By Darren Lum
Published July 3 2018
Katie Golec earned national recognition several months ago for a design inspired by the Highlands’ beauty.
The 25-year-old junior designer with Haliburton-based ACM Designs received a national design award from the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada at its annual gala event on April 23 in Toronto.
Her design updated a three bedroom one bathroom lakeside rental unit demonstrating interior decoration and earned her a win in the Best in the Challenging Budget under $8000 category.
Golec said this award affirms her progress in the design industry.
“With that obviously I was honoured I won an award like that. It definitely means a lot” she said.
The competition has been held for 24 years and included entries across the country. The criteria includes complexity concept materials and functionality.
Golec has also been locally recognized for her skills having been nominated for the Young Professional of the Year award by the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce.
“In Haliburton we’re definitely a part of a lot of really talented and skilled young professionals so just being [included with that] group with all of those really amazing individuals is really … I felt really grateful” she said.
She said ACM Designs often brings the “outdoors in throughout all of our designs.”
Golec is originally from Bruce Mines a town with a population of 566 located on the north shore of Lake Huron 70 kilometres from Sault Ste. Marie.
The Algonquin College design graduate ran her own design business in the summers while she was in school in the Algoma district with the assistance of a government grant.
Golec said she is working on learning more about designing for an aging population. Along with employer and mentor Andria Cowan Molyneaux she has a certification in design for aging in place from the Toronto Monogram Design Centre.
This approach accounts for what may be required of people as they age such as a “curbless” shower with continuous flooring a wider doorway and floors without transitions.
Love initially brought Golec to the Highlands two years ago.
“Every time I came here I became more and more in love with the county and everybody that lived here” she said.
Although she loved the job she had back home it was time to follow her heart.
“I just wanted to take a risk and move here because I loved the area and everybody that lived here so much. I came into the area and shortly after moving here that’s when I was introduced to Andria Cowan Molyneaux from ACM Designs. From there we started working together and the business started growing and growing.”
Golec has been with ACM Designs for more than year. She looks forward to learning more from the company founder Cowan Molyneaux who she said is her mentor.
She acknowledged the skill of the entire team including co-worker Jody Lavergne.
“We’ve already grown the business so much. I can’t believe how much we’ve achieved in the small duration time we’ve been together. I can’t wait for all the growth that we’ll see in the future and the things we will achieve” she said.
Although she has made the Highlands her home she regularly returns to the Algoma District to visit family. She has just one older sister but comes from a large family with more than 20 cousins.
The thing that has surprised her about living in the Haliburton Highlands is how much there is to do.
“The best thing about living here is to be part of living in such a beautiful county and being able to work here and be successful here” she said.