This Designer’s Laundry Room Exudes Inspiration

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A frequent participant in the One-Room Challenge where designers and bloggers transform a space in five weeks, Vanessa Francis already had her mind made about one element of her laundry room makeover: the sink.

“I fell in love with NativeStone sinks at KBIS and knew that this small farmhouse sink [Farmhouse 2418] would be perfect in my laundry room,” says the Milton, Ontario-based designer. “I envisioned it on a wood base rather than cabinetry, and my contractor built one to perfection. I never have been more in love with a sink.”

The dusty-mauve shiplap, the herringbone floor, the dog: It’s safe to say that we’ve never been more in love with a laundry room. So we stole a bit of Vanessa’s time to ask her how she does what she does, and what and who continue to inspire her designs.

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Farmhouse 2418 in designer Vanessa Francis’ laundry room.

How would you describe your design aesthetic in five words?

Timeless, warm, livable, approachable and understated.

Tell us about the inspiration for your laundry room.

I was obsessed with an image of someone’s mudroom, which had an antique concrete sink and vertical shiplap. I knew those two elements were a must in my laundry room. I had originally envisioned a black and white palette with the shiplap being a shade of blue, but at the very last minute I changed the shiplap to pink. I thought it was a little different, plus I love the color pink, so why not? It’s a very greyed-down pink, so not jarring to the eye. It doesn’t come across too sweet when paired with the black herringbone floor tiles and the black penny round backsplash. But the real star of the room is the Native Trails sink. It’s unique and interesting and fits perfectly in the niche in the space. It’s primarily used to wash delicate clothes, vases and even our small dog.

Who are three interior designers who have inspired you the most?

There are so many designers who have inspired me during my 15-year career to date. I remember falling in love with Darryl Carter’s work when I was in design school about 17 years ago. It’s beautiful, elegant and restrained. I also have been following the work of Nate Berkus for about the same length of time and love how he creates interesting and soulful rooms. Closer to home and more recently, I’m in awe of the beautiful spaces that Nam Dang-Mitchell creates. Plus she’s so damn cool.

What’s your favorite room in a home to decorate?

I love designing kitchens as it’s the most hardworking and functional space in a home but it also can have personality. Bringing warmth and charm to a utilitarian space is my jam as a designer.

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 Do you have a design mantra or motto that you abide by in your work?

Your home should make you happy. That’s it plain and simple.

Speaking of what makes you happy, let’s talk baths. If you could only choose one Native Trails bathtub, which would you choose and why?​

Oh good question. I love the Avalon 62 in Slate which is a light shade of black. I love the curves and the overall eye catching look. It’s the same NativeStone material and I love that it looks like concrete but is much lighter. It’s not your typical bathtub and I envision it with a really cool light fixture above.

What’s your earliest design-related memory?

It would be my parents designing and renovating my childhood homes. They loved arches and built one at the entrance to one of our homes, in a dining space overlooking stairs and in the basement itself. To this day, I have a love of arches and curves in general. My mom also loved wallpaper, and we had it everywhere growing up. As a result, I’ve been a fan of wallpaper, using it in my own homes and trying to convince clients of its beauty and charm.

What’s a dream project you haven’t yet gotten to do?

I would love to design the interiors of a small, boutique hotel somewhere in the Caribbean— well, anywhere really. Anyone?

Visit Vanessa’s website here and find her on Instagram here.

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