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No stranger to HGTV, Candice Olson remains one of our all-time favorite designers, male or female. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked her a few questions we’ve been dying to know.

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Which female designers influenced you?

Dorothy Draper for her courage and sense of fun and whimsy.

Ellen O’Neill who was an integral part in developing the casual, lived-in look of Ralph Lauren’s Home and Lifestyle Collections.

Sheila Bridges for her fresh take on classic design.

What’s the essential home accessory you use in your designs?

A beautiful area carpet not only grounds the room but often provides the jumping up point for the design of the entire space.

What are your top three favorite places to shop for the home?

Flea Markets and antique shops

Fabric showrooms. I love pattern, texture and color — fabric has it all.

1stdibs.com for truly unusual and unique art and accessories

What’s the best design advice you’ve ever received?

“A room is called a living room because it is made to be lived in not just to look at.”

A client said this to me years ago after she hired me to redesign her living room. She had been swept up in her previous designer’s signature look; very formal, white, uber-elegant, only to find it really wasn’t practical for her rambunctious young family and it really didn’t reflect who they were. It was a bit of a reality check for her and a valuable piece of advice that I’ve carried with me throughout my career.

candice-olson-basement-livingCandice combines reclaimed wood and modern furniture to create a masculine getaway for NHL star Alex Steen.

What room did you most enjoyed designing? Why do you love it?

Alex Steen’s basement: I love to incorporate natural materials and nature-inspired elements into my work. I think it’s what adds the warmth and comfort to the simple pared down lines of contemporary design.

Natural references are everywhere in this large basement project that incorporates an exercise room, family room and lounge area. Areas are divided with walls of flowing waterfalls, stacked logs become decorative art panels and a unique limestone-clad fireplace provides the perfect relaxing ambiance. The fact that the client was a professional hockey player was a big bonus — it’s the Canadian in me!

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Don’t miss our interview with Annette Tatum, author of The Well-Dressed Home and our look back at textile pioneer Lucienne Day.

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Designers & Shops

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