2017 has started unbelievably well for me. And if you’ve been following along on all of my social media channels, you may have seen that I was the winner of the 3rd annual DXV Design Contest.
If you haven’t heard of DXV before it is the luxury line of American Standard’s kitchen and bath products. The collection ranges from beautifully designed classical pieces to more modern, and clean lined contemporary fixtures that are sure to provide the “wow” factor in any space.
For the last three years, DXV Canada has hosted a design competition asking Canadian designers to submit a room design using their product to reflect a specific theme. Last year, the theme was Classic Stories. If you’ve been following me on Facebook since last year, you might remember that I submitted a design inspired by the classic fairytale of Cinderella. While I didn’t win, I really enjoyed the process of coming up with the concept and the design. This is why when this year’s contest was announced, I already knew I wanted to submit a design again.
This year’s theme was Canadian Cities. The mandate was to design a space that reflected, and was inspired by, a Canadian city landscape. And to, of course, incorporate three DXV products into the design. I decided to focus on Quebec City because of the wonderful experience I had on my trip there for my 40th birthday last year.
Instead of finding myself on a beach for my 40th (which was a possible option), I decided to book a three night stay in the city centre of Old Quebec. I had been told, and expected that it would be like visiting a small, european village. I was not disappointed! We wandered the surprisingly tourist free streets, checking out the local cuisine and shops, stopping frequently for Caribous (hot wine) and to warm our feet. My partner Tyson is the type of person that can start a conversation with just about anyone, even if they don’t speak English fluently… Through our many conversations with the locals, we were able to learn a lot about the history of Quebec City, it’s artisans and their wares being sold in the local boutiques. As we walked the cobblestone streets, I fell in love with the stonework and mouldings on the buildings, taking many photos of them as well as a crazy number of photos of doors!
My european village as viewed from my pillow.
As you can see, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Quick selfie before heading into a cafe for some Caribou.
Just a few photos from my door collection.
Between the two of us, we took over 600 photos with our phones! And I’m so glad we did because I used these photos as inspiration for my DXV design.
One of the inspiration photos I submitted with my design.
When it came to my design I wanted to recreate the feeling and ambiance of the old city with its historical walls. I envision a bathroom to be a more recent build that shares a wall with an original, stone building. I chose to use DXV’s St. George collection for the pedestal sink and freestanding tub because their subtle architectural details remind me of the wooden casing and door mouldings I saw in the village. I also used the Randall fixtures with the cross handle design because I loved how simple and utilitarian they are. Their design looks almost contemporary, yet still somewhat traditional.
To complete my vignette, I found these amazing pendants by Quebec artisan Isabelle Le Doussal. While I would never use these in a traditional bathroom (because of their material), this exercise was about representing a city and its culture. So using these beautiful, graphic pendants, with their warm copper glow, I feel perfectly represents the contemporary design scene and the artisans whose works are found in the lower village.
And so, it is with this design that I won. I had actually been thinking that maybe they had already chosen a winner, because it was a couple weeks after the submission deadline before I heard anything. I was notified of my win right before Christmas!
After the holidays, I worked with the DXV team to figure out the best way to bring my design to life. Given the relatively short time frame we had before IDS Toronto, the decision was made to build a set off site and have it photographed and this image featured at the show. It was a mad rush to get the products shipped in (the lights arrived on the day of the shoot!) and to get it built. Using some physical pieces from previous DXV design sets and with the talent of their photographer, David Batten of Digital Freedom, my drawing was brought to life and I could not be more thrilled with the result!
We used the wainscotting from another set and had some issues with the moulding and its scale, but thankfully with the magic of photoshop, David was able to “move” the moulding to where I wanted it.
David working his magic.
The Finished Room.
I love the moodiness of the final image and how you can almost feel the warmth coming from the pendants. I also love how the lighting accents the crisp whiteness of the tub and sink helping them to stands out from the texture of the wall and the flooring. It is EXACTLY how I envisioned it in my head when I was drawing it.
The opening night IDS happened on January 19th. After checking in at the Delta Hotel across from the Convention Centre, I met the DXV team for a quick bite before heading to the show. At dinner, I met the lovely Genevieve Ghaleb, who won the very first DXV design competition with her interruption of a “Mid-Summer Nights Dream”. If you’re not following her already on Instagram, you really should. Her feed was one of my favourites, even before I met her. She has an eye for curating beautiful images that will take your breath away. I also met Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, the VP of Design for American Standard. I was fortunate to have him share the story of how he started out in the design world. I’m always so fascinated to hear how someone turned his or her passion into a career because there are so many paths to be taken in this business, depending on what your end goals are.
The night itself was a bit of a blur – meeting so many new people and catching up with lots of old friends. I only took one picture that night – of a light sculpture – and that is very unusual for me…
The next day, we were up early to attend a breakfast hosted by LIXIL Brands (DXV, American Standard, Grohe) and Modenus Talks.
Photo by Dave Starrett
It was a wonderful morning of inspiring tips from three top industry experts.
Designer and stylist, Margo Austin, of The Design Edit, Freelance Writer, Vicky Sanderson, and Veronika Miller of Modenus. Photo by Dave Starrett
Then it was back to the show, where I was able to visit the many other booths that I was unable to get to the night before. See my earlier posts here about my favourite finds at the show.
After a couple of hours of walking the floor, I had lunch with a new and wonderful friend, and a quick nap and refresh at the hotel. Then I was off to have dinner at Tererna Mercatto with some extremely talented people. Our gracious host for the evening was Luca Geneletti of Superiore, an Italian brand of appliances that is new to Canada and is distributed through Euro-Line Appliances. It really is amazing to be in a room with all these creatives, enjoying food and wine and learning why they do what they do and what they love about it. It was truly a wonderful night and the perfect end to an amazing experience that I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of.
Thanks so much!
I would like to give a special thank you to Isabel, Veronica and Parniian of DXV Canada and Kristin at the Flying Camel. You guys rock!