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Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 ‘Class of 2017’
After working for years as a psychiatric nurse and surviving her own fierce battle with depression, Blake is on a journey to abolish the stigma associated with mental illness. Armed with the mightiest weapon she could wield—education—her passionate efforts led her to create We All Believe In You, a support and advocacy group for mental health survivors and those who care about them. The organization fosters a safe place for Edmontonians affected by mental health issues to come together, build community, and give purpose and power to their very real and often complicated struggle. In addition to being selected for the Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2017, Blake was also selected for the Facebook Community Leadership Program in recognition of her impressive achievements.
Cottswood designer Christopher Cook says, “It was a true honour to unlock [Blake’s] personal style by designing a Homegrown space where she can feel herself. Her vibrant passion translates into color and patterns that embody creativity and happiness.”
“When decorating, it’s important to remember who you are in your space and incorporate that into the room as well,” says Christopher. By choosing more black and white with only hints of colour for Blake’s space, it allows her dynamic personality to shine. “The traditional pink chair is also a juxtaposition from the rest of the space. Every room needs that—it helps create interest.”
“Don’t be afraid to mix metals, either” he adds—a philosophy Christopher put into practice beautifully in Blake’s space. The bar, fur chair, and cocktail table all include gold elements, while the white lamp and the nailheads on the blush chair have silver accents. Even though they may have different tones, each of the metallics play off one another with the same elegant appeal.
“I’ve been heavily focused on building this peer supportive community to give people with mental health issues hope. Human connection inspires my creativity,” says Blake.
Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 ‘Class of 2011’
“We loved working with Todd to create a place of redefined, casual comfort where he feels at home,” says Cottswood designer, Allison Hardy. “We added that richness he loves through the gold in the pull-up wax leather chair, the blue in the credenza and rug, and the red in the artwork. The white accents keep it current and fresh.”
Todd Babiak has traveled all over the world but is still proud to call Edmonton home. He credits the places he’s visited with establishing his personal design style, so our designers endeavoured to create a room that reflected and honoured the things he loved most about his travels. The space they came up with was eclectic and rich with symbolic features incorporated throughout.
Allison also stressed the importance of having what she calls a ‘character piece’. “This sophisticated credenza with so many wonderful details reflect back the interesting person Todd is.”
During his time living in Montreal, Todd returned to Edmonton for a visit and says he “just found that ‘Edmonton thing’.”
“People want to help and encourage you,” says Todd. “I found that my prospects here were better.”
“If things don’t go the way I’ve planned – whether it’s as an entrepreneur or as a novelist— it’s fine to grieve for a few minutes and figure out a new way. If you lose one opportunity, find another either as an artist or a business person,” he says. “Edmonton is a great place to start.”
Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 ‘Class of 2012’
“I have noticed that fewer and fewer arts graduates are moving to LA, Vancouver, and Toronto. They are choosing to stay and create theatre here. They are choosing to make art in Edmonton. We have a collective can-do attitude. This is a rad city that does rad things.”
Thomas Scott has only been in Edmonton for 12 years, but he still credits this city with influencing his creative success. “Edmonton inspires people to be creative. I love it. I moved here from Toronto; I’ve been here 12 years now. I ran the Edmonton Fringe Festival for six years and now own an entertainment business, DJing and producing shows. Edmonton is very accessible. I call it horizontal—you can know the mayor, the CEO of BioWare, you can know all the artists, and all the people that are in the restaurant industry. Edmonton is a super approachable, livable city. It’s cosmopolitan but has that small town, funky feel,” says Thomas.
After meeting Thomas, the Cottswood design team knew the furniture choices for him had to be something bold and a little quirky. “The tone of his voice was so inspiring, it sounds like he is smiling when he’s talking to you. It is only fitting that his living environment does the same.”
The colourful McCreary Modern sectional does a great job of matching his energetic nature, and the other features throughout the space bring everything together with a funky, contemporary feel. “The combination of the different textures, glass, wood, bold colours and soft velvet create an on-trend, current vibe,” says Donna. “The fact that each seat in the sectional is a different colour matches Thomas’ eclectic, fun, and vibrant personality perfectly.”
“Since I’ve moved back [to Edmonton],” says Thomas “I have noticed that fewer and fewer arts graduates are moving to LA, Vancouver, and Toronto. They are choosing to stay and create theatre here. They are choosing to make art in Edmonton. We have a collective can-do attitude. This is a rad city that does rad things.”
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