Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a graduate of QC’s Interior Decorator program, as well as a TV host, an avid upcycler, and furniture refinishing artisan. I have a passion for creating beautiful spaces by merging the world of upcycling and DIY together through Interior Design.
I’ve always had an eye for finding the beauty in the unexpected. You can often find me hitting up my local thrift stores to find tired but unique furniture and decor. If not there, I’m typically painting furniture at my studio while listening to 90’s Hip Hop and running my business, Bluebird Upcycled Style, here in Ottawa, Ontario.
How did you decide to go into upcycling furniture and home décor?
After years of working in the Child Welfare and Community Development field, with the intention that this would be my life-long career, I took the leap and became an Interior Decorator. During that process, I fell into the upcycling and design world.
After moving into a home that required a lot of updating, I had to find inexpensive and creative ways to renovate and design it. Upcycling and being thrifty was a great option to create a beautiful space, without the expense. By transforming tired, but excellent, quality furniture by painting it, I could give it a custom look that could seamlessly incorporate it into my decor. It was also fun and a great creative outlet.
It was thrilling to find unique, inexpensive furniture and decor items. I was able to turn my passion into a business, as I found that not only did people want to purchase my refinished furniture, but many were looking to learn how to do it themselves. I created my business, Bluebird Upcycled Style, to sell refinished furniture and retailing paint. I also aim to teach my clients through my courses, blogs, and TV segments.
You’ve been hosting “The Thrify Upcycler” on Rogers TV since September! How have you enjoyed this experience? How did you land the role?
The launch of my show “The Thrifty Upcycler” has been an amazing experience, and a goal that I’ve been working towards for the past few years! I have been doing TV segments for three years. I really enjoy teaching and sharing tips to viewers. I knew that there was a big interest here in Ottawa in terms of wanting to learn more how to get creative, thrifty, and get tips on where to save/where to splurge in their homes.
I pitched my show idea to the wonderful team at Rogers TV. They loved it, and not long after, I taped my pilot for my show. In it, I shared design tips, DIY hacks, and featured local experts. After a few months, I received the green light for my first season of The Thrifty Upcycler. It developed into 12 episodes, which I began shooting not long after. It has recently began airing on Rogers TV every Thursday night at 8pm. You can also watch it on YouTube.
As a graduate of QC’s Interior Decorating course, what advice would you give to new students who are just starting out?
Since the Design field is always evolving, there are so many career paths you can take once you graduate. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with my certification, but I’m so happy to have found something I am so passionate about!
Why did you decide to earn your interior decorating certification online instead of at a physical school or college?
With a young family, work, and life in general, finding the time to go to a physical school was not an option for me. Having the flexibility to work at my own pace, on my schedule, allowed me to successfully complete my program and receive my certification.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career and your business?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is to take the risk! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or reach out to others to connect and/or collaborate.
Describe your favorite project so far—what made it exciting for you (design style, clients themselves, the scale of the project, etc.) – If you can, please include images of this project with your Feature, we would love to feature them next to your answers!
It’s difficult to name just one project, but this dresser was one of my favorites. When I refinish furniture, sometimes I know exactly what I am going to do with it. But most often, I don’t. Those projects are the most fun! I simply had fun with the creative process, using bold colors. It turned into a gorgeous floral transfer, using several different techniques to create this beauty.
What’s on the horizon for Bluebird Upcycled Style in the next year or so?
2019 has been a great year! I’m looking forward to the next. I’m hoping to get a second season of The Thrifty Upcycler, and to continue to create more blogs as a creative expert with the Salvation Army. I was thrilled to recently audition as an expert on The Marilyn Denis show, so you can catch me on this in 2020!