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Carmen Douville is pictured in her living room and home office in Edmonton on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.

Carmen Douville is pictured in her living room and home office in Edmonton on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.

CODIE MCLACHLAN FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Industrial innovation

Carmen Douville's live-work space in a retrofitted Edmonton warehouse allows her to celebrate Canadian design. Anya Georgijevic takes a closer look

The industrial vibe of the former John Deere warehouse sets an ideal atmosphere for the live-work space of Edmonton-based designer Carmen Douville. Dub Architects retrofitted the 1928 building in downtown Edmonton by splitting the former depositary into hip lofts. "I love living downtown because I am a 15-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride away from work," says Douville who currently works as a project facilitator at the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, under the urban economy portfolio with Make Something Edmonton, an incubator of sorts for citizens looking to launch local initiatives. "I love the projects I am working on. I get to help people grow the city – everything from urban interventions to starting a business," she says. The industrial designer shares the 800-square-foot space with her partner Derek Hopfner, co-founder of Law Scout, an online legal tech company.

Stella sofa, starting at $899 at EQ3 (www.eq3.com).

Stella sofa, starting at $899 at EQ3 ( www.eq3.com).

Organic Chair by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen for Vitra, $3,111 at GR Shop (www.grshop.com).

Organic Chair by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen for Vitra, $3,111 at GR Shop ( www.grshop.com).

Marc Eggimann

"I would say I have a tendency towards minimalism and beautiful materials," Douville says of her decor aesthetic. The ample living space, with preserved industrial features such as exposed brick and the remnants of timber beams, combines a seating area with a home office for two. "Derek spends his time between Toronto and Edmonton. When he is home, he uses the home office. And since we are both workaholics, we both use it on the weekends," she says. The couple "hacked" their Ikea desks by mixing table legs and kitchen countertops, and then gave them a designer spin with iconic Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen. "Sometimes Ikea knocks it out of the park," she says of her bookcase and sofa, none of which required any hacking. An abundance of tropical plants brings some warmth to Edmonton's white winters. "I do have a growing love of plants. One plant is from Drumheller: I collected it from the top of an amazing coulee."

Copenhague round table by Hay Denmark, starting at $1,016 at The Modern Shop.

Copenhague round table by Hay Denmark, starting at $1,016 at The Modern Shop.

As a proponent of Canadian design, Douville fills her space with pieces by colleagues and friends. "My dear friend Jessica Fern Facette loomed the pillows. She is also a renowned Edmonton-based photographer. They are extra cozy because I can feel the love," she says. Displayed on the vintage teak coffee table are concrete candle holders by local design studio Concrete Cat. Edmonton's creative heritage is represented through the two Pure Design side tables released in collaboration with Douglas Coupland. "Pure Design was an amazing Edmonton furniture company that is now no longer. I still miss the sales." On each target-themed table is work by the new generation of Canadian design. On one is a red Log Bowl by Loyal Loot Collective, a design studio that Douville co-founded with friends after graduating from the University of Alberta's Industrial Design program, and on the other, a pleated planter by Toronto-based MSDS designed for and produced by Umbra Shift.

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Case Study cylinder plant pot with stand by Modernica, starting at $279 at The Modern Shop (www.themodernshop.ca).

Case Study cylinder plant pot with stand by Modernica, starting at $279 at The Modern Shop ( www.themodernshop.ca).

Pleated dish by MSDS for Umbra Shift, $60 at Umbra (www.umbrashift.com).

Pleated dish by MSDS for Umbra Shift, $60 at Umbra (www.umbrashift.com).

"Most of the work we have on our walls we have purchased at silent art auctions held by one of the artist-run galleries in Edmonton, Latitude 53 or SNAP [Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists]," Douville says. Works by Karen Cassidy, Sean Caulfield, Jeff Kulak, Carly Greene, Shawn Rayner, and Jes McCoy hang in a salon-style composition as the focal point of the room. For Douville, her city is very much present in her home and in her profession. "[At work], we share stories about what Edmontonians are growing and building in the city as a way of authentically branding." Through her eyes, Edmonton is a Northern Canadian haven for art and design. And a very convincing one.

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