Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m Carly, and I was born and raised in Toronto, ON where I still live. I am a full-time policy professional working in health systems design with a hobby-now-turned business in interior decorating. I have a Master’s degree in Public Health as well as a Certificate in Project Management. Now, I’m also earning my Interior Decorating Certificate with QC Design School. I think this is a real reflection of what it means to be a life-long learner.
I would describe myself as a modernist designer, transforming spaces into simple, effortless and sophisticated interiors. I started my website in 2017 as an interior decor blog. The focus was on sharing tips, tutorials, and inspiration for creative, small-space living. Seeing a trend for urban living and organized interiors, my expertise in small spaces started to take shape through one-on-one consultation, e-design services, and full-installations.
You can read more about my story on my website, but feel free to reach out if you have any questions about me or want to connect about our shared passion for interior decor.
Why did you decide to start a professional interior decorating career?
Interior decor was one of those far-fetched hobbies I had a decade ago. I remember decorating all my friends’ places. I loved seeing them interact and enjoy their homes more. But I never really thought that this could become more than just a hobby.
I took community courses on interior decor for fun. Then, I moved onto pursuing my interior decorating certification once people started hiring me for interior decorating jobs. Knowing I am earning a professional certificate helps build my confidence, and grounds my knowledge in how I approach my decor projects.
However, I really love the feeling I get when I see my clients be ecstatic in a space that has fully come together, and they are living out their best life because of their new home. That’s a precious feeling I never forget. Owning my interior decorating business affords me the opportunity to experience that over and over again.
E-Design by Carly Heung
How did you get into e-design?
E-design is one of those vague terms with a different meaning depending on the person. In very simple terms, it is interior design services offered online.
Many clients struggle to reimagine their home when their current furnishings, accessories and floorplan are still in place. 3D modeling uses measurements from real furnishings to populate the floorplan. This is one of the best ways to visualize a new layout or to create a cohesive space.
I did not consciously decide to get into e-design—it came to me. Being featured on Structube led a wonderful Calgarian woman to asked me to help her re-design her living room/dining room. Working with someone from another part of the country required a different approach.
For her to understand and visualize my design concepts for her space, I researched various 3D modeling programs to build a 3D floorplan of her space. From there, I showed her how I envisioned her space. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that could not have been truer in this case.
Living Room E-Design by Carly Heung
My experience with e-design gives me a competitive edge over other decorators. Convincing your client of your vision is a huge undertaking. Usually, a proposal like that could easily take a thousand words. But I let my 3D models speak for themselves.
Why are you interested in small-space interior decorating?
I am interested in small spaces because there’s a growing need for them. Urban living was a movement that started in the 2010s. It’s still growing, especially in large metropolitan cities like Toronto in response to the real estate market.
Small-space living is becoming the new norm. Besides young professionals and couples, it’s popular with empty nesters and those who don’t want to spend too much time maintaining a large house.
The movement is not just about geographical and logistical conveniences when living in large cities. It’s about living a life of simplicity and cherishing what we have more to benefit our mental health and well-being. Small-space living is linked to a minimalist lifestyle in freeing our minds from both physical and mental clutter. This is a lifestyle that more and more people find appealing.
Before & After Living Room by Carly Heung
What was favorite interior decorating job?
My favorite interior decorating job so far was a living room and home office project for a client who lived in a small condo. I had the opportunity to resolve various challenges for my client. Issues included a small and awkward layout, a poorly designed sofa, and a dark space.
During the in-home consultation, she was stressed, frustrated, and was at an impasse with what to do with her living room. She had ordered a sofa from Wayfair, which turned out to be too dark and poorly-constructed. And her living room layout was awkward and made little sense. But she could not see her sofa going anywhere else. After a few minutes of considering various options, I convinced her to entertain a different layout.
For my design proposal, I created a light, airy, Scandinavian-inspired decorating style that brightened-up the room. She was so happy with the final results! I put to use the skills and knowledge I learned from earning my interior decorating certificate. Now, she is living her best life and that makes me extremely happy.
What is your biggest career accomplishment so far?
My work has been featured by Urban Barn, Umbra, Structube, Gluckstein Home, Ikea, and Marie Kondo, the author of the best-selling book “The Magical Art of Tidying Up”. I am also a regular contributor to many media publications in Toronto and Greater-Toronto-Area. Recently, I won the Ambassador Scholar Award from the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada through QC Design School.
Earlier this year, I was part of a panel of esteemed experts who presented on stage about designing small spaces at the Greater Toronto Area Home and Reno Show! Meeting and developing relationships with other design and industry professionals has been one of my biggest career accomplishments so far.
Why did you decide to learn interior decorating online?
I enrolled in online interior decorating classes because I could continue my full-time job while pursuing additional training in interior decorating. QC’s decorating course was self-paced, so I had the flexibility to set my schedule.
I chose QC Design School over other design schools because I was interested in learning from their tutors. Their tutors have had decades of experience in the design industry. I was also interested in the Business Module that came with the materials.
What’s on the horizon for your interior decorating career?
Aside from finishing the interior decorating course to earn my certificate, my goals are to build and execute a new branding strategy, perfect the customer service experience, and build my design portfolio!