Red Barrinuevo

Date

Red Barrinuevo, principal designer of Redesign4More and property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market, is one of Toronto’s most sought-after home stagers and interior decorators. Starting from humble beginnings, Barrinuevo found his passion early by improving the spaces around him as a child. Over the course of ten years, he has gone from having no capital, inventory, or warehouse to celebrating a decade of success with Redesign4More. Barrinuevo sat down with Elixuer to share his journey in styling small and large spaces and tips for DIYers.

What are some of your early influences that inspired your passion for styling spaces as a child?

As a child, my mother was one of my biggest influences growing up because she loves decorating as well. I remember I was nine or 10, and as early as then, I had my own opinion on design. It gave me the opportunity to do things on my own, and she let me. Eventually, I started correcting her — maybe I was 11 or 12 — about furniture, placement, layout, and all that. And I thought, yeah, I love doing this. It came to me naturally.

Can you describe your journey to becoming a celebrated professional interior stylist?

To be honest, it sounds glamorous and really great right now, but it was a lot of work — especially in the beginning. I have no problem on the creative side; it was the business side that was new because becoming an entrepreneur was not something I ever thought I’d do. But I love being creative, and I love helping people make [their homes] nicer and giving families a better quality of life. That makes a big difference to me. The challenge was finding the balance between being creative and running a sustainable and profitable company.

I had to find a way to grow my business and run it to make a living. I didn’t have a lot in terms of capital or inventory when I started Redesign4More, which posed a few challenges. But what I’ve continued to have is the persistence to make it happen, and the passion and love for what I’m doing. I taught myself to appreciate every little thing along the way. To celebrate small victories, whether it be a new project (big or small), a new follower on social media, or a great testimonial from a client. I try to capitalize on those to keep me motivated, focused, and to help me push forward in spite of all the constraints.

The spaces you stage vary from small condos to large-scale luxury homes. What is your favourite kind of space to decorate and why?

Every space has its own challenges. For small condos, you might think it’s going to be simple because it’s small. In reality, it’s likely the other way around because the goal is always to make a space functional, and to make it appear bigger than it actually is. We make spaces livable. In Toronto, where everything is shrinking, this is constantly a challenge. Having the right vision and the right furniture pieces is key.

The same thing [is] true with big properties more than 10,000 square feet, for example. You have to plan how it actually functions as a home. It’s not just [placing] pretty furniture and calling it a day. I mean, that’s a side effect of what we do — making the house pretty — but first and foremost is considering function. How are they going to use the house? How is the family going to function in that space, whether it’s a small or big area? Once you have decided on the function of the room, everything will follow. Function is always first.

What is your advice to DIY decorators who want to renovate on a budget?

If you want to save a few dollars while renovating, you have to go down to the function again and think creatively outside the box. Sometimes we get the pretty thing just because it’s pretty, but actually, it’s not advisable to use because it’s not going to be functional.

So, if you are thinking of DIY, for example, most of the time, the kitchen is the most expensive room to do. We usually suggest salvaging the cabinets and repainting them instead of replacing everything. Or maybe the hardwood flooring just needs a little bit of buffing and sanding to give it a new life. The same is true with furniture pieces. An old dresser can be used as sideboard in the dining room or a media console in the living room. Get creative!

You just have to think outside the box and imagine the weird and wonderful possibilities. Every piece can be switched around when you’re redecorating, especially if you are a DIYer. In fact, I am a DIYer too.  I upcycle furniture pieces all the time to give it a new purpose and a new life in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Rose Ho | Assistant Editor

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