Studio Tour: Studio Gagnon
Aaron Gagnon is the visionary behind Studio Gagnon, a design and construction firm located on James Street North. If you visit Jack & Lois, check out the interesting looking door next door. Aaron owns the building and his studio is located above the restaurant. A graduate of Ryerson's School of Interior Design, Aaron found success early on designing Lululemon stores as the company expanded across North America. With recent projects including work at the Thompson Residences in Toronto and conceptual design for McMaster Children's Hospital, Aaron plans to focus his future efforts on residential design, renovations and custom interiors. Aaron's aesthetic is a reflection of his passion for art, design and construction. His personal studio balances clean lines and vintage charm with a touch of glam.
After touring Aaron's studio and wishing his kitchen was ours, we sat down to talk design inspiration, sourcing vintage and the best neighbourhoods in Hamilton.
What made you choose Hamilton as your homebase?
I love the history here. The rawness, the architecture, the character. It's full of surprises and hidden gems. The city is real, alive and constantly changing.
Where do you find your best vintage/antique pieces?
The nicest pieces usually come from antique shows and auctions, but over the years I have found great stuff at thrift stores and even pieces tossed out on the side of the road in the garbage. What's the saying? One person's trash is another person's treasure? With a little elbow grease you can turn any piece into one you will want to keep forever. I have an appreciation for old world craftsmanship; things aren't built as well and with as much attention to detail as they used to be.
What is your advice to young designers?
Try to work for people/companies who inspire you and let you be creative. Become well-rounded in all areas of your discipline. Take pride in everything that you do. Only produce your best work. Work hard and love what you do.
What are your top five sources of inspiration?
2. Visual Arts
4. Mies Van Der Rohe (Architect/Designer / Pioneer of Modernism)
What are your favorite streets and areas in Hamilton?
James Street North and Locke Street for places to eat and shop. For neighbourhoods I love Durand. It has some of the greatest character homes I have ever seen and most owners have taken pride in restoring them and keeping their original charm. I am also a huge fan of the Bayfront area. It has a relaxed vibe and the Hamilton waterfront is so underrated. It's absolutely beautiful down there. It seems like people are slowly catching on to this as I look from my backyard toward the structural steel rising at the Witton Lofts on Murray Street.
What was the last restaurant you went to?
I had breakfast at Jack & Lois on James Street North -- vegetarian eggs benny with puff pastry and tomato chutney/ hollandaise.
What is your favourite magazine?
Azure. And Dwell, Wallpaper, Frame, Mark, Juxtapoz...
Timothy Ferriss- The 4-Hour Workweek
Favourite Instagram filter?
I'm torn between Rise and Amaro.
Biggest guilty pleasure?
Making homemade chocolate chip cookies and eating them with glasses of milk until I feel sick to my stomach.
Are you an up-and-coming interior designer? Aaron is hiring a part-time interior designer to work with him as part of Studio Gagnon. Send him your resume!