Words by Kelly Deck.

1. Gardening

I started gardening seriously when my dad passed away five years ago and I just needed something to do that was beautiful, that wasn’t big, and that wasn’t for somebody else. From there it’s grown into this runaway passion and love of mine. It’s a short game and a long game at the same time: plants will immediately reward you by growing if you care for them—it’s a simple exchange. And it’s not like trying to design a multimillion-dollar estate, which takes years. It’s simple love, every day, and it rewards you with beauty—it’s incredibly therapeutic.

Kew Gardens. Photo credit: iStock/Vladislav Zolotov

2. Kew Gardens

Last spring I travelled to London, and there were a couple of places in Kew Gardens that were both inspiring and replenishing: the Palm House and Waterlily House. The former is this incredible Victorian steel and glass structure that houses rare and unique tropical plants from rainforests around the world,  and the latter’s waterlilies are up to eight feet across. Standing in that humid greenhouse, staring at the lilies—I felt like there was still magic on earth.

3. Vintage and Craft Design

I travel all over the world for handmade textiles and ceramics—dragging them home in my suitcases, which is often comical to say the least. And I’m a vintage obsessive, too: I can’t leave Paris without heading to Les Puces. Locally, the antiques dealers in Vancouver often call us when they have something exciting come in. We’re always looking to bring a feeling of the collected in our designs: not everything is shiny and new, and those handcrafted and vintage pieces bring a true narrative to a space.

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad. Photography by Elena Heatherwick.

4. Cooking

I adore Mediterranean-style cooking: fresh, quick to cook and whole. It’s even more rewarding to share with others if I’ve grown the food myself. My favourites for recipes are Donna Hay and Yotam Ottolenghi; she’s fast and
efficient, and he’s not, but his flavours are worth it. With cooking you can be very creative in a short burst of time—and you’re putting your love and devotion on the table in front of the people you care about. And everyone is nourished by it: emotionally, physically, spiritually. It’s an offering, a way of saying I love you that gives everyone joy.

5. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Whenever life becomes a slog, this audio book is one of my go-tos. Gilbert does an exquisite job of personifying creativity, and helping you shift your perspective on your relationship with creativity and what a dynamic force it can be in your life.

6. Business of Home Podcast

I’m really inspired by listening to industry leaders in the interior design market and hearing their thoughts on business and brand building. It gives me perspective on the market internationally—I especially loved hearing from textile brand founder John Robshaw.


Originally published in the July/August 2023 issue of Western Living Magazine.