3 Family-Focused Design Tips from Martin de Sousa

Featured Cambria Style designer offers insight into what’s trending in interior design

a bright kichen with yellow bottom and island cabinets, a large window, white upper cabinets and Cambria quartz Salt Lake countertops.

Cambria design shown: Salt Lake™* Photography by Vincent Lions.

Martin de Sousa

Martin de Sousa of Toronto’s DESIGNSTRÖM knew from an early age he’d be “a designer of some sort.” But it wasn’t until he was a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) that he found his true calling in interior design. After graduation, he honed his skills at a millwork company, which proved a great foundation for his future career. “That experience really expanded my knowledge and understanding of kitchens in particular and cabinetry overall—all about the finer details and understanding how things are put together,” he says. Today, de Sousa does far more than just kitchen design. “Our firm specializes in interior design for the whole house. We can really manipulate the spaces for how people live. And many times that means rethinking the main floor to create a better flow that’s centered on the kitchen.” Here, he offers a few pieces of advice for creating a family-focused design in your own home.

Keep it Open, But Not Too Open

“Gone are the days of the formal living room, at least for our clients,” says de Sousa. “Most people want a place where they can cook and have a conversation.” As such, Designström works to create casual spaces that flow together—and also to add a sense of separation to each area. He says, “We’ll use partial walls, or lighting, or furniture arrangement to differentiate the spaces. That way it feels open, but not exposed.”

Balance Color and Quiet

If you love color, go ahead and indulge yourself—but make sure you have enough neutral areas to keep the overall effect from looking too garish. De Sousa followed his own advice in the charming kitchen featured in Cambria Style, pairing yellow cabinets and pink pendant lights with plenty of calming white—particularly in the subtle design of the Cambria countertops.

Get Creative With Surfaces

One of the biggest trends de Sousa is seeing these days is stone used in exciting new ways. “Whether it’s an entire island clad in stone, for a monolithic look, or stone cabinet facing, there’s a lot of excitement around vertical applications,” he says, noting that Cambria’s range of thickness options offers designers great flexibility.


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*Gensler Product Design Consultant