Thursday, December 30, 2010

our year in review...

2010 has been a fantastic year for us! We started it off with a foray toward establishing our online identity, and are finishing it off with anticipating the official launch of our company website.

Over the last twelve months, we…

- started our company Facebook page.

- began working with a photographer to build content for our forthcoming website.

- started collaborating with fellow designer Lori Steeves to enrich our Kitchen Planning service.

- attended Kimberley Seldon's Business of Design course for design professionals.

- started this blog.

- joined Twitter.

- took Kim Page Gluckie's webinars "How to Tweet" and "How to Blog". …Then actually started using Twitter!

- revised and streamlined our Kitchen Planning Services.

- completed our contract and assembled our renovation dream team.

- expanded our services to include residential interior renovation project management.

- attended talks, seminars, and events with a view to gaining connections and insight within our industry.

photo credit: +

- did a photoshoot to put the last touches on our forthcoming website.

photo credit: +

This year has not been without its personal excitements, too. Good friends, travel, a wedding, and the occasional sauna were just some of the features of 2010. From the Winter Olympics to the Vancouver International Film Festival, there were lots of sites to see and things to do. We can't say this year was free of struggles and challenges, but were are making it a priority to learn from it all - good and bad - to make 2011 even better.

photo credit: +

We hope 2010 was a banner year for you and that you have a million times the success in the coming 12 months. Wishing you a truly Happy New Year from the Dome Team!

All the best!

Monday, December 20, 2010

daily inspiration...

Very inspiring indeed.


See you in a few days when we post a DOME Yearbook reviewing the highlights of the past 12 months...

Happy Holidays,
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

baby steps...

Proudly hit 100 followers on Twitter today. If all goes well, we'll look back on this blog post a year from now and say to ourselves "We thought THAT was exciting? Little did we know where we'd be today..."

Am I putting too much pressure on us? Nah. Even if we're just at 101 this time next year, it's all moving in the right direction.

Here's to celebrating the little milestones.

Oh, and did I mention our website is online?

Baby steps...

Take care,
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Monday, December 6, 2010

getting technical...

Announcement! Company website is up and running! You'll see it is very simple right now, but we'll be sure to post about it again when we have a release date for the full-content site.

Please check it out to see all the ways you can keep track of us.


Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Monday, November 29, 2010

dream on...

There do not seem to be enough hours in the day right now... I have been planning to blog the wonderful photos taken by Jugana of BlackBelo at the Kimberley Seldon Business of Design Vancouver Book Launch two Fridays ago, but I have not had the chance. I still plan to do this today or tomorrow (fingers crossed), but for now I'll leave you with this:

I couldn't sleep last night because I was fantasizing about purchasing my rented condo and renovating it. Dreams of a custom window seat, hardwood-looking-ceramic tile, a new walk in closet, and more kept swirling around in my head. Along with those dreams a vision persisted; I could not get the sofa we saw at IDS West from 18 Karat out of my head.


Keep dreaming and take care,
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

drawn in...

A very dear family friend of mine is also an artist. She has recently started posting her work online on her blog. Absolutely worth checking out...


Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Friday, November 5, 2010

catalog living...

A friend recently sent me this link with the note "If you like Unhappy Hipsters, I think this will be right up your alley."

My dad's name is Gary, so each of these is just a little extra amusing for me. Particularily like this one...

And just saw this one today...

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If so, remember to check out Unhappy Hipsters, too.

Do you have any recommendations for similar sites?

Have a great weekend, All!
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a day full of treats...

This year was our first time attending...

We were excited! We started our day off by participating in one of the Industry Only seminars - NKBA Understanding the Guidelines for Kitchen and Bathroom Design. It was terrific. The speaker, Al Pattison, was thorough and fun. It was a great review for us kitchen designers.

After attending the seminar, we took a break for a tasty treat near by at Giovane...

Re-fuelled, we had lots of time before the general public was being let in to take in all of the product treats...

By mid-afternoon, it was time for a brain treat with a talk by Karim Rashid about the world of design being shaped by new social behaviours/languages/materials/technologies/needs/desires...

His talk was interesting and thought provoking. It sounds like he lives in a beautiful and frustrating world, and I'd be scared to work for him. Even so, I really enjoyed listening to him. We watched his talk with Lori Steeves and Liana Sipelis.

