Shawnigan Lake – Client Feedback

    September 12, 2011

    Today’s blog has been made easy for me ( I really like getting submissions from my ‘partners in crime’ - as much as I enjoy it, but not being ’forced’ to spend long hours scanning and wordsmithing once in a while is very convenient  – yeay…) – a big THANK YOU to very wonderful clients for their beautiful letter to us!

    I thought it might be great idea to share their sentiments, as they were total newcomers to working with a designer – and of course we are proud to share their praise with our readers….

    The project will get photographed professionally soon, however, at this point I can only add snapshots. In my mind this project was always the sexy, dark and handsome sibling of our very calm and sensual Kitsilano job…





    the sleek curved island with the stainless steel post/ electrical chase


    Hi, Ines,

    When Naz and I first decided to reno our kitchen we called my cabinet maker friend.  He came over with his designer and we chatted for a while.  I guess you know that originally I had intended for a more traditional Greene and Greene style hardwood kitchen.  The conversation we had with them was brief and the designer didn’t actually speak. 

    After they left Naz and I had a conversation about how it had gone with them.  We realized that all we were going to end up with was our same kitchen with new boxes.

    We’ve done a lot of renovations since we bought this house in 1993.  Each one was done as we could afford it and in a rather haphazard fashion.  We didn’t really have a long-term plan as we were never sure how each room was going to be used.  In the first few years we lived here we moved our furniture around so much from room to room that we should have put wheels on it.  The office space was in 3 different spots, the master bedroom in 2, we had a dining room then no dining room, the pinball machines were downstairs then upstairs, we had a piano then no piano and so on.  We went from the original carpet in the kitchen to lino to tile and from carpet throughout the house to hardwood and cork and even some laminate. 

    Anyways, as we realized that we were heading for new boxes in the kitchen we decided that perhaps it was time to do something with more of a plan – something to tie it all together.  That’s when we went googling and looking at portfolios and found you.

    When you first came up we didn’t know what to expect.  We’d never worked with a designer and, frankly, we used to laugh at people who did.  We’d always done our own thing and – for the most part – it always turned out to our satisfaction.  The first thing you did when you came in was admire the view out the window and point out that the spindle handrail made it look a bit like a jail.  We’d been looking at it so long we never really thought about it anymore.  But when you pointed that out we realized that you were right.  You walked around for a while listening and swapping ideas and, despite the fact that you had only agreed to come up for a couple of hours you were here for closer to 3 1/2.  You weren’t watching the clock and you seemed genuinely interested.  After you left Naz and I talked about our meeting and we were both very impressed with you.

    Since then we’ve not been disappointed.  You’ve got a special gift for visualizing spaces and materials.  You’ve also got an obvious passion for what you do.  It’s not often you meet someone who is both good at what they do and obviously loves to do it but you are one of those people.  At every step you’ve taken whatever time and measures it took to make sure that each and every detail was correct – there were no surprises – no ‘gotcha’s.  Where one material ended you made sure that it transitioned into the next appropriately both in size, space, and material.  You communicated with Bert and Jivko behind the scenes to ensure that everything went according to plan and you communicated with us to make sure that we got what we wanted.


    Anyhow, the purpose of this email is to thank you for all your hard work.  Naz and I are very happy with the way things turned out.  The whole ground floor is now one continuous area that we’re proud of.  Honestly when we look in the kitchen from above it’s hard to believe it’s ours – it looks like something out of a magazine.  I don’t think there’s any designer that could have done a better job with this space.

    Thanks, Ines!

    Mark and Naz





    Musings of a client – Thoughts about a designer’s work

    July 17, 2011

    Today I have the great pleasure to be lazy - a wonderful client wrote a blog for me! How  fantastic is that….

    Actually, Karen wrote the letter as a feedback to my very current previous entry about our work philosophy, and she graciously gave me permission to use it on the website.

    So without further a-do, here it is:

     I checked out your latest blog entries this evening & really enjoyed reading your thoughts.  There is a sensitivity for client “needs and wants” that comes through the writing and that is one of the many things I appreciate about both you & Kimberly.

