Tell us a little about yourself!
Currently, I live in Pickering, Ontario with my husband. However, I grew up in Toronto, Ontario. I have two wonderful adult children and two insanely beautiful grandchildren. And, of course, I’m the proud owner of an internationally-recognized interior decorator certification through QC Design School.
Besides being a professional designer, I’m also a Certified Life/Executive Coach. Originally, I embarked on this journey as a corporate trainer for a Property Management firm many years ago. I believed this training would assist me when interacting with my diverse group of trainees. In a nutshell, a Life Coach helps their clients bridge the gap from point A to B. Obtaining these skills has proven to be invaluable, as they benefit all areas of my professional and personal life.
Professionally, as a designer, I’ve been able to channel my coaching skills to help clients accomplish their goals. As a result, I help them turn their dreams into reality! Personally, I have experienced tremendous personal growth.
A few other tidbits about me: I’m a classically trained pianist, and my husband is a professional singer. I enjoy a full-bodied organic Cab-Sav wine, jazz music, and I’m a serious movie buff.
When did you realize that you had an eye for interior decorating? Moreover, when did you decide to pursue design as a professional career?
Design and architecture are my absolute PASSIONS, and have been since my teenage years. My road to design has taken a few twists and turns, as I’ve worn several different career hats over the years. However, I never abandoned my deep love affair with interior decorating and design.
Over the years, I designed spaces for friends and family, as well as several commercial spaces. I also devoured every design publication that I could find! Magazines, design books, design shows… I just could not get enough. Eventually, I realized that my happy place was being an interior decorator! After completing my Interior Decorating education with QC Design School many years ago, Soulier Design Studio was founded.
How did you first discover QC Design School and what made you decide to enroll in our Interior Decorator certification program?
As mentioned previously, I was constantly reading design magazines. As such, I’d repeatedly notice the ads for QC Design School in them. I completed some due diligence by reviewing numerous courses from other schools. However, I concluded that QC had – by far – the absolute best syllabus. Plus, QC is recognized by many reputable design associations and has a stellar reputation!
You graduated from QC’s Interior Decorator certification course back in 2010. What was your experience like in this program? What were some of the most valuable lessons and/or skills you gained through your education?
I found the entire course extremely exciting and engaging. Honestly, I know this sounds bizarre, but I was disappointed when my studies had finished. I enjoyed it that much!!!! My tutor was wonderful and supportive. I remember receiving her feedback and grades on my units very quickly.
In particular, I enjoyed the business training units. They detailed how to register your business, advertise yourself, and manage projects and accounts. Plus, I was also supplied with helpful business forms and templates. Through my interior decorator certification training, I truly learned how to walk in the shoes of a designer. By the time I graduated, I could create a home for my clients from the floorplan up!
In short: the invaluable training I received from QC Design School has no doubt been paramount to the success of my business!
You’ve since launched a successful interior decorator/design business, Soulier Design Studio. Tell us about it!
Soulier Design Studio specializes in sustainability, eco-friendly design, products, and wellness lifestyle. I believe that every room in your home should be an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying experience. But more importantly, your home should support your health and wellbeing.
We live in a time of extreme consumerism and a throwaway culture. Our health and lives would truly benefit if we just took the time to slow down. If we could all be more mindful, conscious, live more sustainably, and respect our earth’s natural resources, the world would be a much happier place.
Can you elaborate a bit more about your mission to fuse interior decor/design with wellness?
As an Interior Design and Decorator firm, our end goal is to create a beautifully appointed home. That is, a home full of warmth and comfort that reflects our client’s lifestyle and personality. We want to create a space where their families can relax, play, and enjoy spending their time.
More importantly though, our mission is to create an environment. Ideally, this environment is a stress-free sanctuary; an oasis that supports their health and wellbeing – devoid of harmful toxins and chemicals.
