The Purity of Courage

Sydney Carlaw, CEO and Principal of Purity Designs

Sydney Carlaw might be as courageous a businesswoman as they come.

As the CEO and Principal of Purity Designs, an award-winning interior design studio based in Langley BC, she’s built her career and home out of sheer determination to achieve a vision based on balance and personal principles.

Sydney Carlaw

Roll back the clock twenty years (she must have been a teenager?), and she was handling over 30 Million in revenue for enterprise-level customers for the Personal Computing division of Hewlett Packard. “That was a great job,” she says, “but when I became a mother, there was no way I was willing to leave my baby with a full-time nanny.”

When she later was married and had children in 2004, she was looking for a career challenge. With her firstborn reacting to chemicals in foods, she decided to create a conference focusing on healthy food for children and babies, bringing in top-level speakers from around the world to discuss the health of organic foods, supplements, vaccinations, and chemicals in our foods, to keep mothers informed. 

While it was a great success and generated lots of publicity, “It was a bit ahead of its time,” she says, “back then, not that many mothers were seeking out organic foods, or were as concerned with ingredients.” While she was encouraged to speak in the media or start a blog, “It was sort of before anyone was making money blogging or on YouTube, so I didn’t see any business model.”

Meanwhile, a contractor was chatting with Sydney’s husband, Vance, he was completing the build of a new home and had no relationships with any interior designers. The contractor had a need for an interior designer and Vance had been speaking with the great confidence of his wife’s talents in design. They all decided to meet and when the contractor voiced his need for a designer, Vance volunteered Sydney to handle the interior design.

Now, this is where you have to know Sydney. 

“I don’t feel fear, I feel motivation!” she says. Diving into the project, she found it invigorating and very satisfying work, creating a design that worked beautifully within her client’s budget. It was a wonderful affirmation when the project won recognition in Style at Home Magazine.

This spurred numerous design referrals to come her way, and life was looking up for a career in design; her family was also living in a beautiful 4200 square foot home, all newly built.

Then, in 2014, an opportunity came along to purchase an abandoned 1600 square-foot, cedar-built farmhouse and barn on a few acres of land…

Something about the home must have screamed out to Sydney, because her family sold their luxurious home, and the four of them moved into the abandoned farmhouse, which featured a single, outdated bathroom that they all had to share.

“It was quite an adjustment,” she says, “but ultimately it brought us all closer.” The magic of the natural outdoor space was a great inspiration to her kids and her work.

Over the next few years, Sydney completely redesigned and refurbished the home and barn, retaining the natural cedar beams and structure. She turned the barn into a tranquil design studio for her design staff, later adding 2100 square feet to the house, giving it an “outside indoor” feel with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Telling the Story of the Little Farmhouse

To call Sydney a savvy businesswoman is an understatement.

Knowing that her vendors who supply various products such as fixtures and finishes would like to showcase their work, Carlaw created a beautiful video series called “The Little Farmhouse.”  Timeless’ European Oak Engineered Floors were showcased throughout. 

The series is a lovely work of art, capturing both the interior design and personal elements of moving from urban to rural life.

Working with Timeless

Timeless has been very proud to work with Sydney Carlaw and her team at Purity Designs on numerous projects since she founded Purity Designs.

As Sydney says, “Timeless is my preferred wood flooring brand. Their European Oak is beautifully designed, well-priced, and maintains great structural integrity. And we never have delivery issues.”

The Future of Purity Design

Sydney Carlaw describes her preferred style as livable, natural, and welcoming, and says her staff and vendors absolutely love the inspiration and refuge of the rural work setting. Racking up an incredible array of awards, they are clearly doing it right.

If given the choice, Sydney Carlaw says Purity would take on endless projects converting old rural properties into inspiring live-work spaces, no matter how challenging. “I’ve chased many a squirrel out of this place,” she says. “But I love any kind of creative challenge. So go ahead give us your toughest job. We’ll make it something you’ll always treasure.”

We can’t wait to see where this company will go in the next ten years.

Follow Purity Designs here: