I’m very excited to have learned about the podcast Constructive Conversations Podcast featuring the best of Calgary’s construction industry. And even more excited to have been invited to be interviewed!

I had a great time sitting down with host, Nicholas Svaikauskas, who is also the owner of Calgary Custom Concepts. We probably could have talked forever, but managed to keep it under 45 minutes (ok… just over) of continuous honest conversations about interior design and renovations – the ups and the downs.

If you are more visual like I am, you can also watch the podcast on YouTube instead if you’re into that.

And, if you’d rather read a summary of the episode, you can do that too (below).

From Marketing to Interior Design

Most of you will know by now that I wasn’t always in the interior design industry. I got my start in marketing and went on to run my own digital marketing agency for nine years. I found great success, but after the loss of my mom during that time, things got tough. Really tough. 

”I was having a hard time finding joy and pulling myself back up.” – Sarah Kirkpatrick

While trying to find my way back, I threw myself into growing my marketing agency, which led me to build a home office. And as it turned out, doing so taught me that the space I created around me had a massive impact on my mental health, my healing, and the success of my business. My space was actually making me more positive, productive, and prosperous

I couldn’t deny that I was falling more in love with design than I was with marketing. Two house flips later and before I knew it, I was closing my marketing company to start an interior design and staging business.

fairfield portrait

Best. Decision. Ever. 

Why the Space Around You Matters

It’s kind of wild just how much the spaces we live in affect us. Just like the outfit you pick out in the morning can set the tone for your day, the way you design your living space can shape your mood and your outlook.

”By creating environments around us at home, we’re able to nurture and heal ourselves before heading out into the world.” – Sarah Kirkpatrick

Creating the right environment at home isn’t just about making it look good for Instagram (though, let’s be honest, that’s a nice bonus). It’s about creating a place where you can truly unwind, recharge, and heal. A place that hugs you after a long day.

Think of it as dressing for success, but for your home. You’re styling your space to uplift you, to reflect who you are and the life you’re wanting to live. When your home mirrors the vibe you resonate with, it helps everything else in your life fall in line. 

What’s Trending These Days?

Though I’m not big on following “the” trends (I’ve always preferred focusing on things that increase resale value, or classic European designs that never go out of style), there’s been a shift away from the stark-cold-modern-everywhere look to a more organic aesthetic. We’re seeing a lot of love for wabi-sabi–a personal fave of mine–which is all about finding beauty in the imperfect and natural. Think raw brick floors and backsplashes, furniture and surfaces with softer lines, and a palette of warm neutrals. 

And, as always, home smart tech is getting better and more innovative every day, specifically in the lighting and window treatment world.

Check out the interior design trends of 2024.

Update for Resale or Happiness?

I often get asked, “Should I update my home for resale value or go with what makes me happy?”, and my answer depends on how long the person asking plans to stay in their home. If it’s less than five years, I’d say keep the updates limited to investments that will appeal to a future buyer. This could mean: 

  • Adding built-ins and millwork
  • Upgrading to quartz countertops from laminate (or outdated granite)
  • Kitchen and bathroom tile/cabinet updates
  • Mixing old with new decor to add some soul

If you’re planning on staying put for over five years, I say go nuts. Do exactly what makes your heart happy. Heck, that could mean turning your dining room into a French-style wine cellar like one of my clients recently did! 

When Does it Make Sense to Involve an Interior Designer?

Literally the second you walk into your house and think “Ugh, this just isn’t it”. That’s your cue.

That doesn’t mean you have to immediately dive headfirst into a full-blown reno. You might just need a little nudge in the right direction in the form of a design consultation.

If you are thinking about a renovation, do yourself a favour and let an interior designer be your first call. They take the time to get to the heart of what you really want and need. The nitty-gritty stuff. They’ll also be able to help you with decisions on the seemingly small things that make or break design like undertones, patterns, style cohesion, etc.

reno show portrait

Choosing a Designer

When it comes to finding a designer, fit is the biggest thing. Your designer is going to be in your home, around your family, sitting on your couch, seeing your unmade bed and dirty dishes in the sink. You have to be sure that you like them and are comfortable with them!

Start by looking at their website and Instagram to get a feel for what they’re all about. Check out their past projects and testimonials. Then get in touch with them

Huge thanks to Nick for the great conversation. There’s so much to be excited about this year!

Check out the Constructive Conversations Podcast for more informative chats about the construction industry in Calgary, and don’t forget to listen to my episode! 

Ready to fall back in love with your home? Contact Unshelf Design today!