About Us2017-01-17T15:21:39+00:00

About Us

Working with a designer you feel comfortable with is important. Celia brings that perfect blend of personality and professionalism that will make your design project a pleasure.
Welcome to Design for Conscious Living®. We are an interior decorating and landscape design firm based in Toronto, Canada. At DFCL we believe you deserve to live in a home you love and it is our mission to take you there.

We strive to incorporate into each design the values, goals and highest intentions of our clients, so that their environment may act not only as a reflection of who they are, but who they wish to become… essentially designing environments that design people.

The foundation of Design for Conscious Living® is built on integrity, which we convey to our clients and industry partners through our honesty, open communication, transparency, reliability, and respect.

“Celia has a lovely style and the lights she chooses for her clients are exquisite. Timeless.
I would highly recommend her for any style of home.” – Julia, Watts Current
“Celia’s clear vision and unbelievable organization enabled myself and my trades to tackle the project in a manner I rarely get to experience. [This] resulted in the project going more smoothly than most I have done over the past 28 years!” – James Darling, JD Design Build
“I recommended Celia to clients of mine to design their outdoor living space. My clients were so impressed with her creativity and down-to-earth attitude in designing their backyard oasis that they have continued to retain her services at the beginning of the season for summer setup and planting.” – L. Panacci
“After having a bad experience several years ago with my kitchen reno, dealing with Celia was like a breath of fresh air. Very personable and detail oriented. She caters to her clients needs and has outstanding design ability.” – T. Ma
“When we recommend [Celia] to our clients we know they are cared for. She is an expert in her field, always quick at realizing what our clients are looking for, creating the vision they have in mind for their home.” – H. Welsh
“Celia provided prompt professional service helping to design my backyard renovation and the exterior of my home. She took her time to clearly understand my preferences. I have a beautiful new space that was old, tired and in bad need of a complete redesign.” – J. Duda
“Celia came back to us with a series of drawings showing various interchangeable concepts that helped us to look at the space in a whole new light. The drawings were very inspirational and gave us many ideas and the direction we needed to start our project.” – J & P Segal
“Celia’s use of colour and her ability to utilize space transformed my normal dull apartment into a vibrant living space, on which I have since received numerous compliments from friends. She was a pleasure to work with, and I would not hesitate to hire her again.” – D. Harnett
“My family and I are very lucky to have the opportunity to work with Celia during the build of our dream home. Her helpful advice with the entire design process has helped us minimize the stress that comes with making the numerous finish selections associated with a full house build.” – T & E Gatti
“As a High-End Custom Cabinetry company known to be the “Rolls-Royce of Kitchens,” we are serving the most particular of clientele. We like to refer and ultimately work with the most service oriented Designers who get our vision and that have similar taste. Celia is always professional and detail oriented from beginning to end. It is a pleasure to work on her projects and see the beautiful outcomes she is able to achieve.” – Bloomsbury
“We hired Celia to help us identify and zero in on our design/redesign priorities and create a plan and budget. She also did some design work plans (floor plans, room redesigns and custom build-ins) and project management. We found her experience, organizational and project management skills invaluable.” – S. Muscat & T. Wujec
“Celia worked collaboratively with us to design and install a front garden. Along with her attention to detail, Celia demonstrated a positive approach to problem-solving and worked tirelessly to complete the project. Her enthusiasm for “mucking about” was contagious!” – D & C Hara
“Celia was wonderful to work with! She listened carefully to our ideas and stuck to our budget. Her creativity and knowledge of landscape design was invaluable. I would love to work with Celia again on future design projects – indoors or out!” – J & P Segal
“Celia has done a fabulous job at blending all of our tastes while keeping us on track and on budget. What we appreciated the most, however, was her willingness to work with our young children which made them feel like an integral part of the design process of their own home too.” – T & E Gatti
“Many businesses take a much more ad hoc approach which makes for chaos, confusion and wasted dollars during project completion. With Celia’s help, we were able to develop a much clearer path and budget for our project. She brings great suggestions and sources with her as well as an amicable demeanour which makes her a pleasure to work with.” – S. Muscat & T. Wujec
“Celia’s effective communication style was imperative when working with the contractor and adhering to a timeline.” – D & C Hara
“I would highly recommend Design for Conscious Living…I was impressed by [Celia’s] professionalism and soon learned that she also has a sense of humour, which was useful when she worked with me to accommodate my somewhat eclectic tastes. The results were beyond my expectations.” – D. Harnett
In order to establish if there is a connection and an interest in working together our first step is to meet with you. We offer a free one hour introductory consultation, which can take place in our office, in a coffee shop, or at your home.

We offer a free one-hour, in-home consultation to new clients so that we may educate them about our design philosophy and approach, and review the design services that we offer. A travel fee may apply if you live outside of the GTA.
We charge an hourly fee for our services. A two hour minimum may apply for an isolated consultation when it is not related to a bigger project. Please call or email for more information on our hourly rates.

