At Home with Candice Olson

Interior designer Candice Olson offers an inside look at her home, her work, and her design secrets

Candice Olsen poses on her Tuscany-designed chaise lounge

Interior designer Candice Olson takes us through her Toronto home, but admits it’s easier to design other people’s homes than it is to renovate her own

Olson has two TV makeover shows airing on W Network and HGTV US: Candice Tells All and Divine Design. She is also a syndicated newspaper columnist, has written two books, and designs home furnishings lines that range from bedding to wallpaper.

Olson offers an inside look at her home, her work, and her design secrets

On Celebrating Nature Indoors

“Our Toronto home celebrates nature. It faces a golf course’s Tuscany-like view. As an extension of the outdoors, the house’s colour cues include the course’s earth tones and the blue-grey of stormy skies before it rains. The family room extends the length of the house with clean lines and a glass wall to take advantage of the four seasons. We like nothing better than to gather there with a fire and tune into the constantly changing setting. The house is contemporary but not austere, with warmth added from materials like bush-hammered stone, natural fibres and raked-wood finishes. My design philosophies changed dramatically when I became a mother; with a five- and seven-year-old, we have no more polished, nondurable surfaces.” 

On Renovations

“We’re in the middle of renovations to our 1950s home. The second-storey addition will have a master bedroom with his-and-hers walk-in closets. We also dug out the basement for indoor hockey, skating, boarding and roller blading – and I’m not talking about for the kids. Although both my husband and I are in the business, we find designing and renovating our own home a bit of a chore. It’s easier and more enjoyable when it is someone else’s, and when you’re spending someone else’s money.”

On Furniture

“Prized pieces of furniture that will follow me into our newly renovated house include the Beckett chair, designed while I was pregnant with my son Beckett, and the Pyper sofa, named while pregnant with daughter Pyper. These personify my children: Beckett is a mid-century-modern-inspired chair that is straightforward and rugged, and Pyper is a glitz-and-glam sofa that channels my daughter’s inner Paris Hilton.”

On Fabric

“My home-accessory lines complement these furniture designs. I may take a damask pattern from a fabric used for upholstery and supersize, stylize or minimize it to be reinterpreted as a wallpaper pattern for use in the same room. I recently completed a kids’ wallpaper collection; Pyper helped with it so there’s a lot of sparkle. I also design (and add to my own home) bedding, carpet and lighting; ironically, I was approached to turn my hand drawings for the decor lines into licensed framed prints, so I now also have a wall art collection.” 

“A piece that I wouldn’t part with that I didn’t design? A quirky yak-fur stool that has Justin Bieber-meets-Bay-City-Rollers’ hairdo. It’s from an upscale Toronto store, but has rustic, hee-haw cowboy style. My dumbest, most indulgent furniture buy was my yak stool. When something speaks to you, you have to have it no matter what the cost; it was $1,400.”

3 Things Candice Olson Can’t Live Without

  1. A Bosch Benvenuto espresso machine (“I survive on my morning lattes.”)

  2. Rustic counter stools from Stacaro that can be used as a chair or small table. 

  3. A Steven Nederveen landscape painting.

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.