Casaza: How did you get your start?
Alia Noormohamed: Ever since I can remember, I have been exposed to living in homes designed by my father, an architect and my mother, an interior designer. This exposure and the passion that my parents had for their design work deeply touched my thoughts as I became a designer.
My first real project was to experiment on a house my parents had purchased. The house was located on a very busy street, but there was a beautiful stream that went through the backyard. I was very intrigued by the idea of renovating this 1950’s post and beam house to save the surrounding environment rather than to demolish the old house. The enjoyment of working on this major rebuild and renovation led to other projects where I worked extensively on interiors, custom millwork, and in many cases, custom lighting and furniture.
C: How would you describe your style?
AN: I would describe my style as Contemporary Minimalist. There is something to be said about simplicity and clean lines. There is a beauty in simplicity of forms, which are functional yet aesthetically pleasing and add value to a space. As a designer, my goal is to use this approach in everything I design. With this minimalist attitude, attention to detail is important. The choice of materials, the way in which these materials work together, and the lines which tie the architecture of a space to the elements within it, are subtle details which cannot be overlooked. All my work is inspired and rooted in nature, regardless of how small or big the project. I feel that it is important for us to take cues from the simplicity of nature, and what surrounds the space.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
AN: I get my new ideas from the context of a project and from nature. These must go hand in hand.
C: Favorite room in the house?
AN: My favorite room is the kitchen because it is the hub of the house. It is where all of the action really takes place. Cooking, daily conversations, and so much more happens in the kitchen. It is also the place where a family starts and ends their day, sharing meals prepared here, creating lasting memories.
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
AN: I don’t believe in creating a look book from other projects and styles to drive a design project. I believe that each project should be unique and should be designed according to its environment, use, and client vision.
C: Recent project that inspired you?
AN: A recent project I worked on that was very inspiring was a prayer space in Toronto. We had a really tight budget and a small space to work with but managed to create a beautiful, serene space with a play of light and shadow. It was so beautiful to see how happy the community was with their new space and the way that they appreciated it and loved it was extremely rewarding. So many people thanked me and continue to do so, and it inspires me to do more work where I can create spiritual spaces people can enjoy and be proud of.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
AN: I don’t have an exact texture or pattern that I consider to be my favorite, but I am drawn to geometric patterns, and I love white. If I am to use a pattern or texture with white, the play of light and shadow on white can make a space come alive and can transform a wall.
C: What is “good design” to you?
AN: My view on design is that it must be a holistic approach. The outward architecture should reflect the interior space and the two should work together in harmony. Over and above that, there should be continuity between interior and exterior space. I see the entire building as a whole; furniture, art, millwork, and the way elements are placed within a space; all are interdependent and have value in continuity and must speak to one another and feed off one another. This to me is a complete design; a design which has flow from beginning to end with purity and continuity. If you create a pure and honest design where the space can speak to nature, then you have succeeded in creating something timeless and beautiful.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
AN: I would live in Chris Bosh’s Miami Beach house. I love to be near the water in warm temperatures, and I absolutely love the simplicity of this very contemporary, minimalist home. It is all white with white interior finishes, and has a clean and open concept to its design. I love swimming and there is a large pool at the house. There is also a huge kitchen, and lots of entertainment space.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
AN: Like my design aesthetic, I like to keep things consistent. I usually pick a theme, or colors and stick with it so everything is consistent. I try to keep the theme consistent with the food, as well as the desserts and drinks.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
AN: Find your inspiration, then do your research. Watch YouTube videos that might help you execute what you are trying to accomplish, keep it simple, and be creative. Understand what you’re trying to do and the outcome you are anticipating. Follow this up with proper research before embarking on your project. Lastly, don’t be scared; have fun with it.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
AN: Do a little bit of background work by asking for references. This will help you to hire the right person for the job.
C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
AN: I’m most excited about the earth tones and natural colors that are trending because I feel that anything rooted in nature will be timeless in its look. I am excited to layer different neutrals with natural wood. It will be key to change how we have used those neutrals in the past and use them in an innovative and fun way, pairing them with a soft color palette.
C: How do you take your coffee?
AN: I don’t drink much coffee. If I do, I have it black. I’m a big tea drinker!