Introducing Namesake + a Q&A with Interior Designer Victoria McKenney of Enviable Designs
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: at Once A Tree Furniture, one of our favourite things is getting to collaborate with the bevy of talented local designers in our community. For months (and months!) we have been working hard behind-the-scenes to launch our very first furniture collaboration with an interior designer you all know and love, and we’re so excited to finally share the very first sneak peek of this bespoke collection with you all.
Victoria McKenney of Enviable Designs is an incredibly talented designer with the ability to take ‘comfortable sophistication’ to a whole new level. Over the years, we’ve worked closely with Victoria to help furnish her luxury home projects and we’re thrilled to finally share that our first designer furniture collaboration, Namesake, will be available to purchase this fall exclusively at Once A Tree. To celebrate, we recently chatted with Victoria about Namesake, the inspiration behind the line, her tips for aspiring designers, and much more. Sign up to our e-newsletter today to be the first to know when the collection officially drops in our store, and in the meantime, read on to learn more about our exclusive Namesake collaboration.
OAT: Tell us all about Namesake. How did it start? Where does the inspiration come from?
Victoria: Namesake was quite a natural evolution, which was a progression from my design work. I found that I was constantly designing bespoke furniture for my clients because I could never quite find the right ready-made pieces locally or abroad.
As such, I was often having these pieces fabricated by Once a Tree Furniture, and through this process, Daphne (OAT’s owner) was able to see the pieces that I was designing. When she first approached me about creating a furniture line, I immediately thought it was the perfect pairing. Great quality, locally-made furniture by Once A Tree, and an opportunity to design bespoke pieces that could work within a variety of design styles.
OAT: How would you describe this collection in three words?
Victoria: Timeless, refined, tailored.
OAT: Who did you have in mind when you designed this collection, and who do you think will be drawn to this collection?
Victoria: Truly, everyone. I believe that Namesake is a relevant furniture collection that has a refined sense of style, ease and sophistication which appeals to almost every aesthetic.
You’ll see in many of the pieces and designs that the furniture reflects a modern elegance with a neutral palette, beautiful silhouettes and distinctive fabrics. And above all, quality furniture that is built to last is the most important value.
OAT: What drew you to working with us at Once A Tree Furniture on this bespoke furniture collection? How would you describe this process?
Victoria: I have been a longtime client of Once a Tree (since beginning my design career in 2003). Throughout the years, I have purchased their high-quality pieces and we’ve worked together collaborating on many different projects. When Daphne approached me for this furniture line, I knew it would be successful because of our long standing working relationship built on trust, understanding and creativity. The quality that I know OAT offers is outstanding, and I was especially ecstatic to design this collection with OAT knowing that the pieces would all be well-made and locally manufactured.
OAT: What is your favourite piece from this collection, and why?
Victoria: That’s a hard one! I truly love every piece from the collection, and each one is so thoughtfully designed. If I had to pick, I think my favourite piece is the Thomas Dining Table (pictured above). I love the connection between the two materials; wood and marble which blend seamlessly together. The piece is also very versatile, and could lend itself to a contemporary or traditional space.
OAT: In addition to now being a furniture designer, you have a very successful, award-winning career as an interior designer. What first drew you to design and why do you love it?
Victoria: Growing up in a home where style, interior design and art was considered and honoured was a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the arts. I originally graduated from UBC with an art history degree, thinking I would pursue art preservation but quickly grew to understand that a science background was required and hence thought I would need to explore other options.
I traveled throughout Europe after graduating and was in awe of the architecture from that part of the world which sparked an instant connection for me. Upon returning, I began design school and the rest is history! Design is such a creative process but I truly love connecting with clients and through that relationship, curating deeply personal and beautiful spaces for them.
OAT: How was the design process of creating furniture different from designing interiors?
Victoria: Great question! It was actually very similar to designing interiors in that once an original idea is created, then the hard work of problem solving, fine tuning and detailing begins.
Throughout this process, I’ve learned that every piece must be sampled, analyzed and then modified to finalize the perfect design. It truly was a long process from conception to realization - which is what makes this collection a true labour of love, and why I am so proud to finally share it with everyone.
OAT: This collaboration has been a long time in the making. Can you share some of the challenges we encountered in bringing this collection to life?
Victoria: Honestly, timing was the most challenging aspect. We began this collection when the pandemic first started in 2020 so even though the collection was complete, the fabrication and sampling was hugely delayed due to factory closures and supply chain issues - and we kept having to push the release date back.
That said, we’re so excited to finally debut the collection this fall in Once A Tree’s new showroom when it opens to the public in October.
OAT: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers in Vancouver?
Victoria: Interior Design is a very rewarding career but it is also hard work. Any aspiring designers should work for a design firm first to learn how the business side of things operate. Also, be open to continuous learning, and take the time to travel and gain inspiration from everywhere.
OAT: Who are your design influences? Who do you look to for inspiration?
Victoria: There are so many amazing designers that I look to for inspiration. Thomas Pheasant has a wonderfully tailored sensibility as does Barbara Barry.
There are also many Canadian designers who I have met throughout the years who continue to inspire me; Elizabeth Metcalfe, Paul Levoie and Richard Ouellette, to name a few.
Thank you for chatting with us, Victoria!
We are excited to finally launch the Namesake Collection with Victoria McKenney this fall. Be sure to sign up to our e-newsletter today to be the first to know when this bespoke furniture collection is available to shop in our store. For more design inspiration, follow us @onceatreefurniture and @enviabledesigns on Instagram!