In addition to hosting the W Network's Candice Tells All, the Toronto-based interior design dynamo has even published a book, Candice Olson on Design: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Home (2006 Meredith Books), and launched an eponymous line of furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, lighting and rugs. Not bad for someone who didn't think she'd be accepted into Ryerson University's interior design program, which she graduated from in 1989. Today, the design celeb is in such high demand that she treasures every second she can spend at home with her family.
House & Home: What do you like most about your house?
Candice Olson: I grew up in Calgary and my husband grew up just outside the Black Forest in Germany, so we both cherish living close to nature. Our house's huge expanses of windows overlook a ravine, providing us with a constantly evolving canvas of colour throughout the seasons.
H&H: How would you describe your style?
CO: Comfortable and contemporary with a dash of the unexpected.
H&H: What is your favourite colour scheme?
CO: A soft palette inspired by nature — buckskin tan, watery blue, pale celadon, vanilla cream — grounded by dark chocolate-toned woods.
H&H: Do you collect anything?
CO: I collect handcrafted masks on my travels, from Venetian opera masks to African tribal ones. I love contrasting my masks with sleek, machine-made elements in contemporary rooms.
H&H: What’s your idea of a great night out?
CO: A night in. My most memorable “night out” was when a group of friends hired a personal chef for an evening of gourmet dining and wine tasting at my house. There was no prep, no travel, no clean-up, and it was one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had.
H&H: Whose personal style do you admire?
CO: Ralph Lauren. He’s evolved and adapted to constantly changing design trends without losing sight of his original core philosophy of classic quality.
H&H: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
CO: A photo album my husband created to document our lives before we had kids — from our childhoods through our awkward teens to our crazy 20s and 30s.
H&H: What’s your definition of beauty?
CO: There’s nothing more beautiful than the sight and sound of people laughing; it transcends all cultures and ages.
H&H: What makes you feel fulfilled?
CO: Balanced chaos! Juggling a marriage, family and career is a challenge. If, at the end of the day, my husband is still speaking to me, my daughter has eaten something other than hot dogs and no more than three tradesmen are phoning for tomorrow’s design plans, I’m happy!