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News 3 years ago

Creating An Oasis In The City

We were virtually graced by Gillian Gillies’ presence on June 25th for our 6th webinar of the year. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Gillian has now been here for 19 years and runs GGI(Gillian Gillies Interiors) out of her chic, Leaside office.

Inspired by Georgian Architecture but with an eclectic flair, Gillian’s timeless design sensibility is clearly stamped in every project. Her blend of white space and bold patterns is truly a work of art. Gillian likes to add “happy dose of magic” to every space, meaning an unexpected fixture or fabric. She recalls going to a trades how overseas and finding a stunning, fringed swing which she insisted on bringing back and installing as an extra seat in her conference room. This is the kind of magic that sets her style apart.

What is an oasis according to GGI?

At the heart of everything, an oasis is a home with ease and freedom, less about stuff and more about function. This is the template for every project of Gillian’s. Instead of filling the home with “things”, she asks “what can this home give back to my clients?” Whether it’s being able to access clothes easily in the morning or having a predictably layed out kitchen, these elements of design can help tremendously in her clients’ daily routines.

Conscious Consumption

Gillian is extremely mindful of why she or her clients want a certain item or element in their homes. If the reason for wanting this piece is based on a trend, then it might be best to avoid it. It is easy to get overwhelmed by Pinterest moodboards and follow in the footsteps of others, but trends come and go and Gillian knows that it is not wise to invest in items that may not even be in style by the time the home revamp is complete. One easy way to spot a trend, says Gillian, is when she can see it quickly move from a high-end product, to a diluted version available in mass production.

Engaging The Senses

Another way GGI goes beyond just making a home look stylish, is by engaging every sense. Gillian notes that we often think about lighting, but are not cognisant of the way a home sounds or smells. “There is nothing like walking into a cottage and getting a whiff of fresh cedar or the welcoming inhale of essential oils at a Saje store” she says. “If a client is often cooking seafood dinners, windows that are easily opened can be a great addition. If comfort and relaxation are the goal of a living room, the sense of touch is important and softer fabrics are key!” Another way to amplify the sense of sight is by including memorabilia that means something to you. Having a story behind a work of art, or for Gillian, a sculpture she had been eyeing for years, can help create gratitude.

There is a ton more insight, exclusive before and afters and one on one questions with Gillian to uncover. 

Watch the full webinar below:

If you have any questions regarding our webinars, or if you would like to participate, please reach out to us at We’re happy to help.