Deanna Slonski has always had a flair for interior design.

“My parents owned a furniture and appliance store when I was a kid,” she says. “I worked there helping people pick out items and fitting them together – essentially I was the in-store decorator. I’ve always had a passion for it, I’ve always loved it, and I’ve always done it in some form or another.”

The well-known Whitehorse artist fuelled that passion throughout her life with personal projects.

“When I first came to Whitehorse there wasn’t really a market for interior decorating and so I focussed my energy on personal projects – over the years we’ve built seven houses from the ground up. It’s actually been very beneficial to the work I do now – the fact that I really understand and am familiar with the building and construction process and what goes into it really helps me when I’m working on interiors.”

Slonski’s shift to applying her design skills as a business happened a year ago. “The impetus came when I started hearing about people hiring interior decorators from outside of the territory,” she says. “I’d always wanted to pursue design as a career and that gave me the push to quietly launch my business.”

At the start, her phone was quiet as she cracked open a window of time to begin fitting clients into everything else she had going on.

“At the time we were busy building my son’s house and so I was picking and choosing a small slate of projects that excited me,” Slonski says. “We finished the house at Christmas, and since then I’ve accepted quite a few more projects – it’s really nice to have a business where you can decide how busy you want to be.”

Slonski’s services run the gambit of interior design work. She deals with corporate, residential, and renovation settings and has done work ranging from colour consultations, furniture placement, and display windows to overhauls of entire houses.

Recently she completed the renovation of an older home downtown.

“We wanted to keep the integrity of the home while updating it to a more modern aesthetic,” she says. “We took out walls, put in a vaulted ceiling, a new kitchen and bathroom, updated the colours, re-did the floors… it was a huge project but it looked fabulous once it was finished.”

Other examples of her recent work include helping a condo owner transform her space from a “generic box” to something “that was more her own and reflected her personality and taste.” Another recent project is Volare Restaurant’s display window.

“Instinctively people know what they want but they don’t always know how to achieve it or they may lack the confidence in their own ideas to take them and run with them,” says Slonski. “My favourite part of my work is pulling out their vision and making it a reality.”

She will be doing just that with a suite of new projects she has lined up including the new Northern Cultural Expressions Society gallery space, the High Country Inn’s lobby, and a renovation that will see a new section added to an existing house.

“It’s a really nice mix,” she says. “It will be busy, but also a lot of fun.”

Although her talent with interior design has earned her large-scale projects, she is still pleased to take on small-scale projects in a modest home , as well.

“Some people may be intimidated to hire a decorator, but keep in mind that you don’t need to be doing a giant renovation – I’m just as happy to come in for a colour consultation,” she says. If you would like to get in touch with Slonski you can do so via phone at 867-334-7851 or email DeannaSlonski@yahoo.ca.

Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at sports@whatsupyukon.com.