Words: Angela Cowan > Photography Lia Crowe
Listen to Kamelia Rahmatzadeh talk about design or art, or even just creativity in general, and two things quickly become apparent: she’s utterly passionate about what she does and she’s instantly likeable.
She founded Designs for Life—which offers home staging, interior decorating and interior design services—when she was just 25 and still in design school, with the whole thing coming about as a bit of an accident.
“My family is in construction, and I always wanted to be an interior designer,” she says. “They would hire stagers [for the new builds]…and the stagers did a good job, but they were using floral fabrics and deep jewelled tones and I thought, this just didn’t appeal to the masses.”
Kamelia was in the process of outfitting her own home when an opportunity came up to stage a home with her own furniture, and it was a huge success.
“I just kept getting referrals,” she says, adding that it led to an increasing number of clients who wanted Designs for Life to decorate their homes.
“This past year it’s been a lot of interior design,” she says, and given her eye for unusual and striking design, it’s not surprising Vancouverites have been lining up to get Kamelia’s expertise.
“Right now I love playing with scale, or patterns and textures and colour contrasts. I love using out of the ordinary artwork, or having huge light fixtures, or very small art in a big room. Things that are out of the ordinary. And I love mixing old world with new world, for decorating, not staging,” she explains. “I definitely love pushing the bar. What I hope to do in the near future is create very avant-garde, eclectic designs.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
Kelly Wearstler! In my eyes she’s like the Lady Gaga of the design world, an absolute icon and visionary to the design industry. She continuously pushes the bar, impressing her audience with unexpected and avant-garde designs. It would be a great delight to walk in her shoes!
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
I am a huge foodie, so this is a tough question for me to answer. But if I must choose one, I vote for fresh, wild, sustainable seafood! When prepared well, it’s a perfectly light and satisfying meal!
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
Oh, I’d spend that very fast! I love to play real life Monopoly, investing in real estate. The long-term gift that keeps on giving. (Wink.)
I always thought small rugs were my pet peeve, but recently that’s shifted to undersized sectionals or seating arrangements. I believe we should maximize the seating in our living spaces. After all, we’re paying a pretty penny for our square footage in Vancouver!
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
It’s not in my nature to be still, unless I’m near the ocean. Put me on a paddle board and under the sun and I’ll be at my happiest. Perhaps I’m a mermaid at heart.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I recently lost a dear friend and it prompted me to think of the legacies we leave behind. I am proud to be able to use Designs for Life as a platform to give back to my dedicated team members and our community. I strive to support my team in purchasing their own homes, and we plan to give back and support single mothers. In this day and age, it’s challenging enough raising children. I can’t imagine doing it alone, and I have a profound respect for all that they do.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Burning Man. It’s a magical experience that I think every human should experience. After founding Designs for Life, it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. Contrary to its connotation, this experience can be quite educational, spiritual and liberating. If you love adventure, radical inclusion and self-expression, I strongly encourage everyone to try it, at least once.