To simply state that I have a new ‘design’ crush would be to underestimate grossly the talents of Dee Dee Taylor Hannah. Not only is Dee Dee an interior designer, she is also an accomplished architect. Most recently she completed a line of jewellery entitled Maison de Blossoms with Myles Mindham, a Toronto based fine jewellery designer.
Graduating with honours from University of Toronto Architect School, Dee Dee creates timeless and elegant rooms with a touch of femininity. She particularly excels at reinterpreting classical forms with a contemporary identity.
In addition to interiors and design she has hosted HGTV’s Love By Design, the Canadian HGTV Designer’s Christmas Special and has appeared on numerous televisions and radio shows, including three visits to The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her writing credits include her column for the National Post newspaper entitled “Constructive Criticism.”
Talk about an impressive vita—Dee Dee Taylor Hannah is certainly one to watch and admire.
With which iconic interior decorator or architect do you most identify?
I love Dorothy Draper’s work. She wasn’t afraid to be bold. Her designs were heavy and distinctive and made a statement in the days when women just didn’t do those sorts of things.
I also think Tony Duquette because he was just over-the-top and staged his life and work. I actually started out as a set designer early in my career so it’s something I appreciate. His designs were so whimsical and ethereal.
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Beauty and history are the creative forces behind my work. Looking back to history and reinterpreting the past is a methodology I use when working on all of my projects. This creative process will be explored in my upcoming book Timeless: Style Redefined and showcase to readers how adapting classic designs for today can yield timeless designs.
Which talent would you most like to possess?
I would love to have a fabulous singing voice and perform country rock.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My family is my biggest pride and joy but career wise, being able to design, build and decorate my own home was extremely empowering. Being on Oprah was also a huge highlight – I really admire the empire she has created.
What is your most prized possession?
My children Jake and Rachael… they are technically not possessions but they are the most precious things to me in the world. They are true gifts.
What is your favourite luxury in life?
Time! As the president of a full service firm and mother of two kids I am truly never alone. I cherish time with my family and friends as well as a little time avec moi.
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I would have liked to have worked with British architect Edwin Lutyens. I am amazed at how his work is timeless and still has a modern edge in a traditional setting.
Who are your style icons?
Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino are true visionaries whose work has changed the way people think about style. They are real style makers. Because they are bound to create many collections per season, there is a constant flow of creation.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Age of Innocence is a classic I return to time and time again. I find Edith Wharton’s depictions of early New York society enlightening and very humorous. Paris: From the Ground Up By James H.S. McGregor is a wonderful piece of historical fiction I am reading now and Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello was absolutely hilarious. You’ve got to love how Tonello brought home the cash by peddling a brand.
Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Charles McKim, William Mead, and Stanford White. Together they formed McKim, Mead, and White, an architectural firm in New York in the early 1900s. They specialized in high end residential building for high society. They would give me a tour of their buildings – lot’s of great work and great gossip and scandal. I’d have to travel back in time but the scoop would be good!
Profile by Ronda Carman
Photography by Philip Castelton