sunny afternoon, and we had also never met! I was so eager to ask her a million questions, but knew we only had time for a handful. So thus begins the informal interview of Cat Hackman; interior ninja and mompreneur/owner extraordinaire of Room4refinement (the title I think she should have, not the one she gives herself, haha!)
Me: So Cat! When did you move to Canada?
Cat: I came to Canada from Finland in my early twenties. I landed in Toronto and lived there for seven years. During this time I worked for a company selling Finnish products to mostly architects, designers and design savvy home owners who then, in the late 80’ appreciated Scandinavian design such as Alvar Aalto, Marimekko and products from Arabia and Iittala, products that now, 30 years later are so popular in North America. I always loved decorating and have been dabbling in it as long as I can remember.
Me: What did you do before getting into Interior Decorating?
Cat: After moving to Calgary in 1991, I decided to go back to school, but Interior Design seemed to me to not be a career for someone who can’t draw free hand. Instead I chose Communications and Marketing, which in my current business of design, has helped me tremendously. I loved the world of marketing, but kept wondering what my true passion was. Eventually in 2005 I started to entertain the idea of switching careers. I took a course in New York that set the stage for starting my own business, Room4refinement.
Me: What kind of architecture or art do you enjoy using most in your design?
Cat: Naturally I am drawn to a Scandinavian esthetic of simple spaces with a lot of light and white. But what is also important to me is functionality and personality. A person’s treasured belongings need to shine, given the right place in the home, but not surrounded by meaningless clutter. I work with any style, but always sticking to basic design rules to help my clients achieve that “I love to come home” feeling. With all my clients that are refreshing a space I ask: is it functional for your lifestyle, do you need it and do you LOVE it.
Me: Do you have any tips for the aspiring decorator?
Cat: For any aspiring designer or decorator, I would say, always listen carefully to what the clients say, and think about how you can make their life better through good function and design.
Cat lives in Charleswood, Calgary with her husband Philippe, kids Emma, 22, Ben, 20 and poodle Gus 9. To see more of Cat, check our her website, and look for her on a design panel at the Calgary Home and Design Show, September 24 at noon.