Western Living Magazine
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Introducing Western Living’s 2023 Designers of the Year Award Winners
Ami McKay spends an afternoon on Main Street in search of sustainable design (and the perfect scone).
Costume design, theatre design, furniture design: Ami McKay is a bit of a renaissance woman in the design world. Ive also been a florist, and I once wanted to be a visual artist, says McKay. Ive even designed my own line of bedding. But interior designMcKay now runs the Vancouver-based Pure Designwas the pastime that became her true passion. Her projects run the gamut from bright and feminine makeovers in Kitsilano to rustic luxury cabins in Washington, but each of them features her signature mix of the practical and the whimsical (think cozy cotton sheets in dreamy shades of lavender or roomy dining tables tucked beneath quirky chandeliers made of suspended light bulbs). Whatever she's working on, McKay is a stickler for balance and strives to incorporate sustainable practices into beautiful spaces. Having a positive impact is important to me. Just because it's eco-friendly doesn't mean it cant be beautiful and interesting. McKay is a regular on Main Street, hunting for modern Danish side tables at Vancouver Special or finishing touches (like coastal sage soaps) from the Soap Dispensary, and making pit stops for cant-believe-they're-gluten-free scones at The Last Crumb. You can find a bit of everything in this neighbourhood, says McKay over a late-afternoon cocktail at buzzy hipster taco joint El Camino's. Great interiors, great food. It's full of inspiration.
Vancouver Special 3612 Main Street, Vancouver, vanspecial.com
“Vancouver Special has a great furniture selection and great accessories. I like to come here for the finishing touches; I can find pieces that pop and it's perfect for styling hints. These Solair chairs are a great nod to the past and it’s hard to say no to colour. I love books and bookstores too and they have a great selection of style books here, like this copy of Pantone: the 20th Century in Colour. They're so timeless and valuable and are a great source of design inspiration. These Hay ottomans are made from recycled Saris, so no two items are alike. It's unique and sustainable, qualities I like to look for.
Twigg & Hottie 3671 Main St, Vancouver, we3.ca
Twigg & Hottie cares about making eco choices with the products that they carry. Each tag includes a checklist, which gives shoppers some information on the garments: sustainable fibre, locally made, recycled material, Canadian-made, one of a kind. Their house brand, WE3 Design, is greatthis Translation dress (left) has a unique shape and Japanese form with lots of texture. Vancouver-based Flight Path Designs creates these unique belt buckles (right) that can really funkify your jeans. They're versatile with mix and match leather belts and buckles.
The Soap Dispensary 3623 Main St, Vancouver, thesoapdispensary.com
The Soap Dispensary reminds me of an apothecary, like stepping back in time. It's filled with natural soaps and products that smell great and make cleaning enjoyable. Everything is refillable with no wasteful plastic. The products come in all glass containers that you can bring back to refill every time with natural soaps, deodorants and cleaning products. The The dryer balls work so well and help cut drying time by 30-50%. They're locally made and so colourful. By cutting down on dry time, you're saving energy and costs, making it sustainable all around. Be Clean Naturally Soaps are Canadian-made with 100% natural ingredients. They have so many different scents and they smell fantastic, plus they have cheeky sayings printed on the front.”
The Last Crumb 3080 Main St, Vancouver, lastcrumb.ca
The Last Crumb has a wonderful selection of food for people with dietary restrictions. Like their gluten-free sconewiches, the brie, walnut and arugula is my favourite. I always have lunch here when Im in the area. I met Joanne Lee (owner of the Last Crumb) after her sister hired me to design her house. She would bring treats to everyone but never had anything I could eat. So she started playing with gluten-free and now it's a dream come true to have this place to come to.
The Flower Factory 3604 Main St, Vancouver, flowerfactory.ca
I use to be a florist for eight years so I get weak in the knees when ever I go into the Flower Factory. The smells and the colours remind me of those early years. I always have fresh flowers at home and I always try to integrate them into my designs and shoots. Spring is the best time to style a home because of the endle
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