An Interview with Tanya Collins

An Interview with Tanya Collins


When the 2019 Minto Dream Home for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery was revealed, we at Euro Tile & Stone needed to know more about the talented designer who brought the incredible house to life.


We were blown away with the entire design but especially her use of bold tiles throughout the home. So, we reached out to Tanya Collins, owner of Tanya Collins Design, to learn more about her story and the behind-the-scenes of the Dream Home.


Keep reading to discover more!

This year’s Minto Dream Home for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery looks absolutely stunning! What was the experience like for you and how was it different from your previous projects?

Thank you!  The experience was a great one as my second year doing the project.  It is different than my usual projects as with the Dream Home I do not work with clients.  I have complete creative control while managing a budget and working with Minto contractors and their approved vendors, suppliers, and donors.

The exterior of the 2019 Minto Dream Home for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery


It’s been 13 years since you opened the doors to Tanya Collins Interior Design. How did you discover your passion for interior design and make the decision to start your business?

I have always been into style, fashion, art and design since I was a girl but it wasn’t until I bought my first home in 1997 and then gutted my next one in 2000 that the passion really took hold.  I always had friends, friends of friends, and family over the years asking for help with their own projects and since I am naturally entrepreneurial, Tanya Collins Design came to fruition.

What is your favourite part of owning your own interior design and decorating firm and alternatively, what is the most challenging?

My favourite part of owning my own studio is all the amazing clients I have met and worked with over the years, many of whom have been become good friends and doing what I love on my own terms to help others beautify their homes and spaces.

Managing the project load can sometimes be a challenge especially balancing this with my personal life but the challenge is part of the attraction.  My work fuels my energy and I cannot live without it.

From who or what do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration all around me – there is so much beauty in nature, in our surroundings, in feeling all that is life.  Travel also provides inspiration as well as other designer’s/artist’s work whom I admire.  I find I am constantly inspired but I do give myself time by going to meditative/kundalini yoga to stay true to myself.  I think it is when we let others influence us too much that we lose our ability to truly create.

Tanya’s backyard oasis is surrounded by nature


As you walk through the Dream Home, there are so many gorgeous rooms each with their own special details. What room was your favourite to design and how come?

My favourite room to design was the kitchen and the family room as these required more detail and skill than some of the other rooms of the home.

All surfaces from the floors, to the walls to the ceiling had special finishes. I had to design the shiplap coffered ceiling in tandem with the furniture, cabinetry, and lighting plans.  I chose to add contrast colour on the casings, baseboard, and ceiling which really accentuated the view from the magnificent windows with transoms not to mention the architectural details.  Adding features like mirrors on either side of the fireplace altered the space by making it feel as though there was another room beyond.


The Family Room which features the Majestic series in Calacatta on the fireplace


A close-up of the stunning fireplace in the Family Room featuring the Majestic series in Calacatta


The design showcases how one can mix many different finishes and textures together without having it look too undone or busy. I had three different kitchen cabinet finishes – 2 lacquered and 1 wood, two different door styles, a custom range hood, and amazing backsplash tile (FS Faenza) from counter to ceiling, setting the colour palette for the entire open-concept space.


The Kitchen which features the FS Faenza collection in A on the backsplash


A close-up of the kitchen tiles (FS Faenza in A)


You fearlessly embraced bold tiles in the Dream Home, yet they don’t feel overpowering. How did you pull that off ?

Thank you! I enjoy embracing a bold approach to design when given the liberty.

I decided on a coastal theme for the Dream Home back in the fall of 2018 and stuck to a fairly tight palette with white walls, bleached wide plank floors, balancing light with dark with lots of natural elements so that nothing was too overpowering.

This bathroom features the bold Tango collection in Gaona on the floor and shower walls


This fun pink bathroom features the Tango collection in Boedo on the floor


The entrance uses the Tango in Pampo collection in gorgeous blue tones


What were your favourite tiles you used? 

My favourite tile is a bit of a toss-up – would be between the Mediterranean inspired blue backsplash tile that I used in the kitchen (FS Faenza) and the porcelain oversized Calacatta slabs used in the principal bathroom (Classici).


One of Tanya’s favourite tiles, the FS Faenza collection in A, in the kitchen


The Classici collection in Calacatta Gold in the Principal Bathroom is another one of Tanya’s favourite tiles


What’s one piece of advice you would give to those who are designing their first home?

My advice would be to get the bones right first with light and flow as key factors in the design. Furniture and decor are changeable but not how you live in your space.

Aside from interior design, what are your other passions in life and how do they intertwine with your designs?

I have lots of passions in life as an all or none type of personality who likes to try to master everything I touch or do.

I love art, fashion, music of mostly all genres, spirituality, non-fiction based books, and biographies, and travel.

I also love healthy living and being physically active as a former high-performance track and field athlete. I understand how important it is to keep your body functioning well in order to be fully receptive and adaptable to your environment.

I couldn’t live without yoga – I have been practicing and experiencing all forms of it well over 15 years.  I am actually a Hatha Level 1 certified instructor and love kundalini yoga for its profound impact on state of mind and well-being.

All of my passions I think contribute indirectly to a more evolved design sense.  I appreciate the dynamic tension and polarity inherent in life which translates to my design style and approach – one that is refined yet playful, chic but functional, soothing yet dramatic, and clean but complex.

Tanya’s inspirations come through in her designs, including this laundry room which features three-dimensional hexagon mosaic tiles (Akros).


Other than CHEO, what other charities do you hold near and dear to your heart?

Other charities that I hold near and dear to my heart are Cornerstone Housing for Women and Giving Gertie.


Tanya Collins (top middle) celebrating Women’s Day at the Old Ottawa South Community Firehall.


Last question which everyone wants to know – if you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Hmmm….a leopard because they are powerful, quick-witted and striking.