Where Virtual Meets Reality

Nancy Surby, owner of NAKO Design, walks down a staircase featuring Timeless hardwood Kootenay Collection: Crawford Bay.

Nancy Surby must know that interior designers are sometimes misunderstood as simply creative, artistic types; style critics who create mood boards and fuss over a hundred shades of white.

And while she knows the most advanced palettes and trends, this is a woman who has taken the art of design well beyond the surface. 

Prior to starting her firm, Surby worked as a lead designer for ten years, which included drafting large-scale civic projects: think science centres, pools, and rec centres. She can easily create a 60 – 80 page set of construction drawings, and 3-dimensional visuals that play out like a virtual reality video game.

“That means clients get a very clear concept of what they’re investing in,” she says. “We fly through each room to assess flow, function and sizing, as well as try various finish palettes to visualize the overall design.”

This initial step allows the design team to dive further into creating detailed estimates.

“From approved 3D renderings, we can work out every measurement and design detail in our construction drawing package,” explains Surby. “With the help of our builders, we can know and control costs with far better accuracy – well before we break ground.”

But interestingly, these technical skill sets are something not often used in residential design. So what spurred her move from the large-scale civic projects?

Enjoying Oak Floors from Timeless Wood Floors
Nancy Surby enjoys her Timeless Floor which is an oak from our Kootenay Collection: Crawford Bay.

2019: Turning a Corner

After doing residential designs on a part-time basis for several years, Surby realized that the referrals were coming more and more often, and juggling them around her full-time job was becoming more difficult. In 2019, it was time to make a decision, and NAKO Design was born.

“My heart wanted to do the things that connected me closely to people. And I realized my technical skills were a great advantage in residential design,” Surby explains, “And even more, my residential clients trusted me to guide their projects, giving me a lot of freedom.”

Timeless: Supporting team NAKO

Another positive change has been the freedom to build her team of contractor talent.

“I was used to having quite an advanced team of tilers, forgers, all kinds of contractors. When I started my company in 2019, I knew just what I needed. Today, I’ve got a great team – some from the previous connections, and some brand new,” she says.

The Timeless team in Edmonton is NAKO’s go-to resource for hardwood flooring.

Says Surby, “What got us started with Timeless was an interesting waterfall-style staircase that needed a hardwood floor. We really needed consistent flooring that matched the samples we saw. Darcy in Edmonton is great – he opens up the boxes and shows us exactly what we’re getting. It was right on the mark, just what we needed.”

From there, NAKO coordinates with the flooring retailer to get the product ordered. Surby and her team work with Timeless’s dealer, Ashley Fine Floors, in Edmonton, to secure the pricing and product, and finds them very helpful as well. “Ashley is very consistent with their samples and pricing, and also has great customer service,” she says.

She says she has used Timeless on many projects since then. “What I love is that there is a product in every budget range: low, middle and high, and there’s tons of selection at each level. That makes it easy to select hardwood with our clients.” 

Staircase featuring Timeless hardwood Kootenay Collection: Crawford Bay.

Ready for the Future

As Surby says, some trends are changing, and some are staying the same. “I was in Copenhagen recently, and saw a lot of maximalism – bright colours, textures, and patterns.”

However, she says a maximalist approach isn’t necessarily coming through in all of today’s designs. “Most of my clients are staying with neutral palettes because they want a lifetime of use, whether they’re in their 30s, 40s or 50s. And I agree, design should be robust, not too trend-seeking.”

Regardless of the trends, Surby and her team at NAKO may have a real advantage in the future; with today’s generation being well-accustomed to both virtual technology and careful budgeting resulting from inflation, NAKO is primed and ready to serve them well.

Here at Timeless, we’re proud to be able to support her success.

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