We’re catching up with you in your beautiful Victoria home, practicing physical distancing, along with the rest of the world. How has this been for you and your family and are you managing to stay connected with others?
My husband usually works in Vancouver during the week but now he’s working from home, so it’s actually been quite special for all of us to be together for more than a couple of days at a time. For my parents, I worry about how loneliness from coronavirus isolation will take its toll.
Both my parents live alone so we are doing our best to stay connected through daily video chats, social distancing walks and cooking together virtually at mealtime.
This time has given us pause and the opportunity to re-evaluate. We’ve definitely felt a shift in perspective and are giving thanks for the simplest of things. What are you most thankful for these days?
Amidst all this upheaval and uncertainty, I am thankful for so, so much right now. I am incredibly thankful that myself and those I love are currently healthy and that I truly enjoy spending time with my husband, our two daughters and our dog — because we are going to be isolating together for a long time. I am thankful to be able to walk in nature, to stay home, listen to my favourite albums, cook together, read books, make art, play games, reflect, and learn new ways of being together. We are usually all so busy and I am grateful to be able to take this time to slow down and tune in. But I’m left thinking about all the people whom the world relies on to keep going into work: grocery cashiers, first responders, factory workers for critical businesses. Most obviously, we need health-care workers to care for the sick, even though their jobs carry the greatest risk of exposure. For those who cannot stay home… I am immensely thankful for everything you are doing for all of us!
We love how we first met (back in the days of social gathering), we arrived at your seriously-gorgeous home to do a photo shoot with Laura Bradbury and immediately put you on the spot for a last-minute HK Friday Interview. Within moments you were “fabulously HK” and ready for your shoot. As a stylist, you’ve worked with Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Lululemon, Microsoft, The National Ballet of Canada – to name a few. Was there a moment when you thought “ok, I’ve officially made it”?
I am an Interior/Props/Fashion Stylist for Magazines and Advertising campaigns and also for people and their homes. I know everyone says this, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve “made it”. Once I feel I’ve accomplished something, I always see more on the horizon that I want to delve into. As a creative person, I think this is a common feeling since we’re always finding inspiration all around us.
You fell in love with the HK Rock Salt Robe the day we met for the shoot, purchasing it on the spot! What do you love about it and how do you wear it?
I love the way it feels on my skin and how it flows so beautifully when I walk. The pockets are perfect, they are just the right size and depth which makes it difficult to keep your hands out of them! When I put on the robe, I instantly feel stylish and comfortable… which is difficult to achieve! Bravo HK!!!
Did you always know you wanted to be a stylist or was it something that you evolved into?
It was something that evolved over years, I started out in the costume department working on films, television, and commercials which was thrilling at first, but over time, I found the culture didn’t suit me and the hours were too demanding once I had children. I went through a period after the birth of my second daughter where I felt quite lost actually. I knew I wanted to work styling for magazines in some capacity but didn’t know how to go about doing it. Thankfully, with help from great friends who believed in my abilities, I was given the opportunity to segue into the magazine world where I felt artistically challenged and inspired again. And from there it has morphed and evolved into what I do today.
What do you think is the key to making a living as a creative?
Being flexible, open, embracing change and being up for a challenge… It may sound trite but I believe it’s true. Never let fear be your guide!
Photo by Cathie Ferguson
Your home is incredibly warm and welcoming, with such a current, cool, perfectly-imperfect, eclectic vibe, without being trendy. What do you draw on for inspiration and can you explain your design process?
I see design and styling as a form of personal storytelling. I like to see what story the house/space is telling and then the people who inhabit it. Every design element I choose is helping to tell the story of that home/space and the people living within. Every corner of the home/space is thoughtfully curated with that intent and every object is chosen to convey character, depth, and personality. Our home renovation was a story of rejuvenation. It is a Samuel Maclure heritage home that was previously renovated in the 90s and I wanted to bring its character back to life and infuse it with a sense of its original time and place while at the same time bringing it up to date, and ultimately, conveying the story of our family.
You were born and raised in Victoria, moved to TO for a good while and now you’re back on home turf. Why did you come back and what was most surprising about your return?
I came back for so many reasons: family, connection, calm, beach walks, ocean, moss, community, trees, salty air, change... I could go on and on. What I found most surprising about my return is that it really has not let me down. I had been dreaming and scheming about how to move back to the Island for years and I was a bit worried that my vision would not live up to the reality… but it really has and I feel so grateful for this.
A profound appreciation for home and family is coming up for all of us now. What lessons have you learned from your Mother and your daughters?
My mum has taught me so many things! She instilled in me a great appreciation for the arts and creativity and has shown me how important female friendships are. Possibly the most important lesson she taught me is resilience… which I believe you need in spades to make a living as a creative. My two daughters (ages 7 & 11) keep teaching me to laugh and create. They walk around the house singing songs, throwing their bodies into dance routines, making jokes, painting, drawing, experimenting with food, writing “I love yous”… they are overflowing with joy and creativity (of course not all of the time but much of the time)… and that can be difficult to conjure up as an adult. I decided to have children later in life but damn I wish I had done it sooner!! After I gave birth, I felt like I could accomplish just about anything, it gave me a fearlessness I didn’t have before… and as my children grow, they are a constant reminder that life is better when we laugh more, play more, create as much as possible and lead with a loving, open heart!
You have a pretty amazing community of awesome women around you. What do you cherish most about those friendships?
My female friendships are pretty paramount to me, to any personal growth and professional achievements I’ve ever had in my life. I am a huge admirer of all my female friends, I am constantly in awe of their accomplishments, their personal style, ideas, compassion, parenting methods, cooking skills, activism… the list could go on and on. In this way, I feel that my friends are my true mentors! I truly believe we rise by lifting others up.
We are the sum total of everything we've ever experienced. You seem to view the world through such a creative lens – what is one of your most joyous memories?
I have so many joyous memories of growing up in Victoria in the summer. There was freedom and nature abound!!! Playing at the beach in the tidal pools, running through the tall grass and climbing trees in Uplands park (previously called Cougar park as cougars were often spotted there) with all my neighbourhood friends (many of which are still my closest friends). We would leave the house in the morning and not return until dinner. I feel that this informed who I am and my priorities as an adult.
As women, we can often feel pressure around ‘doing it all’. What does success look like to you?
Hmmmm, I don’t really think about success… that’s not a word I’m really that interested in. I am constantly striving to lead the most fulfilling, authentic life possible and how to make my relationships as meaningful as they can be. At the end of the day, It’s all about the people you’ve loved and been loved by.