Design & Decor

Q&A: Designer Tiffany Pratt paints a picture on the power of transformation

We caught up with the vibrant Tiffany Pratt right before her appearance at the 2017 Calgary Fall Home Show. While known for her colourful, magical style, Tiffany's focus this year is on the importance of white space and transformation in both life and design
Tiffany Pratt. 2017 Calgary Fall Home Show
(Source: Annawithlove)

What do you get when you add a splash of colour, a handful of magic, a pinch of glitter and a huge dollop of good vibes? A Tiffany Pratt recipe for unbelievably great design and decor.

The larger than life, but the oh-so-down-to-earth, designer and HGTV host will be presenting at the 2017 Calgary Fall Home Show. We had a chance to chat with this vibrant designer about what keeps her fresh in a world inundated with design. Spoiler alert: It’s about transformation, loving yourself and the beauty of white space.

(Source: Gooseberry Studios)

Q: As a sought-after designer, turned author, what are the greatest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Tiffany’s Answer: If it’s one thing I’ve learned from all the design consultations, all the shows and all the decor, it’s to find out who you really are by tapping into what you really love. When you know who you are and what you want, then it’s easy to design your life and your house because everything becomes an expression of you.

Over the last year, I’ve done a lot of deep personal diving. Why not? All of us are always growing and changing. It’s one of the reasons why my presentation at the Calgary Fall Home Show this year will focus on transformation.

Q: But how do you tap into what you love?

Tiffany’s Answer: We live in such a fast-paced life and there is so much consumption—visual consumption. To find out what really inspires you, you need to sit quietly. Be with yourself. It’s when you’re quiet that you begin to have those visceral reactions. Pay attention to those—those are the clues to the things that are important to you.

Q: Your job, as a designer, is to help people create spaces they love. How do you work with your clients?

Tiffany’s Answer: I get them to tap into what they love. By sitting quietly and going through Pinterest or Instagram, I ask them to start collecting all the images that bring them happiness before sending me all this material. That’s when we sit down and talk. It’s our chance to distil the exact feeling, to dig deeper and find out what will really make you happy. Then we translate that into design and decor. See, the things we love are really clues to the lives we should lead. I don’t necessarily mean we need to pack up our bags and chuck our current life aside, but we can bring in the elements that give us joy into our everyday surroundings. Remember, design isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s about who you are, how you live. 

Q: Where has this exploration taken you, recently?

Tiffany’s Answer: Because I have a maximalist aesthetic my journey has taken me to a minimalist canvas. For me, it’s about seeing the beauty in whitespace. My design, then, gives the eye a lot of candy and the whitespace lets the eye breathe. These days it’s about finding the tension between the Ying and the Yang and bringing out the best in both. It’s one reason why I launched my Canvas Collection of clothing. It’s a collection of plain white outfits that match perfectly with crazy hair, wild shoes and colourful accessories. It’s the white palette to a person’s vibrant personal design.

Q: What obstacles do your clients face?

Tiffany’s Answer: It doesn’t matter what snack bracket you’re in because everyone has a price restriction. So, the key is to know when to blow it in one area and not in another. Quite often, this is a hard decision to make because people feel like they have to start from scratch. It’s an overall feeling that what they currently have is too old and tired and doesn’t work. But I don’t buy into that. I really believe that you can breathe new life into old things. I figure a client may have to get rid of 50% of their current decor, but they can keep 50%. Not only does this keep costs down, but it maintains the soul of a place.

Another obstacle clients run into is the desire, but fear, of change. I’ve met people that are sick of living in a modern house and just want to feel cozy but are too afraid to make the change. It’s too big. Too overwhelming. I try and help them embrace these changes by integrating the old with the new. It’s not about a sudden departure but a warm embrace.

Finally, the challenge I run into most are the people who feel they need to change but don’t want to. For example, I was doing a Q&A in Calgary, Alberta and a couple asked what they should do about their overstuffed red sofas and the wood panelling in their living room. They didn’t ask me what colours or material would work better, they asked if they should change it. Rather than give them a yes or no, I asked them a question: Do you like the room? They were shocked silent for a second then, slowly, responded yes. My response? “Why does it matter if I think you should change it?” The reality is if you like your design, your aesthetic, your space, what does it matter what others think? Design isn’t about following trends, it’s about living with what you love. What’s amazing is that the couple looked almost relieved. They didn’t want to change the room. They loved it!

Q: What have you learned as an HGTV host?

Tiffany’s Answer: I love being an HGTV host. I meet and work with great people and face an exciting challenge every time, but the hard thing with TV is that it makes everything look so easy. It’s not. Sometimes, for the sake of TV, the lens isn’t very honest. It doesn’t show what is truly required for a transformation. Don’t get me wrong: TV and design shows are a great medium. It inspires. It helps the creative juices flow, but people have to experience it for themselves.

Tiffany Pratt. 2017 Calgary Fall Home Show
(Source: Tiffany Pratt)

Check out the colourful and delightful Tiffany Pratt at the 2017 Calgary Fall Home Show. Tiffany is scheduled to be on the Urban Barn Main Stage on Friday, September 22 at 6 p.m., Saturday, September 23 at 1 p.m., and Sunday, September 24 at 12 p.m.

For those interested, you can check out Tiffany’s works on her site or follow her on Instagram.

Romana King
Romana King

Romana is an award-winning personal finance writer with an expertise in real estate. She is obsessed with the property marketplace and is the current Director of Content at Zolo.