November 22, 2019

Design With Self-Care in Mind

Maria DeCotiis views interior design as a form of self-care. As the mom of three boys, her home is filled with beautiful pieces that mix masculine functionality with a softer feminine touch. Back when her second son was first born, she said, “It was so depressing in our house, when you’re home all day as a new mom you need to have a space that makes you feel good. When people say they’re waiting until the kids are older to create their dream home, it really motivates me to show them it can be done. When you have kids and you have a nice home, you are able to teach them to appreciate it." We chatted with Maria about this, and her many other design philosophies (plus, what holiday decorating looks like to her). —Vita Daily


Hi Maria! What inspired your love for/career in interior design?

I was always surrounded by some form of interior design. My father was a builder and growing up we were always surrounded by floor plans and builder lingo. Often we would visit my father on site and I never realized it then, but I was always fascinated with the whole process. I also feel the way we lived in our home inspired my love for design. I grew up in a house that was always ready for guests and I can remember how much joy that brought me, I'd like to give that feeling to my clients.

What fascinates you most about the way fashion and lifestyle play such a big role in furniture design and the design of homes?

I love the fact that fashion and lifestyle influence home design and furniture. As we see a move toward more-casual ways of dressing in society. I noticed our furniture is also becoming more casual and comfort is key. Families spend more time togehter entertaing at home and that's where homeowners are now favouring an open plan layout.

How does life stage play into design choices/decisions/plans?

With each stage of our lives, our daily routine and responsibilities change. If are in your 20s and single you probably don't need a big kitchen to entertain in and storage is likely manageable, this will influence the design plans. When I am designing for a family, I understand storage is one of the most important considerations and will suggest investing in built-ins. Depending on your stage of life, we can decide where your design should be focused.

How can people make plans now for a space that will work for them currently and in the future?

Ask yourself where you see yourself in the next five years, those answers will help with decisions and how to budget your project.

For people who have kids, who think, well, we'll just wait till the children are older to redo our home, what would you say?

I would tell them that just like the decision to have kids, there is never the perfect moment. The sooner we expose our kids to a home we are proud of, the better care and appreciation they will have for it. It's when the kids are young that we need our home to function the most. With the majority of our time dedicated to our small children, the last thing we want is a home that doesn't function or feel good.


Tell us more about your philosophy, of viewing interior design as a form of self-care.

Being in an environment that doesn't spark joy will directly affect your mood. Our home should be the place we want to escape to and evoke feelings of joy. If we are constantly surrounded by clutter or furniture we dislike, it is not possible to be in a state that enables us to take care of our mental or emotional health.

What are your top three to five tips when it comes to designing a space that will work across life stages and seasons?

Look to what isn't currently working for you and ask yourself why. Plan! Planning your space is so important. Think about how you want to live in your home throughout the year. Create rooms that can have a dual purpose or can be easily changed in the future. And, finally, invest in quality pieces that you can reuse/reupholster in the future.

And, in terms of trends that come and go, what advice can you offer around creating a timeless space?

My advice to create a timeless space is to be careful where to use trends. Just because you see it being done doesn't mean it's right for your space. When using trends don't invest as much as you would in pieces or styles that have longevity. Try adding trends in pillows and accessories that can easily changed year to year.

What do your favourite spaces look/feel like?

Living in Vancouver, we have many rainy days that can feel gloomy, therefore my favorite spaces feel bright and warm. I also love to add a traditional element to the spaces I design. Overall my favourite spaces must feel comfortable and inviting.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I am always flipping through design magazines or scrolling on Pinterest. Often most of my inspiration comes from my experiences, whether it's at a hotel or out for dinner at a restaurant. Travel is a great source of inspiration for me. There is something about being a guest in another city that inspires me.

Personal question: what personal space do you plan to or would you like to tackle next?

Now that my kids are no longer babies, we are in different stage of life. I'd love to tackle my main floor to be more conducive to the way we live every day.


Festive question: any tips for holiday decor? How do you decorate for Christmas?

Yes, you can never have to much sparkle at Christmas! Look around your home for colour inspiration and build your chrismtas pallette from there, green and red aren't alwyas the best choice. You still want your deorations to flow with your exisitng colours.

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