May 29, 2024

The new hero of British interior style and design is Canadian

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Sean Symington embraces the classical factors of English decor when capturing the imagination of the social-media set.Chris Wakefield/Handout

When interior designer Sean Symington posted a shot of his strawberry-ice-cream-colored kitchen area on Instagram last November, the graphic garnered 6,000 likes and swooning approval from fellow tastemakers. Lately, the British journal Households & Gardens, declared the London-primarily based expertise 1 of 14 designers “defining how to enhance now.”

Common-leaning and fearless with colour and print, Symington honed his capabilities with some of the greatest names in London prior to launching his boutique studio in 2019, at age 25. His model superpower? Embracing the classical aspects of English decor although capturing the creativity of the social-media set.

But there is a element that is not as commonly regarded. As the craving for all issues English and “cottagecore” proceeds to trend upward, 1 of the new faces of British design and style is Canadian.

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When interior designer Sean Symington posted a shot of his strawberry-ice-product-coloured kitchen area on Instagram past November, the graphic garnered 6,000 likes and swooning acceptance from fellow tastemakers.Chris Wakefield/Handout

Symington grew up in Pickering, Ont., and usually dreamed of being a designer – a profession path he credits to a innovative Irish mother who acquired him fired up about the art of retaining a beautiful house. As a “real-estate obsessed” kid, he’d spend hours watching HGTV (Divine Design was a favourite) and making Lego homes. “My parents would say, ‘Why are you furnishing them? No a single can see what is inside of,’” he recollects with a snicker. “But I knew what was inside.”

In superior college, he took a co-op placement at a developer’s product suite so he could assistance clientele choose finishes for their new houses. At Ryerson (now Toronto Metropolitan College), where by he graduated from the inside style and design method, Symington knew his aspirations were being unique from college students who prized the program’s conceptual target. As an alternative, he was keen to understand about managing challenge budgets and shopper expectations.

“I wasn’t the ideal scholar mainly because I just did what I wanted,” he admits. “Others would be up in entrance of the course executing these superior-tech walkthrough video clips and I’d be presenting in my Polo shirt likely, ‘Here’s my plan to design and style a place club in Prince Edward County.’ ”

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Eager to discover and experience the European style and design scene, Symington moved to London in 2014.Chris Wakefield/Handout

However, Symington under no circumstances questioned or strayed from his path. After graduation, that region-club aesthetic landed him a work at Lori Morris Inside Style, a Toronto luxurious firm that counts socialites and philanthropists as shoppers. “My complex techniques grew but it was a bit soul-crushing,” says Symington. “We ended up doing super-large-conclude residential builds modelled just after French architecture – I identified as it ‘Versailles in the Sky’ – but I hadn’t even been to Versailles.”

Eager to master and practical experience the European design and style scene, Symington moved to London in 2014. “I think you are born with an inherent aesthetic but you require to perform for people to set up your design,” he suggests of the determination.

Symington invested the up coming numerous yrs soaking up know-how from designers he admired. A stint at Samantha Todhunter Design and style, a studio recognised for suave urban interiors, had him jetting again and forth to San Francisco to put in leopard-print carpets and crimson lacquered partitions for a hedge fund manager. At Sims Hilditch, he mastered the pared-again, linen-swathed design synonymous with the firm’s countryside-loving consumers. Through his time at David Collins Studio, identified for its work on landmarks this kind of as Claridge’s, Harrods, and Nobu Lodge London, Symington figured out the ropes of significant-conclude hospitality and retail style and design.

Although doing the job in London, Symington met his husband or wife, an ophthalmologist, and the couple resolved to go to Bathtub in 2018. “That was scarier than the transfer from Toronto to London,” he suggests. The relocation meant he would freelance for prior companies with a approach to launch his very own firm. Within a calendar year, he’d found his initially solo job: a massive Georgian home in Somerset. “I manufactured no revenue because I slash my costs to place designer material all over that residence and handle it as a portfolio piece,” he says. “But I was fired up because I finally experienced creative freedom.”

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Symington is at this time operating on projects all around England, as properly as Eire and France.Chris Wakefield/Handout

With his name getting recognition, more initiatives started off coming. Just 5 a long time afterwards, Sean Symington Inside Style and design has 4 personnel and many functions released in each individual important British layout publication. His personal Victorian terrace dwelling in Bathtub has been his signature – a testomony to Symington’s evolution and his capacity to rework a space. When he initial toured the dingy college student rooming property, he did not even comprehend the sitting down place had a hearth there was a chest of drawers in front of it. Now, the house is awash in pinks, blues and greens and crammed with modern maximalist touches, from Georgian oil portraits to whimsical wallpaper – even in the rest room.

Seeking back again at Canadian style from a distance, he does not see the identical common adore of history and eclecticism that inspires him abroad. Symington recalls traveling to Toronto past summer season and sitting down next to a younger couple who’d just purchased their initially residence in Forest Hill. As he marvelled about the shots of an initial staircase with a stunning newel submit, they knowledgeable him that was the “before” shot. “They claimed, ‘Oh no, we’ve ripped that out,’ and I had to bite my tongue,” he suggests. “It was depressing.”

Symington is at present performing on assignments all about England, as very well as Eire and France. His future target? To deliver his take on colourful, sample-infused design and style back home exactly where he bought his start. “I would love to have a task in Canada,” he suggests. “We’re performing on it.”

Layout Suggestions: How to Carry Household the Layered British Appear

Favour previous over new. Symington despairs when he sees households complete of “fast fashion” home furnishings that all seem the same. “I’d fairly men and women go out and invest in a bunch of stuff on Facebook Market,” he claims. “At minimum it’s most likely to be distinctive and eclectic, and will give you a much better blend of eras.”

Make investments in artwork. Authentic artwork is important, says Symington. “Don’t squander income on a canvas from a major-box retail store with a thing printed on it. It’s improved to find an artist whose operate you admire on eBay and get the artwork framed, or to look for a vintage piece.”

Be adventurous with sample and texture. “We never have just one print in a room it’s ideal to blend large-scale prints with tiny,” he says, including that wallpapers that element a tiny motif are a great decision, and really “in,” for the reason that they truly feel heat and come to be additional of a backdrop. “And I know they can be tough to locate in Canada, but patterned lampshades are improved than people naff simple drum shades that occur with lamps.”

Inject some glow. “Every place must have a touch of gloss, even if it’s one thing modest like a lamp base or a tray. But no glitzy mirrored furniture until it’s a true antique, please,” Symington states.

Pick the paint last. “People fixate far too a great deal on the wall colour at the beginning of the venture – ‘Should I do Swiss Coffee or a thing else?’ – who cares? There are a million paint colors which is the uncomplicated component.” He advocates for starting a home scheme with a fabric or a piece of artwork you like and pulling a paint color from there.