Q&A With Ana Cummings
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Ana Cummings: As far back as I can remember, I was designing my family’s and friends’ homes. I would scour fabric shops on the weekend as a teen for home décor projects, so it was a natural fit for me to pursue something creative as a career choice. My first professional gigs were for a private aircraft charter service. I made all the interior selections and even designed a cement floor recreating an air traffic controller’s screen. From there my residential projects blossomed and was published several times in local trade magazines.
C: How would you describe your style?
AC: My style is definitely eclectic. It also changes according to my mood, the season, my daily schedule, the project I’m working on, or where I’m travelling to next. But if I had to pinpoint it, there’s an underlying note of sophistication, simplicity, and timeless elegance.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
AC: I love to view the world through a telescope of art and architecture. I get inspired by just about anything, everywhere, from mother nature and the great outdoors to exploring big cities, visiting ancient monuments and museums, and viewing movies and popular culture. I regularly attend design tradeshows to see what’s hot and what’s new. My creative team, online design feeds, and shelter magazines are incredibly inspiring as well.
C: Favourite room in the house?
AC: My favourite room in the house is the primary entry because it tells the story of the entire home within the first 60 seconds. I want to capture the heart of each and every person who walks through the front door with them thinking and then saying out loud, “Wow, this home is so beautiful.”
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
AC: The standard 72” x 72” exterior shower curtain is something I cannot understand. Why do people buy them? If not a glass surround, a shower curtain should be tailored to exact measures for width and length. I also have never met a tissue box pattern I’ve ever liked. These are not design rules per se, rather I see them as design sins. As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any design rules. You start with what you love and work out from there, as long as it’s within your local building codes,
C: Recent project that inspired you?
AC: The Calgary Public Library, which recently opened in town, is world-class inspiring. It was one of the most anticipated buildings of 2018 according to Architectural Digest. Designed by Snohetta Architects, it is special to me because my very first job was a Page in a public library.
For my own work, it would be designing and decorating an outdoor oasis in St. Maarten, which survived Hurricane Irma, the worst storm to ever hit the island. Each time I go to see it, I get all the feels because most of what our brains conjured up became a reality. You can truly get into your sweet spot when your clients give you permission to dream.
C: Favourite pattern/texture/color?
AC: My favorite color, texture, and pattern would be the watery aquamarine ripples of the Caribbean Sea where the waves wash into the white sand. Those crystalline colours, paired with a blue sky on the horizon… Nothing in the world beats that calming combination.
C: What is “good design” to you?
AC: Good design means longevity. It’s very comforting to enter a space that was smartly designed many years ago yet still brings immense joy when you walk in and feels amazing when you spend time there. Well thought out design is everlasting.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
AC: Oh criminy, this was a very tough question as the possibilities are truly endless. I’d have to say any of the homes that Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi own would be fabulously lovely to move into. I love their luxuriously down to earth aesthetic.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
AC: If it can be thrown onto a charcuterie board, you’re golden. You could style plain crackers, cheese and apple slices on one and it would look fantastically gourmet.
I do love to cook and entertain however, and a gorgeously set table with an inspired centerpiece and candles are a must. A great play list in the background and everything prepped and ready as much as possible, so I can socialize.
C: Best advise for DIYers?
AC: Do your research, invest in the right tools, and have faith in yourself. It’s not going to look like a Pinterest post the first time around. If you want to be good at something you have to practice and master it. If you don’t have the time, money or energy to master something you haven’t done before, then I’d call in a pro.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
AC: You get what you pay for. A pro will work faster and better than you will and that’s what you’re paying them for, saving you time, energy, and resources. They have the knowledge on how to best tackle the issue at hand. In terms of designers, it’s best to have an initial meeting with them to see if your personalities click. You might be spending a lot of time with them so it makes sense that you should jive well with each other.
C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
AC: Bringing back that seventies disco vibe but channeled in a more sophisticated way with upholstered doors, swirly art, creatively upholstered headboards, and sofas. We’ve got a show home dialed up with this fun retro look opening in August.
C: How do you take your coffee?
AC: With skimmed milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.