Dubbed one of Calgary’s Style Guys, Alykhan Velji knows a thing or two about transforming residential or commercial spaces into timeless eye capturing rooms. Velji can be spotted on Breakfast Television, Shaw TV or heard on 98.5 Virgin Radio giving design tips and tricks. CREB®Now caught up with Velji to talk to him about the ins and outs of being an interior decorator.
CREB®Now>> How would you describe your design philosophy?
Velji>> My design philosophy is to always incorporate textures, patterns and trends in my spaces but in a way that will always keep the look timeless. I love a good trend and as a designer there are new ones coming at you left, right and centre. I believe the trick is to use them in subtle ways to ensure the design I am creating will alwayshave a wow factor but stand the test of time.
CREB®Now>> What was your first design project?
Velji>> My very first design project was working with another designer. She was a good friend of mine and brought me on to help her design a home in the Mission area of Calgary. It was a gorgeous historic home and really helped me get my bearings as a designer. It was an amazing experience.
CREB®Now>> Are there any big new trends coming in the design industry?
Velji>> You are seeing a lot of copper being introduced in design at the moment. It is the new metal. With its gorgeous patina that only gets better with age, you are now seeing it being introduced in lighting, plumbing and accessories for the home.
CREB®Now>> What is the most important thing a client should ask their interior decorator?
Velji>> The most important thing a client can ask a decorator is to see previous work. You can really get a handle on a decorator or a designer’s work by seeing what type of work they have done. I try to keep my portfolio quite broad with traditional, modern and transitional interiors.
CREB®Now>> What is your favourite room in your home and why?
Velji>> My favourite room in my home is my great room. It is the first room you see when you enter and has cedar slanted ceilings, a wood burning fireplace that is clad in white brick and large over scaled windows. It really speaks to the midcentury style of design I love so much and is what really made me fall in love with our home.
CREB®Now>> What is Calgary’s best kept secret?
Velji>> I love a good meal especially one that is home cooked. One of my favourite places to eat when I can’t eat my mom’s home cooked meal is a place called Samosa Garden Express. The flavours are full and it is a mix of East Indian and East African cuisine. Simply the best.
CREB®Now>> What is the best and the worst thing about being an interior decorator?
Velji>> Best: That I get to change people’s spaces to make them livable, comfortable and spaces they will love coming home to everyday. Worst: That we sometimes have to be therapists. Trying to figure out how to mesh two completely different style aesthetics of homeowners can sometimes be challenging but it’s a challenge we take head on.
CREB®Now>> What made you decide to become an interior decorator?
Velji>> I have always been creative. From a very young age I have had a passion for design and fashion. When it came to deciding what I wanted to do, it took me a while after high school to figure it out. When I saw Bow Valley College was offering a course on Interior Decorating I signed up immediately, and the rest as they say, is history.
CREB®Now>> What is it like being one of Calgary’s Style Guys?
Velji>> It really is an amazing feeling to be one of The Style Guys. My partner Jason and I love it, and it has brought about some amazing opportunities for us. It started off as being a monthly gig on Virgin Radio and now has become something we do weekly, staring in shows on E!, Cosmo TV and some great travel. It is all very exciting.
CREB®Now>> If you could offer one piece of advice for people looking for an interior decorator what would it be?
Velji>> The best piece of advice for someone looking for a decorator is to do your research and don’t jump into making a decision. It is OK to have a few to interview especially if you are working on a large scale project. You want to ensure your personalities match as well. Remember this person is going to be helping you decorate your home and the chemistry has to be there, otherwise it will not be an enjoyable experience.