As we pulled into the driveway of interior designer Sonya Kinkade's home, the saying "don't judge a book by its cover" came to me. A quaint bistro table and chairs on one side of the door, along with a charming urn planted with lavender, hinted at the charms waiting beyond the entrance of the unpretentious two-storey home on Richmond's main street.
Inside, the warmth of a woman whose talents for uniting country charm with urban appeal were readily evident. Attention to detail is clearly a strength for Sonya, who cleverly showcases vignettes of interesting objects throughout the home she shares with husband Daryl, a general contractor who run his business next door. The vast property that runs from Richmond's main street to the Jock River provides the three Kinkade children with a natural playground for exploring, as well as being the inspiration for the country elements in Sonya's work.
At the risk of sounding cliché, another quote that came to mind was, "home is where the heart is." It is evident that Sonya is passionate about all things that reflect the home. Her family and decorating style combine to showcase a love for decorating that is reminiscent of the past when homes catered to family life. And the charms of her country-style materials exude personality, function and character.
This imaginative designer took some time to talk to Ottawa At Home about her style and inspirations.
Describe your personal style. I'm not sure that I have a personal style. I tend to choose pieces that mean something to me emotionally, whether it's colour, furniture or accessories. I do not feel the need to be cutting edge. It must give me a sense of the past, the present, my childhood or just simply make me feel good when I enter the room. I love antiques and enjoy mixing them with newer elements in a space.
What projects are you working on now and what sort of projects do you like to work on best? I'm working on a few large jobs. Two are cottages. One is a complete renovation - it was a terrible mess but had good bones. The other is a new-build, post and beam style cottage in Calabogie. I'm also working on a log home renovation that includes a kitchen facelift.
My husband is a general contractor and we recently bought a house that we are working on together to flip - this has been very interesting as first-time flippers. My dream job would be to renovate my own century-old farmhouse or stone home from start to finish.
Where do you get inspiration? A lot comes through nature, and artwork always inspires me. But above all, I have always been - and will always be - inspired by my mother. Growing up, we never had any riches but with what little we did have, my mother could always make our home look beautiful. I remember being so consumed with anticipation each Christmas to see what she was going to do. My mother could have done my job in a heartbeat - she was the most creative person I knew.
With a young family do you find your decorating style at home is different from what it would otherwise be? Definitely! I have three young children, two dogs and a cat - so nothing I have at this point is too precious or perfect. I choose colours that I know will show less dirt, and furniture that will clean easily and not show animal hair.
Where do you like to shop for furnishings? I regularly go to Gendron Antiques in Stittsville. They sell and restore antiques as well as doing a lot of custom work. I also visit small towns within the valley on day trips, and always find some real gems.
Sonya Kinkade Design