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B.C. woman transforms house through dynamic designs with connection to moon mission


Despite the dark paint on the exterior of Susan Strangway’s heritage house, there are hints of her home’s bright interior.

“It’s fun,” Susan Strangway says as life-sized statues of musicians seem to perform a sunny soundtrack along the wrap-around front deck.

“The whole feeling of the house is just fun.”

From the moment you walk into the front entrance, which features a large carousel horse and hot-air ballon chandelier, you’ll find moments of magic.

“My nephew gave me this set of Harry Potter dolls,” Susan points to a cabinet featuring Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the residents of Hogwarts.

While wizards greet you below, when you walk-up the ornate curved staircase to the second floor, you’ll pass a wall displaying dozens of quaint characters collected from McDonalds.

“I had to drink a lot of coffee to buy these little dolls,” Susan says.

When you enter the main living area, which is painted all in Barbie pink, don’t be surprised if you feel like you're nestling in a container of confectionary treats.

“As long as it looks like candy and edible,” Susan smiles. “That’s a big rule of mine.”

There’s a coffee table featuring a doll offering a tray full of doughnuts, and the dining table sports a centrepiece surrounded by sweets.

It’s a major transformation from the relatively plain space it was when Susan first walked into it.

“I don’t know what it was,” Susan says of the walkthrough with her realtor. “[The house] was just calling me.”

Susan answered the call by buying the place right away. Before her designs, ideas would often arrive in the middle of the night.

“They’re a-ha moments,” Susan says. “I never second-guess it. I just execute it.”

The professional graphic designer says she worked fast, filling the rooms with her bright prints and bold fabrics.

While the rooms are filled with the whimsical, they’re also inspired by the historical.

“That’s a big moon rock there,” Susan says, pointing to a framed photo of her father holding a large space stone.

Dr. David Strangway was the former chief of NASA’s geophysics branch, who worked on half a dozen space missions, from Apollo 11 through 17.

“He was telling the astronaut, ‘Yes. Pick that up’ or ‘No. Leave that behind,'” Susan says of her dad’s role in Mission Control.

While David studied the samples on Earth, he also brought them to Susan’s Grade 2 class for show and tell.

“His motto was reach for the stars, and he did,” Susan smiles. “He literally brought me the moon.”

It ultimately inspired Susan to boldly go beyond the beige box when transforming her house into a dynamic home.

“Maybe it will give people inspiration,” Susan says of her joyful design’s mix of bold patterns and bright colours. “To be brave enough to do what they want to do.”

And perhaps bring whatever seems out of reach, closer to home. Top Stories

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