Getting To Know Gillian Segal

Luxury home designer Gillian Segal shares the first thing she notices when she enters a home, her love for the ’60s, and how incorporating unexpected marbles has come to define her work.

Based in Vancouver, Gillian Segal Design’s body of work has been acclaimed both locally and internationally. Run by Gillian Segal, her design firm strives to “create original work for our clients that pushes both design boundaries, while simultaneously feeling like it represents them.” Segal’s renowned modern eclectic esthetic, which seamlessly blends the old, while marrying her client’s vision, are what give her work what she calls the “GSDC flair.”

Q: Describe a typical day for you.
Busy. Every day tends to be a bit different. We could spend a full day in design development, on site at a photoshoot, sourcing a perfect fabric and the next day, be in back-to-back meetings with existing and potential new clients.

Q: What do you love most about being a designer?
There are so many aspects to this industry that I love, and I could go on forever about this. However, what first comes to mind is how I feel blessed to be able to build such a close relationship with each and every client who walks into the GSD office. I may be biased, but I lucked out with the best clients, and I’m forever grateful for that.

Q: What is your definition of happiness?
: Feeling fulfilled in my life and being surrounded by the people I love.

Q: Can you share some notes on what were the inspirations behind some of the projects you shared with us.
Every project starts with its own identity, which is mainly formed from the client, themselves. We put a great emphasis on the client driving the project and work our way back from there. We find inspiration through many different mediums, whether it’s a set in a ’60s movie, magazine, travel or Pinterest.

Q: How are you able to balance your career as a sought-after designer and a young mom?
It’s a challenge every day, and, to be honest, I don’t think “balance” exists. Some days, I feel like a great mom, but have anxiety or stress over not fulfilling work obligations. Other days, I feel like I am kicking ass at work, but have immense guilt at missing special moments with my girls. My passion for my career fulfills me and allows me to bring my whole self home to my daughters. With that said, none of this could be achieved without my village of an army, both professionally and personally.

Q: What travel destinations have helped shape you into the designer you are today?
Travelling a lot as a child with my family exposed me to so much, so I am forever grateful for that. Recently, trips to Europe have been hard to beat.

Q: Who do you look up to in the architecture and design fields?
I am sure this is many designers’ answer; however, I have to credit Kelly Wearstler for being such a queen. I have so much admiration for her unwavering boldness and fearlessness in her work. The career she has built is absolutely incredible, and the fact that she manages to juggle her empire while also being a mom is extremely inspiring to me.

Q: Name three things every room should have to be comfortable.
You can never go wrong with drapery, as it adds a soft, finishing touch to every room. Art is the heart and soul of the home and shows the personality of both the room and owner. Lighting is also important, as all different levels of lighting help create ambience and move your eye around the room.

Q: What advice would you share with your younger self, if you could?
Resilience is key, no matter where you are in life, what you are doing, or what field you are in. Failure happens, you need to learn from it and continue to push forward with a positive mindset.

Q: If you could choose to be born in a different era, what would it be and why?
Sixties, hands down. The fashion, interiors, music, everything about the ’60s really inspires my decisions.

Q: What is the best gift you have ever received?
This may be sappy, but my daughters. They truly inspire me to not only work hard, but also to be better in all aspects of life.

Q: What do you love most about the city you live in?
Besides how beautiful B.C., and, in particular, Vancouver, is. I was born and raised in this city. I feel very connected to it and all the natural beauty here, as well as the more laid-back, West Coast approach to life.

Q: What are your signature materials you tend to go to, when working on a project, which would identify the final work as your own?
A: Working with dramatic and unexpected marbles is something we have been told defines our work. I think more than one specific material; however, for us, it’s all about the mix and a layering of many items to create spaces that feel collected and soulful.

Q: What is your favourite room in the house?
It would be a toss-up between my kitchen and principal bedroom. Kitchen, being that a lot of my best memories have been created in this space with my family and friends, and I love to host. And we always find ourselves milling around the kitchen island. However, my bedroom is one place I feel extremely safe and calm — it’s definitely a retreat for me.

Q: If you could change anything about society, what would that be?
Stopping all the judgment and hate.

Q: What is your favourite book, movie and song?
Favourite book: Where the Crawdads Sing.
Favourite movie: Sabrina (the original with Audrey).
Favourite song: Totally depends on my mood. Probably something by Mariah Carey.

Q: What is the one thing you notice first when entering someone’s home?
I never am looking at one thing, but rather trying to understand the overall feel or vibe and what that says about them.

Q: Can you speak about what brand values or mission statements you offer your clients?
A personalized experience for every client. We pride ourselves on educating our clients in the design process, while making it as stress-free and fun as possible. We strive to create original work for our clients that pushes design boundaries, while simultaneously feeling like it represents them. Ultimately, we want to do everything we can to make our clients happy.

Q: In your opinion, what is the best invention of our lifetime and why?
This is a very tough one, but I think, in general, advancements in medicine that allow us to live longer and healthier lives.

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