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An Interior Designer’s View: Meet Cathy from Cathy Radcliffe Design

by Somn Home |

“I’ve never been a fan of fussy design that feels too perfect or bland (like most hotel rooms), and am instead drawn to a cozy and down-to-earth vibe.” Cathy from Cathy Radcliffe Design Vancouver loves to keep it functional and beautiful without the clutter. Her designs usually focus on calm, casual comfort with layers of texture and interest. 

If you asked her to help design your home interiors in Vancouver, BC, she will often avoid trends or too much theming and instead aim for designs that are genuinely reflective of the people who live there and their way of life. 

How it all began

“I was so fortunate to work with the design firm Riesco & Lapres for many years, where I learned from the best. Several years back, while juggling raising my boys with working at a large-ish firm, I decided to go out on my own so I could have more flexibility with my schedule and enjoy my sons while they were young.”

The Cathy Radcliffe Approach

“My approach is always about providing customized and responsive client service with careful attention to detail and a true love of thoughtful design, respectful collaboration, and the creative process. I feel truly honoured to work with clients and to earn their trust. For the majority of my projects, I work very closely with colleague Teigan Jorgensen. She’s young, super bright, very technically proficient, and could handle AutoCAD and 3D models in her sleep.  

I usually become quite attached to my clients after working together so intimately (either talking, texting and emailing most days, sometimes several times a day) and miss them when the project wraps up. Good communication in this business is key. We start that by doing detailed interviews with our clients at the outset (and continually checking in) to ensure we’re translating their needs and goals into the design, as it’s their home after all.”

What Cathy loves about Vancouver  

“The people! I can’t imagine my life without my close network of family and friends who are such an integral and meaningful part of my everyday life — I really count on them. I have also met so many great people over the years by volunteering for my kids’ schools or sports leagues, Big Sisters, and the BC Cancer Agency where my dog Stanley was a therapy dog. 

I feel incredibly grateful to be part of Vancouver’s vibrant design community of talented retailers and suppliers, who are so kind, warm, generous, and deeply committed to, and excited by, this field.”

What “home” means to Cathy

“Home is as much a physical space as a feeling. It’s somewhere comfortable and relaxed enough for family and always ready for friends. I think of it as a warm, cozy, and authentic place where we can be our genuine selves and feel safe and cocooned. It doesn’t need to be perfect but should always feel right, a space full of personality and character that is still calm, ordered and works well functionally. 

I have a keen interest in organizing and choosing everyday objects that are as attractive as possible, so I never really have to tidy up too much. I like to surround myself with a few vases filled with simple flowers, lots of books, and warm pockets of lighting (lamps on dimmer and candles). I am most drawn to homes that tell the story of the people who live there and that can gracefully evolve.”

What Cathy’s home looks like

“I live in a character home that has a mix of character and contemporary elements, so I would say the design style is eclectic, layered, and informal. It’s a little worn but comfortable and inviting. I’d also say it’s edited, organized, and easy to live in. I equally love vintage and contemporary design and think the two styles complement each other, making homes feel more dynamic and less generic or staged.”

Cathy’s bedroom styling tips

“I’ve never been a fan of fussy design that feels too perfect or bland (like most hotel rooms). Instead, I’m drawn to a cozy and down-to-earth vibe. It is almost a bit decadent to pay special attention to your bedroom as we often focus on the spaces for our guests, but I think your bedroom should feel fresh, highly personal and cared for. 

I add lots of soft, tonal texture and often mix patterns (I particularly love the Sömn lavender linen striped bedding which I mixed with the graphic plaid wallpaper backdrop). I’ve never really understood the reason for multiple decorative toss cushions on the bed, especially if they’re overly ornate or, worse, made from synthetic material. They add another step each morning and clutter up the floor where they usually land at night. 

I prefer a simply dressed bed. I do add personal touches with small mementos, maybe a scented diffuser and flowers, and always books, music and good lighting and try to keep the room fairly spare and tidy, so it feels like a welcoming and calm place to come home to.”

How Cathy makes her bed

“As quickly as possible! I just plump up my four king pillows and prop them against the wall, smooth out the linens (pillowcases, fitted sheet and duvet), re-tuck the fitted sheet and I’m all set. I’d like to say when it comes to housekeeping I’m low maintenance but I’d rather be doing something else, so it’s no accident I prefer a laid-back aesthetic!”

How Sömn linens work in Cathy’s designs?

“I’ve been purchasing quality linens for clients’ bedding (and for my own home) for years; it’s my first choice because it’s timeless and beautiful to both look at and to sleep in. Also, linen is the perfect year-round fabric that coordinates seamlessly with any other bedding or the bed finish. 

I also love combining several different colours (why choose just one colour when they’re all so fresh and pretty) and the Sömn colour options are so tonally soft and naturally work together. I like adding a cozy throw at the base of the bed as well. With Sömn bedding, it really couldn’t be easier and there’s no wrong way to achieve a beautiful result, whether you mix colours and patterns, or prefer a matched set.”

What Cathy loves about Sömn Linens

“Because I naturally gravitate to a relaxed look, Sömn bedding perfectly fits that aesthetic as the organic materials are naturally inviting. Sömn’s bedding is elegant, understated, beautiful, and the quality is exceptional. With their natural fibres, it is very easy to care for, is durable, and gets softer with every wash. I source bedding for many clients and I am excited to have Sömn as a local resource. I try to shop local and support Vancouver retailers (especially during these difficult economic times) and Sömn makes that easy.”

Where you can find Cathy around town

“You’ll find me spending time with my friends at their homes, at cozy local restaurants or coffee shops, or taking my dogs (who are dedicated couch potatoes) for a slow stroll through my neighbourhood.”

The kinds of clients Cathy will be working on in the coming year 

“I’m not sure if it’s due to the pandemic and the fact that people are spending more time in their homes, but I’m finding the design industry is super busy right now. Over the next year, I’ll be helping my clients around Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler, and White Rock renovate and furnish their homes (lots of kitchen and bathroom overhauls). I’m also excited about a special mid-century gem project in Palm Desert. I’ve got an interesting and creative mix with fantastic clients — I’m very lucky.”

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Cathy Radcliffe is looking to connect with clients looking for help to style a single room or entire home with a mix of their current possessions and new accessories. You can learn more about Cathy, her designs, and how to work with her on her website at cathyradcliffedesign.com/

Cathy Radcliffe Design Vancouver By Cathy


Photo: Janis Nicolay