I whole heartedly believe that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. The journey on how I opened up a design & renovation firm & then expanded into a complementary boutique storefront with furniture, lighting & décor is quite different from most I would assume.
I graduated with a Commerce Degree & began my career as a Policy Analyst for the Federal Government. It wasn't until my husband & I built our first house that I really discovered my true professional passion in life. Rather than hiring a conventional home builder I decided to design & general contract the home-build from the ground up. After that, friends & family start asking me for help with their homes & I began to dabble in the business.
Fast forward 5 years, after having my second child I decided to return to school, received a Diploma in Interior Design and opened iDESIGN inc.
When working on my projects for clients I quickly found that I was having a difficult time finding the particular aesthetic of furniture & décor that I was looking for on a daily basis. This gap in the local market was what triggered my imagination for the storefront.
I first mentioned the thought to my husband in passing; thinking that the idea would eventually fizzle out; I should have known better. My husband has always been my biggest supporter & has definitely always encouraged me to take risks that I normally would not. It was him after all that had encouraged me to leave the security of my 9-5 Federal Government position to peruse my dream of iDESIGN & well, here I am!
Once I decided that the next natural progression of my business would be to open the storefront I started to seek out the perfect space. Like most people, when they start to think about a project, I started to save inspiration pictures in on a Pinterest & one that stood out to me in particular was a picture of the Wayfair Tavern in San Francisco California (photo shown below). Being a absolute Christmas nut, I fell in love with this image with the 2 Christmas wreaths in the window & new that I wanted a place like this.
Then one day March 2020 I drove down Corydon Ave in Winnipeg & saw an outdated building with green siding & 2 beautiful bay windows awaiting the day to see my Christmas wreaths! It was love at first sight & I had a meant to be moment.
The building definitely needed a major overhaul. The interior was even more outdated than the exterior (Before photo's below). For the past 20 years it had been the home of the Manitoba Forestry Association, & I assume didn't see any updates. The inside was quite dark, dingy & divided up into many small little spaces. I knew that if I were to make this building work I would have to open it up & brighten it up!
April of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic & complete lockdowns here, we settled the deal for the space & in July we took possession (Possession day photos below). It was an extremely exciting day & would make for a year that I think our family will never forget.
This day was the beginning of a dream come true. For the year following I renovated the storefront. A lot of the storefront work was done on the weekends, when the design & renovation firm side of the business was closed. The plus side to this was that our kids had a chance to be involved in the process & I hope that they have learned some lessons that serve them well. I think that its great that they were there to witness some of the trials & tribulations that this past year had brought & were able to see these overcome, because after all life isn't always easy!
If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would renovate & open a boutique furniture storefront I would have never have believed them; not to mention if they would have told me that I would do it in the middle of a pandemic. Blood sweat & tears went into this building; not only by me but also those around me. The term "it takes a village" couldn't me more true. My dreams were made possible by so many including family, friends, sub-trades, employees, suppliers & clients. This year held a lot of excitement but not without some hard times; without the support of amazing people around me it would have made the journey a heck of a lot harder.
July 2021, one year after possession we were finally ready to open our doors & share this labor of love with those who share in our love of the beautiful carefully curated products that we have filled our storefront with (finished storefront photo's below).
Opening night will be a night I will cherish always. It felt like such an accomplishment & at times during the year felt like a night that would never come. We were lucky enough to be able to spend the evening surrounded by those we love & care about which made it feel all that much more special...again in a year of a pandemic that was also something that I wasn't sure would be possible (photo below of my husband & I on opening night).
(Opening Night Photo's)
So what's inside; the iDESIGN storefront is a collection of high-end furnishings, lighting & home décor that are carefully curated, unique & have laid back California influences. The building is just under 2000 square feet in total, the front 1000 square feet is dedicated entirely to the storefront were we have a a sampling of furniture, lighting & artwork that we carry as well as an abundance home décor items such as vases, stems, throws, throw pillows, area rugs, & seasonal décor to make your space it's best self! We are the perfect place to come when you want to freshen up your space or add special seasonal décor; however, because we have unique & carefully curated items we are also the perfect place to find a gift for someone who deserves all things beautiful. Our staff is friendly, insightful & can answer any product questions that you may have.
We have built a website to highlight our storefront products at www.idstorefront.com which includes items that we have both in-store but also that we are able to offer our clients. Since inventory & lead times have been difficult to predict this year we have currently limited our online selections at this time & ask that if you are interested in any item not available for online purchase on our website to call the storefront at 1-204-475-1702 so that we can check lead time for you & place the order. As the industry slowly gets back to normal we will begin to open up our online offerings.
Please come check out our storefront, we cannot wait to share the rest of this journey with you & help make your space beautiful!