As the year end is quickly approaching (tomorrow - yikes!!), we cannot help but reflect on the past year, the time we have spent together as Design Shop Interior Design and as friends!! The following are 10 of our favorite and / or milestone moments we experienced in 2014. In no particular order, with the exception of #1...

Happy New Year everyone!!


TEN - In The News. Design Shop filmed 12 episodes  for CTV Winnipeg's "Help for your Home" . The segments focused on various residential design related topics. Segments covered some of Design Shop's  full renovation projects, smaller boutique hotel inspired bathroom spaces, staging + styling and showcased some of the latest + greatest products Winnipeggers can find here locally!! Oh, and one of our segments is airing this Friday - so tune in!!

NINE - Product Knowledge. DS  founders and principals Debbie Golub +  Amanda Minuk were invited to attended  IIDEX 2014 in Toronto this past November. Mingling, shmoozing + copious amounts of product knowledge took place!!
Big thanks again to Levey Industries  for the good times + up close and personal introduction your amazing furniture line SIXINCH (soooo fricking cool)!!

EIGHT - Disconnect to Reconnect. Design Shop was hired to be the prime consultant for the interior design, interior branding +  buildout of Float.Calm; Winnipeg's first and largest storefront flotation centre. Looking to recharge in the new year??  Seek out this cathartic retreat at 337C Pembina Hwy! #you'rewelcome #floatcalm

SEVEN - HGTV's Buy It, Fix It, Sell It. Super fun times were had with the crew #BIFISI and Joe + Mike Wolchock, the Neon Brothers. Design Shop was brought on by HGTV to be contributors for 2 episodes that will be airing spring 2015. Don't worry, we will be tweeting, facebook-ing, instagramming, google+ing updates as the air dates approach !!

SIX - All work and no play. NOT. We had an awesome time doing what will now be an annual event... creating quirky, playful, holiday cards!! #girlsgonewild

photography by Gary Barringer

FIVE - Furniture to die for. In 2011 Debs attended the IMM Cologne design show in Germany and fell deeply in love with S.O.U.L furniture + accessories by Furninova. Design Shop, the furniture saavy team that they are May or May Not have had something to do with S.O.U.L  finding a home here in Winnipeg!! Visit Wicker World to test run this amazing product line of restored, swedish inspired pieces furnishings. #youwontregretit

FOUR - "Secret Projects". Believe us we want to gush about them too, but at this point we cannot!! All we can say at this point is that we have been plugging away at a few goodies. Be on the lookout for updates and photos in fall 2015!!

THREE - Oldies but goodies + newbies too. We are grateful for all the new connections (Hi guru business coach Ben Hopper!!), collaborations and client, builder / contractor relationships we have made this past year. We are also super blessed to have had so many of our past relationships stay in touch with our new adventures as Design Shop. Thank you to you all for looking out for us!!

TWO - IMM Cologne 2015. Technically this will happen next year, but was "planned" in 2014. Design Shop has been invited to attend the furniture + showroom design expo in Cologne Germany. Hello inspiration and staying on our design toes!!

ONE - Growth. We are uber pleased about the new additions to Design Shop!!  This year, we welcomed 3 new members... Melanie Dupuis (Interior Designer), Natasha Bargen (Interior Designer) + Fluffy Pom Pom our furry companion (Sample Room Manager). Please check out our "Then Comes Us"  section to get to know us better! #goalsetting #resolutions

The Design Shop Girls



In true Design Shop form, we decided to celebrate our first full + year together as DS or more commonly referred to (by us) as "the little firm that could" with a slightly obnoxious but festive photo shoot!!

Great fun, team building and sh*ts and giggles were had by all! To YOU our supporters, clients, colleagues, contractors, sub trades, consultants, suppliers, vendors and last but not least our family, our friends - thank you so much for all the TLC you consistently threw our way.  This past year wouldn't have been the same without all of your love and support.

So, happy HOHOHO, belated 8 candle lit days and New Years Eve to come!! Check out: for more pics!!

left to right... debbie golub, melanie dupuis, natasha bargen +amanda minuk

We may or may not have been using a wind machine !! #dontjudge

#cheeky #saucypants #nicknames #thelittlefirmthatcould #areyousupposedtohashtaginblogposts?

nat, mandy, debs + mellie... #teamawesome #designshop

The Design Shop Girls





We are growing, and we aren't referring to the inevitable winter weight pack on
Design Shop is pleased to announce the addition of our first natural blonde interior designer, Natasha Bargen!! We scooped up this talented, vintage clothing connoisseur, hotel hopping, kitty lovin, choco eating wo-man + we are beyond thrilled! 
And, her design talent - look out.. Well versed in commercial, residential, furniture + film, set design, she is the perfect addition to our wee team.
Give this girl a warm welcome !!

