Three local designers – Nancy Korpany, Jacqueline Davis and Johanne Lewis – took on the annual Avenue design challenge. Curveball item in hand, each designer moved in and out of the space under strict time limits. We photographed the results.
The task: To design a living room in a Glenora home.
The catch: Each designer was given a fictional client and a curveball item that had to be incorporated into her design.
The winner of this challenge will be decided by Avenue readers. Check out the designs below, consider how well each designer showcased their curveball items, and vote for the winner.*
Curveball:Great Grandpa Is a War Hero The client’s great grandfather was a decorated First World War soldier. It is a great source of pride for the family, and a framed oval painting of great grandpa in his uniform must (tastefully) hold a place of honour in the room.
Nancy Korpany wasn’t new to designing in a competition; just last year, she beat out several contestants to win the Southgate Design Challenge. The 27-year-old interior designer at architecture firm, Kennedy, obtained her interior design diploma from NAIT and has handled both commercial and residential spaces as a designer.
While clients who demand that certain items be included may seem challenging, Korpany says it’s not always a bad thing. She believes those roadblocks can sometimes push designers to consider different styles and, ultimately, help create a much more unique and individual result.
When presented with her curveball item – a portrait of a war hero in an ornate gold frame – Korpany found inspiration from a somewhat unusual source. “When I saw the picture and I saw the colours around it and how happy he was, I actually thought of my grandparents and what kind of furniture they had,” says Korpany. A particular floral couch her grandparents owned, as well as the hints of turquoise in the portrait itself, led her to incorporate bold colours. Those included the deep purple of the tufted sofa and the splashes of turquoise and yellow across the space.
As for the portrait itself, Korpany created a gallery wall that placed the ornate gold frame among several black frames with angular lines. “I find that contrasting the clean lines with the ornate kind of creates a larger art piece,” says Korpany. She also adds that she brought in the gold hexagonal frames on an opposing wall in order to create balance and be respectful of the curveball art piece’s colour and ornate detailing.
“I really wanted it to be eclectic, and using so many different artisans here in the city kind of helped create that,” she says. Her design also mixes textures, combining the thick wool of the rug with softer textiles on the pillows and throw blankets. That mixture helps soften the space, Korpany says, and adds an element of warmth.
The design includes a few military-and-vintage-inspired pieces to pay tribute to the portrait, such as a small concrete camera, a military plane and a collar-shaped tie rack repurposed as an art piece. “It’s an army showcase without being nostalgic and over-the-top,” says Korpany.
Framed oval painting
Concrete Cat,(5608 82 Ave., concretecat.com)
Octavia small solid colour bowl, Camera
Love is Blind artwork