I also attended Sarah Richardson's talk in the evening. It was fun and was very interesting to hear a bit about her journey so far as a designer. The advice she had to give was pretty much at odds to what we'd learned from Kimberley Seldon's Business of Design seminar series. That particular aspect of her talk definitely provided some food for thought.

All in all it was a fantastic experience. The new Convention Centre is a terrific venue. The number and quality of booths was pitch-perfect. The seminars and talks offered covered a range of topics. We will absolutely plan to attend again next year.

Did you go this year? What was your favourite booth or product?

For more on the products/companies pictured above...

There were even more special visual treats that caught our eyes in the form of various textures...

The visuals were absolutely fantastic overall and the vast majority of booths had a great deal of captivating sights.

Special nods to...

And keep your eyes peeled for Mint Interiors (also pictured above) - opening soon in Vancouver...

Hope to see you there next year for many more delicious treats at IDSwest 2011!

Take care,
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

+ just to add that my favorite feature was a full-scale modular home by Preform Construction.  I have started saving up for one already!

....and I would just like to leave you with this inspiring quote by Karim Rashid:
"New, not for the sake of new, but in order to evolve"

Get inspired!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

vancouver is special...

There is a huge mix of architectural styles employed in residential structures in Vancouver. Obviously we have our share of “West Coast”, but there are so many others visible along our streets and often very much mixed together. Sometime we’ll post a photo array of the styles we see repeated most often.

For now, we’re focusing on the Vancouver Special. And, more specifically, on the second annual Vancouver Special Tour put on by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF).

A quick primer (to save you the trip to Wikipedia):

Vancouver Special is a term used to refer to houses built in a particular architectural style in the period from roughly 1965 to 1985 in Vancouver, British Columbia and its suburbs. They are characterised by their "box-like" structure, low-pitched roofs, balconies across the front of the house, and brick or stone finishes on the ground-floor level of the facade with stucco elsewhere. Vancouver Specials have similar floor plans with the main living quarters on the upper floor and secondary bedrooms on the bottom, making them ideal for secondary suites. These homes were favoured by new Canadians, often from Hong Kong and Italy, for their spaciousness and were often a first house purchase.

They are designed to work with Vancouver’s density and smaller-than-average lot sizes. The basic design is a series of squares, shifted around to provide multiple configurations within the same envelope. Nowadays people are continually modifying these basic floor plans and boxy exteriors in an effort to add a stroke of individuality to the module.

The tour this year included four houses. All were originally built between 1968 and 1973 in East Vancouver and all have since been renovated to some extent.

I attended this year’s Vancouver Special Self-Guided Tour with local interior decorator Lori Steeves. She made the astute observation that it seems – because of the very flexible interior plan – the largest struggle with Vancouver Specials is to create interest on the exterior. Last year, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation featured a particularly successful West-Coasty-style-reno’d Special on the post cards advertising the Tour.

Follow this link to see that:

Two of the houses on the tour this year made strides towards distinguishing their exteriors from other Specials. We did the tour in reverse order, so those were saved for last.

The tour did have its good points. The four examples used were effective in illustrating how flexible the floor plan of a Special can be with each house’s interior having been modified into different configurations. They showed how the spaces can be converted to serve different functions with one divided into two suites, one split into residential-plus-business spaces, one being used as a transitional home run by a local charitable foundation, and the last housing a single family with minimalist tastes. So, overall, the selection of these particular properties to be included on the tour was handled well.

Unfortunately, the positives end there.

I think the biggest problem with this Tour lay in the branding: I am not sure what was being sold, exactly. This was billed as a heritage tour. But the volunteers seemed to be trying to sell us on the changes that had been made – like they were advocating for the work done to redesign the properties. We saw too many examples of shoddy workmanship and poor planning to buy that tonic.

In the end we left feeling under whelmed and a tad confused. There was a limited amount of information provided on aspects of the homes that most intrigued us as designers. Without an un-touched example (via a house on the tour or just a floor plan included with the brochure) to refer to, it was left to our imaginations to interpret the actual changes made to these houses. And with the near-constant inundation of tid-bit information from the volunteers it was difficult to focus on one’s own reasons for attending the Tour in the first place.

I’m just glad we did the tour in reverse. Had we started at the first house and moved forward, I know I would have been expecting a lot more from the subsequent specimens. Not all renovations are made equal, and I have no idea why the VHF would want to pretend they were. I understand that the people who opened their homes to us volunteered their properties, and we should respect that and feel grateful for the opportunity. But doesn’t that very act of volunteering mean you are opening your house up for scrutiny?