From left to right... Newbie: Natasha Bargen, Partner in crime 1: Amanda Minuk, Senior Designer: Melanie Dupuis, Partner in crime 2: Debbie Golub #teamawesome #thelittlefirmthatcould #girlsgonewile

From left to right... Newbie: Natasha Bargen, Partner in crime 1: Amanda Minuk, Senior Designer: Melanie Dupuis, Partner in crime 2: Debbie Golub #teamawesome #thelittlefirmthatcould #girlsgonewile

The Design Shop Girls


Winnipeg will soon be showcasing a new sleek, contemporary, 21 story condo structure unlike anything else the city has ever seen. Designed by Stantec Architecture and developed by Urban Capital, one of Canada’s most innovative real estate development companies the launch of Glasshouse Sky Lofts is sure to make it's mark with our quickly evolving skyline.

Design Shop, completely unaffiliated with this monster project was asked to support in the marketing efforts for the Glass House Sky Lofts, specifically with their "breaking ground" soiree. Our friends and the Web Designers for our spunky little site, Honest Agency asked us for some designerly, styling, party planning love when it came to the creation of the interior environment and experience.

The tent environment we were to part-ay in was quite a contrast to the new condominium building to be, but alas there lies the challenge! Taking cues from the future common lobby space rendering, Design Shop tried to echo the concept for the party backdrop.

Rendering of the to be lobby space for the Glass House Sky Lofts. Created by others.

Rendering of the to be lobby space for the Glass House Sky Lofts. Created by others.

We had custom "bedazzlers" made for the event that  hovered over the bar area. A similar lighting story was suggested in the renderings of the Glass House Sky Loft lobby space.

We had custom "bedazzlers" made for the event that  hovered over the bar area. A similar lighting story was suggested in the renderings of the Glass House Sky Loft lobby space.

Have to ham it up at a soiree. Design Shop business partner Deb + Amanda strike a pose in front of their custom (very easy to remove and non damaging) tent wall vinyl. Again, this detail was intended to echo the wall covering feature wall indicated in the Glass House lobby rendering.

Have to ham it up at a soiree. Design Shop business partner Deb + Amanda strike a pose in front of their custom (very easy to remove and non damaging) tent wall vinyl. Again, this detail was intended to echo the wall covering feature wall indicated in the Glass House lobby rendering.

The tent is now down - within minutes of the party end, but the Glass House Sky Loft "pop up store" can be visited in the underground at Winnipeg Square.

The Design Shop Girls




Waaaaay long overdo blog post...

We suck, know it, but promise that our lack of blogging and blurb-aries have not been without good reason or distraction with positive + constructive Design Shop business "building".

Spring + summer has been busy, busy. Project wise we have been growing both in both our commercial and residential folios, our networking leads have been uber supportive, we've dove deep into product knowledge development sessions (hanstone, kaycan, johnsonite, timberstone, etc, etc), pro bono work has kept us real and of course our latest and greatest news... we added a designer to our Design Shop team - Melanie Dupuis (aka: Mel, Mellie).

Ok, maybe she has been with us since early June - but,  again we haven't had the opportunity to "blog share" the news!!

Here we are!! From left to right... Amanda Minuk, principal and co-owner, Debbie Golub, principal and co-owner + Miss Mel... Seasoned and senior Interior Designer.

Trouble? Maybe a wee bit... Combined mad skills? Indeed.

Trouble? Maybe a wee bit... Combined mad skills? Indeed.

Melanie is a B.I.D. (Bachelor of Interior Design) graduate of the University of Manitoba. She is also LEED ap certified and is our only team member to bring said skill set to the Design Shop group. Lucky girls we are. #gogreen #leadpoints

Mellie graduated with top notch marks and was immediately sought after in the work place (but, after living in Japan for a year - how cool is that?) Melanie worked with Synyshyn Architecture for 5 plus/minus years focusing mainly on commercial projects; ranging in office design, health care, retail and then some. After scooting off again for a healthy stint of travel over in South East Asia (yes, we be jealous), she continued to build her design portfolio and expanded it into everything residential...  full scope new builds, renovations to creating innovative and custom details that are magazine worthy. Now she is ours (figuratively speaking) and her transition into our team has been seamless and pretty amaze-balls.

