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Brie returns home to pursue her passion, wins national recognition (6 photos)

Local designer is an example of a young professional able to work in her chosen field in Sault Ste. Marie
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Sault Ste. Marie’s Brie Gallagher has always had a passion for design, and she is now a prime example of how a young professional can indeed return to our hometown and earn a living in her chosen field.

On top of that, Gallagher’s work, renovating the interior and exterior of a Sault home, has been recognized on HGTV’s website as among the best in Canada. 

“Going to school for this, and it being a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, dealing with anything to do with homes and design, it’s a huge honour,” Gallagher told SooToday.

“It’s pretty amazing to be recognized so early on in something I just started doing again. It feels really great.”

“It’s really cool to see our town of Sault Ste. Marie be featured on their (HGTV) national website,” Gallagher said.

“It’s a great way for people to learn about Sault Ste. Marie…I think that’s awesome.”

Gallagher, upon graduation from high school, attended Toronto’s OCAD University (formerly the Ontario College of Art and Design) and graduated from the institution with a bachelor’s degree in design.

Upon her graduation from OCAD she planned to study architecture, but instead pursued another passion and worked as a photographer at a large studio in Toronto for five years.

When her husband, also a Sault native, received a job offer in the Sault, the couple returned to their hometown.

“For me it was a perfect time to hop back into the design field because I know a lot of people in the Sault are very passionate about their homes,” Gallagher said.

“Generally I find what a lot of people do with their time and their money is fix up their houses with renovations, so I knew it would be a perfect time to step back into design (though Gallagher is still involved in professional photography as well).”

Gallagher went to work redesigning the interior and exterior of Sault couple Dan and Sophie Nogalo’s home.

“It was the first house in the Sault I was hands-on with from beginning to end. It was definitely a labour of love.”

“They wanted a whole new house so they brought me on and basically everything you see in that home I had my hands on.”

“We knew we wanted to change the exterior, that walls had to go down inside the house, basically it was me being with them the whole time, I helped them pick the colours for the walls, the furniture, the tiles, everything.”

“I love going into a project where I have clients looking for help in design, figuring out what that style is, I can basically help with anything and for me, no job is too small, because design is something I’m very passionate about.”

Gallagher redesigned the Nogalo home’s siding, installed a new window, gave the front door a cheerful colour change and improved the front deck into a sitting area, added a deck at the back and transformed the interior with a largely black and white theme, complemented with the natural beauty of plants.

Gallagher said she also worked closely with MAXCO Steel and Wood Products, a local firm, in some aspects of the Nogalo home’s transformation, including a bench island seat, plant stands, curtain rods, entry table, shower stool and deck railings.

Gallagher said she likes to mix her own mid-century modern design preference with her clients’ own desires.

The busy designer said she currently has three other homes on the go.

Gallagher said wallpaper is making a comeback, with marble (whether real or imitation) a big favourite these days as families redesign their homes, along with area rugs (as opposed to full carpeting).

“For me, it’s white walls and plants. When you have white as a backdrop, it’s a really nice base because it’s easier to bring in things you want to change.”

“For me, I like to change my own home every six months if I can,” Gallagher laughed.

Gallagher may be reached by visiting her website