Friday, 8 November 2013

IN CONVERSATION WITH lEANNE BUNNELL

 

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LeAnne Bunnell

 

LeAnne Bunnell is a wonderful designer, client and personality from Calgary, Alberta. Each of her projects appears uniquely inspired and individual, yet consistently furnished with elements that are on trend, fun and classic, all at the same time; making them both adaptable and liveable while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic with an emphasis on quality and longevity. She is also a regular contributor to Décor Mentor and has been featured in popular Calgary-based magazine Avenue, as well as the Calgary Herald.

 

We had the pleasure of helping her create her brand for her beautiful studio, 7070 Headquarters – a design collective where fellow designers can rent office space and take advantage of the shared presentation room, library and kitchen. It is unique in that it is aimed at Calgary’s design professionals with beautifully designed space with private areas for tenants to truly make their own. Not to mention that all of the common areas are neutral (allowing for any presentation to take center stage) yet striking with golden accents and meticulous details with a hint of nature in the artwork and natural wood finishes.

 

Not only is LeAnne flexing her entrepreneurial muscles with 7070, she also is introducing software targeted at helping designers with their unique bookkeeping and project management needs to the Calgary market. I can’t wait to learn more about DesignDoc’s promises to increase profitability and reduce stress – who doesn’t want that??

 

For more on LeAnne, 7070 studio and Design Docs, keep reading to get in on the conversation…

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

 

LeAnne Bunnell - I grew up in a small town where most people bought their furniture upstairs at the hardware store, so the IKEA catalogue arriving in the mail was like receiving a glimpse into the exotic outside design world. I mean, it was from SWEDEN!  That catalogue became dogeared as I used it, a pencil, a ruler and  some graph paper to design my dream bedroom over and over and over.  I also built the most rad Barbie bungalow in our basement with plywood, cardboard, packing styrofoam and Sears catalogue photos.

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – How would you describe your style?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – The interiors I design are generally classic, functional, and are elegant in an approachable way. I always try to inject the personality of the homeowners through colour, art and pattern. I love layering luxury in, and art is essential.  My personal aesthetic is a little more minimalistic, but I think its because I don’t like to dust.

 

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade -  What is your design philosophy?

 

LeAnne Bunnell - I believe that any interior space has to first and foremost function for the client; then you can layer in the beauty, personality and artful elements.  To me a room can be gorgeous but if it doesn't meet the functional needs of the client, it creates frustration. I also like to make sure there is an element of surprise, or whimsy. A sense of humour is essential.

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – I appreciate that the selection of your project’s furniture pieces are often a mix of more custom or high-end items and more affordable elements. Could you please describe the reasoning and advantages of this technique for our readers?

 

LeAnne Bunnell –  Being a designer is a huge responsibility, and how my clients' spend their money is important to me. Clients usually come to me with if not a hard and fast budget, a least a sense of where they would like the funds to be allocated, so I always try to maximize the budget to achieve the function, the atmosphere, and the client's style.  

 

Seating in my designs is usually custom, as you can tailor the piece to the client's comfort, and the design direction. I like to use custom millwork to increase utilizable space and achieve the best function. Sometimes it's the signature Iight fixture we fall in love with and need to make work.  I always try to find the compromises to save a little so we can afford the splurges.

 

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Vignette by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – I am also very drawn to your fabric selections. What is your process for choosing fabrics? Any tips for our readers?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – it varies by project, but I always start with the feeling that we would like to evoke in the room; luxurious, elegant, casual, warm and cozy. Colour comes next; I like to develop interesting palettes. Then I layer in pattern, texture and details.

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – What do you enjoy most about being a designer?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – My clients!  I have had the pleasure of working with interesting, savvy, stylish and fun people.

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade - Who are your design idols?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – Nate Berkus has an approach to design that is relatable and full of personal touches. Kelly Wearstler has such a bold aesthetic, and fearlessly takes design risks. I also personally know so many talented local designers, who are not only friends, but also inspire me. Seriously fabulous people in Calgary.

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade - If you could design a home for anyone, who would it be? /  What would be your dream project?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – Sting. I would love to work with Sting. And design a modern mountain retreat for him and Trudi. If anyone knows him, pass my name on.  We'll do lunch.

