Style and good taste a recipe for fine de­sign

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - HOME | DESIGNER AT HOME -

How­ever, there is no deny­ing the fact that this award-winning de­signer has made a good busi­ness for him­self or that he is con­sid­ered one of the best kitchen de­sign­ers in Ottawa. This is what makes me think of him as a “hip­pie-cap­i­tal­ist” – a creative ge­nius and as­tute busi­ness man who has found the per­fect bal­ance for nur­tur­ing both sides of his per­son­al­ity. Lucky man!

Ottawa At Home spent time with Friede­mann and Luna (his Weimaraner), in his home over­look­ing the Bri­tan­nia Yacht club. Built by Uni­form De­vel­op­ments and de­signed by Barry Hobin, with in­put from Friede­mann, the open-con­cept town­house is a trib­ute to the com­bi­na­tion of tal­ents. Soar­ing win­dows up­stairs and down, take ad­van­tage of wa­ter and park views to cre­ate a dra­matic space that houses a man whose life has been ded­i­cated to cre­ativ­ity and per­sonal ex­pres­sion.

The front en­try show­cases more ev­i­dence of creative in­spi­ra­tions with eclec­tic forms of art­work, in­clud­ing an in­trigu­ing boxed-framed pho­to­graph of mul­ti­ple gal­ax­ies. All the pieces come to­gether to es­tab­lish a stylish, open-con­cept space that is well suited to the tastes of a man not afraid to re­veal him­self through his fur­nish­ings. His di­verse col­lec­tions are ex­pres­sive of some­one with strength, con­fi­dence and a sense for good de­sign.

What is your back­ground?

It is eclec­tic. I was born in Ger­many, but grew up in south­ern On­tario. When I fin­ished high school, I worked as a drafts­man. The work was very tech­ni­cal and gave me a good start, al­though it didn’t nur­ture my creative side. I went on to work in nu­mer­ous ar­eas from construction to re­tail, but was al­ways try­ing to find the right place to chan­nel my creative en­ergy.

How did you fi­nally end up in the de­sign world?

In 1979 I moved to Ottawa and was re­ally mo­ti­vated to get creative, so I started de­sign­ing fur­ni­ture. I made ev­ery­thing from beds to bird­cages and sold them at the Stittsville flea mar­ket. My busi­ness at that time was called Free­dom Fur­ni­ture. The name re­flect­edmy phi­los­o­phy that if I stayed true to my call­ing to be creative, I would stay free of work­ing for a liv­ing!

How did De­sign First get es­tab­lished?

I worked as a sales rep for an ap­pli­ance com­pany and was ex­posed to the kitchen in­dus­try and the de­sign­ers. I was drawn to the draw­ing as­pect of de­sign and started to do some de­sign­ing. A client who saw my work was im­pressed and of­fered me a job in his store, Van Leeuwen, a lo­cal fur­ni­ture store known for good qual­ity, con­tem­po­rary fur­nish­ings. It was a great place to work and re­ally got me started. Two years later, in 1986, I started De­sign First. I had lit­tle money, but plenty of courage and determination which helped us grow into the busi­ness you see to­day.

What is De­sign First In­te­ri­ors to­day?

We are a full-ser­vice in­te­rior de­sign and in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­tural firm. The name de­rives from my be­lief in the need for ev­ery job to have the right de­sign. If the de­sign isn’t right, noth­ing else mat­ters. I strive to find the per­fect de­sign for ev­ery job I do. The de­sign comes first and af­ter that comes the look and style.

De­fine style?

I am not sure how to an­swer that. I be­lieve that style is the com­bi­na­tion of good taste. I also be­lieve that there are re­

ally only two styles – con­tem­po­rary and tra­di­tional – and per­haps we can look to­wards tran­si­tional which lies some­where be­tween the two styles.

What con­sti­tutes good taste to you?

That de­pends on the in­di­vid­ual. Be­ing au­then­tic to what you like will en­cour­age good taste. When work­ing with clients, I strive to un­der­stand what a client is ask­ing for and what their needs are. I do a lot of re­search and work hard to cre­ate their au­then­tic style, and in the end, this pays off. I am then able to please the client and the re­sult shows good taste!

What style is your home?

Con­tem­po­rary. It’s a Barry Hobin de­sign, built by Uni­form De­vel­op­ments. I de­signed the kitchen and bath­room and won an OCHBA award in 2002 for th­ese rooms. My home re­flects my be­lief in work­ing hard to get the right de­sign. I changed my own kitchen de­sign sev­eral times. It was much harder to do it for my­self, but I love it and only once have I had kitchen envy and that was for a project in Na­van. Now that is a kitchen! (See page 22 for de­tails of the kitchen ren­o­va­tion that made Friede­mann a lit­tle green with envy.)

The park and wa­ter view cre­ate an oa­sis within the mas­ter bed­room. fac­ing page: The award-winning en­suite. Rus­tic and con­tem­po­rary come to­gether with style in the pow­der room.



clock­wise: Friede­mann Wein­hardt. The open­con­cept liv­ing space show­case’s Friede­mann’s be­lief in style be­ing a com­bi­na­tion of good taste.



clock­wise: Friede­mann in his award-winning kitchen, which com­bines nat­u­ral el­e­ments to cre­ate a warm and invit­ing room. Luna ben­e­fits from the comfortable liv­ing space. Friede­mann Wein­hardt’s good taste and style come nat­u­rally to the man ded­i­cated to good de­sign.

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