We are so excited about this weeks featured designer, Andy Friesen, founder of Su Casa Design. Andy’s passion for interior design goes back to when he was a kid and it truly shows through in his work. One glance at his portfolio and his Instagram feed (he’s one to follow!) and you’ll be captivated by his clean and contemporary designs. Read our interview with him, and you’ll soon know why he’s a Designer We Love!
Scout & Nimble: How far back does your love for interior design go? When did you know this is what you wanted to do for a living and how did you get started?
Andy Friesen: It goes back to when I was a little child, like eight years old. I’ve just always known this is what I wanted to do. I would be the kid sitting in church on Sundays drawing house plans while the preacher was speaking and begging my parents to tour open showhomes on the weekends! A weekly rearranging of my bedroom for fun wasn’t uncommon either! Fast forward a few years; after some post-secondary schooling, I got hired into an architectural firm to draft house plans. I was open to do anything just to learn and ended up picking exterior paint colors for homes. I guess I did ok picking colors because, before I knew it, I was handling most of all the custom homes in the firm from planning to interior design.
S&N: Tell us a little bit about Su Casa Design and how it got started?
AF: At Su Casa Design, we want to create a home for you – your dream, just expand on it and take it way further than you could ever have thought of yourself. To make it a space that you’re excited to come home to everyday. A place that’s you and gives you joy!
While working at a previous firm, I had so many people asking me to do projects on the side that I couldn’t keep doing both, so I decided to go out on my own.
S&N: How does living in Vancouver influence your design aesthetic? Any other sources of inspiration?
AF: We don’t have a ton of sunshine here (lots of rainy days!) on the West Coast, so I always think about windows and bringing the outdoors in. I am constantly thinking about sunlight; where does it come from and how to filter it through a house.
I’m really inspired by Southern California; places like Palm Springs, Napa, and the whole indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
S&N: How would you describe your style?
AF: Vintage Contemporary?? Clean lines, eclectic with a bit of a farmhouse vibe.
S&N: We know you are married with two kids…how would you say that affects your designs for your own home? Did it change your designs in any way? If so, how?
AF: It completely affects my personal designs. Having children changes how things need to be for sure; both beautiful but very practical! We have to find beautiful things that are easy to clean and functional for day-to-day life…so I’m not allowed to have a light linen sofa right now at ALL! My son also has disabilities so that changes things even more specifically for us. We have to be especially cautious with design choices for his safety so items with sharp corners are a no go!
S&N: What is your favorite part of the design process besides, of course, the finished product and why?
AF: My favourite part by far is coming up with concepts. And, probably picking out light fixtures.
S&N: What’s the craziest request from a client that you have gotten? Anything that was ever outside your wheelhouse that you were forced to learn?
AF: We had a client ask for a Kleenex box cover. We quickly found out the options were limited. After spending almost two weeks looking for something, we realized there was no Kleenex box cover in the world (or that we could find!) that they would like at the pricepoint we were given.
Drapery is really out of my wheelhouse! It’s new unchartered territory that I’m delving into.
S&N: If you had to choose, what’s your favorite room in a home to design and why?
AF: Bar-none, a kitchen. It’s the heart of the home. It is the room that everyone wants to be in and is used every day. I think there are so many areas in a kitchen that one can step outside the usual form and function of how a kitchen is typically done.
S&N: What’s one mistake when it comes to design that you see people make on a consistent basis?
AF: Builder grade stock package light fixtures and/or ‘matchy-matchy’ decor.
S&N: What’s one piece of advice you would be willing to share with someone beginning to decorate a space or someone who wants to tackle making over a room in their own home?
AF: We all have different budget scales, but opt to invest in the items that will stay with you for a while; the perfect sofa or a really awesome table. Go to a thrift store, buy a can of spray paint, and repurpose a piece if needed. Just make sure you fill your space with things that you love or have collected over time. Things that make you happy…go for quirky if that’s you! I’m all about items that get people questioning what’s “weird”….who wants to be generic?
What is currently your favorite design “trend”? Rattan Anything or some aged gold hardware.
Fill in the blank. People don’t know that I can _____. I don’t quite know how to answer that…play piano?
Favorite way to spend a Saturday or your ideal Saturday? Siting lakeside with a good book and a cup of tea
Dream design job? A custom home with clients that will totally trust my judgement.
Favorite piece of advice when designing kids spaces? Practical, as my wife would say. No white linen sofas!
Favorite design rule to break? Why is trim always white? You can paint it the same color as the wall
Favorite design set from a movie? Cameron Diaz’s California home (aka. Kate Winslet’s rental) in the Holiday.
Favorite way to add impact to a room? A really cool light fixture. It’s the jewelry in the room!
One item/possession you would save from your house (other than your family, of course)? I have a reclaimed railway tie side table from India that was the first piece of home decor my wife and I bought with our wedding money. I’ll have it forever. It’s like an art piece and everyone asks about it!
Favorite part about your job? Being creative and the people around me
Hardest part about your job? Tight timelines
Top 3 design Idols/Mentors/Inspiration? Nate Berkus, Kelly Hoppen, Nam Dang Mitchell
What’s one country you would like to visit? France
Worst job you have ever had growing up? Working dish pit at a Greek restaurant. It was NASTY!
Best way to decompress? Netflix and a glass of wine
Single most valuable thing you’ve learned? Listen to your client. It’s so important. I want to expand on what my client wants, so when the project is complete and they’ve lived there a while, the client says, “you totally heard what we wanted!” This gives me so much joy!
Morning person or night owl? Definitely night owl
Whose brain would you like to pick over coffee? (past or present) Nate Berkus
Superstitious? If so, name one thing you have to do? Not at all
Favorite Motto or Mantra? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Want to see more of Andy’s work? Stay up to date here:
All images courtesy of Su Casa Design.