We were recently interviewed by our fashionable neighbours from Roden Grey on how we started on design, architecture, and living and working in Gastown.
We’ve known Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds for a while now and we think they’re great. Chad and Kelly are the brains behind Falken Reynolds Interiors, a client-forward interior design studio based just around the block from us in Gastown.
If you visited our shop during the holiday season you couldn’t have missed the beautiful, arboreal lights that seemed to sprout from the store itself. The piece was crafted by Falken Reynolds as part of their “Decorate Gastown” series of custom installations, an annual holiday exercise that’s graced restaurants and shops like Six Acres, LYNNsteven Boutique, and Sea Monstr Sushi.
We’re excited to have had the opportunity to sit down with Chad and Kelly for the launch of our new interview series directed at shining a light on local designers, artists, and entrepreneurs that we think represent what makes Vancouver, and specifically Gastown such a fantastic place to live and work.
Roden Gray: Vancouver tends to be a city of people transplanted from elsewhere, where are you guys from, originally?
Chad Falkenberg: I grew up in Edmonton and I moved here when I was 19 to attend Trinity Western University to study Finance and Pyschology. I’ve lived in Texas, Lithunia, Northern Europe and Spain as well, but I always ended up back here. This is my home.
Kelly Reynolds: I grew up in Coquitlam (laughter). So pretty close by.
RG: What got you started in design?
Kelly: I started out in the military and when I got out I went back to school. I started working with the police department and was an officer with them for 4 years here in downtown Vancouver. After my time with the VPD I became a flight attendant but the airline I was working for went under after 9/11. I then went back to school again and decided to study interior design at BCIT. I started my own design firm fresh out of school with another partner, and then later on started Falken Reynolds with Chad a little while later.
Chad: I had a marketing job after University in Northern Europe for about 7 years and that’s where I got to see a lot of Scandinavian design and fell in love with it. I quickly started scheming how I could make the career jump into design.
RG: Where do you draw your inspiration during your design process?
Chad: With residential projects they are so client driven and what people want, and what style they like, and we love adapting to what ever their needs are. We get a lot of our inspiration from Europe. It’s where a lot of design thinking and research is taking place and how people there are using different materials and pushing boundaries, trying to make products better. So we make sure to go to the Milan Furniture fair, which is in April every year. We want to see the things that people are researching. What are the new products that are going to hit the market over here in North America in the next 3-5 years.
RG: Can you tell me a bit more about your process?
Chad: All of our projects start with a pretty intense research stage so that we can really understand what it is that our client wants to achieve, and to understand any of the limitations that might arise.
RG: That’s definitely a good approach. What projects do you have on the go now?
Chad: Oh man there are so many (laughter) I’d have to check my computer. We are working on this 100 year old townhouse right now. There has probably been 5 renovations done to this place, and none of them were to code.
We are working on a Restaurant right now as well which is our first. Its been a huge challenge but a great experience. It’s located in Chinatown in the old “New Town Bakery” location. It’s about 6,000sq and its been amazing seeing all the stuff that’s been found in the walls. We are also working on a brand new home up main street which has been a lot of fun. There’s a lot of different projects on the go, and at different states of completion.
RG: You don’t only work in Gastown, you’ve made it your home, what is it that drew you to the neighbourhood?
Chad: We love living in Gastown. We’ve been down here for 8 years now.
Kelly: I’ve been coming down here for over 20 years, it was like a ghost town back then and now its completely changed. I wouldn’t live anywhere else, it feels like a little village. Everybody kind of knows everybody. It can take you an hour just to get to work because you see so many people to stop and chat with.
RG: Vancouver is peppered with some beautiful architecture, particularly in this part of town, do you have any favourite buildings?
Kelly: The Jameson House, and the Marine Building.
Chad: The Evergreen Building by Arthur Erickson on Pender Street. They just renovated it a few years ago, they were gonna tear it down. It has all these beautiful vines hanging down from it — we love Arthur Erickson.
RG: What are three things you couldn’t live without?
Kelly: I couldn’t live without my road bike and that’s about it, I would just die if I didn’t have it. What else. My jeans (laughter) and a really good neighborhood, like Gastown. I couldn’t live in an area that wasn’t like Gastown. It’s really important that it the right mix of culture, and great retail, great restaurants and friendly people.
Chad: I don’t think I could live with out coffee (laughter) and I couldn’t live without my fixie. One of them got stolen a two weeks ago, and I think I lasted about 3 days and I realized I couldn’t get anywhere. Most of where I go is on my bike. Luckily it turned up a few days later, well part of it did (laughter) at Super Champion.
RG: Well that’s only two, but I guess we can let that slip. Thanks for sitting down with us guys!