Being A Designer In The Most Livable City In The World

Vancouver has been rated most liveable place to live in the world for about 5 years now by Economist Intelligence Unit’s livability survey, which looks at conditions in 127 cities. My header image (taken from, will give you a sneak peek of how spectacular this place is.

Waking up in Vancouver every morning is like remembering that you’ve just won the Lotto. There’s no place else more beautiful, and the people are helpful and unfailingly polite. Just don’t look for warmth. Either in the climate or the inhabitants. You’d have to go to the Latin countries for that.

The design scene here is only starting to take off. Although it may not be as cutting edge as the East Coast, where the financial markets are, or even Calgary, where the oil and gas money is, we can hold our own. Architects in B.C. have won more Governor General medals for architecture more than any place else in Canada.

It’s now one of the 3 hottest housing markets in North America, so the construction and design business is pretty busy right now. Just try and find a carpenter or plumber these days – it’s close to impossible – and you’ll be charged an arm and a leg once you manage to find one. If you need some work done on your home it’s best use the services of someone that you have a good working relationship with. Or, you might want to hire a designer or who has these pre-existing relationships.


Ripples in the Pond

Last week I talked about the butterfly effect and how our choices and subsequent actions create ripples that change the outcome of our lives and that of others. This blog is now one week old, and in that time, I’ve helped 5 clients move forward with various interior design projects that will enable them not only to feel good but also to function better.

Pond photo

One client got a new dining table and four chairs; another received delivery of some bar stools and is getting a new work desk and lamp next week; another got their office panel dividers designed and priced; another approved installation of brand new concrete floors in their living room; and on a bathroom renovation project, we are two weeks away to completion.

It’s pretty exciting to see things unfold and become new again. And it’s very interesting to see people’s reactions to the changes happening before their very eyes. All of this is unfolding because of agreements that I had entered into with these various people at different times in 2007. People were hired to work on these jobs and various custom and/or freestanding furniture were purchased and delivered to all the project sites.

The changes effected will be permanent and these people’s lives will never be the same. The ripples were as follows:

1. The client who got the new dining table & chairs will be inviting more people over for dinner and forge new and/or closer ties with friends, family and business associates.

2. The client who now has new bar stools will be able to sit and eat properly, as well as do some work online and keep tabs with the rest of her family, without straining her back and neck sitting on the floor.

3. The client who is having their office panel dividers closer to being made is looking forward to having a more organized and efficient workspace that allows privacy, on one hand, and also the unique opportunity to look cool and interesting, on the other, to clients and potential employees who visit their space.

4. The client that is having new floors installed will not have to worry about the effects of any future flooding – the last one ruined the relatively new floors we had installed two years ago – and focus on living normally. Plus it will make her home look more like a gallery space that she can show off to guests that come and visit.

5. The client who is having their bathroom redone will not have to cringe everytime she comes in to use her pink and grey bathroom. She can also start using her tub to relax from long days of work, as it’s not been used for a year due to a leak that we had located and fixed. And she will end up having better air quality and moisture control with new windows we are installing.

What ripples have you caused lately?

MadV – Change Agent

Here’s one spectacular butterfly, creating change via the webcam on his laptop.

It doesn’t take much to change the world. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are. Or how old you are or how young. It starts with an idea. Then a desire. And then action. No excuses. Go ahead and just do it.

The Butterfly Effect

Ever hear about this term or watch Ashton Kutcher’s flick?

Basically what it means is that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Japan, for example, can cause a tidal wave in the U.S. somewhere. It’s basically a metaphor for what’s also known as a ripple or domino effect. One action has consequences which triggers a series of events. The Butterfly EffectChange the action and a different series of events is triggered. What does have to do with design, or with me? Or you for that matter?

Well… we’re all butterflies flapping our wings. Whether we choose to soar or just park our asses on a tree branch all day, then we’ve made a decision that triggers a series of events. I once lived halfway around the world – Manila to be exact – which is both a big city (in terms of population) and a small town (in terms of mentality). People who graduated from university there usually stayed there, as well. I never imagined myself working in Milan or New York, but I did. I never thought I’d live in another city, but here I am in Vancouver, practicing as a professional interior designer and doing what I love, but in a whole different context. I have to pinch myself everyday just to make sure that I’m not dreaming.

They also say that your life now is a result of decisions and/or actions you’ve made in previous years. Is your life now exactly the one you’ve always wanted to live? Are you living a life that other people believe is best for you? Are you one of the proverbial slaves rowing the ship, whose course is set by some captain receiving orders from someone you haven’t seen or met? Or are you master of your own destiny and directing the destinies of many other lives other than your own?

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Hello world!

So this is how I officially change the world. Or fall flat on my face for all to see. Either way, we’re all in the same boat, changing the world in our own small (or big) way. Continue reading