Janice Long, owner and principal designer of Calla Design in the Estevan Village, wanted to bring Oak Bay a new concept in interior design – good news for those looking to get their home ready to sell or move into a new space.
Long brings 35 years as a designer to the inviting shop, which she founded with three ideas in mind: to provide full interior design services, a retail store filled with timeless, beautiful furniture and accessories, and services for homeowners and homebuyers.
In store, Calla offers a variety of inspiring ideas – the purple-painted room in the rear of the store captures much attention – plus Whittington and Co. Canadian-made furniture and a large collection of Martha Sturdy accessories.
Local artists displayed include Ron Wilson, Brian Simons, Sandra Froher and Erin Vanessa, plus jewellery by Sue Pipes, while exclusive lines include Antica Farmacista diffusers and Lafco soaps.
Design services allow residents to pick and choose what they want to do, based on factors such as budget, their schedule, and how much they want to be involved.
For those in the market to sell their home, for example, Long can offer concrete ideas about which projects will generate the most return.
“I can go through a house in about 1 1/2 hours and give them ideas that will add value to the house for the purchaser…anything to make it look more current without spending a lot of money,” Long says.
Other times, a fresh set of eyes can pick up issues a homeowner, or even a realtor, may not see, “I see houses in a different way probably than a realtor does,” Long says.
In the same vein, with a purchase as potentially overwhelming as a new home, “I can help buyers see the possibilities in a house. It gives the homeowner someone to rely on. Sometimes they’re standing in the perfect house, but they can’t see it.”
While homebuyers may be looking for a house that suits their immediate needs, it also helps to consider how the house will serve them in the future, whether that means growing children or downsizing. “I like houses with rooms that can be used for multiple purposes,” Long says.
Other design services that can make a big difference, especially for those moving from out of town or with little time, include furniture floorplans to help determine what will work where, and liaising with movers, or contractors in the case of a renovation.
When a renovation is in the plans, Long likes to begin with a walk-through and wishlist, from which designer and homeowner can settle on a budget and timeline; sometimes that means tackling projects in stages, which is perfectly fine, too. Designers also have access to savings from retailers and suppliers that an individual homeowner won’t receive.
While some think working with a designer is only possible on large projects or big spaces, that’s not the case, Long says.
Regardless of the square-footage, “you deserve to have an environment that you feel comfortable in.”
Kitchens and bathrooms continue to dominate renovation wishlists, while indoor-outdoor living remains popular for those with the space.
For those on a budget, big changes can also come from smaller-scale projects, like paint and fabric, whether new drapes and pillows or recovering a favourite piece of furniture, Long says. “If you have a piece you really love, recover it, don’t buy new.”
For the same reason, Long encourages clients to invest in quality pieces that will stand the test of time, and not need to be replaced after a short time.