Home & Garden

Five questions with Candice Olson, interior designer and host of a new show on HGTV

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After eight years of Divine Design on HGTV, Candice Olson launched her new show, Candice Tells All, on New Year's Day. It showcases one principle or scheme per episode.

With her team, Olson goes behind the scenes to show the bumps and construction slowdowns. Olson, the mother of two (Piper, 7, and Beck, 4) talked with us by phone from Toronto, where the show is filmed.

Question: Who or what inspired you to become a designer?

Answer: I always knew I wanted to do something in art. And I knew I couldn't always play volleyball. (Olson was a member of the national women's volleyball team in Canada.) I have a degree in interior design from Ryerson University here in Toronto. With almost 20 years in the business, I'm really excited about the new show. There is a real thirst for great design that is not only informative but also entertaining.

Q: What defines your sense of style?

A: I look foremost to clients. It is their space, their home, their lifestyle. This should be a room that is about them, not me. There has never been a room that somebody doesn't like. There have been rooms that were not my particular style. I bring sensibility to a more contemporary, casual and livable space.

Q: What are some of your favorite design tricks?

A: Probably not a trick, but overlooked, is lighting. I love using lighting tricks to bring up highlights. When I started (as a designer), I had to take a $30 blouse and with proper lighting make it look like a $300 blouse. I use that in residential design. Take drapes — with the proper lighting, they can look more expensive.

Q: What is the biggest design mistake homeowners make?

A: A lot of time, people don't do a reality check. They see something in a magazine that they like. But does it work for your lifestyle?

Q: What do you see as a trend?

A: People are looking for modern contemporary with natural materials. That element of craft brings softness and warmth to contemporary design.