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Interview with Alicia Gavaris, A Burst of Beautiful

by Andrea Doxey May 10, 2018

Interview with Alicia Gavaris, A Burst of Beautiful

I was delighted when I came across A Burst of Beautiful, by Alicia Gavaris. She and her husband, Nick, live in a small town about 2.5 hours north of Toronto, a similar town to where I grew up. They have a gorgeous home that does classic farmhouse style SO right - in fact, it would made Chip and Joanna Gaines stop in their tracks. We connected over many topics, but one in particular really resonated with me: how she’s designed her home with bothof their styles in mind (how novel, right!). Alicia takes on the design aspect, while Nick brings her vision to life with his carpentry skills - a match made in heaven, if you ask me.

1. Describe your design philosophy

My design philosophy is pretty simple. I like to encourage others to decorate their homes to reflect the people that live there. I think it’s important to find a mix between creating a beautiful house and a home that your family and friends feel comfortable in. I really believe that you can have a beautiful home no matter what stage of life you are enjoying.

We are a young, busy family. We have an energetic three year old daughter and are expecting baby #2 in July, we also have a cat and a dog and we run our own business. Needless to say, we do a lot of living in our home, but that hasn’t stopped us from designing a space that we love.

My best piece of advice is to embrace the design elements you love, but make sure they don’t get in the way of living life!  

2. What inspired you to start your business, A Burst of Beautiful?

We started A Burst of Beautiful in June 2014, and it began as merely a hobby.

When we moved into our home five years ago, it was a standard, builder-basic house, built in the 80’s. We spent a lot of time and energy updating each room to create a home that felt cozy and inviting for not only ourselves, but for our family and friends to enjoy too. It was actually my mom who suggested we start documenting it all with a blog of our own. It wasn’t until about a year later that we realized we could possibly turn our hobby into a business and we haven’t looked back since.

3. Everyone always asks, "how do I balance my design aesthetic with that of my partner?" This is something you and Nick have done particularly well - any tips?

It can definitely be tricky to design a space or a home while balancing two different design perspectives, but it can be done! I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle for us in the beginning too.

We were bringing two homes together, with very different pieces of furniture, art and ideas on design. Nick was drawn to masculine and industrial design elements, while I was used to decorating my home with vintage pieces and light, feminine colours. But over time we hit a pretty good balance, I think.

Throughout the years our design perspectives have shifted and we are both drawn to styles that we didn’t necessarily appreciate in the beginning. Start by identifying your design styles and then agree on the feeling you want your home to convey.

For us this meant creating a space that feels simple and relaxed, where nothing is too formal or off limits. We combined my love of farmhouse aesthetic by using pieces like our white slipcovered sofa and traditional details, while Nick’s passion for building has flourished by designing and building many of the furniture pieces in our home. In the end it didn’t matter so much about styles, but that we created a home that feels youthful and fresh with a modern sensibility.

Remember to be patient with each other, you want to create a space that you both feel comfortable and happy in. It becomes less about design and more about the people you are sharing your home with.

4. When/where do you feel most inspired?

Probably just before tackling a new design project. I feel a lot of freedom and I love the thought of endless design possibilities! It’s when I let my creativity run free and take chances on new ideas and concepts.

5. What's your favourite way to make an impact in a room?

I think that depends on the space, but generally speaking I think mixing high and low pieces is the best way to make a big impact. If I’m decorating a space from scratch, I like to figure out my statement piece first, whether it’s a light fixture, sofa or rug, it’s the piece that is going to stand out and start conversations. It’s also usually the piece that takes up a big portion of the budget, so always make sure you can live with it for years to come.

But if you’re just looking to give a space a bit of a refresh on a small budget, I am always amazed by the impact a bit of paint can have.  

6. Who are your dream dinner party guests?

That’s a tough one, but let’s stick with the design element here, and I would probably say Shea and Syd McGee. I would love to talk design with Shea!

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