“What is the point in living in a gorgeous, Instagram-worthy home that is negatively affecting your health and well-being?”Deborah SoulierInterior Decorator, Founder of Soulier Design Studio
Soulier Design Studio FUSES Interior Design with Wellness. Primarily, we achieve this by offering the latest solutions in Eco-friendly design. We carefully choose the products introduced. This way, we can ensure a positive impact on the indoor air quality and environment of your home, cottage, or office space.
At the same time, we also introduce you to Biophilia, which encourages:
- A connection with nature
- Natural daylighting
- Specific light fixtures, which enhance your health and sleep
- Energy-saving building materials
- Natural, organic, and non-toxic design materials
You offer clients a WIDE array of design services – from full-service interior decorating, to color consulting, to virtual design, and so much more. Which of your services is the most popular? Which of your services is your personal favorite?
Color consulting is a probably one of the most popular services. Clients find it very intimidating and frustrating to sift through 3,000 paint chips in order to find the perfect color(s) for their homes.
Full-Service is also extremely popular (and my personal favorite). I enjoy the transformation of my clients’ homes, as well as their excitement watching their dream spaces come to life!
Soulier Design Studio has also won quite the number of awards! In total, which awards have you won over the years?
My studio has won two Houzz awards. One was for Best of Houzz Service and the other, The Early Adopter Award, was for those who have been with Houzz since its birth. According to Houzz, “It is a highly coveted award, which recognizes top designers on the site who have demonstrated outstanding service in their niche.”
Fun fact: I even received a call from the Houzz headquarters in California, informing me of the award and the upcoming gala in Toronto. They invited me to attend, so they can personally present me with the award!
This year, I also entered the DDA (Decorator’s & Designer’s Association of Canada) design competition for the first time. I wound up winning a Silver Award for Bathrooms over 30K. It was a fabulous experience! Moreover, I was also one of the judges of the competition (not in the category that I entered, of course). This was also a wonderful experience. I feel honored to be in the same company with so many talented colleagues!
Tell us a little about your FAVORITE design project to date!
I really love a challenge! I would have to say that designing the bathroom (for which I won the DDA award) was a favorite. The design brief was to create a blissful spa with healing in mind. The space was meant to be bright, with a hotel feel, hits of glam, ample storage, and easy maintainability. This was a tall order, considering the bathroom was only 46 square feet! Plus, it was very tired and dark.
Creating This Space
To create the illusion of a bigger space, the bathroom footprint was reconfigured. This allowed for a larger vanity and storage. A mainly white color palette was chosen to create the spacious, luxurious, modern sanctuary the clients were after.
Next, we installed AXENT One’s luxurious, intelligent, wall-hung/low-profile, tankless toilet. This gave the space back 8 inches of needed space! It has all the bells and whistles of a modern, integrated bidet toilet’s appeal. Plus, it floats above the bathroom floor, which offers an easy-to-clean bathroom solution. We also incorporated biophilic design elements to bring nature in, as well as inspire peace and tranquility.
To amplify the overall sense of tranquility, 3 layers of lighting were carefully curated. Concealed, low-level, under vanity occupancy lighting washes the floor with light and casts a warm ambience. An expansive LED, dimmable, round, illuminated mirror is perfect for grooming tasks. At the same time, it also creates the illusion of a larger space. We also installed LED recessed lights, dimmable from warm to bright white. These provide Chromatherapy capabilities. Chromatherapy is a therapeutic modality and a proven method to calm, energize, sooth, achieve balance, and harmony. So perfect for healing!
This small bathroom is now living large. Furthermore, it demonstrates that a huge, sprawling bathroom is not a prerequisite for creating a restorative bathroom retreat!
How has the COVID pandemic affected your interior decorator/design career? In what ways have you adapted to the world’s “new normal”?
I’ve been advocating healthy interior decorating, design, and wellness in the built environment since 2007. Everyone I spoke to about this thought I was living in the Twilight Zone. When I first launched my Eco design firm, I literally had other designers say to me, “No one cares about that eco stuff.”
Fast forward 14 years later… In the midst of a global pandemic, everyone now cares about that “eco stuff”. We’re all living more sustainably because homeowners now have a heightened interest in living in a healthier home environment. It’s creating quite a buzz in the design world! As a result, many companies have reached out and invited me to me to be their guest speaker on healthy design webinars and symposiums.
