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Design Inspiration

Ami McKay of PURE Design Inc.

Ami McKay of PURE Design Inc. Photo by: Janis Nicolay

At our core, we believe that the recipe for great interiors includes a blend of creativity, functionality, and the designer’s unique personality. That's why we love working hand-in-hand with brilliant interior designers like Ami McKay of PURE Design Inc. For over two decades, we’ve been working with Ami and her team to bring interior design dreams to life. Ami’s unique perspective and innovative vision literally transform her clients’ spaces into personalized sanctuaries. 

In this Q&A, we’re chatting with Ami about how she got her start in the interior design industry, her unique process, and the design trends she says everyone should watch out for this year. Read on.

OAT: Tell us what inspired you to become an interior designer. 

Ami: Growing up outside of Niagara Falls, Ontario, my entrepreneurial spirit was ignited early on. As a child, I was always crafting and selling goods. The designer in me was also emerging at a young age as I was always eagerly decorating any space and on more than one occasion rearranging the furniture in my parent’s house and in the houses where I babysat when they were out! Having moved West I studied and worked in theatre design, both set and costume, as well floral design. All of these experiences were formative in my journey to where I am today, exercising my full creative potential, blending form, scale, colour, shape and texture to create beautiful spaces through interior design.

OAT: How would you describe your design style and process?

Ami: Our range of design styles is substantial; from Wabi-Sabi, natural and organic, to European vintage, traditional, and warm contemporary. We offer full service from initial inspiration to designing the perfect floor plan, choosing fixtures and finishes, to the meaty middle - the construction and project management phase. Finally, at the end of the process, we help the client choose furniture, textiles, art and style it all!

At PURE Design we partner closely with our clients, collaborating with them through every step to create a spectacular home that is everything they imagined. The joy for me is presenting my clients, who often become friends, with their new magazine-worthy home.

Next Chapter Residences (featuring furniture from Once A Tree) - photography by Janis Nicolay

OAT: What’s your ideal design project?

Ami: My favourite projects are often about the clients, and the trust between us as we craft their new space. I also love working on interesting structures thriving on design challenges that push boundaries. As well, an exquisite country farmhouse, or client’s vacation homes throughout the Howe sound and Sunshine Coast where we use hand made and natural materials with added warmth and character are some of my favorite projects

OAT: What’s your secret to balancing functionality and aesthetics?

Ami: For me, functionality precedes aesthetics. To start we meticulously reconfigure layouts to create floor plans that are best for our clients’ needs. We take on big space planning objectives, and often will reverse the existing floor plans, for example, relocating the bedrooms or the kitchen and living area downstairs. I love the nuts and bolts of space planning, and delivering solutions for how our clients want to live. We then get to the fun and creative part, curating beautiful tiles, floors, finishes, lighting as well as furniture, and all of the satisfying styling bits, including art, area rugs, and textiles. 

Photography by Janis Nicolay

OAT: What are the emerging design trends to watch for this year?

Ami: Organic, hand-made imperfect tiles with beautiful finishes are in this year. Arches and curves as well as applying lime wash or clay plaster finishes is adding another layer of warmth to projects this year. Vintage pieces or client treasures mixed with new heirloom quality furniture (such as you would find at Once A Tree) are definitely in too.)

Westport Residences (featuring furniture from Once A Tree) - photography by Janis Nicolay

OAT: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an interior designer?

Ami: Design school will provide you with the building blocks. I’d also recommend reaching out to people in the industry, to see if they would have a chat or Zoom to share their wisdom. Always find a mentor and offer to volunteer in areas where you would love to work, as that is where you will learn so much, and make the invaluable connections needed to be successful in this industry. If you love what you do, you will always succeed…

A great note to end on. Thanks to Ami for taking the time to chat with us! 

If you’re a designer and you’re looking to collaborate with us on an upcoming project this year, please reach out to We’d love to work together to create the perfect custom furniture pieces to suit your project and the client’s vision! 

  • Post author
    Daphne Nielsen