Words Angela Cowan
Inspired by his lifelong appreciation of modern design, native Vancouverite Ross Bonetti founded Livingspace Interiors in 1988 with the aim of creating a unique and customer-centred retail environment catering to the interior design community.
Today, the specialty retailer supplies European modern furniture, kitchens, closets and bathrooms from its recently expanded 30,000-square-foot showroom in a 1930s-era printing factory. Going hand-in-hand with the design side of things, Ross is also president of Livingspace Homes, a turn-key residential construction company which provides clients with a fully integrated suite of products and services.
An involved member of his communities both locally and province-wide, Ross decided early on it was important to give back, and as such, he dedicates personal time to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital Foundation.
He helps to create opportunities for the next generation of designers, and encourages and supports work placement spots for students of interior design at major universities and colleges across BC. And, in conjunction with Emily Carr University, Ross helped establish the Livingspace Industrial Design Scholarship, which is awarded annually.
“I wanted to support young designers in the industrial program at Emily Carr University as I believe it is one of the best programs in the country. We need to support the local talent and celebrate industrial design as they do in Europe.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
I always wanted to be as cool as Steve McQueen. I loved his movie choices and how he lived his life on the edge, motor racing, flying and doing his own stunts. I guess the closest modern-day movie star is Brad Pitt.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
Aspects of Italy often find their way into many facets of my life. I love the simplicity and local flavour of the food. In my own home, we have a Dada kitchen, which is built for both functionality of cooking and style, making the Italian foods I love so much even more enjoyable.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I would take an adventure holiday with family and friends, including private jets, yachts and cars, with views of ocean and mountains in exotic locations.
People who don’t celebrate other people’s success. We all need to be cheerleaders on every level. When we celebrated Livingspace’s 30th anniversary last year, all of our design partners including Minotti, MDF Italia, Paola Lenti and others were there to celebrate alongside us. All of our colleagues were an integral part of our success, and us theirs. Even though all of these brands are competitors, it was amazing to see the industry come together.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
I am most relaxed boating on the west coast. You are away from day-to-day city life and can shut off your devices to explore and watch the whales swim by.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I am proud to have grown a family-owned retail appliance business into an internationally recognized design hub supplying the world’s best products for the complete home. Livingspace was built from my lifelong appreciation for modern design, and I’m very proud to have grown the business from a small showroom alongside my family to a now 30,000-square-foot space featuring the best in luxury Italian design.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Right now, it’s tennis. I am addicted to getting better and improving my fitness. I look forward to moving into my new house this year where we will have our new Techno gym equipment.