The ACM Designs team from left Jody Lavergne Andria Cowan Molyneaux and Katie Golec. The Haliburton based company recently brought home a silver and bronze from the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada gala for their work. /Photo by NightinGail Photography

Design company takes home two national awards

By Jenn Watt

Two design and decor projects by Haliburton’s ACM Designs recently took home awards in the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada.

ACM founder and principal designer Andria Cowan Molyneaux and ACM junior designer Katie Golec took home silver in the Universal Design of Kitchen/Bathroom category; and Golec earned a bronze in the Best Design with a Challenging Budget category. Awards were announced at a gala in Toronto on May 3.

“This competition is the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada of which both Katie and I are accredited members” Cowan Molyneaux said in an interview with the Echo. About 150 competitors were involved in this year’s competition she said.

“Universal design was a brand new category and it is the association’s commitment to supporting aging in place and creating spaces that serve all people regardless of age or ability.”

The project was a curbless shower with a fold-down teak bench accommodations for the addition of grab bars and a vanity with storage that can be easily removed to make it accessible for someone who uses a wheelchair or other assistive device.

“We were very excited that this was a new category because we are very committed to supporting people of all abilities. That project in particular that won is in Haliburton and they’re full-time residents here. There were very specific needs that we had to address and support them with” she said.

Golec said the bathroom was a project “near and dear to our hearts” that was designed to be both functional and beautiful.

“When you look at it you actually wouldn’t automatically assume that it’s universal or aging in place design or even for somebody who needed that assistive device. Because now they have it created in such a way where it kind of makes it look more decorative rather than just for that functional purpose” she said.

The design also looks ahead to potential changes to the space for example with the addition of an outlet by the toilet which would allow for a washlet system which is a cleansing system common in Asia.

The design with a challenging budget ($8000 or less) award was given to ACM for work done on a bedroom at a Kashagawigamog Lake residence.

“This bedroom space was an addition to another larger main level redesign project that we worked on Kash Lake at the same cottage. Since our clients had just recently renovated their main floor kitchen and great room area they really noticed how much they loved the new space and how the rest of the cottage desperately needed updating” Golec told the Echo in a follow-up email. “At the time this was not in our scope of work but we worked together secretly with the husband to make this master bedroom space happen and come to life as a surprise for his wife. The end result was that they both absolutely loved the space and we’re now working on renovating their ensuite and main bathroom!”

Golec said the space was West Coast inspired transforming the space using paint and a few eye-catching elements such as a hanging woven light fixture over the bed.

The vertical shiplap walls were painted in white and ACM reused existing furniture and painted the nightstand to tie the elements together.

“Everything we bought was affordable but the end result made it look more expensive than what we actually spent” Golec said.

Last year Golec won for the same category for work done at a lakeside rental unit.

“It’s exciting [to win] because it’s a national award and to represent Haliburton at such a big level is pretty great” she said. “Especially being around your community of DDA [Decorators and Designers Association] and experiencing that with them is pretty great as well.”

ACM Designs is based in Haliburton and offers service in design decoration and aging in place.