- November 10, 2019
In 2014 we set out to build a better design studio, and that was PlaidFox. When everyone else was doing white millwork on white plaster with white furniture, we were mounting gold rhino heads on walls, painting vintage armours pink and decorating modern bachelor suites with 7-foot tall Terracotta Warriors.
PlaidFox is a rare hybrid at the intersection of where design meets tech. Creativity on its own isn’t enough to produce award-winning work and happy clients, and so our company is heavily integrated in custom technology. Our client portal is just one proprietary tool we’ve developed to innovate the project management process. Instead of the usual scenario where clients are left wondering and waiting about the status of their design projects, all of our projects are updated in our online client portal in real time. Clients can log in at any time and see everything we’re working on: exactly what’s done and what’s not, get all of their invoices, see statements, contracts, change orders, sign-offs, signatures required, deadlines—it’s a whole new way of managing projects that is easy, transparent and something no one else had thought of before.
Even our initial process deviates from that of other firms. We don’t simply scan a brief and counter with a concept. We start by extensively profiling you and your project goals, listening and asking questions, style testing, producing style guides and more. We don’t move forward until we thoroughly understand our client. Our designs can be wild, but never spontaneous. Everything we design is rooted in this foundation of understanding, and it’s from this point that our team can experiment with their outside-of-the-box ideas.
PlaidFox specializes in both residential and commercial design, from the West Coast of Canada and into the U.S., and yet we can’t be defined by one design style. Most design firms in Canada are small operations, averaging under two employees, but we’re a team of 10. Each of our designers has their own full client portfolio and specialty. Modern $15-million new builds, historic farmhouse restorations, Scandinavian micro-lofts, art deco hotel renovations—our studio does it all. We’re not limited to one design era or one colour palette, our diverse team has a true breadth of aesthetic and skill.
Our services extend to architecture, interior design, decorating and even custom furniture. Both our founder Ben Leavitt and senior designer Kelly O’Quinn have extensive experience designing furniture and lighting for name brands like Restoration Hardware overseas.
At PlaidFox we put a high premium on travel, experience and professional development. Creativity isn’t something you’re just born with, it’s a skill that requires constant work. Everyone on our team is a “big container” person. As in, their minds are like big containers and they are so passionate about design that they are compelled to fill these containers with experiences and inspiration.
This past year we launched our Design Discovery Program to further foster this process. We fly a member of our team to a new destination (past trips have included New York, Scotland and Morocco), we give them a visual itinerary of what we’d like them to accomplish and the idea is just for them to fill their subconcious with as many experiences, lessons and images as possible. Replenishing the inspiration stocks is essential to fuelling creativity. This is how the brain synthesizes new ideas. When one of our designers gets in front of a project, they use everything in their experience, past and present, to innovate, create and inspire. We’re all about those big containers. This is what produces next-level design.
If there’s one thing you should expect from PlaidFox, it’s that every time we come to you with a proposal, we’re going to surprise you. And that’s not just fluff, our clients say it all the time. When you work with us, we’re going to listen, ask tons of questions, and when we show you what we think you should do, it will never be what you expected. Aspects of the design may push you further than you thought you would go, it may be something you’ve never even imagined, but you will be excited about it, thrilled by it, and you will love it.