I got a call from Davinder Dhillon, one of the best builders in Metro Vancouver, and a great colleague of mine. He informed me that his team had just finished a beautiful home on the North Shore and would I have time to photograph it. I simply replied with ‘What’s the address?’. As usual he used Tara Lavoie of Tara Lavoie Designs for much of the designing. Due to time restraints I was not able to interview him … so I decided to reprint a charming interview with Tara. It is as follows:
An opportunity came up to interview Tara Lavoie … so I took it. Let me start by saying that after many years in the building industry I have gotten to know several designers. Many of which have a great talent for how to make a home look good, many of which can make the home function good, but there are very few that can do both. So when you run across a designer that can do this and maintain that passion, that love of what they do to the point where it begins to rub off on you … well that’s the total package. Within minutes of my sitting down in her quaint and stylish office she began to answer my questions with such an enthusiasm, the likes of which I have not seen for some time.
I began my interrogation of Tara on the topic of kitchens … of course (my obvious passion). She explained to me that although there is currently an art deco craze, she always insists on being a little different. A little “unique” were her words. I know this to be true as I have photographed her work and it is as beautiful and classy as she is. Tara further explained that although she tries to be one step ahead of what everyone else is doing, she ensures that her designs are “timeless classics” so as to not let them go out of style. This designer will go out of her way to hunt down things such as reclaimed wood for the cabinet doors, just as an example. I had no idea that the continuity of the lines can make such a difference in how aesthetically pleasing the room will be (which is no compliment to myself after photographing hundreds of kitchens). Her tile work will complement the grain direction, which will complement the cabinetry, and so on. Furthermore, she told me that the choice of cabinet hardware is more dependent on the style of the doors rather than their colour. Tara’s current preference of hardware lies within the realm of elongated flat handles in, bronze, pewter, or brushed steel. She quickly informed me that the chrome look is out. In addition to staying ahead of the status quo or what is familiar, she only uses tiles that are not even in the catalogues yet (she has an “inside track”). And then she switched direction and became very enthusiastic about the utilitarian side of her profession such as cupboards and drawers with accessories built in to make the home owners life easier, or like individual pull out drawers for trash and recycling, slots built in to the cabinets for bake pans and cookie pans. She explained that this is why your cabinet craftsman is so important. We finished up our conversation and I snapped a photo of her, and she walked me back to the elevator. As I drove back to my office I was thanking god that I had recorded the entire meeting
… very enlightening.