In order for us to provide you with an estimate of probable cost for your home renovation we need to complete multiple interviews, develop design concepts, and get estimates from suppliers and contractors. Due to the amount of work involved we do not offer free estimates. We can offer you a verbal; ‘guess-timate’ based on our experience, but with the understanding that this comes free of any guarantee. Simply put, without knowing whether you are going to order the $500 bathtub insert or the $10,000 built in Jacuzzi we cannot accurately estimate the cost of a bathroom renovation.
If you have a budget for your project and we determine that your budget is reasonable we are happy to work within your means.

Working within a budget requires that all cost related data is organized in spreadsheets and continuously monitored. This extra administration work ensures that we are staying within your budget at all times. We are happy to manage your project costs for you and we are also willing to assist you in managing those costs on your own.
One of the benefits of working with us is that we may be able to offer you substantial discounts on the products that you purchase.

Suppliers will often extend trade discounts to professionals in the design industry. Trade discounts generally range anywhere from 10% – 50% off of the retail price. Under most circumstances we split our trade discounts with our clients. These discounts help offset the design fees that we charge, especially with larger purchases.
A larger project like a full house or kitchen renovation generally has five distinct phases. We are equipped and trained to assist you in all five of these areas.

During the research phase of your project we are getting to know you and assisting you in figuring out how you would like your newly renovated space to look and feel. This phase will involve a series of interviews, and the collection of visual imagery to represent the various areas that are being renovated.
During the design development phase we are taking your ideas and your vision and turning it into a conceptual design. Various applications are applied depending on what the project entails.

  • Sketches, Models, Renderings, Sample/Presentation Boards: All of these tools are used by us to convey the design solutions to you, and subsequently to draw out your response and feedback so that the final design meets your criteria and aesthetic preferences.
  • Floor Plans & Elevations: When necessary, we provide you and your contractor with the floor plans and elevations that are required for the successful installation of your design. These technical drawings can also help you visualize how the finished space will look.
  • Product Sourcing: Locating and coordinating the products and materials for your interior or exterior design. This could include furniture, fixtures, finishes and accessories, or that special piece of artwork. Further along we can also oversee the purchase, delivery, and proper installation of these products and materials.
  • Estimates: In order to make sure the design works within a preset budget we need to inquire about the various costs associated with the renovation; things like furniture, custom work, cabinetry, and contractors fees.
  • Specification Documents: Specification documents often accompany technical drawings like floor plans and elevations. We provide you with specification documents when we need to convey important installation details to you and your contractor or tradesperson, for example; where to locate specific items, how these items need to be installed, and how many of these items need to be installed. Specification documents also fall under the next phase: purchase and contract documents.
The conceptual design is completed and final decisions have been made regarding the key elements of the space like furniture, finishes, cabinetry and appliances. Last minute design details are being tweaked and finalized. Estimates are turned into purchase orders and contracts are prepared for the work that will be carried out by contractors and trades. This is also the time where we may assist you with project installation scheduling.

  • Project Installation Scheduling: Having a renovation schedule helps you plan for and/or manage your renovation, and it can also minimize the chances of making expensive mistakes. We can assist you in preparing a detailed schedule that suggests when to carry out segments of your renovation, in what order, and what potential pitfalls to be aware of.
Your house or areas of your house are being renovated. The built in finishes, lighting and cabinetry are being installed. During this phase you may be required to move out temporarily depending on the extent of the renovation.

  • Site Supervision: You’ve paid for the design, you’re happy with the design, and you want it installed as it was designed. By allowing us to randomly drop in for a site supervision during an installation you ensure that the trades people and contractors working on your home or property are following the specifications they were given and producing the quality of workmanship that you were promised.

Furniture is delivered and put into place. Drapery and soft furnishings are installed. Accessories, lamps artwork and plants are sourced, purchased, and put into place or installed. This is the phase when the whole space comes together, and when designed well, tells a beautiful story.

Beginning a twelve year career in the fashion industry at the age of 16, Celia has long been influenced by the spheres of fashion and design; one of her most memorable experiences was the opportunity to work with one of the great fashion icons of our time, Giorgio Armani. She has lived and worked extensively in Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York City, which has given her an international perspective on design.

From runways in Europe to CityTV in Canada, style and design have always been Celia’s passion. Let her put that passion to work for you.

Celia’s passion for everything home and garden kick started with the interior and exterior renovation of one of her previous homes in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When the house and property renovation was completed she decided to list it for sale for a price well above the area average “just to see what would happen”. To her and the real estate agents surprise, the house sold the next day. Celia took this as her cue and returned to native Toronto to pursue her calling. After completing her education in Humber’s interior design program and Leatrice Eiseman’s Center for Colour Information and Training, she began laying the groundwork for a new design firm. In 2007, she founded Design for Conscious Living®.

Celia is an accredited member of the Canadian Decorator’s Association, and currently developing a presence in the television design industry with numerous guest appearances on Cityline—the popular morning show hosted by Tracy Moore on City TV. Celia contributes weekly to the Design Notes blog and is active on social media platforms. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

Celia Alida Rutte of Design for Conscious Living