Inside Out: Talking Interior Design with Amanda Hamilton
Did you always want to be an interior designer? How did you get started?
While there were early markers that a career in Interior Design might be an option, it really wasn’t something I had considered because I didn’t even know it existed. At a very young age I was passionate about the visual arts and liked to manipulate space through the many re-designs of my childhood bedroom. Frankly, I had never heard of Interior Design and it wasn’t until I spent a significant portion of time researching potential careers in my second year of post secondary education. I found a degree program offered in Calgary, Alberta and thought it would be make the best use of all of my strengths. At the age of 20 I announced to my parents I was moving cities and the rest is history.
How did Amanda Hamilton Interior Design evolve and what were the important elements to building it?
After graduating, my “creative tank” was empty and I took a much needed break after an intensive condensed program that went virtually year round for eight semesters. After I had recuperated, I worked at one of the leading Architecture & Design firms to hone my skills in “the real world.” During this time, I had so many opportunities come available that I started freelancing and this ultimately led to having to make a decision about where I would focus my energy. After some guidance from a client and the shaking of many heads, Amanda Hamilton Interior Design was launched in August of 2009. With little savings and business experience and only tenacity at my side, the adventure began.
Our focus on building a company culture that was offbeat, collaborative and one which encouraged creative exploration alongside our clients was an important element in creating a dynamic environment where growth in and out of the studio, thrives.
Where do you source your inspiration from, and what helps you to stay inspired?
Travel is one of the major sources of inspiration and it’s in these moments, when I’m outside the walls of my own immediate existence, innovative ideas are born. While I do reference inspiration from online and print sources, I prefer to put these aside after our initial discovery phase to ensure they don’t inform the direction of the creative development of a project. This creative “mojo” is kept alive by ensuring that I’m constantly challenging my team and our clients to explore and ask questions throughout the design process. As a creative, I don’t derive any pleasure from doing the same thing over and over, so we ensure that each project is entirely tailored to each client creating a novel solution for their project.
How would you describe your style as an interior designer?
My style continues to evolve as it is driven by personal experiences, travel and other significant cultural influences like film, fashion, art and literature. If I had to describe my style, I would say that it feels eclectic, thoughtful and well-travelled. Every piece I’ve purchased has a story behind it.
Is there a message behind your brand?
We seek to purposely explore and creatively elevate spaces with intelligent, thoughtful and soulful design. This focus on evolution, intention and integrity behind our brand is represented in the fullest expression through our commitment to design education and client inclusion, creating depth to the design narrative.
What are your favorite materials and textures to work with?
I’m naturally drawn to patterns and materials native to places like Morocco, India & Turkey. Strangely, I haven’t yet been to any of these places yet however they are on the top of my list for overseas travels! I love the bold contrast of colour, variation of texture and graphic patterns. I generally don’t work with this type of palette but I’m exploring it more in my own home, which allows me the opportunity to encourage and initiate this eclectic approach with our clients.
What is the most challenging project you have ever taken on as a designer?
One of the most challenging, but equally rewarding projects was a 12,000 square foot restaurant, Rodney’s Oyster House, located in Calgary, Alberta. The restaurant has an established brand in Toronto as well as Vancouver and we needed to ensure we embodied the Rodney’s brand while still making the space accessible for local Calgarians. Given that the building was originally constructed in the early 1900s, there were many renovations over the years by previous owners which no longer adhered to local bylaws and codes. Given the natural bones of the space, exposed beams and brick, both the interior and exterior really had been done a disservice over the years with renovations that really did not pay homage to the original structure. We had to come up with creative solutions to deal with a some very bizarre site conditions, while maintain the Rodney’s aesthetic and returning the building to the landmark it has always been meant to be.
Is there any supplier(s) you've discovered on Le Souk that you're excited to work with?
I love the textiles from Nomadic Thread Society since they have such an incredible story woven into their product. They curate and collaborate collections with artisans and small producers across the globe, promote sustainability and ethical business. Knowing that hands with care have touched the textiles makes sourcing from NTS that much more thoughtful.
What can we expect from your next collection? Is there an image or word to describe the look/feel of your next collection?
We are currently crushing and exploring what we call “global” hues which are reminiscent of a worn façade found in our travels – muted turquoise, indigo, soft blush pinks and distressed metallics. With a sophisticated, feminine approach, these more exotic pigments take on an often unexpected, luxurious and even glamorous spirit.