Many years ago, I completely automated my business. I wanted it to run like a well-oiled machine. When a client contacts us through our website, they’re directed to an online client portal . There, they pay for their chosen package, complete a questionnaire, and book their consultation. This online studio provides an exceptional client experience, as their entire project takes place in their own studio.
When COVID hit, so many businesses were scrambling to move online. Moreover, they were experiencing downtime and had to overcome a huge learning curve. I was truly fortunate that I had already moved to an online platform years prior. After all, virtual meetings replaced on-site meetings in most places around the world during the pandemic.
In your opinion, what’s the best part of being a professional interior decorator and designer?
Besides being able to explore my creativity, I find it extremely rewarding being an interior decorator/designer! Nothing compares to the feeling of transforming a client’s space into something more incredible than they could have ever imagined or completed on their own. Each design brief is so personal and unique to every client.
I love the saying by Winston Churchill from back in 1944: “We shape our dwellings and afterwards, our dwellings shape us.” Our home environment has a direct affect on the way we feel. This includes our health and wellbeing. To me, the design process feels like being a sculptor. I get to mold our clients’ houses into homes. I absolutely adore the design community and its energy.
Over the years, I’ve attended several fabulous design events and galas. I’ve made so many incredible, like-minded friends, too!
In what ways do you feel your interior decorator certification training with QC Design School has contributed to your career success?
Being an interior decorator and/or designer is not just about using creativity. You also require immaculate technical skills. Without a strong foundation, a home will crumble. QC Design School was my foundation! They provided me with the confidence I required to launch my design firm.
The design, business, and technical skills I gained during my interior decorator certification training have continued to resonate throughout the years. They’re woven throughout all aspects of my business, as well as the projects I’ve had the fortune to be a part of.
What’s the #1 reason why you recommend QC Design School to those thinking of getting their professional interior decorator certification?
QC Design School is a highly professional design institution. Their flexible, self-paced interior decorator certification course allowed me to fit my studies into a terribly busy schedule. As such, I could continue working at my job at the same time.
For me, this would not have been possible if I were enrolled in a 4-year degree program. I can actually remember the day I received my certification as if it were yesterday. Due to the incredible training and support from QC Design School, I felt completely empowered to launch my business immediately. If you enroll with QC, you will, too!
Lastly, and very importantly, QC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Moreover, they’re recognized by tons of professional design associations. Many other certification programs are not. I’ve been a member of the DDA for the past 5 years. Being an accredited member of the DDA has boosted my creditability. Furthermore, it indicates that I have been trained at a recognized educational institution. This is HUGE for your business!
What’s on the horizon for you and Soulier Design Studio in the future?
Firstly, I have continued my studies. I’ve taken several additional courses on LEED, Biophilia, and numerous others pertaining to healthy design. Currently, I am enrolled in the Spring semester at Parsons Design School in New York. There, I’m completing my Certification in Healthier Materials and Sustainable Buildings.
Concurrently, I’m also studying for an upcoming WELL AP designation exam. I’m deeply committed to health and wellness in the built environment where we spend our lives. Once I receive this designation, WELL consulting for commercial and residential spaces will be added to my roster of services.
In addition to this, I recently began writing a wellness column for Canadian Home Trends. My first article was recently published just last month! I also have an online wellness lifestyle boutique launching in the very near future, too. My vision/plan is to create a complete “wellness lifestyle” for my clients and new friends that visit our studio. It’ll be a one-stop destination for sustainable design.
Moreover, it’ll also be a carefully curated shop of environment-friendly products. These products will be for all your personal self-care rituals, as well as for your home. It’ll offer beautiful furniture, bed linens, accessories, and decor items devoid of harmful chemicals. As a result, they’ll nourish and support your health.
I aim to continue creating products that we can be immensely proud of, and aid us on our journey toward holistic living. We only partner with suppliers that share our same mantra and commitment to change for the better!