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Looking at interior designer Amanda Nisbet’s portfolio, you can’t help but smile. She has a way of creating sophisticated interiors with fresh colour schemes that surprise and delight us.  Born in Montreal, but now based in New York City, Amanda has quickly become an international design star with her own fabric line for Holland and Sherry and lighting for the Urban Electric Co. Despite her hectic schedule, she was happy to answer a few questions about her approach to design.

INTERIOR DESIGNER: Canadian expat Amanda Nisbet:


JM: Your work has been celebrated and published in all the major design magazines. Are you enjoying your success? When did you realize you had found your calling?

AN: I am honestly grateful to the press, knock on wood it continues!

Hmmm, enjoying the success? … I don’t feel I can rest on laurels, I am typically too stressed out to stop and enjoy it. I think my calling found me with our first home. My personal mandate to live in a comfortably beautiful refuge sparked an innate sense of design.

JM: What if anything from your background in Montreal has helped you as a designer?

AN: A Canadian lynchpin is its diversity, you know, since our borders are open to all. Growing up amidst varied cultures, art and ways of thinking really prepared me.

JM: Many people say they love colour, but you use it in unexpected ways. Do you have any favourite combinations? What inspires you these days?

AN: I have to say Pantone’s Colour of 2011; Honeysuckle 18-2120 has certainly caught my eye. I’d love to see this paired with a soft butterscotch.


JM: Do you instinctively know when you meet a potential client whether it’s a fit? What makes a great client relationship?

AN: Yes. Openess and trust.


Amanda’s media room – the lacquered green walls work beautifully with the grey upholstery 

JM: You now have your own fabric and lighting lines. A paint line seems like a natural given your expertise with colour. Is that something you’ve ever explored?

AN: Oh a paint line; do you know anyone looking? I’d love the chance to explore this?

Amanda’s lighthearted Annaleah floor lamp

Alannah 2 fabric in Blueberrypepper – named after the designer’s daughter

I love the mix of colours in Amanda’s francescainberrylicious fabric

 JM: Your art history degree must have helped refine your eye for great art. Are there any Canadian artists you follow or admire?

AN: John Fox, Tony Scherman and Dagny Bock.

 Montreal painter John Fox’s work is represented in most museum collections across Canada. (Untitled Yellow Collage – 1975) To see more of his work check out the Paul Kuhn Gallery.

Artist Dagny Bock is based in Montreal and also went to Middlebury College – Amanda’s alma mater (Montreal Royal Trees)

 Described as a provocative contemporary encaustic painter, Tony Scherman (Ciao Gaia) is also a master colourist.

Tony Scherman’s stunning work Jim Morrison (from the series, The Blue Highway, 2002)  courtesy of the Winnipeg Art Gallery – WAG.

 JM: Many designers have children, but you seem to have a knack for creating glamourous and liveable family homes. How have your kids influenced your work?

AN: They are my most discerning clients. Be careful what you wish for ..

Amanda designed this chic and original bedroom for her daughter


Amanda’s son got an equally charming room in his favourite colour

JM: You’ve lived in the US for many years now – what do your Canadian roots mean to you? Do you have any favourite travel destinations/stores in Canada?

AN: With Canadians I have no vetting process. I love them all. I have fond memories of strolling and shopping along Laurier Avenue in Montreal.

Thank you Amanda.

To find out more about Amanda Nisbet’s work check out her website here. Photos courtesy of Amanda Nisbet Design.