What influences this influencer?

By Hopson Grace

We asked Toronto-based designer Emily Griffin of Emily Griffin Design what fuels her work. The designer, who studied at the New York Institute of Art & Design, has become known for her highly unique work that marries classic design with eclectic finishes. Through colour, pattern and texture, Griffin creates layered, transitional spaces that are often inspired by her extensive travels around the globe, and that always reflect her clients’ vision. You’ll frequently find her work in top design publications.

Q: Can you tell us about your style?

A: Classic and timeless with a good dose of colour and whimsy thrown in.

Q: When did you first become interested in design?

A: Design is actually a second career for me. I left a lucrative job in sponsorship marketing when I was pregnant with my second child, Max, as I craved a more balanced and creative life. I launched EG Design from my basement two months after my son was born 17 years ago. Crazy thing to do I know! But I’ve always loved design and was lucky enough to live in a number of beautiful homes growing up—homes my mother decorated in a very British and fearless manner. She never went into the profession but she would have been highly sought after if she had.

Q: Who and what tends to inspire you?

A: Travel inspires me a great deal. My husband is in the travel business so we have travelled a lot to the far reaches of the globe, including India, Morocco, South Africa, Japan and extensively in Europe. Travelling to developing countries is especially inspiring, mainly because of what you can see in the streets and markets. Everything is alive and on display, and anyone who knows me understands that I’m most at home deep in the trenches of a local market. In terms of designer crushes, I have a BIG one on Kit Kemp these days—she pushes the envelope for colour and pattern like no other designer. Her hotels are to die for and I’m looking forward to an upcoming stay at The Crosby Street Hotel in NYC in March.

Q: Tell us about your happy place?

A: Our cottage on Balsam Lake. It’s quiet and rustic and I feel a million miles away when I arrive Friday night after a hectic week in the city.

Q: What’s your favourite part of the design process?

A: Two parts really—the beginning when all the pieces come together to form an overall vision for a space, and then the end when we’re photographing our work. The middle bits aren’t as fun for me!

Q: What can you give us as a styling tip?

A: My business partner Stephanie Houghton and I always start with pillows, books and art when styling our clients’ homes. With all three of these you are good to go—everything else is an added bonus!

Q: What’s your favourite room in the house?

A: My favourite room in our house is our front room. It’s painted a dark khaki brown (Farrow & Ball Mouse’s Back); we have old books passed down from my family on display; and our walls and shelves are covered in treasures picked up on our travels. We bookmark our days in this room – coffee in the morning and a glass of wine (or two) at night.

Q: Do you have a “Best entertaining tip”?

A: I bring out my German Bayal glasses passed down from my great grandmother every time we entertain. They are absolutely dreadful in terms of letting wine breathe but I don’t care—they are so colourful and they liven up my dinner table!



Known for its modern entertaining essentials and home accessories, Hopson Grace has won multiple design awards and carries some of the most beautiful tableware and home designs from around the globe.

Reprinted with permission.

Colour your world like Emily Griffin

Arty and abstract. Ichendorf’s Poseidon glass tumbler will bring colour and texture to your table. The wavy form of the tumbler lends it a handcrafted, artisan feel.

Homage to Matisse. Originally designed for the Tate Museum in London and inspired by the colour palette of the French painter, their subtle presence makes them spontaneous design collectibles.

Red and blue dots. One of the few remaining artisan factories left in Murano, Carlo Moretti mouth-blown glass is displayed in no fewer than twenty museums around the world.

Time for dinner. Made in Sydney using porcelain clay from Limgoes, France, Mud Australia is known for its hand-made porcelain in a myriad of colours and organic designs.

In a pickle? With an organic feel designed to highlight its hand- crafted origin, the collection’s soft curves and pastel glazes offer a timeless alternative to mass produced ceramic design.

Dusty pink. Drawing together the craftsmanship and design traditions of both German and Italy, Ichendorf Kielo works with contemporary designers to produce distinctive hand-blown glass tableware.

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