Amanda Hamilton recalls spending hours doing puzzles with her grandfather as a child, and from that early day, she developed a passion for all things visual: visual arts, interior design, and even the dramatic arts. “Interior design is very much a combination of pieces that you work to fit together seamlessly,” she explains. Just like a puzzle.
After studying design at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, Hamilton launched her self-titled firm: Amanda Hamilton Design. Since then, she has become one of the most sought-after designers in western Canada; her portfolio includes stunning residential spaces, as well as commercial projects like ultra-modern dining locales and chic retail spots.
We caught up with Hamilton for the scoop on where she gets her inspiration, what kind of woman she looks up to as a role model, and what’s next for her. Happy reading!
S/: What’s the best part of your job?
Amanda Hamilton: I love the fact that my profession offers an expression for creativity while allowing me to explore new concepts and ideas. There is very little repetition in my work; each day is dynamic and presents a new challenge.
Tell me about your design aesthetic.
We don’t have a design aesthetic—not in the traditional sense of the word. While many designers find success in finding a niche, we are, to some degree, the antithesis of this. We have a personal touch that can be recognized by our followers, however, we strive to communicate and elevate our client’s individual design aspirations.
Tell me about a project in your portfolio that you are particularly proud of.
Native Tongues Taqueria [a modern taqueria in Calgary] was a particularly interesting project as the chef/owner has a keen interest in design and travelled extensively throughout the course of the project for research and development. [The space] has a looseness that it allows it to feel as if it has always been there, which was the goal.
How would you describe your own home’s style?
Eclectic, exploratory, soulful. I approach interior design with the same values as I do my own sense of personal style. There should always be elements that evoke inquiry, inspire or provide theatrical relief, but that all elements together should be, to some degree, timeless and elegant solutions.
After working as an interior designer, why did you decide to launch your own home collection this past fall?
Our self titled lifestyle collection provides further opportunity to express ourselves creatively. Furthermore, it’s a natural extension of our brand as we were already providing custom design solutions through the way of furniture and millwork to our clients. If we can’t find what we want, we make it.
What was your inspiration behind this collection?
Our current collection is inspired by goods that provoke thought or bring you back to a moment in time, while ensuring they are tailored and novel in their own right. We also love anything that has a close connection to local artisans or a charitable element.
Who do you look up to as a role model?
I look up to women who have mastered the fine art of balancing femininity with badass business acumen. Women who can hustle, with grace, in a pair of four inch heels.
What artists/designers have inspired you?
Beyoncé might be your queen, but Kelly Wearstler is my number one girl crush. She’s unapologetic about her love for a wild, colourful, textural palette, and emboldens our team to continue to express ourselves and truly take the risks necessary to fulfill our inner creative weirdo.
What does success mean to you?
My definition of success is constantly evolving. I am very slowly learning to be much kinder to myself—to allow more room for self care as I’ve learned that I’m the most creative, best version of myself when I take some room to breathe. Success is the fullest expression of my work that strives to be entirely consistent with my values of a designer and a human being—thoughtful, intelligent, and soulful.
What’s next for you? (I hear you have a wallpaper and scented candle collection coming soon!)
Who blabbered all of my secrets to you? It’s true: we are launching our own signature scent this fall entitled Virility. It’s a unisex scent that is sultry and earthy with notes of tobacco, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Something you would nuzzle into. We are also launching our first wallpaper this fall as well and have aligned ourselves with a great Canadian company who will be printing and distributing the wallpaper. The ink literally isn’t dry yet so I can’t say who, but S/ magazine will be the first to know! We are also in the preliminary stages of a collaboration with Brooklyn native Brooke Winfrey of BTW Ceramics. I’m really pumped to see what we come up with.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m not even sure if I could tell you where I see myself in 3 days…ha! I’m a creature of change and thrive on constant evolution but I am focused on really expanding my business to the West Coast so that I can spend more time near the ocean. I grew up sailing in the San Juan Islands with my gramps and it holds a really mushy part of my heart. I follow opportunity, thrive on exploration, and crave knowledge, so that’s where you’ll find me.