Ever heard of Samantha Pynn? If you've ever turned on HGTV she should be a familiar face. Host of HGTV's Open House Overhaul - plus a well-known Canadian design personality, Pynn has recently collaborated with Simons to create a home decor line of bedding, bath and kitchen textiles.
The Vancouverite recently checked in 1:1 with Ms. Pynn to see what inspired her recent line and why she selected Simons as the perfect partner for this new collection.
V: How did you get started in design?
SP: I worked in commercials and music videos as a location scout. A year later, I started working at Style at Home magazine on the writing side (I have an English specialist degree and went to magazine journalism at Ryerson) but I quickly moved to the design side of the magazine because they needed the help. Design was exploding in the world of magazines in 2001. I ended up apprenticing with one of the design editors, David Overholt and went back to school for Space Planning and Drafting. All the while, I was scouting homes for Style at Home, as well as styling them and producing stories on the latest and greatest in home decor. Oh yes, and the television thing started my second year at Style at Home.
V: Where do you get your inspirations from?
SP: I find inspiration everywhere. From iron work and old tiles to great clothing and vintage furniture to candy wrappers and rocks. Plus, I have so many friends in decorating and design who are constantly showing me things that they love. I'm also fortunate in that I've travelled and still travel a lot. But truly, I've been gathering inspiration for a long time. I grew up in a house where the carpets were red and the wallpaper red with gold and grey. As a kid, I was constantly wanting to go inside peoples’ homes to see their green rugs and striped sofas. I also loved gardens and was obsessed with flowers like grape hyacinth, hydrangea (I called them snowballs), and even dandelions. I find that a lot of what I love and do in decorating and design comes from my love of things that I remember as a child.
V: What are you most proud of in this new collection?
SP: There are so many things about the collection that make me happy. But what I love most is whether you are a design expert looking for that perfect lavender or pink pillow or you are new to design and want a workhorse of a duvet cover, the collection has it. I wanted the collection to appeal to many different people; I wanted it to make decorating fun and easy. So many people have told me that they are overwhelmed by all the design choices that exist (it's like me when I'm buying tooth paste or shampoo) there is just so much great stuff on the market. I wanted the collection to work all together as well as to work with peoples’ existing decor.
V: Do you think you'll expand into other parts of the home? What about wallpaper, furnishings, etc.?
SP: I'm definitely working on expanding with my Simons friends. It's so exciting!
V: What do you enjoy doing more - the show or designing?
SP: Oh that's hard, I love both. But design really fuels me. I love that it helps people. When people walk into their home and feel happy and comforted, I feel bliss. I'm really fortunate in that I get to do so many different things from writing my column, to styling photos, to television and room design and now product design. It's hard to pick one. But I will say this, that working with the Simon's home team - Jason, Tina, Dominique and Anais- has been the most exciting and fun project that I've ever worked on.
V: Who is your favorite home designer?
SP: Again there are so many! Steven Gambrel, Tim Mather, David Overholt, Elle Jungkind Thom Filicia, Kelly Wearstler,
V: We're seeing a stronger and stronger trend towards emulating what's on the runway into home decor. Do you agree?
SP: I think what's happening now, and has been increasingly happening over the years, is that new colours and patterns and silhouettes are being produced at warp speed so design and fashion are working in tandem. But there are days when I look at what's happening on the runway and I think hey I saw that dress as a pillow in a boutique a few weeks ago!
V: What is your greatest accomplishment in your career to date?
SP: Again that's a tough one to answer. I'm blessed that I've had so many moments to celebrate - it's been cumulative. I remember 15 years ago when I got my first byline published in Style at Home it was for a side bar on paint and I couldn't stop hugging the editor and jumping up and down. A few months ago at the Simons photo shoot, I hugged and jumped up and down with the buyers and the photographer.
V: Why Simons?
SP: It was a great fit. A brand manager who I've known for a long time, Michelle Guerrero, put me in contact with Simons. I had always loved the store for fashion and home linens. They carry awesome product and have a unique fashion-forward perspective that is totally approachable and inspiring, so it seemed like a natural fit. Then I met with the buyers and Peter Simons and I was hooked! Simons is all about the customer. And, for me, I am all about the reader, the viewer, the homeowner, and the person who is trying to make a great space.
V: What do you like to do for fun?
SP: For fun, I hang out with my friends and family. And I practice a lot of yoga.