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Design Inspiration

A New Beginning-Home at Last.


Creating a new concept for a Vancouver design establishment with over 40 years of rich history is no easy feat, but owner Daphne Nielsen felt that after celebrating the stores 40th anniversary last year - now is the perfect time to introduce a new Once a Tree Furniture. 

Located in the heart of Mount Pleasant, this new location is more than just a retail store. The promise is to deliver an open, accessible, and dynamic environment (no by-appointment shopping here!). The mission is to showcase the best of the design world, foster the design community and nurture inspiration. Centrally located at 292 West 3rd Avenue, the new concept opened its doors in mid-December. 

To share more about Once A Trees evolution, read on for a Q&A with owner Daphne Nielsen and sales manager Les Nelmes in conversation with Victoria McKenney of Enviable Designs. The next iteration of Once A Tree Furniture is here and we are excited to share a sneak peek with you! 

Daphne and Les in the New Showroom

Victoria: Do you ever think back to your days as a kid in your parents store on Fraser Street? What would your Mom and Dad think if they could see you now?

Daphne: I think theyd be blown away - we started as an unfinished furniture store! People would come in and buy a piece or two at a time and take them home to finish themselves.

Today we are working with designers all over North America creating dream homes that have been expertly designed. In addition to our work in Vancouver we have furnished complete homes in New York, Phoenix, Hawaii, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Seattle as well as in all the major Canadian Cities. We take great pride in helping designers to realize their vision. 

Here are some examples of our talented local designers curated visions.

Office Image


Bedroom image


Living Room


Victoria: So let’s talk about Vancouver. How have the changes Vancouver has experienced influenced your business over the years?

Daphne: Vancouver has grown up. It has become much more sophisticated. In turn so have we. The designer and the consumer want and expect more from us today.  We have taken on that challenge and provide inspiration through our curated product line.  It’s important to us that we are always evolving and our new store I feel is a shining example of that.

Exterior store front


Victoria: I imagine it is not easy to satisfy an interior designer. Can you tell me how that community influences the way you do business?

Les: The truth is, if we can satisfy the needs of our designers, we can meet the needs of any customer. We keep our eyes on the design community to help us anticipate their needs. We follow their social media platforms and review their websites regularly. This keeps us up-to-date on what they are looking for and how they are styling. With our new store, the idea is to offer new and interesting product and our goal is to change these collections up regularly. We want to keep it fresh. We also believe that as a business we need to engage with these designers. We brainstorm regularly about how we can add value beyond just a great collection of home decor products. We are always looking for ideas, if you have any please let us know! And as you know, we believe most in partnerships. We want the designers to grow their businesses, and we want to be a part of that success.

Victoria: This is where I can attest, I love the way you support me.  The fact that we were able collaboration to develop “Namesake” our line of Custom designed, locally made furniture and have it so prominently displayed in your showroom is so great

Les: No question. There is a fabulous pool of talent in Vancouver, and we are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of it. We are super proud our partnership with you and the end result, the Namesake” line of furniture, is something very special.

Bedroom Image


Victoria: How has the digital world changed the home decor business?

Les: I think the digital world has changed the industry so much. Taking business online makes it much easier for customers to shop.  It is really easy to get inspiration and it is a fantastic starting point.  I truly believe that one still needs a brick and mortar showroom to pull everything together. Its important to see the different finishes on different woods, to understand the difference between solid and veneer construction, to feel the different textures of different fabric and then to see how all these come together. We have an extensive library of samples and put together storyboards regularly for our clients. This is the type of customer service that is really hard to do online.


Victoria: I know Once a Tree offers more that just home decor. What is it about the new store that represents that intangible value?

Daphne: We are constantly looking for how we can do MORE. More is our promise.  And it doesnt just relate to the product we offer. We are committed to asking for and fulfilling the needs of our design community. There is nothing I like better than when we get an email from a client thankful for the experience. I LOVE IT!!

Victoria: Well that was fun. I am so excited for you guys.


Be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter. You will learn about our upcoming grand opening, exclusive sales, designer collaborations and more. And, dont forget to follow us on Instagram @onceatreefurniture and Pinterest @OnceATree where we share our perspective and design discoveries.




  • Post author
    Daphne Nielsen