 

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Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – What is the best advice you have received as designer?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – From the fab Kimberley Seldon: 'Design is 80% business and 20% creative'.  And Bruce Croxon form Dragons Den: Get a buttoned down system to execute your designs, and inspire confidence in your clients.

 

 

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Entry Vignette by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – We were impressed with your professionalism and drive in getting 7070 Design Headquarters off the ground when you first approached us for the graphic and web design; how has Calgary reacted to the recent launch?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – After a long slog through finding the right location, permitting process, not to mention the build, the response has been great. All of our offices are filled, and with an amazing group of like minded designers. 

 

I think that the physical space has been a huge benefit to all of us. We no longer have to drive from home offices to meet clients in coffee shops, chilly job sites or supplier show rooms.  We have a huge selection of samples from all our suppliers at our fingertips. We have frequent lunch and learns here, and the warehouse space and dock doors allow us to access product that would have previously been out of our reach. 

 

We all work differently from each other but we have created a community that is supportive and creative.  There are monthly 'happy hours' where we discuss our triumphs, stumbles and share advice.  We are working on a shared charity project, and hope to develop an in-house education series with suppliers.

 

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Seventy Seventy Headquarters

 

Iván Meade – What kind of person could benefit from becoming a member of this design collective you have created with 7070? How and why?

 

LeAnne Bunnell –Well. We are currently an interesting mix but I think we all have one thing in common. Anybody joining us would have to have a great sense of humour. We laugh a lot. 

 

Being driven to succeed in this industry is great, and having a generous spirit is important.  We share a lot here.  We strive to offer support, offer kudos and we are constantly gaining inspiration from each other.  We look out for our colleagues, and share good advice.

 

Iván Meade – I was very impressed with the preview of DesignDocs, it is a great business tool that could revolutionize small design firms conduct business. What do you think the effect of this product will be on the design world and where do you see it going in the future?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – Dean and Gillian are the driving forces behind Design Docs and have created a project management and accounting program that allows designers to truly know their business. No more lost billing. Analysis of time and product categories. It follows transactions from proposal to final billing.  It has so much potential, and I am excited to hear that they are presenting at High Point this fall.

 

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Iván Meade – How does it achieve its promise of increasing profits and reducing stress?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – After talking to many interior designers accounting and bookkeeping is their downfall. Some don't even know how much money they make.  Or where in their business it comes from. Now that is stressful.

 

Design Docs lets  you see all this, on each service, each product, each room, and each project. By the week, or by the month.  It allows proper financial goal setting, and confident budgeting conversations with clients.  Knowledge is power.

 

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Memo Samples from Seventy Seventy Design Headquarters

 

Iván Meade – Are you working on any new entrepreneurial endeavours at the moment?

 

LeAnne Bunnell –  Phew!  Still trying to catch my breath after opening Seventy Seventy. My design business is growing and I love the work so I am thrilled to be 'just' designing again.

 

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Office space at Seventy Seventy Design Headquarters

 

Iván Meade - What are you excited about in the world of design?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – I am constantly amazed by creativity. Whether the creation of beauty in objects, furnishings or art, or in solutions to problems I love learning about the process of design; there are so many paths.

 

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Brainstroming Session at Seventy Seventy Headquarters

 

Iván Meade - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – It's so gratifying to become part of my clients' lives for a few months or for a few years. And to work on consecutive homes for the same client. I'd like to think that I've improved my clients' daily life with my designs, and that when they walk into the spaces we've worked on they say:  'Ahhh. I'm home.'  That makes me happy.

 

I invite you to visit LeAnne’s websites and explore her approach to design:

 

 

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5 comments:

Karena Albert said...

Excellent conversation with LeAnne, Ivan. I can tell you both had a very rewarding collaboration.

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

Darrell Morrison said...

Fantastic to see a familure face in the world of design, Ivan still amazing me with the "In Conversation reach".

Echo said...

I love her sense of humour - I definitely get the sense that she would be fun to collaborate with as her design client or a member of 7070!

Michelle said...

Love LeAnne...she is as personable as she is talented :)

International Decor said...

Absolutely gorgeous. You really know how to put a beautiful ideas, thanks for sharing it with us