I’m not suggesting that the VHF should have been running an in depth analysis on the homes to debate the validity of the changes made. In fact, this is the opposite approach I think should have been taken. The “Isn’t it fantastic?!!” attitude turned this from a study of made-over post-mid-century architecture into one big real estate pitch. I submit that this pretense established by the volunteers – that all the changes were positive ones – skewed the “heritage” angle almost beyond recognition.

Would I do it again? Definitely. But then, I’m an optimist. I’ll go in next year with a much greater level of skepticism and with a conservative hope that we will be pleasantly surprised. One thing to keep in mind is that this tour is young. Honestly, given time and some guidance, it could be a huge success. For this year’s effort, however, I have to give the Vancouver Heritage Foundation a 6 out of 10.

In writing this review I had debated with myself about whether to take the approach of critiquing the actual renovations themselves. But with the scarcity of cold hard facts provided about the renovations combined with the fact that there was no photography allowed on the properties, it seemed a natural fit to discuss the presentation instead.

Better luck next year…

Did you attend the Tour this year? Last year? What were your thoughts?

If you didn’t go, what would make you want to?

If you don’t live in or visit Vancouver regularly, do you have a version of this where you are? How is that handled?

I think these kinds of tours are a terrific idea in principle, and I LOVE seeing inside spaces I otherwise would never gain access to. Here’s hoping for a pleasant surprise next year…

‘Til next time,

Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Monday, October 18, 2010

hell freezes over...

Still waiting on finding time to post my review of the Vancouver Specials Tour, and now also a review (with photos) from IDSwest. In the meantime, check out this great news:


Life as we know it is about to change...

Take care,
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Monday, October 4, 2010

making lemonade...

All week last week I was saying that I'd planned on posting a review of the Vancouver Special Homes Tour I attended on Saturday, September 25. So far, that post is a complete lemon. I want to be able to take the time to really give it some thought. And I haven't had time yet. Being busy with your business is great - no complaints here - but it means we haven't had as much time for Twitter, blogging, and working on our forthcoming website.

Even so, I did happen across a tweet from @SterlingSurface that caught my eye: A Facebook album detailing the process of creating custom fit Corian plinths. Definitely worth checking out...

Enjoy! And stay tuned for the Vancouver Specials review asap.

Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Monday, September 20, 2010

so much awesome, so little time...

We are keeping very busy these days with new client appointments, creating kitchen design packages for our clients, working on our new website, developing all our professional practices to expand our services.... There is a lot on the Dome plate. It's all good stuff, but it's a lot.

This means little time for blogging. So I'm going to post a photo pulled via Layers and Layers' blog from the new Dennis Basso collection. Because it's beautiful, and because it's the one I'd select from this shimmery collection...

I can just see a party filled with such beauties spilling into a kitchen and onto a covered patio. This one in particular requires a golden glass of sparkling prosecco in hand, carefully making a few choice pulls from the rustic-but-modern reclaimed lumber appies table, then leaning gracefully against a sculpted chair back looking fabulous in the middle of the whole glamourous, low-lit-and-twinkling event.

Enjoy. And be sure to follow the link below to see what inspired Layers to post about the collection.


Have a lovely day!
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

six degrees at work...

How does one get from Lori to Lauren when each are totally unaware of the other and a period of more than two years separates your own awareness of them? Well…

The short story is:

In late 2007 Ottawa decorator Lori Steeves moves to North Vancouver. Lori meets Ivana who later opens Dome Project Management in Vancouver mid-2008. Lori recommends attending American-born interior design industry guru Kimberley Seldon’s Business of Design seminar series taking place in Vancouver in early 2010. After the seminars, Kimberley recommends attending webinars put on by Calgary’s Kim Page Gluckie of MPowered Marketing called “How to Tweet” and “How to Blog”. At these webinars, Lisa from Dome meets Shannon Fitzpatrick from Toronto who writes an inspiring design blog. One morning Lisa is reading the blog and comes across the entry about Meet My Ugly Baby which turns out to be another hugely inspiring blog written by Lauren about her and her boyfriend purchasing their first apartment in Vancouver.

