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In Conversation with Janice Long

Janice Long is the driving force behind Victoria’s newest home furnishing store, Calla Design. Not content with merely providing the area with some of the finest antiques, exclusive furniture lines like Canadian made Whittington furnishings, original artwork, Martha Sturdy’s pieces, and other small treasures like my favourite diffuser Sandal Amber by Antica Farmacista; Calla Design also offers full interior design services and luxury staging.

With 35 years of experience in the interior design industry, Janice has an incredible wealth of knowledge, which she’s excited to share with clients and customers alike. Her energy is contagious and Calla in my humble experience is without a doubt one of Victoria’s hidden treasures. I had the opportunity to work with Janice while we developed her brand identity and I can speak first hand that design is her passion, as it is evident in everything she does.

Make a point of exploring Calla Design’s beautiful showroom in Estevan Village, you’ll be happy you did. Janice and Sue will be there to guide you.


DSC_6924Janice Long & Sue Pipes of Calla Design


Iván Meade – What is the story behind Calla Design? How did you two meet?

Janice Long –  It grew from wanting to do Interior Design and what I could offer that would be different with unique options to my clients.

Sue and I both met many years ago. We became friends, and soon enough she became my confidant in my plans for Calla Design. Sue had been in the design industry for 25 years and I have been 35 years. This was a new and unique opportunity for both of us to expand our horizons and offer to Victoria not just good design, but the experience and the expertise needed to finalize a project successfully.


Sitting Room 2Interiors by Calla Design


Iván Meade – You have a very interesting concept that Calla Design is more than just a shop, it is a lifestyle source.  Can you please elaborate on what makes Calla Design unique?

Janice Long – My idea started out as a means for aiding both realtors and homeowners in the process of getting their home ready for the market. Value added renos that the purchaser would benefit from. Taking the homeowner through all of the steps of getting ready to list their home, finding a realtor, decluttering, luxury staging, quotes for moving, shopping for the new home with the realtor, quotes for prospective work to be done in the new space, right through move into their new home. Basically a personal assistant for both the realtor and homeowner to save both time and money for them.

I thought about other than just having an office, what would be an interesting and soft approach to get prospective clients in front of me. That’s where the storefront came into my sights. That was the last piece of the puzzle.

Calla Design (the store offers new furniture, antiques and vintage. We have local artists, jewellery, custom bedding, towels and all beautiful things for the home. Many are exclusive lines available to Victoria for the first time!)


DSC_9039Showroom at Calla Design


Iván Meade – Calla Design is a beautifully designed home furnishings boutique in Victoria, BC located in the heart of Estaven Village.  What is it about this location that suites Calla so well?

Janice Long – I looked at a number of options. I knew from the get-go that I did not want to be downtown.  I wanted free parking. Being in Estevan Village puts us front and centre in our target market with Ten Mile Point, Oak Bay and Uplands right outside our door. We have been warmly welcomed by the local residents and shop owners. We feel like we have been here for years!


EstevanAvenue3Interiors by Calla Design 


Iván Meade – What is your favourite Calla item?

Janice Long – We have these stunning Bergere chairs that we sourced in the States. We completely refurbished them with a twist so that they will add glamour to both contemporary and traditional settings.


Estevan-Avenue-1Interiors by Calla Design


Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?

When I was pre teen my father would give me the most stunning books on Design, Art, Architecture and beautiful gardens. I would sit an analyze what I liked and didn’t about the pictures for hours. New homes in the neighbourhood that were framed became my ‘tree fort’. I would spend hours in them imaging how the spaces would be used.


Bedroom 2Interiors by Calla Design


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

The Bergere chairs are a reflection of how I approach design. I don’t like anything too formal but love the edge of adding traditional components to a more streamlined setting. I much prefer asymmetrical with no more than 2 pairs of anything in a room. One pair if I can get away with it. I love traditional pieces with non traditional patterns or fabrics. Curves mixed with straight lines. I like the unexpected. 


DSC_2055Interiors by Calla Design


Iván Meade – Who or what has influence your personal style?

Janice Long – No one person has influenced my personal style. I am a fan of people that use colour to be sure. Whether it is in their art, wall colours, rugs or fabrics. I prefer eclectic furnishings so that a home appears to have taken on layers over time rather than the hotel look where everything matches.


Dining RoomInteriors by Calla Design


Iván Meade – As a business owner, how does your past experience in the world of design shape your new ventures through Calla Design?

Janice Long – I have worked with some wonderful people throughout my career. I have a great foundation in both my approach to people as well as how to treat them.


Denison rd 4Interiors by Calla Design


Iván Meade – In terms of design, what do you think Victoria is missing?

Janice Long – Oh my goodness! I would be so frustrated at the lack of choice shopping here for clients. I moved here from Vancouver in 2008 so I am used to more choice. For the store I wanted to bring in a number of exclusive lines rather than having more of the same. I’ve been told this store reminds people of something you would see in Vancouver, L.A. or Europe. All good. I have concentrated on carrying high quality Canadian lines.


DSC_9058Showroom at Calla Design


Iván Meade – Given carte blanche with no client to please, what would your dream design project be?

Janice Long – Oh, without a doubt to refurbish a decaying chateau in France.


BedroomInteriors by Calla Design


Iván Meade – What is next for Calla?

Janice Long – As the business grows I would like to expand the offerings in the store as well as work internationally. Sue and I have a wonderful time shopping in the States for Vintage and Antiques. Our tastes are very similar so we both see the beauty in the pieces we bring back.


I invite you to visit Calla Design at her gorgeous shop in Estevan Village or at their website:

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