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The Potvin Design Team: Caroline Nantel

Everyone in the Potvin Design Team is a creative type. But their type of creativity is balanced with a need for structure and organisation. These qualities, of course, are ideal when they start designing your custom cabinetry project, be it a kitchen, closet system, built-in wall unit or other. Today we sit down with Caroline Nantel who grew up in the design world and never looked back.

Your past interior design jobs in Montreal and Nova Scotia run the gamut from residential projects to commercial spaces like restaurants and retail boutiques. Now that you’re here at Potvin, is being limited to residential custom cabinetry a good thing?

It’s always been a part of my design career. I’ve done residential kitchens which spilled over from a redesign of a whole house and vice-versa. Within some of the commercial projects I’ve done, I sometimes needed to design kitchens like in the case of employee kitchens in an office. So kitchens have always been a part of what I do.

What would your own dream kitchen look like?

To be honest, I think a kitchen needs to be functional to be pretty. It could be the prettiest kitchen in the world but if it’s not functional it will quickly lose it’s charm because there are so many things that will drive you crazy! So, for me, the first element is functionality. Second, I think you can’t just stay within one style. Modern and contemporary kitchens are nice but it’s even better, I think, when there’s a touch of everything. It ages well because it’s not so narrow. That’s also why I like a white kitchen; it’s the colour that never goes out of fashion. In other words, my prefered style is transitional: classic with a touch of contemporary and a few little twists throughout.

What inspired you to become a designer?

I went into design thinking that I would focus on interior decorating but I eventually discovered that it was even better than decorating. Design isn’t just about matching wallpaper and paint colours. You’re moving walls, you’re recreating the ergonomy of the space, you’re doing all kinds of things. So I grew up in the design world and it’s all I’ve ever done.

What qualities do you need to be a great designer?

Listening is essential because if you’re not listening to your client, you’re not designing something they’ll like. And you also need to be able to visualise what you’re creating. Those two things go hand in hand.

I’m a bit of a design freak. It’s what I do as a job but then I watch design shows and I read design magazines at home.

What kind of projects do you prefer working on?

The best kind of projects are the turnkey ones where we do the whole house based on what the client tells us he wants but then they trust us enough to let us get on with it. We’re in the design world. This is what we do. It’s true that they’ll be the ones living in the space but sometimes it’s obvious that there are things they haven’t thought about, things that are available in the market.

What do you like about working with clients?

I love that each client has his or her personality and type of project. It’s very enriching. The project ends up being like a friendship. You get to know their tastes, preferences, lifestyle and budget. That’s really personal stuff.

Why should people choose Potvin?

We offer a really large variety of products with very interesting prices. Everyone who comes here is sure to find something suitable for them, not something prefabricated and impersonal. The big box stores don’t do custom. With Potvin, the service covers everything from A to Z. You won’t end up with 6 inch fillers!