Life

Darien Wilson of Deslaurier Custom Cabinets Lives and Breathes Design

Photography by Nicolai Gregory

“From the very first day I applied myself, I knew I would be great at this. It’s creative, it’s detailed, and most importantly, it’s challenging.”

As you can tell from that proud admission, Darien Wilson is a dedicated practitioner of the visionary, the minute, and the problematic. Yes, she studied Marketing at Algonquin College, but the moment she switched to their Kitchen and Bath Design program, she found the true vehicle for the totality of her talents.

Today, the passionate, professional Darien is one of the star designers with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets. She was taken into the Deslaurier fold in 2017, the beginning of an extremely fruitful relationship.

Deslaurier Custom Cabinets has been offering Ottawans personalized design solutions since 1979. A proud, reputable family business founded by Jim Deslaurier and overseen by company president Denis Staples, Deslaurier is now headed by Jason Chartrand. “We’re proud of our roots,” says Chartrand.

“Over the years, Deslaurier has grown but the family values upon which our company was built continue to provide a solid foundation.”

Deslaurier boasts over 180 employees and enjoys solid relationships with the city’s top developers and builders.

Deslaurier’s long-lasting custom cabinetry accommodates any lifestyle. Relying on its state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly manufacturing facility in Renfrew, the company is always able to make good on its promise to the world: “If you can imagine it, Deslaurier can create it.”

In Deslaurier, Darien found a reliable conduit to reputable home builders and contractors; Deslaurier, in turn, found a foundational talent. Wilson is NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) and AKBD (Associate Kitchen and Bathroom Designer) certified, has had her work lauded in prestigious publications, and was a finalist for Designer of the Year in the 2020 GOHBA (Greater Ottawa Homebuliders Association) Awards.   

She works primarily on high-end renovations, a process that’s deeply rooted in the art of listening. “I love working with clients,” she gushes. “I love gaining their trust.” 

And gain it she has. Darien’s diverse designs are on display in homes across the city. Check out Deslaurier’s website and discover a veritable testament to her adaptability. 

“I do a lot of research within the field,” she explains; she may be long out of school but has never ceased being a student. “I stay up to date with new trends. That said, I don’t necessarily love to follow what’s in vogue. I like to use my imagination. But I rely heavily on my deep knowledge of the client and their feedback to my ideas.”

“I love working with different materials,” Darien furthers, externalizing her love of variety and tactility offered through Deslaurier’s extensive catalogue of materials, finishes, and accessories. Then, there’s the company’s heralded showroom, unveiling even more possibilities. “I’ll always love working with wood, but nowadays, we have access to so many new and great products. It depends on the space, the circumstance, and the client.”

It could also dictate how long a job will take. But Darien, in another gesture aimed at making her client’s life as easy as possible, always sets them straight: “Clients need realistic expectations and timelines,” she affirms. “If, as a designer, you’re able to be totally honest, it’s going to be smooth sailing. I can only do that if I also have great communication and coordination with the other people that I work with. It’s something that Deslaurier and I can readily deliver.”

Darien likes to consult with her clients approximately three or four times before the work is put into motion. After that, the job typically takes one to three months.

That said, not every job is so cut and dried. Challenges and surprises are as common on job sites as drywall dust and paint chips. Fortunately, Darien is a born problem solver working within an equally creative and communicative team. Together, they negotiate all roadblocks, get to the finish line, and claim the ultimate reward: a job well done. Added bonus: for Darien, every job adds I.Q. points to her professional intelligence.

“With every new situation, you learn,” she philosophizes. “I’ve been learning on the job for over ten years and coming up with new solutions all the time.”

Backing up her claim are the online reviews of her work. Understandably, that kind of appreciation fills the hard-working Darien with professional pride. “I’m very grateful,” she beams. “It’s exciting to see all my hard work being admired and showcased. I’m looking forward to showing off more. I have a lot of different things in the works here at Deslaurier. I live and breathe design!”

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