Interior Design Show West Preview: Craftsmanship Key to Home Trends

September 2, 2014

This year's theme at the 10th annual Interior Design Show West (IDSwest), which runs September 24-28, is as much about as about processes and collaboration as it is about what's trending in home decor and furnishings.

There's a strong focus towards keeping design utilitarian, organic and custom. This year features modern, hand crafted, finely made furnishings and home accessories by small independent design firms.

"For me, it signifies a return to valuing craftsmanship and turning away from home decor as consumable fashion and investing in quality, story and timelessness," says Kelly Deck, director at Kelly Deck Design and this year's ambassador at IDSwest.

One keynote speaker to look out for is Nancy Bendtsen, Inform Interiors owner and interior designer, whose Value of Authentic Design presentation will highlight the matter of knockoff or mass-produced furniture and its impact on the industry.

"This is a big, ongoing issue facing furniture designers that many homeowners aren't even aware of," says Bendtsen.

Asher Israelow console

Console by Asher Israelow

The cause for concern is that knockoffs are often poorly made and will start to show wear very quickly. Although furniture knockoffs are cheaper, they come with a heavy price they have to be replaced often and few are provided with long warrantees.

"For example, if you purchase an iconic hand-crafted 3107 chair designed by renowned designer Fritz Hansen and it breaks, they will replace it, no questions asked they have a 20-year warranty," says Bendtsen. "During my talk, I will answer why choosing a quality piece from a reputable manufacturer will not only last longer but will still look beautiful for years to come. If you invest in a well-made piece that you love, it's not expensive if it lasts 35 years."

Another crucial issue being tackled at the show is living in small spaces. It's no surprise that for years now British Columbians have struggled with the soaring costs of homes, putting large homes out of reach and creating an ongoing dilemma of how to decorate for our shrinking spaces.

Top Pacific Northwest designers Jasmine Vaughan (Portland) and Barbara Hyde Evans (Seattle) and Vancouver's Jennifer Eden will discuss small-space living in their presentation Living Big in Small Spaces. And visitors to IDSwest can sign up to discuss dilemmas with designers during the What's Your Design Dilemma? session.

Deck is also excited about the roster of speakers and some of the new features at this year's show.

"Amongst those which I am most excited about are Prototype, a juried exhibition of emerging and practicing designers featuring their prototypes for both conceptual and mass-produced furnishing pieces, and The Brooklyn Exchange, an exhibition curated by one of my favourite studios: Port and Quarter featuring works by Brooklyn-based craftsmen and designers," says Deck.

From MODERN604 and Julie Miller's Prototype, to the introduction of PROCESS, a wed-based video series that partners clients with designers and follows them through the design process, this year's show really highlights what great design can evolve from shared experience and problem-solving.

Deck is also very excited about the Saturday morning panel of members from The Brooklyn Exchange for its look into why Brooklyn has become such a hotbed of creative talent.

"And, of course, Canada's design darling Sarah Richardson always has fun and useful insights into creating a beautiful home while balancing quality and budget," adds Deck.

Many celebrity interior designers and industry experts will be on hand to share their ideas about what is in style, what's trending and what classic designs will still be going strong into 2015.

The 10th Annual IDSwest show opens on Wednesday, September 24 and runs until Sunday, September 28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, Exhibits Halls B2, B3 and C, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or email

Also new at IDSwest in 2014:

  • The Bar by Falken Reynolds: Inspired by a West Coast backyard party casual and comfortable, with overhanging greenery and an outdoorsy feel.
  • Trade and Public Speaker Hannah Malein: She is a sought-after colour forecaster from Global Colour Research. At IDSwest she'll use inspiring visuals and palettes to tell colour stories, and will give the scoop on upcoming materials and trends for 2015 and 2016.
  • Screening of the documentary film Coast Modern : This is an independent film that takes viewers along the Pacific Northwest coastline from LA to Vancouver, showcasing the pioneers of West Coast modernist architecture.
  • The Livingspace Design Stage: Whether you're a design aficionado or just trying to figure out what colour to paint your living room, there are great experts providing guidance and inspiration.