Throughout Peterborough & the Kawarthas, the outdoor beauty of the local terrain attracts all sorts of new residents to the area. Nancy Nickle and Sonja Sanderson of Birchview Design are passionate about showing people all that there is to love in this area. “This region continues to grow and develop, and with that comes a need for beautifully curated spaces inside people’s homes, cottages and workplaces,” explains Nancy Nickle, co-founder of Birchview Design based in Peterborough.
Nancy created Birchview Design to express her passion for design and help others build beautiful spaces in their homes. Recently, designer Sonja Sanderson joined as a partner and the rest, they say, is history.
“Our partnership evolved naturally and organically,” says Nancy. “We think a lot the same, and we continue to have lots to learn from each other. As a partnership, we can offer more to our clients than if we were operating apart.”
Working on primarily new builds and large renovation projects throughout Peterborough & the Kawarthas, Nancy and Sonja believe in finding the delicate balance between being on-trend and creating classic designs. According to Sonja, “this region has some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in the province. We often get requests to help bring this beauty indoors with lots of natural elements, neutral colours and beautiful textures. With our team of designers, we really can help to bring a client’s vision to life.”
For the Birchview Design team, the special part of working in the Peterborough area is the people. And not only their clients. “We love working with some of the exceptional tradespeople, suppliers and artists in the local area on our client projects,” explains Sonja. “For being a smaller city, we never want to forget the amazing local talent we have right here and in surrounding areas.”
Nancy agrees, “one thing that is new for us is working closely with local artists to help create unique pieces for our client’s space. We see lots of success in these partnerships, and our clients love being able to bring in a piece of art that represents their local area. A lot of the time, we are building an entire design direction around these pieces of art.”
“One thing we see with our clients, especially in the last year of COVID-19, is the value we place on the functionality and aesthetic of our interior spaces,” says Sonja. “With most of us spending more time at home than we ever have, we are starting to truly realize the importance of our spaces and how they can affect our mood and productivity. We have seen so many clients who are now working entirely from home and plan to continue that for the future. They see the value in creating a beautiful space that they can appreciate, and is also conducive to work and productivity.”
Despite an initial nine-week shut down in spring 2020, the team at Birchview Design is busier than ever with new projects and clients. “With the protocols and restrictions in place, we are able to safely and effectively complete client projects.,” says Nancy. “Truth be told, we are seeing an increase in business due to people’s additional time at home, needing to adjust their space to accommodate working from home and new residents moving to the area from more populated areas of our province. We are grateful for the community’s support during this, and without our local tradespeople and suppliers, we would not have been able to make this happen.”
When asked about what Birchview Design is best known for, Nancy and Sonja agreed that start-to-finish new builds have become a staple for their business. “A new build really does mean comprehensive, start-to-finish service,” says Nancy. We work with our clients from the very beginning helping them to review and confirm plans to ensure their space is practical and has a good flow from a design perspective. From there, we are involved in every aspect of the build from the beginning phases of drafting and design, to the end phases of delivery and decor.”
“What we pride ourselves on is bringing our client’s vision to life,” says Sonja. “As designers, we understand the level of communication that it takes to really understand and execute a client’s vision. After all, we aren’t building our dream homes or spaces. We’re building theirs.”
For new clients or those who might be considering working with a designer, Nancy and Sonja recommend contacting their team 1-2 years in advance. “For clients who are working on new builds, we encourage them to reach out to us at least six months before the contractor or builder breaks ground,” says Nancy. “When we are contacted before final design decisions are made, we can help to guide our clients through the process and avoid unnecessary costs or hold-ups down the road. It’s never too early to begin consulting with a designer when you are making a large investment like a new build or large renovation.”
When we chatted about the community of Peterborough, Nancy and Sonja agreed that their clients have genuinely shown up to support them either by word of mouth referrals or repeat projects. “We started doing single rooms in homes, and now we’re managing new builds and large-scale renovation projects,” says Nancy. “This growth is entirely due to the support we have seen from our local community.”
Sonja agrees, and for her, the entrepreneurial spirit of Peterborough is really what drives the Birchview Design team to return the love to other local businesses as well. “The business community here is very supportive; I’ve never seen anything like it. The Peterborough community shows up to support their local businesses and entrepreneurs, and our growth is a prime example of that. Whenever we can, we try our best to return that support to other local businesses in the area.”
For Nancy and Sonja, there is no greater return than seeing a client happy with their new space. “Seeing our clients happy at the end of a project is everything to us,” says Nancy. “We recognize the investment they have made in us and their project, and we want to deliver a beautiful work of art.”
For more information on Birchview Design, visit their website at birchviewdesign.com
Birchview Design was a Starter Company Plus grant winner and a client of the Business Advisory Centre. Learn more about how the Business Advisory Centre supports local businesses.