All good ideas start with creativity, enthusiasm, friendship and a lot of wine.
Over fifteen years ago a profound interest in all things culinary inspired Paula’s departure from the world of advertising into wine and food. Arriving at event management as her first waypoint, she managed the Savour Wine & Food Festival in Calgary for six years, then served as Creative Director for the Salut Wine Festival in Calgary and Toronto. In addition, she manages marketing and graphic design for a variety of individual clients, consumer wine events, dining programs, corporate wine tastings, trade events and wine competitions. Her clients have included: Culinary Marketing Strategies, IDMG, Visa, American Express, TD Bank, IBM, Globe & Mail, Wine Access Magazine, Fetzer and Bonterra Vineyards, Chambord, Wines of British Columbia, Zinfandel Producers of California, Sonoma Vintners and the California Wine Institute.
Paula is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design (Toronto, Canada), a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu (Paris, France), a James Beard Foundation Scholarship recipient and has completed the International Sommelier Guild Wine Fundamentals level one. She attended the Hautes Etudes du Goût program in gastronomy and completed her thesis The Art of Pleasure: Examining the French Meal and the Positive Effects of Deriving Pleasure from Food for which she was awarded her Master's Degree from the University of Reims in Champagne, France.
She spends part of her year in Provence, her best and truest love. There she carries on with regular freelance work while endlessly cycling glorious routes in the Provence sunshine, cooking, seeking out spectacular wines of the region, and writing about her experiences on her website.
Who would think 18 years ago, I would have ventured out from the world of legal research into the world of furniture design? I always say, follow your passions and let them lead. I had been in love with all things home décor and design from an early age and it took me until the age of 32 to finally take the leap, and leap I did. It all began with a beautiful little boutique; sounds romantic but it was certainly an unbelievable amount of work, as most things worth having are. That boutique was Modern Country Interiors, in the heart of the Calgary neighbourhood Inglewood, where we specialized in custom furniture. Our boutique was known for the exceptional exclusive designs we created. My extensive furniture designing experience comes from working together with our customers. If you listen to the demands of the consumer, you can never go wrong. I have always designed for the people. All my furniture collections are known for their timeless designs, exceptional attention to detail and my ability to gently touch upon the latest design trends while still being able to make my collections classic. I believe that timeless does not mean boring.
My goal is simple and my trademark never wavers; create fabulous furniture designs that are classic in their style and effortless in their beauty. My largest design venture to date is Modern Farmhouse Collections which consists of designs ranging from casual to modern. My furniture designs are now sold in hundreds of stores across North America. I travel extensively with my work and everywhere I go, I am absorbing the design elements that are around me. I can take inspiration from a beautifully curated coffee shop, a piece of art or an inspiring landscape. I never know what will catch my attention and spark my interest. My adventure continues and I am thrilled to be a contributor for Olive & Sweetpea. I will aspire to share my knowledge, inspiration and ever developing designs.
Amidst the spreadsheets and databases involved while completing a Master’s Degree in Economics, Jonalyn aspired to find work that allowed her autonomy, creativity and a celebration of beauty. She was introduced to Wendy Friese, the owner of Cushy Life, an eclectic soft furnishings boutique located in Calgary’s trendy Kensington district. Siemens began apprenticing there, learning the business of retail and importing designer fabrics and bedding from around the world.
Two years later, Jonalyn purchased the business which she successfully operated for seven years before selling it to feed another passion: travel. Fascinated by the diversity of different countries, she proceeded to add to her creative portfolio with notes and pictures of design ideas, art, architecture and landscapes from her travels.
In the fall of 2006, Siemens began developing a business plan for another shop, enlisting design assistance from Heather Draper. Having worked together at the Cushy Life for many years, and excited by the obvious synergy and enthusiasm between them, the decision was made to move to Victoria and open Bespoke. Within a week, Jonalyn had sold her house, flown to Victoria, found a shop premises at Market Square and purchased a new home.
In 2010 Jonalyn sold her share of the business and moved to the Sunshine Coast. She is currently the Canadian and Pacific Northwest agent for Designers Guild of London where she continues to travel to spread the beauty of DG. “Creating a beautiful space needn’t be expensive”, notes Siemens, “it just needs to be approached more thoughtfully and creatively”.