The catch: The designer only has a limited time- less than two days – to take an empty shell of a room and turn it into a place of warmth and character.
Three local Edmonton designers, Al Black, Brie Stachniak and Chantal Ross, each took on the Avenue design challenge. In just a few days, each of these designers was able to move in (and move out) an entire room’s worth of furniture and decor items. We photographed the results. Now it’s your chance to see how three different designers with unique influences take on the very same space.
For the Avenue design challenge, Brie Stachniak wanted to create a room with “sexual tension.” She achieved this by bringing in both masculine elements, like the horse’s head, and feminine elements, such as the chandelier. Even the colours used in the room – the silver and chocolate curtains, for example – represent yin and yang, says Stachniak.
“Your eye moves around the room because of the tension,” says Stachniak. The conflict is even reflected in local artist Riki Kuropatwa’s piece “Rabbit and Dog,” which is all about sexual tension, says Stachniak.
She also layered different textures with lots of interesting visuals, such as the horse head. Stachniak kept the bedroom modern by including elegant pieces, such as the sleigh bed and the heavy armoire. “The bedding is very luxurious. The sleigh bed was to get the weight and scale of being masculine but the leather and slope is very feminine,” she says.
While she wanted the room to have yin and yang, it was also important to her that every piece in the room could work both on its own and in harmony with the other items. “What makes good design is when you have so many fabulous articles in your room that can stand alone but when pulled together, they harmonize.”
Stachniak hired an assistant, Katrina Walker, to help her carry out her vision. They filled the room with some eclectic pieces, such as the baker’s rack with industrial wheels. “I’m not a ‘matchy’ designer,” says Stachniak. “I like using lots of different materials, different woods, elements, et cetera. I’d say I’m a Swiss Army knife instead of a plain blade.”
After she gave birth to her son in 2010, she realized she was ready to start a new phase of her life, following her passion for residential and commercial design. Stachniak started her company, Flip Interiors, the following year. After landing a contract with Marcson Homes to decorate show homes, Stachniak achieved a big residential milestone – choosing the dcor for a lottery home in 2013.
Bella Notte sham, $328, Signoria Masaccio sham, $175, St. Geneve Bocelli sham, $138, Winesome sham, $152, and chestnut sham, $118.
Dormisette sheet, $140, and Signoria Raffaello bedskirt, $260, Peacock Alley Majorca Squiggle throw, $390, and Shupaca Alpaca Desert throw, $195. Churchill Linen pillow, $175 and sham, $215, Stratford Velvet pillow and Ivana pillow, $190, all by Daniel Stuart Studio.
Two square ottomans, $372 each. Bassett mirror, $99, rack, $299 and end table, $507. Stanley Chalkboard chest, $399, and Alloray Baristo rug, $599. Aberdare bed, $6,255, by Thomasville.
“Rabbit and Dog” painting, $850.
Readers’ choice Design Challenge
It’s not a challenge without the competition.
Rustic elements give Brie Stachniak‘s room an inviting feel. She wanted her room to mix the masculine and the feminine, to have “sexual tension.”
Chantal Ross wanted her room to have the feeling of a country inn, with warm colours and an emphasis on creature comforts. But her work is modernized with clean lines.
Al Black‘s mid-century modern look is accented by brass. His work features a lot of black and white, which allows for any accent colours to stand out.
Three different looks from three different designers. Now, the question: Which one do you, the Avenue reader, prefer?
All three spaces have different things to offer. We understand that personal taste plays into these things. That’s why, when designing your own space, you should always communicate with your designer. But, this contest presents a rare case where the designers are given blank slates without any client demands. Because Avenue didn’t have any of those unique client demands, the designers had cartes blanches, which made for rooms unique to the designers’ tastes.