     I can’t speak for other clients (and I ’m sure we are all entertainingly unique!) but from my perspective… I consider myself well experienced, educated and an expert in my professional field.  When I started the process of wanting to reconfigure a previously owned home to make it our home, it was very intimidating and sometimes I felt like I was back at my first day of Kindergarten, it was all so new and I had so much to learn!  In short, I felt dumb and uncomfortable.  The hundreds of books & magazines I had read did not prepare me for the reality of all the decisions involved in the process.  However, over the weeks my perspective slowly transformed and I appreciated the opportunity to exercise the creative side of my brain which is often overridden by the logical accounting side in my work world.  For example, this week I am selecting drapery for the master bedroom and I am excited rather than intimidated, keeping in mind that even small progress on the house (like curtains) is part of the realization of a personal dream.

     Even in the midst of my dumbness and hesitant decision-making, Kimberly went above and beyond and did a lot of handholding during our renovation and I will always be deeply grateful for the care and time you both gave on our project.  I think that the most important things I learned from you and Kimberly are as follows:

    1.       When you think you are losing it, be sure to hold onto your sense of humour and your professionalism.

    2.       Work with trades people who treat your home as if it were their own and anything less than excellent is not acceptable.

    3.       No matter how much you plan and prepare, renovations can be a Pandora’s box with many layers of wrapping around the box…stay calm and adjust your course as needed.

    4.       A creative designer is imperative to realize any vision you have for your home.  Most of us have the desire but the reality is that we do not have the creativity or skills.  I would encourage any of my friends to work a designer into their big or small redesign budgets.

     I sincerely appreciate not just your design skills but also your warm personalities, tactful and direct, technical and artistic, sensitive and strong, professional and patient…

     In your blog you mentioned a test as to what a client thinks “The Sky Is The Limit” means.  My initial interpretation from viewing your web site many months ago was that Ines must be very passionate as well as confident in her design work since she is offering her clients the sky.  And I think your on-line portfolio reflects your business name beautifully. 



     P.S. – I really loved the “Royal View” floral design fireplace – it is gorgeous.


    I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful feedback, Karen!

     Both on Kim’s and my behalf, yours truly was a one-of-a-kind project, and we are very grateful that you entrusted us with helping you with your home.

    Karen’s long distance  project was a very unique challenge for us on various levels, and I am sure I have plenty of material to write about at a later point, when we also have some visuals for explanation…

    It’s also great feedback because it finally gives me a  spot to send my trusted and cherished collegue Kimberly Lewis Manning a huge and long overdue THANK YOU for all her hard and dedicated work, her great warm personality, her sense of humour, her patience, and her ability to keep me sane …

    We sure have a great team dynamic, and I am glad and honoured to have her in my life!

    A new Category…

    September 12, 2010

    I know – we should have started this way earlier…
    Anyway – I just received a lovely e-mail yesterday, and thought I share it with the readers of my blog.
    This first featured feedback is from a ‘simple’ colour consultation. Now, when we are asked to help with colours, the request comes often from people who are very fond of colours, and who don’t necessarily want to play it ‘builder-beige’ safe.
    So this one is a great example….
    If I remember correctly, I ended up with about 16 colours, as the clients were looking for strong, often jewel toned colours, and they also wanted to paint the ceilings in an accent colour. As is noticible on the pictures, the rooms, although separate spaces in an older home, flow into each other, so all the colours had to work with each other.

    Please note that the pictures are mere snapshots, so they are not quite magazine quality!






    And here is what the clients had to say:
    It’s been about a year since we met you.  It’s been about 10 months with our walls painted.  But, finally, here are pictures of our house.  We have had innumerable unsolicited compliments about our colors.  We told people that a professional like you makes the difference, even with something as mundane as picking colors.

    James and Phyllis, Victoria
    September 2010


    THE SKY IS THE LIMIT DESIGN is a national and international award winning, full service architectural and interior design firm. We service Vancouver, Kelowna and the BC Mainland, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Seattle and the small islands as well as international clients. Principal Ines Hanl and her team specialize in the creation of artful, bespoke interiors in any style for their discerning clientele.

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