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In Conversation with Teresa Ryback


clip_image001[11]Teresa Ryback

As seen in SNAP, December 2009

Principal and Founder of tdSwansburg design studio, Teresa Ryback, is an expert in creating simple and sophisticated interiors. Teresa founded her firm in 2000 in Vancouver and opened an office in Victoria after she and her husband relocated to Vancouver Island. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and earlier this year she was recognized in Spectacular Homes of Western Canada, an exclusive showcase of Western Canada’s finest designers (Hardcover). tdSwansburg has garnered both multiple CARE and Georgie Awards for design excellence.

tdSwansburg specializes in residential and hospitality design but the firm’s portfolio is filled with an array of projects including grand prize lottery homes, specialty spaces and international projects. There is a consistent theme of simplicity, complex tone-on-tone colour palettes, classic elegance and subtle detailing throughout tdSwansburg’s work. With the belief that interior design and decoration should elevate the architecture of a home, one can clearly see how passionate Teresa is about her work.

Please read on to learn more about this local talent.

Iván Meade – What is your favourite design find?

Teresa Ryback – As a designer, I have collected pieces that I love including many mid-century classics but, my favorite piece is a future classic: the Foscarini Caboche Grande Suspension Light designed by Patricia Urquiola and Eliana Gerotto.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio


Iván – Why is it important to you?

Teresa Ryback – It brings me joy-! This modern fixture is a beautiful translucent jewel that floats in the space; I never get tired of looking at it.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván – How does this item reflect upon your personal design philosophy?

Teresa Ryback – “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – This piece embodies my design philosophy: simple, elegant, timeless and functional with a touch of glamour-!

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?

Teresa Ryback I am an Artist first and my early experiences include carving soap figures and creating charcoal sketches of my surroundings, my family, my friends and my pets-!  Early in my career, I co-owned a boutique specializing in hand painted fashions and hand painted interior decor accessories.  I still enjoy oil painting and have an art studio in my Island home.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – Who or what has influenced your style?

Teresa Ryback –  The purity of Neoclassicism and the elegance and glamour of the Art Deco era.


clip_image001[5]Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – How would you describe your style?

Teresa Ryback I would describe my style as a refined, elegant approach to West Coast interiors. The blending of natural woods and stone with luxurious materials and modern design elements–tdSwansburg’s projects reflect modern sophistication with an affinity for nature.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What designers of past and present do you admire most?

Teresa Ryback –   I love the work of  Billy Baldwin as he was a classicist and a modernist and I also admire the bold, confident style of Dorothy Draper. Current designers that capture my attention are Philippe Starck and Barbara Barry.

clip_image001[7]Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What do you consider to be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

Teresa Ryback –  My greatest strength is my ability to visualize a space completed, including the smallest details. My weakness… I’m an impatient perfectionist.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – You have done a great deal of lottery homes, what keeps you coming back for more?

Teresa Ryback Once we present our design vision for the project and it is accepted by the board members, we are given the freedom to design a luxury dream home. In many of the projects, we work with the architects and builders assuring the integrity of the final vision is intact. Most importantly, the Lottery Home projects serve great causes such as the BC Children’s Hospital and Peace Arch Hospital foundation.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – You mention on your website that environmental responsibility is a large part of your design philosophy; what steps have you taken to ensure that your firm does its part in global conservation?

Teresa Ryback In addition to being members of Built Green British Columbia and The Canada Green Building Council, in 2007 we completed a Green Demonstration Home introducing green initiatives that could be incorporated into residential construction to Vancouver Island. When working with residential clients, we educate them on sustainable design options. Further, I believe that keeping ourselves educated, as designers, allows us to serve our clients better. I frequent design shows such as NeoCon West and I will be attending the ABITARE IL TEMPO 2009 in Verona, Italy.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What do you think most Victoria homes are missing?

Teresa Ryback – The design services of tdSwansburg design studio-!

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – How/why did you start your own firm? Could you tell me a little about the history of your company?

Teresa Ryback I paralleled my design education with work experience, learning the diversity of a career in Interior Design.  In 2001, I was given the opportunity to present a design proposal for the 2002 BC Children’s Lottery Home. I was competing against large, well established firms and was awarded the contract. I completed the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 homes winning my first two Georgie Awards. The exposure from these public projects positioned tdSwansburg design studio in the luxury residential market. We have not looked back-!

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What was it like to be published in Spectacular Homes of Western Canada?

Teresa Ryback – It was an honour to be invited to participate in the publication. Spectacular Homes of Western Canada allows the firm to showcase it’s work not only in Western Canada but nationally and abroad.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What are you excited about right now in the world of design?

Teresa Ryback I am excited about all the inspiring and innovative materials – from wallpaper to countertops-!

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What project has given you the most satisfaction?

Teresa Ryback Every successful project we complete gives me satisfaction. My favourite projects however, are the 2005 BC Children’s Lottery Home and the 2007 Win’ Fall Lottery Home because of the creative freedom that was entrusted in us.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?

Teresa Ryback – My dream project is to design a restaurant in an historic architectural setting. While preserving the history of the space, I would infuse modern materials and fixtures. The fabrics and wallpaper would flaunt traditional motifs reintroduced in contemporary colourways.

The space would be comfortable, yet intimate with stylized private rooms.

image Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio

Iván Meade – What is your next design venture?

Teresa Ryback We are working on several luxury residential projects and multi-residential communities. Our next design venture is a waterfront resort property.

clip_image001Interior by tdSwansburg Design Studio


Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work in your own signature style. What would you like your legacy to be?

Teresa Ryback – ­­That I inspired…

I Invite you to vist Teresa Ryback’s website for more information.


Ivan Meade is a local designer and principal of Meade Design Group, a multidisciplinary interior and graphic design studio in the heart of downtown Victoria – www.themeadegroup.com