Emma Kelly and Francesca Albertazzi are Co-Founders of award nominated design firm Rudy Winston Design, based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Rudy Winston Design has been turning heads with its designs – meeting the needs of individuals by creating personalised spaces for their residential clients in Vancouver. Today, we had the honour to speak with Emma and Francesca hearing about their story, getting an insight into their creative process at Rudy Winston Design. 

P.S Francesca’s lovely dog is also named Rudy!

So Emma, Francesca, how did you overcome the initial challenges of establishing the studio? 

We were very fortunate to have a fairly easy transition into founding and running our own business. We had worked together for four years on a reality television show about design and renovations and had worked intensely on almost 100 projects together. Francesca has worked in the design world for most of her adult life and Emma has been in management and client-relations, transitioning to our own design firm in the real world was a natural next step. 

What is the first thing you do after receiving the brief for a new design project? 

Our first step in every project is a consultation with a prospective client. We walk through their home with them and ask questions about what they would like to see in a renovation, focusing on how they use their space, and what doesn’t function for them and their family. Often clients can identify a problem or an issue in their space that doesn’t work for their lifestyle, and as the designer, Francesca provides a solution to those problems as well as making it look good! 

Have you always wanted to design a certain building, but not yet had the chance? 

We would love to work on a commercial project, a boutique hotel or restaurant where the potential to push the whimsical and eclectic design is more often possible. 

What would you say the morning bathroom routine in Vancouver is? 

And how does this affect your design? As with anywhere in the world, it is personal and completely depends on the client. For some clients, it is a family of four sharing one bathroom to get ready every morning so making the space functional for multiple people is key – which can mean having two sinks, or given the space can be putting the WC behind a closed door within the bathroom. Some women use the bathroom for putting on makeup, so the lighting decisions are influenced by this, other women do makeup at a vanity table in their bedroom. The most important step is understanding how your client uses their space, or how they would want to use their space. 

How do you find products to use in your work? Do you have a favourite magazine / social platform you use? How about your favourite website? 

We have great relationships with regular suppliers that we work with here in Vancouver and they often keep us updated on new lines and new products. As for magazines and website, Francesca often looks to European magazines to see where the direction of design is heading as it often starts in Europe before it comes to North America. Most of her inspiration comes from her travels to Italy and the UK, which she does almost yearly. 

What on-going projects do you have at the moment? What sort of challenges do they have? 

We currently have 3 projects with bathrooms at the moment – an ensuite, a family bathroom and a powder room. Each project has its own constraints – whether it be budget or timeline (or both!) but currently all three of these projects are going well and we are enjoying them. A powder room is always a fun project as you can push the design elements a bit further than an everyday bathroom – we love to use wallpaper in powder rooms! 

What are you most proud of so far? 

Our own personal renovation projects were big milestones for each of us individually. That they were both featured in magazines in the same month (June 2019) was a really proud moment for Rudy Winston Design. Francesca’s especially as it was selected for the cover of House & Home magazine. 

What is your most favourite part of Architecture and Interior Design? And most disliked? 

We are firm believers in architecture and interior design existing as a unified element. We enjoy working with architects from the start of a project, as their thinking will influence the final design of a space and vice versa. Creating a home or space that is in harmony with its setting and with its inhabitants is probably Francesca’s favourite aspect of Interior Design. Our least favourite part of Interior and Architectural Design is the waste that is created. We try to limit the waste that is generated, recycling as much as possible and working with suppliers that recycle as well but renovating is an unfortunately waste-generating industry, which is all the more reason to strive for a design that will last (rather than being trendy), using materials that will last (rather than cheap and fall-apart-after-one-month products) and shape spaces that resonate with people so that they will love them for years to come. 

What advice do you have for young Designers reading this interview? 

There are so many designers out there and there is room for everyone! Be true to the design elements and styles that interest you and show that in your work. Not every potential client is going to be a fit for you, and that is okay. Get to know your clients and make the design of their home personal to them. 

So, what’s next? 

We keep calm and carry on! We have multiple projects on the go right now, and more personal milestones coming up as well. Francesca looks forward to spending more time in Italy in 2020 which continues to inspire her design with each trip, and Emma looks forward to getting married in 2020! 

Janis Nicolay Photography Credit