Let's work together!
My name is Joanne Padvaiskas.
And if I had $5 for every time someone told me
they have never worked with a designer,
I'd still be a designer.
Just a wealthier one.
Let me show you how stress-free this process can be!
If it needs to be done, I jump in and do it!
I am SO much more than a designer.
Don't get me wrong, I get a kick out of my profession.
People usually ask "isn't it great, being a designer? That's such a cool job!"
But being a designer is a bit of a misnomer.
My skill set also includes:
Visionary/Psychic When I see a space for the first time, I often have an immediate sense of what the space "could" look like. It's then my job to share that vision, with visuals, though every now and then I get a client that gives me no cues or clues as to what they want for a space, hence the need for psychic ability, in determining what they might like/not like.
Personal shopper This one is pretty obvious, but many of my clients have no desire to do the legwork for the finishing touches, or they don't know what to choose, so I do that, too!
Project Manager also pretty obvious, my skillset includes keeping track of a hundred or so details at once.
General Contractor I occasionally take on a greater role than designer on renovation projects, one that goes beyond managing a project, and dips into GC skills. Every site visit I do, I am an inspector, and need a set of skills that enables me to know what isn't correct. I also keep track of which trade is up next.
Teacher You'll often hear me say to clients "Pay attention, there's a test at the end." This is because I take every opportunity I can to teach clients about the renovation process. I will explain WHY you have to make certain decisions in a certain order, and why certain changes will be far more complex than "can we just add that." The cheapest time to make changes to a plan is when it's still on paper. I'll teach you to worry about plumbing and electrical decisions FIRST, not after the walls are drywalled. I'll teach you what is achievable, and what you have to let go of in terms of ideas. I'll also teach you a whole BUNCH of new words you likely never heard before, and what they all mean! (Biggest ones I get asked are "what the heck is a Schluter?" and "What is a rough-in"?)
Financial Planner Telling clients how much renovations will cost often comes with a "gulp" moment. But if needed, I can also help you formulate a plan to do the renovation in stages, or help you figure out the biggest bang for your buck.
Photographer/Stylist Although I do hire photographers for some project photos, often I am the photographer/stylist.
Good cop I have to communicate with the trades, the suppliers, as well as the clients, keeping an eye on everything happening, correcting what goes wrong, and hoping the corrections can be done without having to resort to a bad cop persona. I try to keep things light, fun, and pleasant.
Bad cop When those issues (see "Good Cop") require resolution with a sterner tone, or a bada$$ approach, then look out world, here I come. I am an advocate for my clients. But I am also the go-between for the client when speaking with the contractor, and vice versa. I speak contractor, and I speak client.
Social Media Maven Who can keep up with all of this stuff?? I abandoned Twitter a few years ago, as something had to give. But I do post regularly to Instagram, and by default, to Facebook, and occasionally to Houzz. If you are a Pinterest fan, we can work together on your idea boards using Pinterest, though I don't post there. And once in awhile (rarely) I even post on Tiktok!
BFF Especially for the larger projects that take months to plan and execute, and for those clients who call me over and over to do more projects on their homes, I invariably become their confidante/BFF throughout the process. It's an emotional journey, (making changes to your home,) and I am there to hold your hand and get you through it with laughter, hugs, support, and perhaps a celebratory beverage or two!
Animal behaviourist Animals love me, even the ones that clients say are not very friendly. I eventually snoodle with all of them. I'm talking dogs, cats, birds, horses, ferrets, pet rats, even fish! Oh, except for one encounter with a woman's cat that hated everyone. Apparently, I am not as special as I think I am.
Supportive Mom I am a parent, (my baby is an adult now) and I was a hockey Mom too, so I often have decent advice, especially for new parents. First of which is, kids come with a lot of STUFF made of plastic, that are primary colours, so we need to tuck that away, or let 'em have at it and leave it all out until they get older, and maybe we should rethink the all-white drapery until the kids stop using the curtains as a napkin?
A little more about me (for those of you who are still reading):
I began my design career in 1995, doing numerous projects by word of mouth, while working in marketing at the same time. I left my marketing career in 2001, and officially launched "Wow Great Place" in 2003.
In my 25+ years (gulp) in the design biz, I have helped (quite literally) THOUSANDS of homeowners with everything from simple paint colour selections, to "tear out the walls" major renovations, to new home builds. Ask me "have you ever...(fill in the blank)" and my answer is likely "yes, of course."
I've been recognized by my peers with various design awards over the years, and I've been in several magazines and a whole bunch of newspaper articles. I once had a newspaper editor tell their writers to find other designers for interview material, as I was interviewed by 4 different writers, for 4 different stories, all for the same "Home" section in the local paper, in the same week! The editor had a bit of a canary. What can I say, I give a great interview!
I was lucky enough to be a contributing designer for the Bruce House Designer Showcase, a project that involved the complete remodel of an Ottawa hospice for people living with HIV & AIDS, tackled by seven design firms in Ottawa. That was an incredible experience.
I've spoken about design topics at women's workshops, at school career programs, and I've been a guest lecturer at Algonquin College in Ottawa. I even made it to the second round of auditions for an HGTV show that never made it past the concept phase! (darn it) But, that experience did lead me to meet my husband!
And to go back to how I wish I had $5 for every time people tell me they have never worked with a designer before...
I also wish I had $5 for every time a client tells me they will be my assistant when they stop working their regular job.
That's because they love working with me!
So come on!
What'cha waiting for? Get in Touch!
Being on a job site is my happy place.
Ideally in steel toe boots.
Or flip flops.
It's all good.
One last note....
I need this on a T-shirt:
Strong Like Bull
I once hauled a fridge in one of these rickshaw contraptions on Dorval Island (there are no vehicles on the island.)
It's not uncommon for me to be on site for deliveries of tile/flooring/cabinetry. I'm not just standing there watching, I am usually helping with the delivery as an extra set of hands.
I enjoy being "all hands on deck" with my projects.
And if I am waiting on a delivery for you, or overseeing an install, you'll often catch me breaking a sweat on a job site, pitching in where I can. I also do many installs, (I assemble a mean Ikea cabinet, and I install most of my own window treatments, hang art, haul furniture, and I own power tools!)
It's why I rarely get a manicure.
But I do get pedicures during flip flop season.
Are you ready to see how GREAT your place can be?
Montreal, Quebec, Canada