Charles MaCIntosh BRANCH Design For the past two years, Charles MacIntosh, head of BRANCH Design, has been embracing interior design as the second career he was always destined for. "I had a 22-year career as a counsellor in youth services in the downtown core. I loved it, but I always knew I was going to do this," he says. MacIntosh is a born artist who has been helping friends, family and neighbours transform their interiors since he was a child. His tried-and-true design process begins with a monochromatic approach with layers added for interest. The layers are composed of his unique mix of elements. "I love repurposing things. I love the unexpected, but I also love something that harkens back to vintage and classic, so I kind of mix it all up," he says. "There's always a hit of unexpected, always a hit of organic and whenever I can fit it in, always a hit of vintage. My signature is there's a seamlessness among these elements." BRANCH Design is also com- TOP INTERIOR PHOTO By J.D. HOWELL mitted to keeping it local. "Hamilton has become such a rich place for sourcing things. I really like to keep it local and use local trades and local artists," says MacIntosh. It's no surprise to hear the former youth counsellor confess that he likes rescuing furniture and design elements. "I like the magical found object that's transformed into something beautiful and timeless. It's going to have a second life. It's going to have a second chance. There's something about that process that I really enjoy." JulIa Fedak Platinum Home Design "I've always had a passion for interior design," says Julia Fedak of Platinum Home Design. "I'm very detail-oriented, so getting the job done to perfection is very important to me. I'm devoted to my clients - essentially I'm on call 24-7 for them." Fedak, who studied interior design through the Sheffield School, has been redesigning homes since 2006. "Some people have no preconceived idea at all of what they would like, so my job is to find out what their style is and what really appeals to them. Their space needs to reflect their style, their taste, who they are." To determine her clients' needs, Fedak does her homework. "I ask many questions to find out what their needs are - if they are working professionals, if they love to cook, if they entertain a lot, what colours appeal to them, if they have kids, pets. All those kinds of questions come into play when I'm trying to figure out not only the design and the layout, but also the materials that we'll use." Fedak finds a particular appeal in redesigning kitchens. "I see such value in it, in terms of the return you get on the home financially, but also emotionally. It's the hub of the home." Trend-wise, Fedak identifies bold, bright colours and an increased use of texture and organic materials as styles we'll see more of in the coming seasons. But, she cautions, "I think you have to design according to what you feel comfortable with, not what the trends are." CrIstIna Gallo Gallo Design Consultants "I wouldn't want to live or work anywhere else but in Hamilton," says Cristina Gallo of Gallo Design Consultants. "Growing up, I travelled to Italy with my family - I was interested in architecture even then," says the LEFT This room, by Charles MacIntosh, started its life as a garage and required a complete "back to the bones" renovation. It was important to have a complete symmetrical and framed view of the family garden courtyard incorporated into this whole family living room. The fireplace mantel is over six feet tall and provides the weight and balance required to hold the primary corner view from the kitchen area. graduate of Ryerson's School of Interior Design. She spent a year in Milan working for an architectural firm before returning to her beloved hometown. In 2003, she opened Gallo Design Consultants in a studio a block away from where she grew up. Since opening the studio almost a decade ago, Gallo has seen a lot of changes in design styles. "The one big trend I see is the use of natural materials like stone and wood," she says. "I can see contemporary interior spaces will become increasingly popular, using natural wood finishes and stone products." She also predicts natural stone will tend to be less formal, with honed, brushed and sometimes "leathered" finishes becoming increasingly popular. No matter what your taste, Gallo maintains that the most important element of any project is communication. "Successful projects hinge on communication between client, designer and contractors. The most important thing we do is communicate well," Gallo says. "Through initial concept sketches to detailed construction drawings and specifications, there are hundreds of decisions that need to be made when building a house. We strive to help the client express their desires and ensure they are interpreted in a way the leads to a beautiful finished product. We interpret our client's unique wishes and help them navigate the exciting steps to building a dream home." 2012 FALL interiors 21

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