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Need to Know: Amanda Hamilton

Creative Director Amanda Hamilton builds a space for herself in Alberta’s design scene

Jul 11, 2014

by Max Fawcett

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Amanda Hamilton
Photograph Bookstrucker

DOB: 1981
Hometown: Edmonton
Higher ed: Bachelor’s degree in Applied Interior Design, Mount Royal University
First job: Picked as one of the “Ones to Watch” in the 2013 Western Living Designers of the Year Awards

The Person
Interior design wasn’t always part of the plan. “I was one of those students that got straight As in high school and was student council president, and I come from a family of academics,” says Amanda Hamilton. “It was like, ‘You are going to university.’ ” She did, too, but it became clear that general arts wasn’t for her, and after ending up on academic probation she decided it was time for a change – an ­unexpected one, as it turned out. “I don’t know why interior design came up. I had an epiphany.”

The Past
That epiphany led her to Mount Royal, and after graduating in 2005 she landed a job with McKinley Dang Burkart Design Group. Three years after that, she put out her own shingle as the creative director of Amanda Hamilton Interior Design.

In retrospect, she says, it’s easy to see why she was so drawn to interior design. “Interiors, to me, are like composition – you’re putting all these pieces together. I know when a space is right because the puzzle piece fits.”

The Present
In addition to her commercial and residential work, Hamilton is building out the Alloy Collection, her new line of metallic-themed accessories. It’s currently carried by Domicile in Calgary and Dwell Modern in Edmonton, and she’s had conversations with retailers in Vancouver and Toronto. Why did she take on the risk of launching a collection? “In interior design, I’m only as good as how many hours I have in a week,” Hamilton says. “I can’t start charging $1,000 an hour for my services unless I become a celebrity designer in some other city. So it’s thinking about how we can increase revenue, and an accessories line is scalable.”

There are still some wrinkles to be ironed out, such as the fact that she’s hand-painting some of the pillows in the line. “It’s an artisanal product, but we are exploring how to make those pillows look the same without having me paint them all, because I can’t be painting pillows for the rest of my life.”

The Future
Hamilton remains focused on finding ­distributors for the Alloy Collection, but she’s also looking to go back to school in the fall, and to that end she’s applied to the University of Calgary’s executive MBA program. “I’ve been putting it off for quite a long time, but I’d like to continue my education from a personal development standpoint.”

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