Please welcome our number 3, Mel Dupuis! Hey, that rhymed...

The Design Shop Girls



1. Modern kitchen designs that have a nostalgic twist:
There is a huge re-emergence in kitchen design to bring back old world finishes and blend them with modern technologies. Modern countertops in granite, quartz and other solid surfaces can take on an 'old school' appeal with beveled edges and details that speak to the handcrafted cabinetry construction of years past (many, many, many years past). Kitchen faucets that resemble ‘hand-forged sentiments of early 20th century metalworkers can be found. Check out; Brizo®Artesso™kitchen faucets blend traditional design with industrial chic inspiration’ - gorge!!

2. Commercial-grade kitchen amenities for your home!
While we all love the comfort and intimacy that our home speaks to, some prefer the industrial look + feel of a commercial kitchen.
Blanco sinks features their Quatrus R15 stainless steel sink that offers a revolutionary sleek appeal.

3. Kitchen accessories aren't just 'show pieces'.
For years, kitchen accessories played a subordinate role in function and were instead meant to compliment the sink, faucet or cabinetry style of the kitchen. Today, kitchen companies are realizing that homeowners want form, function, and beauty all wrapped up into one (duh). Accessories such as colanders and cutting boards can now fit seamlessly into the sink to help you drain or cut your favorite vegetables.

4. Organize your kitchen drawers like a mofo.
Drawers are commonly used to separate items like spices and utensils. But did you know you can also use your drawers to store bread in their very own customized bread boxes? There was a big representation of brands such as Poggenpohl’s drawer accessories that included cutlery trays, spice racks, knife blocks, bread drawers and aluminum foil holders, among other things. Instead of organizing just a few items in your kitchen, organize your kitchen drawers around the way you and your family use the kitchen.

5. Lighting your kitchen in eco-friendly ways:
Just like the evolution of your home, lighting plays a huge role in ensuring your kitchen experience is safe, enjoyable, and helpful for all your kitchen activities. While traditional lighting fixtures such as pendants and under cabinet lights aren’t new – the use of eco-friendly LED lighting inside of cabinets, drawers, and below the base cabinets is proving to be more functional to the culinary enthusiast.

6. Decorative tile becomes the showstopper, the wow moment over aesthetics of the appliances:
There used to be a time when you walked into a kitchen and all eyes went to the appliances. While appliances are still a major opportunity to bedazzle people, decorative tile is the perfect design moment to creating a show stopping kitchen. We are loving Anne Saks collection and Mosaico +, supplied by Julian tile. Check it!

7. Buuuudget - saving money in the kitchen is easier than ever.
While we all enjoy splurging on our renovation improvements, saving money on your kitchen renovation is essential. Before you go to the hammer, draw, plan, draw + tweak the plan. Try to keep as many of the mechanical + plumbing locations in their original place ( or very close to ) and this will save you oodles.

8. Filtered water is now available for the home in an attractive way.
A home water filtration has become more important as water becomes a precious resource. Kitchen plumbing manufacturers are finding a way to eliminate the clunky add-on water filter on the outside of your faucet, or under your sink. Check out BROHL’s Filtration featuring Triflow® Technology. This faucet series provides beauty and functionality in one space-saving design. Filtration happens within the faucet itself! Hot, cold, luke warm and filtered - saving you money and most importantly protecting the environment.

9. Affordable countertop surfaces that look luxurious!!
Countertops can be the splurge moment in your kitchen Reno. Today, for there are several kitchen countertop manufacturers that understand homeowners want the look of granite, stone, and marble without the hefty price tag. Formica Corp. has created the 180fx® laminate countertop surfaces. Formica echoes a true 'to scale' granite patterns that look visually dramatic and cannot be matched by any other laminate solution.

10. The biggie:  connecting your personal lifestyle to cooking + all associated kitchen behaviours!
Today, more than ever kitchen manufacturers are realizing the importance of connecting how we all inhabit our homes, the way we use our appliances, the way we prep food and the way appliances, fixtures, and finishes should work together to tap into our senses.
The kitchen is the central hub of our home + should be designed to be its so!


