Name: Alicia Sass
Company: Harrison Fae Design
Position within company: Founder
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I attended Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario and after graduating I started working at a high end residential firm. After 10 years with this company I decided to start my own company. I wanted to create not only a company but a brand. I wanted a company to not only design beautiful and functional spaces but that could also be a furniture line, accessory line or a pillow line. I started Harrison Fae Design with an open mind to grow and learn new things. Since I started my own company I have been taking on luxury residential projects as well as retail and commercial projects which is giving me some new and interesting creative outlets in different areas of design. I can’t wait to see what comes up for us next.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
I am in love with Scandinavian design (as most designers are right now) We are just starting to see it in Canada and I can’t wait to do more of it. I love the light wood floors mixed with white furniture and bold carpets and art. It is by far my favorite design style. It is clean, simple and elegant.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Travel. I love to travel to destinations all over the world and see what they are up to in terms of design. High end interiors are in all countries and I love exploring how they differ from Canada. I love bringing home that design style to my clients and showing them that they can push their design vision to be better and more on point with what’s happening outside of our country. I also look to other interior designers on social media. There are several designers that I look up to and I love seeing what they are up to in terms of style for their clients.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Design is definitely moving to a more cleaner, calmer, more sophisticated look. Less is more. People are choosing lighter pallets. People aren’t afraid of colour though. I love that people are choosing bright art and area carpets to compliment their simple home. This is something that can be switched out easily and can bring life to a space.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.
1) Less is more
2) Keep it light. White is the new Grey
3) Kitchen design will start to change – The kitchen is the hub. Islands are becoming larger with no sink so that you can lay food out when entertaining. Large breakfast tables are coming into the design. Close friends don’t need to be hosted in the dining room but yet in the kitchen right by the action.
4) Lighting! Lighting is changing so much and I love how it is becoming the jewelry of the room. You can have a simple room and add a beautiful fixture and change the whole look of the space.
5) Multiple seating areas in one room. A recent study suggested that families are growing apart faster. They feel more alone and less connected to one another. In a large home, you may not see your family for most of the day. Most families want to create lounge areas throughout their main floor so that their kids feel comfortable to hang out on a sofa and text their friends while their parents are watching TV in the family room. This means that we have larger family rooms and less formal rooms so that we are creating multiple seating areas in to divide the space and make it feel full.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Keep your key pieces like your sofa and main chairs neutral. Then have fun with toss cushions, drapery area carpets and art. These are all things that can easily be changed later. By having your main pieces neutral it means that you can keep them for a long time and not replace them.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
I like that this awards group is International. It helps gain recognition world wide which is hard to do. Sure we can try to do this with social media and reaching out to our networks but this gets our name out there to a larger market and helps us connect with other like minded designers.
What projects are you currently working on?
We have a lot of large homes coming up in 2018. We are excited to develop our process more and to serve our clients even better this year. Currently we are working on some high end residential renovations and some new builds. We also have some commercial projects almost at completion such as a hardwood showroom, a jewelry designers expanding office and a clothing store.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Our theme for 2018 is bigger and better. Bigger and better clients, bigger and better jobs and for us to become bigger and better. We want to learn as much as we can on what our clients wants and needs are and how to fulfill their wish lists bigger and better than they could have imagined.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
My business. It honestly is. I knew I wanted to own my own interior design company since I was young. I also knew that I had to put in the time and learn as much as I could before I started my own thing or no one would take me seriously. After 10 years in the industry of working as hard as I could, after the blood sweat and tears, I decided to go for it and purchased the rights to “Harrison Fae Design” It is by far my most treasured possession!
Your favourite holiday destination?
I have two favorites. 1) When I am overworked and I need a break for my brain to turn off I head to a warm beach in Mexico. I lay around and relax and do absolutely nothing with no phone or laptop! 2) When I am craving adventure and fun and when I have the energy to plan it, I head to Europe. I love exploring unknown destinations like small towns that still have cool design. I love bringing that design back to Canada.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Recently I visited the Proper Hotel in San Francisco. The hotel, the restaurant and the bar were to die for. I was the creepy guest that was touching the floor, walls and taking photos like a design paparazzi. It was designed by Kelly Wearstler and it is on point. Light and airy with pops of colour in the rugs and art. In my hometown of Toronto, my favorite restaurant is Figo. The design and the food are to die for.
Your favourite book, film & song?
Favorite book would have to be When Breath Becomes Air. Such an amazing story about work and life. It still makes my eyes water when I think about it. It was beautifully written and I love the message it sends. Favorite film, The Devil Wears Prada. I know it’s cheesy but It is my go to when I have an afternoon off and want to put something on. I love the moment she throws her phone into the water fountain in Paris and chooses herself! We get so caught up in our lives and our work and we are constantly trying to be better and better and you always have to remember to check yourself and make sure you are staying true to your values. Favorite song is anything by Sam Smith and Adele. When an artist can give me a shiver I love them! I can listen to these two artists over and over and still get chills.
Your favourite food and drink?
Favorite food is french fries. Hands down. I could eat them all day every day! Favorite drink is a bourbon sour.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
I am a very busy person. I fill my days to the brim. Everything from meetings with clients to sourcing new design trends to meeting up with friends and family. So; when I do have an afternoon to myself I like to just relax and watch a movie or read a book. Then it’s on to the next meeting!
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I would love to do photography. I find it such an art. Although; my heart is always design. I don’t think I could ever not do interior design.
Anything else interesting?
I am a secret ATV rider. I grew up riding ATV’s in the country and I still love it to this day. I own a Canam Renegade 1000 racer and it is one of my favorite things to do at the cottage. There is nothing better than riding in the sunshine on a nice day through a trail in the forest. It is my break from reality and a way for me to reconnect to myself and to nature!