+ (The company Ivana was working for, Dome’s sister company, when she went to Lori’s new North Van home to measure her kitchen for new IKEA cabinets)

+ (Company owned and run by Lori Steeves)

+ (Kimberley Seldon, Interior Designer)

+ (Kim Page Gluckie, Marketter specialising in small business)

+ (Shannon Fitzpatrick, self-described “Interior Designer Wannabe” and blogger)

+ (Lauren, Blogger and the proud owner of one seriously ugly baby)

The much much longer story is:

In January(ish) of 2008, home decorator extraordinaire Lori Steeves had just moved to Vancouver’s North Shore from Ottawa; very pregnant and ready to renovate. Ivana of Modus Enterprises Ltd. went to Lori’s new home to measure her kitchen for her future IKEA kitchen cabinets. The two hit it off, and Ivana saved Lori’s business card with intentions of recommending her to future clients of Dome looking for service beyond the scope of what we were offering at that point.

Many months later, Lori had a new baby girl and Ivana had a new baby company called Dome. With a view to creating the best possible future for Dome, Ivana asked Lori if she would be willing to meet with the Dome Design Team to provide any professional insights she was willing to empart. Lori agreed.

So Lisa, Ivana, and Lori met at a coffee shop on Cambie in October, 2009. Lori was very open and generous in sharing what she had learned during her years of experience working as an interior decorator. Lisa and Ivana were able to ask all sorts of questions they had been wrestling with as experienced kitchen designers looking to expand their skill sets. By the end of the conversation, Lisa and Ivana were armed with much knowledge and a name: Kimberley Seldon.

Years earlier, Lori had taken part in “Business of Design” – a seminar offered by internationally recognised interior designer Kimberley Seldon. She spoke very highly of the experience and recommended emailing the KS Design Group website to ask about the possibility of Kimberley making an appearance on the West Coast.

All three of us submitted this request to the KSDG site and it was not long before it was announced that Kimberley would do her seminar here in the Spring of 2010.

Taking Business of Design proved to be a great move for Dome.

And a couple of months later, via an annoucement on Facebook, KSDG recommended free online courses being offered by MPowered Marketting in Blogging and Twitter featuring Kimberley as a guest speaker. Lisa signed up and participated in the two webinars, as well as the “after the webinar” Twitter discussion groups.

Through the discussion group that followed one of the webinars, Lisa made an online connection with one very proficient blogger named Shannon Fitzpatrick. Shannon’s blog had been featured in the webinar by Kim of Mpowered as an example of “what to do” (because it’s awesome).

On a rainy Tuesday, Lisa was checking through her usual list of design-related blogs, and came across a posting on What’s Up Whimsy:

This post lead to Lisa reading the entire blog Meet My Ugly Baby in one sitting, posting comments along the way. Lauren’s feedback to Lisa’s posts established an online connection, and Dome now follows Lauren on Twitter, and visa versa.

We have been working with Lori Steeves (on IKEA kitchen designs requiring consultation beyond what we are currently prepared to offer) for a while now. Whether any of these other connections ever result in direct working relationships remains to be seen. For now, Lori, Kimberley, Kim, Shannon, and now Lauren, too, are part of a list of people we at Dome will continue to be inspired by.

Thanks, Ladies.
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

pool o' drool...

Okay this just created that painful feeling you get in your jaws when it's been, like, ten hours since you've eaten and you see something you simply must devour instantly presented in front of you:

Thanks to Meet My Ugly Baby for this find.

And to What's Up Whimsy for leading us to that blog.


Monday, August 30, 2010

"design your life"...

We are planning on attending the Vancouver Home and Interior Design Show:

Lots of local and national companies to see. I'm particularily looking forward to viewing exhibits from California Closets, Color My Kitchen, Cookworks, Home Makeover Magazine, Midland Appliance, Nood, Paragon Surfacing, Recycled Patio, Renocon Design Centre, Tiles for Less, and Yaletown Interiors to name a few.

Hope to see you there,
Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Friday, August 6, 2010

the devil is in the details...

Well, I think the beauty is in the details: in planning ahead. Planning ahead means you can execute those touches that truly "make the space". How delicious is this kitchen's ceiling detail as it pours down the wall and runs into chunky-but-sleek open shelving? If you could clearly read the text the article you'd also see that this inset conceals a vent for the cook-top on the island.

westernliving march 2008 "secret heart"

I'm glad to have seen this. Sometimes fun things happen when the co-worker you need to speak with gets stuck on the phone with a client and there is a magazine to leaf through near by...

Have a terrific weekend,
Lisa (for the DOME Design Team)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

we all deserve to be pampered once and a while...

Doesn't this look just fabulous? Like a place you'd love to get spa treatments done?

