Amanda Aerin: The Passion of a Designing Woman
Toronto interior designer and lifestyle brand influencer Amanda Aerin has turned a youthful passion into a style she can call her own.
It’s often been said that interior designers live and breathe their craft and that they have design in their blood. For acclaimed Toronto designer Amanda Aerin, growing up in a small town in Ontario, that may literally be the truth.
“I grew up in Georgetown, Ont., and grew up in a historical house that many people thought was haunted,” Aerin recalled in a recent interview with Dolce. “My parents actually renovated that property along with another up the street. My mom would say historical houses are in my blood as I was known as a baby to pick up old wallpaper that they were stripping off the walls and eat it — so it’s literally in my bones to restore houses.”
It’s safe to say Aerin’s appetite for interior design has improved dramatically since those early childhood days of exploration, becoming one of Canada’s best-known and sought-after interior designers, bringing her love of heritage to today’s modern world. “Traditional with a twist” is what she calls her distinctive style as she has grown from building a design firm to creating a full-scale lifestyle brand. Aerin took another step forward in mid-2023 as the host of Country House Hunters Canada, airing on primetime on the CTV Life Channel.
Aerin participated in a TV design contest in 2012, which resulted in her being awarded design expert status on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show. That boost in visibility allowed her to expand her creative experiences, which now include product development, marketing collaborations and luxury design. She has exhibited her design work at leading events, such as the National Interior Design Show, the International Builders Show in Las Vegas and the National Home Show. Her marketing partnerships include working with major brands such as Canadian Tire, RE/ MAX, Indigo, Kim Crawford, Sunwing Travel and the NBA.
Aerin is influenced by European architecture and is passionate about the drama of classic mouldings, daring papers, geometric patterns and rich textures, all while offering homeowners an opportunity to turn their homes into a welcoming and organized oasis that truly functions for the family. While she doesn’t remember the diet of wallpaper, she does remember the moment when design entered her life.
“HAVE SOMETHING THAT IS CLASSIC, THEN HAVE SOMETHING THAT IS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE, HIGHLY MODERN AND COLOURFUL, REALLY BOLD, THEN HAVE SOMETHING SHINY FOR A LITTLE GLITZ AND GLAM – WITH THOSE THREE ELEMENTS, YOU’RE GUARANTEED TO HAVE AN AMANDA AERIN ROOM.”
“There was a time in my life when I felt that my creativity started to shine through,” says Aerin. “When I was about 11 years old, my mom gifted me, I think, $100 to go ahead and decorate my bedroom any way I chose, any paint, any linens. I actually chose a purple and turquoise theme, which I’m not sure I would choose today — but that moment really sticks in my mind.”
Now Aerin is the busy mother of five children, including four that her husband brought to their marriage. That baseball team lineup might seem to some like a recipe for mayhem, but Aerin somehow makes it work, developing skills that also assist her in her professional life on behalf of her clients.
“Any given time we get together, it’s definitely busy,” she says. “Motherhood has taught me a lot of patience, and my ability to compartmentalize problems has really developed as a result of having so many diverse personalities in our children, and I have become a master when it comes to budgeting! I also prioritize things very efficiently. That’s one of my strong suits.”
Aerin’s design style of “traditional with a twist,” she explains, is built on three foundations. “The easiest way to explain it is to have something that is classic, such as a classic fireplace, or classic moulding or a classic wood floor. Then, have something that is the complete opposite — highly modern and colourful, really bold. Then have something shiny for a little glitz and glam. With those three elements, you’re guaranteed to have an Amanda Aerin room.”
As Aerin revels in her new hosting duties on Country House Hunters Canada, travelling the country and speaking with Canadians about all styles of design, she doesn’t hesitate to offer up her recipe for la dolce vita, or the sweet life. “I’m a Pisces, so being near water is extremely important to me, along with fresh flowers and live music,” she declares.
Now, that’s a recipe that certainly sounds a lot tastier than wallpaper.
INTERVIEW BY MARC CASTALDO