#candice olson interior design
Candice Olson interview: Family life, design shows and her new kitchens and bathrooms book
Candice Olson’s ability to consistently create sleek, contemporary interiors has endeared her to clients as well as fans of her HGTV shows “Divine Design ” and “Candice Tells All .”
Fans will be very familiar with her obsession with the way lighting can transform a room, and those questions about how occupants use a space that will help her decide on its most necessary features. But only the most devoted will know that Olson and her builder husband, Jurij Sennecke. recently tore down their Toronto home with plans to move into a new dwelling on the same site before the year’s end.
“I don’t know why we decided to do it now, because launching a new show is like having another baby without all the good drugs,” said Olson, 46, referring to her show “Candice Tells All,” which has some reality-TV type updates planned for its second season.
In addition to her television shows, her professional design work and a growing line of Candice Olson signature furnishings. she also is a mother of two young children, Pyper, 7, and Beckett, 5.
Earlier this year she released her second book, “Candice Olson Kitchens & Baths,” (Wiley, $19.99). The idea book features Olson’s signature redesigns with “before” photos for each project. Sample boards show a collage of all materials used, and “solutions” pages detail how troubled areas were improved. The book is filled with great space-saving options such as a TV and DVD player that folds out of sight under a kitchen cabinet. Dreamy bathrooms have overhead “rain” shower heads, mosaic tile walls and stunning sinks and chandeliers. Some of the projects may be familiar to those who regularly view Olson’s shows. A request for future books: Please help us find at least some of the great-looking items featured.
I recently chatted with Olson about the book, her television work and how she balances her multi-faceted career with family life. Below are her comments on several of those topics.
Courtesy of Wiley Publishing An open-concept kitchen and family room requires attention to sight lines and careful selection of materials that will be seen from both rooms, says celebrity designer Candice Olson.
Her process: When I’m doing kitchen planning as well as bathroom design, I try to walk through the day with the homeowner. If we’re talking about a kitchen, it will be: So, we are walking in with the groceries. When we are taking them out of the car, where will they go? What is the distance to fridge, to pantry? When we are unloading the dishwasher, where will the traffic be? Where is the cutlery drawer?
With the bathroom, are there two people working that are getting up at the same time, and are those people using the bathroom at the same time? It’s a room that has a lot of functional requirements, and if two people are in that typically relatively small space at the same time, plucking and primping and grooming, there’s a lot that needs to be considered. I really look at the day-to-day lifestyle of the homeowners in both scenarios.
Redesigning their home: We’re all about using every single room. I just find it so wasteful to not. So, it will be four bedrooms, but about 3,800 square feet. Three bathrooms and a powder room. Honestly, nothing over the top. Jurij has family that comes from Europe quite often so we have a seperate guest suite. Our master bedroom will be on the top floor. It’s a big glass box on the back wall. The lot really is beautiful, it looks like a view of Tuscany. We’re perched up high, so it’s all about the view and how we live in Canada. It’s just a 2 1/2-story wall of glass from the master bedroom to the living room down below. All open-concept, very modern but with rustic touches because we have kids, and it we don’t work those in now the kids are going to work in their own rustic touches.
Room for kids: Now that our kids are getting older, they need their space. We dug out the basement so they will have a place to go crazy in the wintertime. My son is already talking about how he’s going to make a skateboard ramp. It’s just a mosh pit down there, so they can do whatever they want. We’re not even going to finish it. It’s got heated concrete floors and that’s it. It’s just a big open space.
The renovation: My husband and I talk about it all the time. You’d think it would be a really enjoyable process, but when you’re doing it for yourself, it’s horribly miserable. We don’t really care so much ourselves. And I thought maybe it was just me because we put so much effort into our own work. And I thought I just don’t have the chutzpah for our own place. I was telling Jurij, ‘You know this isn’t really fun.’ And he said, ‘ I’m so glad you said that.’ “
Motherhood and work: I never want to hold myself up as the poster child of the successful mother-businesswoman. It’s a total ‘Gong Show.’ I won’t pretend. When you do so many things, something always suffers. You just can’t be great at everything. Last week my kids had hot dogs three days in a row. I kind of kiss the dog and I walk my husband. You just do. We do have a nanny, but she doesn’t live with us because we’re crazy. Our hours are all over the place, so, we have her, we love her like she is our family and she does help out. My kids are 5 and 7. When they were babies it was kind of easy because they’d just flip around on the floor. Now they actually want to do things.
Balancing it all: We’re a very active family, and I like everything in its place. I’m all about designing every little space. It will help me in the business of being a mom. Every single day is so crazy with my work that I just need to be able to come home and do that business as efficiently as I try to do my professional work. As a mom, I’m really looking forward to that — everything organized.
Her personal space: I’m a tub-er. We have a big soaker tub that is positioned to look out over the golf course. But with my kids, that’s not going to happen until midnight. There is no getaway zone; the kids will always find you. But we do work so hard that when we’re home every last minute is with the kids. My husband and I will sit down and have a steak at midnight after we put the kids to bed.
Her show: We are just getting ready to start season two of the new show ‘Candice Tells All,’ and we actually are making some changes that I’m really looking forward to it. I’m telling all the design secrets, but half the challenge is shooting a design show. So this year, we’re going to kind of break the wall a little bit, showing people what I have to go through to do the project, but with a TV crew. That part of it is really a pain in the rear end. It’s almost injecting a little more of a reality segment into it. I think that’s going to be really interesting for viewers. It’s insanity. If people only knew that sometimes I’m holding the camera and our cameraman is up installng a chandelier because the electrician didn’t show up.
Design Star: Last year I was floored at some of the years of experience. We had one of the directors from one of the largest architectural firms in the world on the show last year. So, they aren’t just all rookies right out of the gate. I think of the ‘Design Star’ side of things, and I always say if I had to do that to get my own show, I would never go through what these poor people are going through. But then I thought, I worked hard for 15 years before I had my first show. In six weeks, poof, they’re going to have it. So then I suck it up a little bit and put on my mean face.
Upcoming books: We’ve got four book in the works. We’re doing a basement book. I love working on basements because they’re always those hideous spaces. I like to have a good challenge. It’s like doing a makeover on a person; you don’t want to start with a Scarlett Johansson, you wan’t to start with a Phyllis Diller.
We’re doing a bedroom book, we’re doing a creating elegance book. The fourth one is unusual spaces, reclaimed spaces. It might be that unusual attic, we’ve done some really funky things with garden sheds, that kind of quirky garage. Nowadays, people want every last square inch of their home, especially smaller homes, to be working for them. So that storage or utility room still has to be a storage or utility room, but it might also have to be a guest bedroom or a home office. There definately has to be a lot of function packed into those spaces now.
Win the book: For a chance to win a copy of “Candice Olson Kitchens & Baths,” e-mail by Sunday with your name, address and phone number. Make “Kitchens & Baths” the subject. CONTEST CLOSED. Myriam Folkes of Somerset and Cheryl Railey of Summit are the winners. Thanks to the more than 200 readers who entered.
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