We first discovered Angela Robinson at the Interior Design Show West 2014. Her piece for Monogram® Dinner by Design was a tranquil reminiscences of Wailua Fern Grotto located on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. White folded paper represents the jagged rock enclosure with luxuriant ferns descending above. Angela is a local Vancouver Interior Designer and is the Principal Interior Designer at Angelaa Robinson. She pens for The Vancouver Sun where she shares unique inspirations in the Lower Mainland.
Today, we dig a little deeper in the Angela’s life in our lifestyle feature:
Angela Robinson Interior Designer Interview
photo credits: Angela Robinson / Janis Nicolay
N: Tell me about how you got involved with interior design? What motivated you to start?
A: When I was 10 years old, my Mom and I attended ’The Street of Dreams’. It was a street lined with luxury show homes, each decorated with a unique theme and style. I was so inspired touring the houses that I said to my Mom “imagine if there were such a thing as a career where you could decorate and design houses for a living”. She explained to me what an Interior Designer was, and I decided then and there what I wanted to do when I grew up!
My parents were constantly renovating, re-decorating and building houses. Our family conversations were often brainstorming renovation and house ideas. I was submerged and surrounded by creative, innovative thinking from an early age, so it really is a part of how I think and who I am.
After taking a year off school after graduating High School, I studied Visual Arts & Interior Design at Vancouver Island University (formally Malaspina University College).
N. What is the most exciting thing about the Vancouver interior design scene at the moment?
A: There are SO many exciting things about the design scheme in this city, but the one thing that stands out at this moment is the lighting design brands! We have some really incredible local lighting designers who are recognized internationally!
N: Describe your home?
My home is an extremely personal space for me. My walls are full with art I’ve collected. My accessories and furnishings are mostly sentimental items that connect me to the places and people I love.
The style of my decor would probably be described as transitional or a bit eclectic (displayed in a clean and modern way). You’ll find everything from 1800’s oil paintings to contemporary Bocci light fixtures at my place!
N: Antiqued or New?
A: Both! If I love it, or if it has sentimental value to me, it’s welcome in my home:)
N: Which interior design project is your favorite?
A: Because I work in private residential design, each project has special meaning to me and I could never choose one over another. I know the stories behind the decisions and the details, so it wouldn’t be fair to choose one over another.
N: How has your life as an interior designer shaped your life?
I run my own company as an interior designer, so my role is really divided in two parts. One part designer and one part entrepreneur. I moved to Vancouver during the recession in 2008, so I really had to hustle to make a go of this career, needless to say, my life as a designer became a huge part of my life. I’ve lived and breathed it for a long time and have surrounded myself with other people who are doing the same. The biggest thing that I’ve noticed about myself and my self employed design colleagues is that we’re extremely solution driven. When you get shot down, you get up. When you are faced with a problem, you find a solution. When your ideas are put down, you find bigger and better ideas. It’s a non-stop cycle but it makes things extremely rewarding in the end!
N: What were some of the obstacles early on?
A: No matter what, be yourself. Be authentic.
In the beginning of my career, I was very concerned about coming across as who I thought people wanted me to be. I was holding back who I was, to look more polished, more knowledgeable and more experienced. Letting all of that go was extremely liberating and allowed me to grow in all areas.
N: What’s been your “I’ve made it” moment?
A: There are may stages to the ‘I’ve made it’ moments depending on your goals. I have a long way to go and hopefully a lot of ‘I’ve made it’ moments to come in different areas of my career and life.
One of these moments happened for me recently. Last year, I attended an event called ‘Dinner by Design’, where a select few designers were chosen to create dining experiences within a large studio. It was a lavish affair in support of a great cause (The Dr.Peters AIDS Foundation). I felt so inspired by the event and the creative installations, that I made it a goal to one day be chosen as one of the designers…
This year, I was given this opportunity! I worked in collaboration with Alair Homes West Vancouver and Dick’s lumber to create our vision. It was a TON of work for everyone and we went hard until the very last minute. Sitting in the dining room with our guests at dinner on the big night, I sat next to a young man who was at the beginning of his career. As he describe is story and goals to me and ask me about my journey, I became really present to where I was sitting and what I had accomplished to date. It was actually very emotional for me.
It’s an up hill journey and it’s so important to take moments to reflect on how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished.
N: What was one of the best lessons you learned when you started blogging for The Vancouver Sun?
My designer colleague Cair Parke and I began the ‘Art and Design’ community blog for the Vancouver Sun a few years ago. We wanted to use it as a tool to showcase the local talent in our city (there is SO much). What became apparent early on was that hosting interviews for the blog was an opportunity to connect with people and hear their stories. I was surprised at how generous, vulnerable and open people were when talking with us. We’ve had the opportunity to interview Tom Dixon, Bob Rennie, Jillian Harris, Monika Hibbs, Brent Comber and Martha Sturdy (just to name a few)! What I learned and am continuously reminded of is that the hardest part is just asking for the things you want (weather it’s an interview, an opportunity or a question)… and if you can build up the courage to ask, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you receive. Generally I have found that people want to help you achieve any goals or dreams you have!
N: Where is your favorite cozy restaurant to go? You know we can’t help to ask this question!
A: I can’t choose just one! Here are a few of my favourites…
N: We just loved how your categorized this for us!
N: Any fun plans you can share?
A: My goals for this year is to be more involved in the community. I have a few projects I’m ideating on around this subject, but nothing formal to introduce just yet! Stay tuned…
For more information and inspirations from Angela Robinson, visit her website at http://www.angelarobinson.ca/