This is one of the treatment suites at Breathe Spa in Downtown Vancouver. Just over a year ago they moved into a space that was - although new to them - filled with antique original features everywhere you looked. The owner's added a careful combination of new and vintage-looking touches to create an incredible space to relax in.

And, when you do, be sure to take note of the cabinets Dome recommended to seamlessly integrate with the sumptuous and clean feel of the rooms.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

baby's first publication...

We design cabinet plans for people all the time. Some clients are afraid of their computer. Some want to cut down on the time they are at IKEA working on their cabinet order. Some clients have no idea where to start. Sometimes it's just that the client doesn't have the time to do measure for and space-plan their cabinets.

The clients who are strapped for time are often flush with style and decor ideas. That was definitely the case with Michael Richardson and Brian Sevy, our clients from the Southern Lower Mainland in January of 2009. They were just in the beginning stages of a major renovation project then. Lovely people who we hadn't heard from in a while, until...

Picture this... It's Saturday night and my family is in town and we're doing a barbecue dinner. Hubby's hard at work prepping the food when we realise we are out of charcoal. No problem! We live a minute away from the grocery store. So my brother in law and I head over to pick up a bag of charcoal from the store. Standing in the check-out line, I see this:

I thought to myself "I never buy magazines from the grocery store. And Kimberley Seldon is the Decorating Editor for this one. I should buy it." So I did.

Cut to 45ish minutes later, me eating my dinner, and flipping through my new magazine while casually listening to the conversation my sister and mum are having. Thank goodness I was between bites, because there would have been a serious spit-take. My thoughts: "Oh this is a great sofa. Love that table. Huh - the set-up of those kitchen windows looks familiar..." That's when I almost lost my dinner. Here's what caught my eye:

I think to myself "I know those windows." How do I know those windows? Because we were there. We measured and planned this kitchen a year and a half ago.

So congratulations to Michael and Brian for having the vision to restore this retro gem. Congrats to us for having a client featured in a major design publication. And thank you to Kimberley Seldon for being so generous and inspiring because, without that, I probably wouldn't have thought to pick up this issue of Style at Home.

To learn more...

To see more...

We planned out the cabinets for the main kitchen area, and also designed and sub-contracted the fabrication of the custom piece that you'll see to the far right of the image directly below (wood-framed pass-thru between kitchen and dining area). All cabinet parts were supplied by IKEA, the finishes were selected by the client, the cabinets were installed by our company, and all other finishes were fabricated and installed by other companies.


And pick up the issue - on stands now!

Thanks so much for reading.

Lisa (for the Dome Design Team)

Friday, June 25, 2010

in case you're not on facebook...

We have a number of photos posted on our Facebook page, but - as not everyone who reads blogs is on Facebook - we thought it was a good idea to post photos of our Past Projects here, as well. So here goes... Click these images to see them full-size. (Oh, and hopefully you can guess which is the "before" and which is "after"!)

. project one

. cabinet plan and installation by Dome
. finishes selection and photographs by client

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


One of the questions we get asked a lot at a kitchen design appointment regarding aesthetics is "Is this a big trend? Is it going to date soon?" When answering this question we always try to be specific about the kitchen we are dealing with. For a client trying to answer this question on their own, a good way to go about deciding one's feelings on a particular look (trendy or not) is to do research on it...

Design*Sponge is a terrific resource for tips on what is "in" right now. It deals with many facets of design from clothing to interiors and more. If you want to embrace a given trend, take a look at recent posts in the "mini trends" section to see what's hot in design right now. If you are someone who wants to avoid a trend or wants to make sure the trend you are following is one that will always resurface in popular favour, check back in their archives to see if you can spot recurring themes. ::

Thursday, April 22, 2010

things that make us drool...

We love Nood and all their sumptuously delicious decor, furniture, and gift offerings! We also love a company that puts good photos on their website. Get yourself a napkin and check out these modern master works.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

testing, testing...

Baby's first blog post! We plan to start using this a lot more, so read on to see what you can expect from us...

We are a project management company and specialise in residential interior design with a focus on kitchen design. We plan to use our blog to stay on top of what other people in the creative industry are doing by following other blogs. We also plan on posting lots of stuff that we find interesting and inspiring. Whether that means images of other cities/countries or cool things we find around Vancouver, new products or building practices we've come across, local businesses we're patronising - anything connected to design, really - eventually there will be something for everyone posted here.

Thanks for checking us out and we hope you'll be back soon!