Alyssa Wieske brings a certain lightness, simplicity and balance to her designs — adding modern elements to a historical building, and feminine details that beautifully contrast a masculine space. She greets me at her light filled home studio in the Witton Lofts, a loft conversion that transformed the former McIlwraith Public School. And my heart is set a flutter. Aesthetically restrained, the colour palette is both clean and conducive to modern living, with tones of white and grey, and touches of blush pink. It's staged for a showing the afternoon I'm there, but the space still shows subtle hints of her work, travels and family. With formal training in interior design — Alyssa studied at Sheridan College — her work bridges both residential and commercial design. She has collaborated with, to name a few; Ambitious Realty, Augusta Cafe, Hambrgr, and Budget Environmental on Sherman Avenue. And aside from founding her own design firm, at just 25, Alyssa has already won a Stantec Award for most outstanding design. While she loves her home studio (and her stunning West Harbour view) she will soon be moving to Ancaster with her family. I was delighted, nonetheless to catch up with her in the space where Wieske Design started.
What were you doing before you launched Wieske Design? What made you take the leap and start your own business?
After College, I was hired on as a designer at Cecconi Simone in Toronto. I was really excited to get the job, however with the commute and long hours soon realized that it was not where I saw myself long term. I had always loved the idea of running my own company from home while raising a family. I had some customers lined up fairly quickly and have just grown from then.
Across your social channels and work as a creative director/designer, there is a continuity in your aesthetic. Is there a specific style that you use as the foundation to your work?
I always love choosing design elements that are really specific to a projects concept. However, French and English country definitely have my heart, and elements from these can typically be seen in my projects. I love how elegant and symmetrical the rooms are, while still having a casual and comfortable look to them. Pairing that with some more modern elements is my favourite!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Those that are close to me know I am always thinking design, and am constantly looking for inspiration in my day to day life. However, one of my favourite ways to be inspired is when I travel. There are so many elements and details you can take from the different areas and cultures. I also love using the internet to find inspiration. It has so much to offer which is great when looking for a specific project.
Can you share a bit about your creative process when working on a project?
It is really important to get a good understanding of what the client is looking to accomplish in their space. Once that is determined, I begin researching ideas to come up with a strong concept for their design, and source images that reflect it. I love referencing details in not only interiors, but also architecture, culture, and landscapes. This is the most important part of the design process, and is referred to throughout the project to ensure we keep on track with the overall look. From that I develop floor plans, and source all the furniture, finishes, and fixtures.
Tell us about a recent project you’re proud of.
I am really excited with how the Waterdown home turned out! The great room was designed with two seperate sitting areas, and I love how they both have their own look while at the same time balancing the room.
What is one piece of advice you would give to young designers about the design industry?
The design industry can be very stressful, and demanding. However, if you are passionate and work hard you will do well, so don't give up!
Favourite paint color?
Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. I’m a little obsessed with navy lately!
Dream furniture purchase?
Does a greenhouse count? I would love one large enough to host dinner parties!
Favourite interior space in Hamilton?
There are so many beautiful interiors in Hamilton, but one of my favourites would have to be the Balfour House. I saw it come up for sale a while back, and was so tempted to buy it! All the original character and detail is so beautiful!
On your day off, where would we find you?
Walking at Bay Front Park with my family.