Candice Olson in Person — Her Take on Kids Room Design…
…Her Wallpapers, Divine Design & The Future
by Sherri Blum
This week, our Nursery and Kids Room Design Expert and Contributor—Sherri Blum—got to meet someone she really looks up to (literally and figuratively). She shares her visit
I had the distinctive honor of meeting the one and only Candice Olson of Divine Design this week! I can’t even begin to express how great it was to meet such a talented woman. She is every bit as funny, personable and TALL as she seems on television.
She was visiting the factory at York Wallcoverings on Thursday to do some promotional work for her newest line of commercial wallpapers, and had agreed to speak with a small group of area designers about her inspirations for the wallpaper designs, philosophy on residential design and her plans for her own future in show biz.
So here are just a few tidbits of information I learned about Candice.
- She is 6′ tall and wears a size 11 shoe.
- She was a member of the Canadian National Volleyball Team.
- She graduated from design school in 1989.
Her inspiration for all of her designs comes from the fusion of traditional elements with clean modern accents.
In fact, this is how she approaches every room she decorates in order to give her clients a room that will stand the test of time, feel somewhat familiar, and yet have a fresh appeal. Traditional in the sense that she uses traditional furnishing styles and scale. Modern, clean lines can then be infused into the room to provide a fresh feeling to the space.
Candice Olson Wallpapers
When designing her wallpapers, Candice likes to begin with traditional motifs such as floral, damasks, and paisley. She is constantly mindful of how light affects her designs. Even when designing wallpaper and fabrics, she takes into consideration how various lighting will affect the overall appeal. She adds unique and beautiful designer touches with modern textures such as flocking, beading, gems and so forth.
Her inspiration for her children’s wallpapers comes from her experience as a mother to two children.
I’ve gathered a couple of swatches below, to share with you. The first one features the new commercial line of papers Candice is promoting. The second is a sampling of her sweet line of children’s papers. Each of the designs shown in that collection is available in several colorways and has matching borders.
Candice shoots 26 Divine Design episodes per year. She and her team each have their own families and businesses and therefore all episodes are filmed within the Toronto area to cut down on the need to travel and spend time away from family and their companies. The “guys” on her team usually spend two days per week filming with her.
When asked how they determine who the lucky clients are for the show, she said that people usually write in and the producers select the clients. The clients have to provide their budget and do pay for the elements of the room themselves. (Labor is free.)
A client actually has little to no say in the final design of the room. However, to date, every client has been completely thrilled with their end result. (Who wouldn’t be…this designer has impeccable taste!) She joked and said that one of the most difficult things for her when designing a room for the show is going to the client and asking them for more money for an element of the design, but not being able to tell them what their extra money might be spent on.
Candice uses the word contrast a lot! She pointed this out to us because she believes that contrast is such an important element in good design. She laughed and said that she was once told that a drinking game was developed by some fans based upon how many times she says the words “contrast” and “Chico” in her episodes!
She still does design work outside of her show. On some rare occasions they might use one of her current clients for filming a show, but not often.
On Designing Chidren’s Rooms
Candice answered a few questions from the floor and I was fortunate enough to be chosen to ask my own question. I told her that I specialize in children’s design and that I struggle at times deciding how to approach the design of a room when the child wants one thing and the parent insists upon another. I asked her how she handles such situations, and overall, how does she approach the design of a child’s room differently from any other residential room design. (Did you see how sneaky I was…I actually snuck in TWO questions on my turn!)
In response to my first question, Candice said, “Well, who is paying my invoice?” and she laughed. She said that ultimately she makes the decisions on the big ticket items based upon what the parent wants, after all, they are paying her and purchasing the furniture!
She then stated that the child’s taste can easily be reflected in the use of the smaller accessories and personal items that are placed tastefully into the space. She even gave the example of putting a plate rail around the room upon which the child can place all of his or her stuffed toys, collectibles, trophies and more.
When answering the second question, she said that she has to be careful to design the child’s space to last through the years. She doesn’t like to use child-sized furniture in kids’ rooms, but rather adult-sized furnishings that will last a lifetime.
Divine Design is finishing up its last season. Candice will be unveiling a brand new show in January. She is very excited about this show and the changes in routine it will mean for her. Her new show is titled, Candice Tells All, in which she will do makeovers while giving behind-the-scenes details about the design process and running a design business.
To wrap up the event, Candice took the time to meet each designer, posed for photographs and signed autographs on beautiful samples of her newest wallpapers. I intend to mat and frame mine, of course!
Sherri Blum loves putting her talents to use designing beautiful rooms for her tiny clients. Sherri’s designs are popular among celebrities and have been featured in numerous TV shows and publications.
Sherri shares with us trends, designer projects and advice for creating beautiful, yet functional kids rooms and baby nurseries.
Sherri operates her design firm Jack and Jill Interiors and she creates her signature line of children’s wall art, clocks and hand-hooked, wool rugs — Sherri Blum Designs. Sherri writes the Jack and Jill blog, and resides with her family in rural Pennsylvania.