By Joe Leary
Photos by Brian Giebelhaus
They are commonly referred to as ‘Dream Homes’; a term largely associated with Hospital Lotteries throughout BC and their spectacular grand prizes.
And in the pantheon of living ones fantasy in glittering surroundings, that dream is bound only by imagination.
And it’s that imagination that comes into play in the mind of Decorator, Sandra Hurtley of Positive Space Staging and Design; who has operated her own business since 2006 and has lent her talents to Lottery Prize Homes for the past five years.
Hurtley’s work is again proudly on display in the current BC Children’s Hospital Lottery Dream Home Grand Prize located in White Rock and worth over 2.8 million.
“You could call me the Interior Decorator,” she says of her role in this project”.
A designer is more architectural; whereas I focus more on the décor’.”
Beginning her career working with builders within new construction in hard finishes picking flooring, countertops and lighting; her role soon evolved into deciding the décor’.
“I focus mainly on doing home staging; décor – I help clients when they buy a new home pick their furnishings and paint colours, but I think the distinction is that I’m a decorator versus a designer.”
When I’m doing a project like the Lottery show homes; the home dictates the lifestyle so the inspiration completely comes from the architecture of the home and I’m putting together each room by envisioning what the lifestyle would be.
This home in White Rock is very elegant; very grand and the scale is large so I ‘m just really creating the story of the lifestyle of the home.”
With spectacular show homes currently dotting the landscape in BC, it becomes somewhat of a personal mission to continually raise the bar in offering something unique to her client base.
“There is a formula to a room but I am constantly trying to create new spaces and the trends in the design industry tend to change constantly so you always want people to see things they haven’t seen before and you want to help people get new ideas as they walk through the homes.
In this house in particular the draperies in the formal dining room are Gold Snakeskin and making that choice might have seemed bold but they are one of my favourite features of this prize home.
The feel and warmth that they give the dining room is the focal point.
I am constantly trying to think outside the box and push it a little bit.
I also like a little whimsy in a room where I take something unexpected and add it to the concept of a room because I believe it makes it much more interesting.”
In the overall business of design and décor’, clients can have very specific ideas in mind for their living space.
Whether or not they may fit is quite another matter.
“There are times when I think that a client is asking me for something that I know won’t work so I have to help them understand why,” she admits.
“In my mind I can visualize it immediately but a bigger part of my job is communicating it to the client so that they understand why I may recommend something different.
It’s important that a concept has flow so I try to help people understand, that each selection they make represents everything else that’s happening in the space and that cohesive looks makes it appear effortless.”
And for those of us that haven’t successfully won the lottery yet and don’t think that any space can be transformed into your own personal dream home, Sandra Hurtley begs to differ.
“I have staged and worked with clients from studio apartments to penthouses to show suites – I’ve done it all and you really don’t have to have a huge budget.
You just need to have the right pieces and have it put together
in a way that really works for the space. I actually really love working with smaller spaces and making them really functional and beautiful. “
Again, it all comes down to living your dream.
And as Sandra will tell you: “If you dream it I can do it.”