Ana Cummings is owner and principal designer of ANA Interiors.
Calgary’s Business: Tell me about ANA Interiors. How and when did it start? What do you do?
Cummings: ANA Interiors is a multiple national-award-winning full-service design and decorating firm, which was incorporated in 2016. I had practised professionally for 10 years prior to that under my own sole proprietorship and decided it was time to take it to the next level.
I actually started in this business as a teenager, spending my free time browsing through fabric stores with my mother and decorating the homes of my friends and family, so it’s been in my blood for as long as I can remember.
Today, I still love browsing through new fabric and wallpaper books. And on a daily basis, I imagine the possibilities that can be achieved within the walls of our clients’ homes and strive my best to bring their vision of comfort and joy to fruition.
But what do I do? Everything, as a sole proprietor, I wore every hat in the business. Now, I have people and strategies in place that cover tasks in the front and back end of the business, including social media. However, I still have my eyes and ears over everything because the final designs ultimately need to meet my high expectations and the ANA brand (ambience, nourishment, aesthetic).
I’m a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and also the design expert on a locally-produced and filmed television show called Homes and Lifestyles Canada, which airs on CTV. We’re starting to film season three this fall.
For the past three years, I’ve been president of the Alberta chapter of the Decorators’ and Designers Association of Canada.
CB: What made you start the company?
Cummings: I started my own company after I embarked on a full gut of my family’s kitchen, which was subsequently published in a renovation magazine. I was then asked to help out with other homes and businesses of family members and friends, which I enthusiastically completed, and those projects also happened to get published in the Calgary Herald.
After working on my first commercial project, the interior of a private aircraft service hangar at Springbank Airport, I thought I should go back to school to become ‘officially legit,’ as everything I did prior was basically through my own self teachings, impeccable taste and constant scouring of the city for the best trades and suppliers.
CB: Why is it important for homes to be staged?
Cummings: Ever hear the phrase dress for the job that you want? Staging a home is much like that. You want the best possible outcome, which is a higher ask/sale price, especially in a competitive and highly-saturated market.
Our homes are often the largest single investment we own, therefore it behooves us to make them not only stand out from the rest of the comparatives, but also appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Staging a home for sale has been proven, time after time, to generate a higher rate of return than not staging a home.
The first point of contact in today’s real estate market, is online. It takes less than seven seconds before looking through a listing online for a buyer to decide whether a home is worth visiting. And more often than not, those homes are staged homes. This is because potential buyers can visualize themselves better in a staged home versus an empty one.
CB: Are there any interesting trends you’re seeing these days in home staging?
Cummings: Yes, always. I’m a voracious absorber of interior images and I love seeing patterns emerge and how each of them is represented in the home.
For staging, the more neutral the colour palette, the better. White is the way to go for walls, it’s clean, bright and bounces the light around. Highly edited yet purposefully styled rooms, complete with statement artwork and appropriate window treatments, will make any staged home show 10 out of 10.
We are seeing a lot of fractal geometry in surfaces, furnishings, accessories and lighting.
Plants and greenery, termed biophilia, is another trend being utilized across interiors.
Concrete finishes, from faux wall coverings to full feature walls and fireplace surrounds are huge now.
And one can never underestimate the power of a well-dressed bed.
CB: What about passion for this? Where did that come from?
Cummings: I was raised within a large Italian family in Ontario, where living stylishly and dining with gusto was the norm. My mother was creative and fostered my creativity from a young age.
I’m the type who sees the beauty in everything and am deeply moved by its calming and inspiring force.
I’m an avid traveller and have always had an innate desire to see the world through a telescope of architecture, art and human culture.
Nature is another great influencer of mine, delightfully random and organic, yet flows so seamlessly together.
Blending these technical design senses and receiving this kind of spiritual enlightenment helps me create unique harmonious spaces with soul.
– Mario Toneguzzi