The Design Shop Girls

Photos by others.


Some of the most inspiring contemporary spaces take cues from time-honored, traditional design practices. The trick is to blend these conceptual and functional conventions with modern materials and trendy touches to create something new and authentic.

Sitting in a brainstorm session, sipping on our current “brainjuice” of choice (aka Cherry Rose Rooibus by TeALCHEMY… which you absolutely MUST try) we started to discus the idea of the teahouse.  

Teahouses have existed for thousands of years, and are found primarily in Asia and Europe. Hugely popular, and catering to all customs and classes (depending on where you were and what they served) there was once a time when the teahouse was more common than the concept of a restaurant! 

Although the function of the teahouse varies widely depending on the culture, teahouses are basically centers of social interaction where people come to, yes, drink tea and socialize! Both things that Design Shop loves to do! So, we started researching modern teahouse-like spaces, just for the sake of curiosity and inspiration, and we stumbled upon this one…

Tea Mountain, a cafe in Prague, is the product of true interior intuition. By drawing inspiration from a traditional Japanese teahouse, Tea Mountain is a perfect example of balance. Aesthetically, you can’t deny that this is a well thought out space. Just looking at it made us feel instantly calmer.

However, it’s the details that really got us.

The first detail we noticed was the tactile mixture of black plaster, coal, and pieces of straw that line the walls, emulating the clay plasters used inside traditional Japanese teahouses. Stunning! And creative.

Then, we couldn’t help but gawk at the seating, spacing, and shelving. FACT: The layout of a space is just as important as what you put inside that space. By sparsely placing the ash-wood tables and stools (note: stools vs. chairs to connote a distinctly central asian feel), and not cluttering the walls with tightly mounted shelving, the space immediately embraces an open, airy, and calming ambience – which we happen to love. The vaulted ceilings and globe lighting also add to the vastness of the room. A+

Finally, the contemporary anchors, structural and decorative elements not drawn from tradition, really help to create a true sense of balance in the space. For example, the metal finishes along the shelves contrast the raw, earthiness of the wood, and neutrality of the wall colour and slate-like flooring.

Whether you’re a tea drinker or not, wouldn’t you love to spend a little bit of time in this space!?  

With that, we wish you a happy Saturday, and encourage you to take some time today to sip some tea, and consider what traditions inspire your style!

The Design Shop Girls


Today, we’re taking a break from dispensing design tips to talk about something very real and important. The hazards of working with your body.

The thing about being an interior designer is that it’s not all cocktail parties and paint swatches. There’s a lot of real, hard, down-in-the-dirt, nitty-gritty, manicure-ruining, stiletto-heel-breaking, sweat-spewing physical labor involved.

You think we’re kidding? Here’s just one example of how the body is just as much a tool as our measuring tape in this industry:

At our wee statures, just last week we were left to stage a home with what felt like a 1-tonne couch in it, entirely by ourselves. We did like the experts always say to do; plant my feet hip-width apart, bend from the knees, keeping the back straight, and move slowly. SUCCESS! (See below... looks pretty alright, eh?)

couch: EQ3 space: award-winning show-home by Trikor Builders

couch: EQ3
space: award-winning show-home by Trikor Builders

However, the celebration didn’t last long. Not more than a few hours later, the pain began in my lower back, inching up toward my neck, and then somehow wrapping itself around my shoulders. That evening, I had a consult booked that I was really looking forward to, and yet I was rendered completely immobile, with my feet up on the couch, a tea in my hand, and a tiny voice inside my head whispering… “Debbie, youuuu iiiidiot.”

Enter my new all-time favorite product. Like, on the entire planet. It’s called MuscleCare and it comes in an ointment and a roll-on. It’s a topical, all-natural, doctor designed and developed product that was created to eliminate pain, without any risk at all to the user. Best part? Unlike all of the other creams and gels that say they’ll help with pain, and we've tried our fair share (hehe), this one doesn’t have you smelling like a tube of toothpaste all afternoon. In fact, the smell, although minty, was quite fresh and pleasant.

I used the roll-on, and boy did I roll it on. Lower back, shoulders, neck? I covered some good surface area with that thing. Once I felt well enough to get off the couch, I proceeded to do some stretching. Just light stretching, nothing strenuous, and proceeded to hit the showers and gussy up for my meeting.

