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IN CONVERSATION WITH CAMERON MACNEIL



Cameron MacNeil


I am inspired by Cameron’s warm personality and approach to design that he makes look so effortless. His spaces are eclectic, warm, and totally liveable. His new website and his blog certainly makes his design aesthetic clear; Cameron embraces rustic, worn elements that bring so much personality and patina to a space. And he seems to take great pride in finding that perfect, affordable work of art, accessory or furniture piece that he plans to give new life with a new coat of paint, an unusual purpose, or an updated fabric. He uses his blog to share his excitement in not only his recent finds, but videos showcasing one of his newly designed spaces, inspiring links, locations or images, and personal anecdotes relating to the latest trends.  I clearly remember when he was first published in Canadian House & Home, a beautiful bachelor suite in blues and browns – Back then I thought ‘that is exactly the space I would love to live in.

Cameron has been blogging since 2008, but his design career started much earlier. He knew he wanted a career in design from an early age, and after graduating from the Interior Design Program at Sheridan College, earned himself a position at Canadian House & Home Magazine in 2000 as an editorial assistant. He now focuses his time on freelance design work and his blog, but is still a design editor with CH&H, where you will see his name pop up amongst various features, including the monthly ‘Ask a Designer’ column.

I am ready to get Cameron’s input on the design industry, and I am sure he has picked the interest of my readers as well, so please read on to get in on the conversation…


Ivan Meade – What was your first experience by design?

Cameron MacNeil – I’m the youngest of five children by about 13 years, I have two sist ers and 2 brothers and they’re a creative bunch including my parents. When I was four or five, I remember my sisters would always be making their own clothes, and my brothers would be painting model cars.  So I followed a lot of what they did. Like most designers I played with a lot of lego too! When I was eleven I decorated my own room. It had hunter green wall paper, and the wallpaper border (of course) had ducks – it was all the rage back then. I made the bedding and curtains myself, my sisters and mother had taught me how to sew.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – Do you consider being young in the business as advantage or a disadvantage ? Even when we know you have been in the business for a long time.

Cameron MacNeil – I’ve never seen it as being as a disadvantage. At first people may not take you seriously but when they start to hear you talk, they realize I know what I’m talking about. ha!!  My clients are typically older than me, but lately I can tell i’m getting old when my clients are in their twenties and I’m not anymore!



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – What is the most practical thing you own and what is the most rare?

Cameron MacNeil – My iPhone and a wool blanket that I permanently borrowed from my mother. It’s grey with a blue stripe and it must be over forty years old.  It seems to work everywhere, on the back of a sofa or at the end of a bed, it looks great.


 


Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – What should every room have in it?

Cameron MacNeil – A place to sit (and if it’s comfortable – even better), even if it’s a little bench in a vestibule or a bench at the end of a bed.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – You have become a very familiar face thanks to Canadian House & Home – What has been the best lesson you have learned as editor of the magazine?

Cameron MacNeil – Great design never has to have a large price tag attached to it. Contrary to some design TV shows of the past, you also can’t design a living room for under $1000.  One of the House & Home signature looks is a mix of styles, with high and low priced pieces that are new and vintage. A space with all brand new stuff can be soulless.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – What do you think Canadian homes are missing?

Cameron MacNeil – Humm, where do I start? I don’t think their missing much, a lot of homes I go into have way too much stuff! I find a lot of possessions people have can hold them back on bringing out their true style. I was helping a client who’s husband had purchased some expensive and ugly sofas before they were married. They felt they had to work with them because they were so expensive. I told them they might have been expensive but they were not worth spending money on entire room of furniture just to make them work. Luckily the next time I went buy they were sitting on the curb. Ha! If you have purchased something that doesn’t work anymore, sell it on craigslist, take a loss and learn from your mistakes.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – As the editor of a very popular design magazine, you must have seen several interior design trends come in and out of fashion. Do you have any that you miss? Or, any that you are very glad have not returned?

Cameron MacNeil – I miss the popular bar code stripe of the the early 2000s. It sounds funny, but I don’t think you really see much of that any more.  I saw that in a lot rooms and I loved the graphic quality and colour it added. It was usually on a pillow, or wall treatment. It’s been about 10 years, perhaps I’ll bring it back!



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – You seem to really enjoy blogging, which is part of what makes your blog so much fun to read. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

Cameron MacNeil – I do like to blog, but I find it can be really hard to come up with an interesting topic which is why I don’t do it as much as I should.  A lot of bloggers will use a bunch of images from magazine articles or other blogs to fill a blog post but lately I tend to shy away from that on my own blog.  My favourite thing about blogging is receiving comments about a post.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – It’s great that you share some of your personal life with your bloggers as well, such as your own personal projects. What has that process been like?

Cameron MacNeil – As I mentioned receiving comments on the blog are nice to see and they are always quite positive. It’s fun to see that someone from across the globe has been reading your blog.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – What is the best advice (design related or otherwise) that you have ever received?

Cameron MacNeil – As cliché as it sounds – to trust your instincts. I’ve learned to offer a client edited options of what I know will work in the space. I’m best when I tell them what I think, not what I think what they want to hear. Sounds obvious but it took me a few years to figure that out.  ha!!



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade –  What is next for Cameron MacNeil?

Cameron – We are most likely going to sell our house in September and move – not sure where but It’s time to work on a new project for myself.



Interiors by Cameron MacNeil


Iván Meade – Lastly, you have created a stunning body of work in a multitude of mediums – what would you like your legacy to be?

Cameron MacNeil – That sounds so serious! I’m not sure if I fully know what I’d like that to be just yet – in a few years I may be able to elaborate on that. For now, I’d like to be known as a designer who offers a contemporary style with an appreciation of classic elements and materials.


I invite you to visit Cameron MacNeil’s website at: