Q&A With Brenda Danso
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Brenda Danso: A few years ago, the Toronto housing market was booming and homeowners were looking to move into a new home. A friend of mine showed me the listing of her home which highlighted a drastic transformation.
I started researching Home Staging and became intrigued with the art of preparing a home for sale. I was amazed that there was a career in what I had been doing naturally for years. I enrolled in a program to learn about the fundamentals of staging as well as the principles of design. Subsequently, I reached out to local Real Estate agents and was offered the opportunity to stage a vacant home for sale. Before I could finish my program, I was helping friends design their space followed by a growing list of clients.
C: How would you describe your style?
BD: My style is transitional. Inasmuch as I design with color, I prefer a neutral palette with some pops of color. Clean lines with classic elements leads to a timeless design.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
BD: I’m always inspired by clients and the ideas they present. I constantly challenge myself to incorporate clients ideas into the design. Sometimes I enter a space and the natural elements or existing items help formulate the design concept. Traveling also provides a great source of inspiration.
C: Favorite room in the house?
BD: My favourite room is the powder room. As a minimalist, the powder room is the perfect opportunity to take a maximalist approach with a bold and dramatic design in a small dose.
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
BD: I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that “Less is more.” Bring out the drama. Everyone should have at least one space in their home that is fun and exciting!
C: Recent project that Inspired you?
BD: We recently helped a couple design a Transitional Nursery Room that baby can grow into. We’re always so honoured when clients hire us for such intimate projects.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color? Why?
BD: Black and white patterns are effortlessly chic. The opposing elements create a stunning and timeless design. Black represents strength, authority and elegance, while white can bring serenity. Together, they make a powerful duo.
C: What is “good design” to you?
BD: Good design is therapeutic, the room feels balanced and you feel grounded. Good design is personal and elicits positive emotions.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
BD: As someone who loves fashion, I would have to say Diane von Furstenberg’s Home in Manhattan. I love the exotic fabrics and eclectic bohemian aesthetic. My favourite piece is the vintage Salvador Dalí lip sofa inspired by Mae West Pucker. Pucker up!
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
BD: A tablescape that connects with my theme, followed by good music. My friends call me the hostess with the mostest. I would bring out an orchestra if it comes to mind. Heck, I’ve seen people walk out of parties because of that one song; this tends to remind you of all the things you could be doing at home. So before guests arrive, I head on over to Spotify to play Afrobeats.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
BD: Before starting a DIY project, make sure you research the process and ask yourself, “Is this a project that I am passionate about pursuing?” If the answer is no, then it is best to hire a designer who can guide you through the project or do it for you. Most projects can take longer than anticipated. Without passion, you can easily become frustrated with that never-ending DIY.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
BD: Undertaking any home improvement task can be overwhelming. So it is very important to research the company you are looking to hire. Recommendations from a trusted source are helpful. Do not hire based on the cheapest quote. Remember you cannot purchase wine with a beer budget, unless your name is Harry Houdini.
C: What is one design trend you are most excited about this season?
BD: I am beyond excited that black and white is being used in various spaces. Designing with black and white when done right, leads to a stunning and elegant space. When planning a black and white design you can add color or go without, it really depends on what you want to accomplish in your space and how you want the space to feel. The contrast of black and white offers balance and so many options. When decorating using black and white you can consider stripes in any room; use it on walls, ceilings, window treatment, artwork, area rug or backsplash. The options are endless.
We recently completed a project where black and white were used to help create a welcoming space. Think fun three-dimensional paneling, a bold monochromatic wall, and glam lighting for that extra sparkle. The purposeful use of black and white and the incorporation of textures and playful patterns struck the perfect balance with the garments displayed. We wanted to be sure neither element competed with another, producing a harmonious, eye-pleasing palette. The vision for the space far exceeded the client’s imagination, and it embodied the personality of the brand to a tee. This was a great example of how black and white can create a bold and chic space, the epitome of instant gratification by way of design.
C: How do you take your coffee?
BD: My first time drinking coffee was in high school while preparing for an exam. Unfortunately, the outcome was not what I expected. I could not focus. On that note, I’ll take a decaf coffee with soy milk.