I have encountered muscle pain before, and I will likely continue to encounter it throughout the course of my career as an interior designer. Whether it’s sitting at a computer all day, getting down on the floor laying out sketches, lifting area rugs to sample the texture, or even catching a midday yoga class to clear my head in between projects, my body will always be apart of what I do. Not unlike a pro-athlete, body-builder, construction professional, or any other kind of professional that relies on the fitness and flexibility of the body, interior designers must take care physically in order to take care of business.

Have a fun, fit, fabulous and pain-free Friday!


The Design Shop Girls


TV VERSUS THE FIREPLACE - where to place them ?!

TV versus the Fireplace - The "Where to place them" Conundrum

You purchase a TV, and the moment you leave the retailer, it's value atrophies. This is no different than your computer, or I-whatever, gadget, etc., but however quick their value decreases, they have become a prime focal point in great room spaces!
Fireplaces these days have increasingly have had to "figure it out", how to showcase their presence along side "the TV".

Traditionally, a television was placed wherever there was spare space on a wall or in a cabinet storage opening. The fireplace was always the king of focal points. Today, this deliberate arrangement, or lack thereof can be a tricky solution to develop when helping a client during a renovation.

Home floor plans are also changing. We are moving away from traditional floor plans. Not so often are builders showcasing a separate a more formal space for the dining room, instead home offices are being planned and of course the infamous great room: kitchen - living / family room combination. In general, with great rooms there is less wall space for fireplaces and televisions to be placed.

So, with the above stated... And if you have a client who wants their flame + comfort experience, where the H-E, double hockey sticks do we plan the T.V? 

Great rooms are often multi-purpose type spaces - it's used for several functions, which further complicates the "competition" between the T.V and the fireplace. Which should you prioritize? Do you plan them both to on the same wall? Top / bottom? Side by side? Other?

There are several solutions, which often depend on the users of the space, the size of the walls, the orientation of the room (and a TV!!) and whether the space in question is formal or casual in nature?

The following are 5 tips that can help provide functional + visual balance between the fireplace and T.V. :

Photo credit: Debbie Golub of Design Shop.  This room is screaming to have the T.V. Above the fireplace mantle. Storage has also been provided on either side which can also house the T.V. For an alternative solution ! Comfort + size will dictate. On another note, how great is this great room ?! Let's be honest....

Photo credit: Debbie Golub of Design Shop.

This room is screaming to have the T.V. Above the fireplace mantle. Storage has also been provided on either side which can also house the T.V. For an alternative solution ! Comfort + size will dictate. On another note, how great is this great room ?! Let's be honest....

1. It is critical that the distance between the T.V. and the sofa or chair is sufficient. You want to ensure you are not straining your neck when viewing the T.V. Provide enough distance, so when watching a Kardashian marathon for 10 hours, plus, plus the distance allows for neck + eye comfort !!

2. Frame + install your fireplace low towards your finished floor. A Zero clearance fireplace (a fire safety thang - and, yes, research will be involved!!)  closer to the floor or one that can sit on the floor will allow your T.V. to be mounted closer to your eye level, which is best for viewing comfort. 

3. Install a mantle between the T.V and fireplace or create a recessed alcove into the home build out design to inset the T.V (furring out the wall around the television) you will create an advantageous physical separation between the two features … We love the look of having the front face of the T.V. align with the front face of the finished adjacent wall. Tips for this tip: ensure you have blocking in the wall to support the T.V. + all associated ecoutement... and, make sure there is a couple of inches of breathing space on all sides surrounding the T.V. 
Let's be honest, the man of the house will likely want to go bigger, sooner than later - you will need some room for growth !!

4. Remember to have the necessary backing boards/ anchors (blocking!! Yes, mentioned above) installed to support the weight of the television above the fireplace. We recommend bringing in a pro to complete this portion of the install. Also, please, please, please ensure all cables, wires, etc. are concealed !! There is nothing worse than having a dramatically designed T.V. / fireplace elevation designed carefully by Design Shop and having crap cable management!!

5. Wiring is tricky. Note ALL necessary electrical needs that are to be used above the fireplace. Cable outlets, electrical outlet, a grommet to connect the cabling from the T.V. to the game, docking stations, etc.

Questions, comments, inquiries? Let us know - we love talking shop !!


The Design Shop Girls