates a well-designed space that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time.

What are your primary sources of design inspiration?

I find inspiration in a variety of places including nature, art and life in general. I love how our surroundings can affect our mood — energizing and inspiring us. For this project, our client’s lifestyle and desire for a wow-factor was our inspiration to design a unique space with an interesting mix of finishes and textures.

How did you decide on a theme or concept for this project?

We had worked with our client in their previous home and when it came time for them to downsize to a Yorkville condo, they asked us to assist them in creating a custom space in their new home. Working closely with our client, we were responsible for designing the entire condo to ensure that it reflected their taste and lifestyle. With the wow-factor in mind, we created a number of key focal points. We also added polished finishes throughout the space to complement the modern, white and taupe interior and give it a glamorous, luxurious feel. To create balance and also add warmth to the space, we chose taupe hardwood floors, custom silk and wool carpets and plush fabrics to add texture.

What is the “wow-factor” of this project?

The custom furniture pieces as well as the carefully selected lighting and specialty furnishings are all wow-factors! Shortly after completing the project, our client expressed to us how fabulous the place looked. Hearing that kind of excitement for what we had created was the best part of the whole project. Knowing that we had achieved our client’s wishes and design direction was the ultimate reward!

How did the location of the project affect the design?

There is a vibrant energy that surrounds Yorkville and we wanted to reflect this vibe in the design of the interior space. At the same time, we needed to make every aspect of the space extremely functional. The condo is a comfortable size; however, because our client was downsizing, we needed to ensure that storage and closet space was utilized to its maximum potential. We installed custom cabinetry for the bedrooms and also provided closed storage around the master bed. Additionally, we had to consider the challenge of having larger items delivered and set up in the client’s suite. A good example of this was the large custom dining table which we designed with a seam in the base so that it could be delivered in two pieces and then assembled on site.

What kinds of challenges did you face during this project?

We were fortunate to have a great client and a wonderful team of trades, artisans and suppliers who worked well together, so fortunately there weren’t any real challenges on this project. Being able to foresee potential challenges before they happen is a result of thinking through every design decision with meticulous care and proper supervision of both fabrication and installation.

In general, what is the most challenging part of what you do?

The most challenging part is how to balance what clients see on TV or the Internet and to help them understand that great design that suits their taste and lifestyle takes time and a realistic budget to accomplish. Things that are worth waiting for don’t happen overnight.

Can you explain how interior design affects the lifestyle of the client?

Great interior design is the intelligent integration of form, function and technology. Design may appear simple, but in reality it is the result of many technical and aesthetic decisions coming together in perfect harmony. Most people have hectic lives these days, and to truly feel at home in your personal space, it is imperative that the interior design reflects your taste and lifestyle. It is also extremely important to maximize the potential of a space. We believe in listening to our clients’ wishes rather than dictating style. As a result, we have designed many unique spaces ranging from modern to traditional.

What one thing would you want the public to know about interior design?

Interior design is a highly specialized field which is much more involved than most people realize. It requires many years of education and experience to master the craft of creating, sourcing, managing the process and orchestrating trades so that the end result is a masterpiece, as opposed to a nightmare. It is in the public’s best interest to hire an interior designer who is a Registered ARIDO member and a seasoned professional who can expedite things smoothly and efficiently. That way, costly mistakes and unnecessary stress can be avoided allowing for better enjoyment and appreciation of the end result!

To work with an interior designer on your next project, search IDC’s online database FINDinteriordesigner.org.