Where do you like to wear your Blundstones?
We head to our cabin up north any chance that we can get. The cabin is nestled in a deep valley of evergreens and flanked by a scattering of neighbouring ranches far off in the distance — making it a perfect place to nature bath and reset. Long walks along the dirt road to visit horses and watch the landscape change is our favourite activity. Our Blundstones are the perfect cabin shoe for all of the different seasons and adventures we get up to as a family.
The way the fresh air feels as you breathe it in. Even in the midst of the city, the air feels like a drinking mountain water. It makes me pause every time I leave a warm building and that refreshing air touches me — it is air that has touched the mountains and brushed the ocean — it reminds me of where I live and how nature is always close. In living and working just steps from the ocean for so many years, I know that water grounds me and provides me with so many moments to reflect and reconnect with myself.
What do you love about living in Vancouver?
Can you tell us about your role at @arithmeticcreative and what inspired you to start this business?
Creative Director, innovation research, client care, financial-business planning — I’m involved in every single detail at arithmetic. For many years, it was only me and I did every single thing — classic entrepreneur syndrome. It was intense and I always felt called to learn as much as I could on my own first. I knew that I could be the boss that I never had if I could relate and have empathy for each of the roles I would one day hire. I have made it my goal to know the ins and outs of every position before we hire for it. Being able to stand in the shoes of my employees is the first step to becoming collaborators and that is my goal with each of my team members, to co-create great design. Arithmetic was born from so much frustration — it was my outlet. I’ve never been one to settle for “no” or the status quo. Steering the ship means that there is a lot of risk and responsibility on my shoulders and it also means I get to chart the course – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Creating change is my biggest inspiration — I’ve always believed in Design Thinking as a way of being and in that, comes a flexibility that breaks down the divides of design disciplines. Our first job as creatives is to use ingenuity and intuition to solve problems and inspire what others can not yet see. We approach all of our projects with this mindset and in turn, we are constantly stepping into new territory, learning new skills and cross pollinating our interdisciplinary knowledge to create newness and break convention. I have dedicated the past fifteen years to lift up small and medium size businesses so that they can steal market share from the giants. Holding the torch for the dream of so many entrepreneurs along the way has been an honour — creating the tools, researching and innovating in our spare time to position them as thought leaders and give them the visibility through design fuels our daily efforts. For the past two years, our passion has been deeply invested in researching and innovating in nature formed materiality to guide this world away from plastic.
What are some of your latest at home projects you’ve been working on?
Shawn has been spending every weekend this past autumn and winter on a renovation to our cabin up North. It’s a cape cod style house that has seen better days. My design intent is to create a Cape Cod Modern style, taking cues from Scandinavian builders. Simply put, the old roof shingles which fly off during winter storms are now clad in black steel panels, the white horizontal vinyl is being removed and replaced with vertical wood siding that we will either stain or char black. The interior detailing’s will nod to slow days and a sense of connection. Just like in my design practice, my goal is to create a certain feeling through all of the touch points. Shawn is a true tinkerer at heart and has been jumping into new territory with this project. It’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him. He just put a new steel roof on during multiple snowstorms and in the dark so that we can juggle my responsibilities at arithmetic and Hazels preschool schedule. It’s a bit intense but really fun to work on a large project together.
What's a day-in-the-life for Hazel these days?
We are really lucky to have Hazel in a Regio Emilia preschool. She has a mid-day nap and then spends the afternoon with Shawn and Pasley, our cane corso (Italian Mastiff). Despite my efforts to inspire Hazel with gender neutral toys, she’s very into putting her ballet outfit on and dancing around our home and cooking us pretend meals. Hazel just turned three, so we bought her some secondhand skis — hope she takes to it.
Lastly, can you recommend any books, albums or tv series you’ve recently been into?
Shawn’s really into survival podcasts, lol, while I love the Business of Fashion podcasts and literally any trend forecasting white paper that I can get my hands on. ‘Talking to Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell and the ‘Art of Making Memories’ by Meik Wiking are two non-parenting, non-work-related reads that I was able to squeeze in this past year.
Hazel is obsessed with the Little People, Big Dreams series — most notably, Jean Michel Basquiat, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. We have over twenty-five books from the collection and our whole family is learning and growing together as we learn the stories of these inspiring lives.