Catching Up With
Catching Up With
Sam Smiddy and Lisa Stegman have been a dream team since the very beginning. Even before launching Smiddy Stegman in 2018, this duo worked together in the Calgary design industry. After starting their own firm, these powerhouse ladies continue to curate timeless interiors by blending contemporary design with classic elements. Both respective mammas, designers, and entrepreneurs, Sam and Lisa shared a bit of their knowledge with us.
An Interview With Smiddy Stegman Interiors
Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to start your design firm?
Both of us knew we wanted to be designers from a very young age; we both re-arranged our bedrooms and fantasized about creating lofts in our bedrooms by drawing floor plans. We both graduated from the Mount Royal Interior Design program, a year apart, and then started our design careers with Douglas Cridland at Cridland Associates. We were so fortunate to learn from Douglas as he played such an important role in high-end residential interior design in Calgary. He taught us so much about design, art and business in general. Douglas retired in 2018 and we started Smiddy Stegman right after that. He gave us the confidence to start our own firm.
How would you describe your design style and aesthetic? If you have a few different styles, what’s your favourite style?
As most designers would tell you, we don’t have a specific style professionally, this is because we think our job as designers is to pull the personal style out of the client and then ensure everything is cohesive and flows from there. As designers, we think we become better when we’re pushed out of our comfort zones. Layering and combining a few design styles into one home is always a fun challenge and allows for each home to be unique. Personally, both of us are drawn to high contrast contemporary interiors, peppered with classic elements.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Let’s be honest, we look to Pinterest just as much as the next person! But we also look to local and international designers, and the clients, of course, are always the biggest factor in the design direction.
Are there any upcoming design trends you’re looking forward to? Which design movement is, to you, the most timeless?
Warmer tones! We saw a big push a while ago for gray and while it still has a place, we love the warmer tones and think they are here to stay.
If you could give advice to your younger self (or young designers out there), what would it be?
Find clients that really appreciate our industry. Those are the clients that value the entire design process and foster the best result.
If you could share one key design tip to really make a house feel like a home, what would it be?
To surround yourself with materials, objects, art, and colours that make you feel at peace. Ask yourself, “does this bring me joy?” and if it does, find room for it in your home. This inner dialogue will help tailor your home perfectly for you!
What do you love most about being part of the design community?
That there is room for all of us in the industry, and while we can respect what makes each designer different, we can still admire their work as well. We often look at other designers’ work and say “Dang that is good! Good for them!”
We’ve all had to do some adjusting over the last year and a half. What challenges have you faced over this period, and how did you manage to pivot? Any key learnings you'd like to share?
Timelines have been the biggest struggle in the last few years. I think managing client expectations and educating them on why our industry is seeing so many timeline delays really help with their understanding. Setting the expectation that everything is taking longer than it did before and that we must make decisions earlier in the process than we normally would have to stay ahead.