I just finished writing up a biography for a casting call for the TV design show ‘LOVE IT OR LIST IT’…
It gives you a rather humourous insight into what Ines is all about.
German born Ines Hanl came to Victoria, BC in 2000.
Growing up in one of the most famous touristic hotspots of Bavaria, lovely and picturesque Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and being kind of an oddball throughout her teenage years made her destined to leave the country and make it big someplace else…
Her background includes an apprenticeship as seamstress, followed by 6 years of hard and low paid work in costume and set design for various theaters and opera houses throughout Germany.
After earning a Masters Degree in Interior Architecture from the University of Applied Science in Mainz, which taught her how to draw blueprints, but creatively really put the brakes on her (which was a good thing, by the way), a number of internships with architectural firms followed. Next came learning the ropes as a junior designer in a small design studio, and a stint in a high end furniture store in the Bavarian outback.
Together with her partner Klaus Kinast, who himself had a colourful career designing theme parks and animated 3dimensional attractions, she was also very hands-on involved in the creation of whimsical and phantasic theme store environments.
Working in carpentry shops (especially on the beltsander…) and swinging various sizes of paint brushes to achieve decorative paint finishes prepared her brillantly for the unique work environment of construction. She has never worn jeans ever since that time, though.
Hanl cites that her strongest influences are the Renaissance, the Bauhaus, and Cirque de Soleil – along with a little bit of Dr Seuss, who was unknown to her until she came to Canada 12 years ago (seriously).
When Hanl was finally able to land a job in the kitchen and bath industry in a town that was back in those years run by 2 well situated interior designers, she was determined to blow the townfolks’ mind – but not until learning about the local ways of building houses, which was indeed a little bit different than where she is from.
Anyways, after 4 years of learning the ins and outs of custom cabinetry – foremost taught by a Swiss Master Cabinetmaker (with whom she speaks English, by the way, because she wouldn’t understand his heavy German accent) she decided that she had to go after bigger fish – after all, why would she have spent more than 4 years at university if she couldn’t put it all to good use.
She started her own studio, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN -not realizing that some people would totally misunderstand that name and only think of all that money (their own, that is) flying out the window…
Little do they know that it is all about creativity, and endless possibilities…
Since 2005 Hanl has been garnering local, provinicial, national and international awards for all types of renovation projects, new construction and retail space design – all in all about 26 trophies grace her shelves at the moment. Numerous magazines throughout North America have featured her work, and journalists love working with her as she always has colourful stories and thoughtful insights into her work to share.
Maybe it is just her accent, though…
Her range of style is broad – no limits there either. She is very apt in bringing the best out in Victorian (the decade, not the location) or Arts and Crafts period houses, and she is familiar with European design styles throughout the ages, but in the past 3 years she has begun to develop a style that is unique to herself.
Let’s call it sensual contemporary West Coast… unless someone comes up with a better expression.
Playful, colourful, tactile, sculptural, occassionally very bold, and always full of surprises – yet with calm spatial undernotes that make a home oh so comfortable. Great lighting on top of that, and grounded by a serious philosophic underbody which she is able to explain in a logical manner. Especially men like the fact that she is not just touchy feely about her work…
Did we mention that Marital couselling is part of her job description? She has proven her abilities to surprise at-odds partners with solutions that are totally different from what both of them expected, yet incorporate what was important to each of them.
Hanl is all about teamwork. Her clients, no matter how little creative they themselves think they are, are being coaxed into collaboration – and to their own surprise they love it! That, plus the homework Hanl always gives them…
Hanl loves to empower clients to take charge and express themselves in their home.
Creating multiple options for space concepts before blending the variations into a final version is followed by looking at (often unusual) products and finishes. Hanl expects cooperation and a can-do and wanna-do attitude from her team, and while she always asks for technical input from the specialists it will be her having the final say when it comes to design – but always in a nice way, unless the trade is an idiot.
Hanl can’t promise that she is as attractive in real live as the picture above pretends – most likely rather not.
But if her English turns out to be understandable, and if she doesn’t freeze up in front of a camera (because she is typically more of a behind-the-scences kind of girl) this design goddess would love to get a shot at being on TV.
BTW – there is more to Hanl’s world than just design – she actually wiggles her goodies to Bellydance Fusion music, expresses her Bohemian Gypsy genes through Flamenco, is known for her outrageous selfmade Fascinators, her 5 (formerly stray) cats who don’t let her sleep at night, her love of gardening, and the fact that she, although a genius with kitchen design, chooses to not really swing a spoon in her own kitchen. Although she makes great cakes, that is.
And she really doesn’t like Alcohol, as she would get drunk from a single snaps praline.