Creating a Sense of Comfort in Interior Design

Designer Catherine Staples talks about the importance of clients sharing even small and intimate lifestyle details with a design professional to create spaces where you’ll feel most comfortable.

Written by:Diane Conrad
Photographed by:Valerie Wilcox
A bathroom with a Brittanicca quartz wall and vanity

Cambria design shown: Brittanicca™

You’d never know it from looking at the luxurious design of “The Clubhouse,” featured in Cambria Style, but designer Catherine Staples of Ontario-based Aspen & Ivy started her career designing dental offices. Of that experience she says, “Because I knew from personal experience what it was like to be anxious about going to the dentist, I would always bring in elements to help comfort and relax nervous patients.” She goes on to say, “Designing a home is no different—you’re trying to create a sense of comfort and ease.”

Of course, “comfort and ease” means something different for every client. In this project, for example, the main goal for Staples’ team was to create a space geared toward entertaining on a grand scale. And by getting to know her clients and their lifestyles, Staples was able to tailor the new design to all of their needs, whether it’s hosting 50 of their nearest and dearest—or hanging out in front of the TV as a couple.

Staples says, “The most important part of any design is what happens before you’ve even begun—it’s the planning process, the questionnaire we give the clients to learn about their personalities and their taste. It’s visiting their home to see how they live. Staples even peeks into her clients’ closets (with permission, of course!). She says, “I love to see the colors they wear, the fabrics. It all helps me get a true picture of who they are, so I can create a home that will be comfortable for them.”

But while Staples is all about her clients’ needs, she does tend to hew back to her dental office design training when it comes to creating soothing spaces. She says, “It’s pretty universal that elements of nature make us feel relaxed and happy. So I bring in natural materials and textures—wood, stone, rattan, leather—and really try to make the most of great views. Even in a very sophisticated high-end space, those things make people feel good.” And that’s really what good design is all about.

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