It’s a hoard knock life

Celeb de­signer Sab­rina Smelko’s four tips for adding a per­sonal touch to your own palace

Thornhill Post - - Homes - SAB­RINA SMELKO Sab­rina Smelko is the co-host of HGTV Canada’s $ave My Reno, de­signer of pix­els, places + things and cre­ative di­rec­tor at Wild and Light.

Whether you’re an in­te­rior de­signer try­ing to add your sig­na­ture flair to ev­ery space you touch or you’re a de­signer at heart, find­ing your own voice is a chal­lenge.

De­sign is a sat­u­rated land­scape, and thanks to blogs and plat­forms such as In­sta­gram and Pin­ter­est, we’re sur­rounded by im­age af­ter im­age of other peo­ple’s work.

Al­though be­ing aware and in­spired by the work of oth­ers is awe­some, in­spi­ra­tion-in­tox­i­ca­tion can be de­bil­i­tat­ing and leave you more con­fused than ever as to what your sig­na­ture style should be.

As a de­signer, I’ve been down the frus­trat­ing road of dis­cov­er­ing my per­sonal style, so here are some tips on how to es­tab­lish your own unique voice.

Diver­sify and hoard

Gain in­spi­ra­tion from as many sources as pos­si­ble. Hoard any­thing and every­thing that piques your in­ter­est — the more var­ied, the bet­ter. And look be­yond your favourite five! The more sources you get in­spi­ra­tion from — and the more you gather in­flu­ence from other av­enues like movies, pop cul­ture, fash­ion, fine art, etc. — the more likely the re­sult­ing work will be unique and sig­na­ture.

To use an anal­ogy, think of a meat grinder: if all you add is pork and beef, you’ll be able to pin­point the pork and beef within the sausage. Add in chicken, turkey, herbs, veg­eta­bles and spices — so to speak — and you’ll end up with a com­plex but com­ple­men­tary re­sult.

De­fine sim­i­lar­i­ties

Af­ter you’ve gath­ered a li­brary of in­spi­ra­tion, sift through it and search for threads of con­ti­nu­ity. What do all of your in­spi­ra­tion images have in com­mon? Maybe it’s the colour blue, maybe it’s the use of glass or metal, maybe it’s a bo­hemian flair. Defin­ing what it is you like gets you one step closer to defin­ing your own unique style.

Re­call your roots

What makes you tick? Where did you come from? What makes you you? If you try to run from your roots you won’t cre­ate some­thing au­then­tic, so dis­cover and em­brace your own spe­cial sauce.

Stay cu­ri­ous

They say cu­rios­ity killed the cat, but it has also killed many cre­ative blocks. Ex­plore and ask more ques­tions! Even if you nail a cer­tain style or ap­proach, di­vert from it — if only for a while. Ques­tion your process, toy with your com­fort zone, fall but get up again. I can’t guar­an­tee you’ll like the re­sult ev­ery time, but I can guar­an­tee you’ll learn some­thing, which can some­times bring you even closer to defin­ing your per­sonal style.

Smelko sug­gests us­ing pop cul­ture ref­er­ences and ma­te­ri­als like glass or metal to add per­sonal flair to a space

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