Sitting dockside at Friday Harbour, you’d never know that the woman zipping around on a SeaDoo is responsible for designing model homes and over 40 luxury condominiums in this lakeside community. Don’t let her easy smile and lighthearted energy fool you. Behind the sunnies is a hard-charging entrepreneur who’s built a reputation with her distinctive designs.
You know it when you see it. An Andrea McMullen interior design reflects the depth of her 30 years in the architecture and design profession, the wisdom acquired through a lifetime of travel and her passion for the fine arts. She’s an original.
Like many an entrepreneurial journey, Andrea’s wasn’t a straight line. She grew up in a home where art played a central role—her sister’s an artist and her mother owned galleries and hosted classes and large scale art festivals on their acreage in Tottenham, Ontario. She was taught art appreciation and expression from an early age. Her world broadened when Andrea moved to Quebec on exchange, and later France, learning the French language and travelling around Europe, exploring the culture. She returned to Canada with a broader view of the world, an appreciation for diversity in every form and a sense of wonder for the European aesthetic and way of life.
When asked where her confidence comes from, she answered, “I’ve never had any fear of failure because whatever I do is still an accomplishment.”
This mindset is one of the keys to her success. Her breakout moment came at the age of 19 when she was commissioned to paint murals for a cancer fundraiser in Toronto. A less confident teen might have declined, not up for the challenge. As usual, Andrea dove right in and delivered far above what was expected. The installation garnered the attention of the public and press; and in that moment, her reputation as an in-demand artist was born.
That business evolved into interiors and then renovation and construction to what it is now—a burgeoning business that includes a 5000 sq. ft. showroom, interior design studio, warehouse, two retail boutiques and a thriving 20 person design and construction team. Andrea continues to travel the world sourcing stimulating artwork, furniture, and unexpected décor combinations to allow her team to deliver a wow factor in every ADM project. She just doesn’t stop.
The business isn’t her only love. Andrea has three beautiful adult children who are her greatest joy. They’ve informed her work over the years in that she understands the value of both form and function; a home must be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Children have a way of reminding us that a house must be a home, as much a place to entertain guests as to kick back and relax.
Every interior designer has a philosophy that underpins their work. For Andrea, it’s her vision to create environments designed for living well. When you work with her, you’re getting much more than a typical interior design; she and her team bring decades of knowledge and experience to the composition and construction of your space. When asked what makes a house a home, Andrea didn’t miss a beat. “Original art. Everyone should own at least one piece of original art.”
Every project should showcase an original, regardless of the scale or scope of the project. It’s the energy and the soulfulness of the artist in your home or office.
She’s also mastered the art of the high—low living space. She knows exactly where to invest in timelessness and when to play with trends. The ADM team makes interior design approachable. Look no further than the broad range of furniture and décor carried in the boutiques.
You’re just as likely to find a high end sofa or light fixture sitting next to a display of condo-warming gifts.
When asked what gets her out of bed in the morning, Andrea doesn’t hesitate. “ I only have so much time on this earth. And I can only decorate so many places. I want them to be different, unique and interesting.” No project is too bold or grand in scale for her. The ADM team designs and renovates office buildings, condominiums, cottages and homes and the construction team manages large scale commercial builds and custom residential homes and cottages.
Nothing delights Andrea more than seeing the shift in her clients as she transforms their space—watching them learn and grow all the while learning and growing alongside them. It’s a very personal experience and a deeply gratifying one.
It’s in the reveal, seeing the smiles, hearing the squeals of delight and the gasps of joy that she knows she’s hit the mark. And in that moment, there’s confidence in knowing that although her work is done, the impact has just begun as her clients experience the life-changing power of a space designed for living well.