OWN IT 2018

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE

Adah Trabulsi, Dfy Studio  |  @dfystudio

photo of Adah in one of her work sites  

As we walk through the renovations at the former Schreiter's furniture gallery, Adah Trabulsi, principal of design studio Dfy, sketches visions in the air of what is to come. 

Work areas separated by glass walls to control noise and encourage light, a prayer room with a foot washing station, and exposed brick blasted free from layers of plaster all make it to the drawing board. 

 

"It was an industrial city and we're pulling out the history of it," says Adah.

 

This reclaimed-modern office aesthetic is trending right now. But for Adah, it's an opportunity to tell the stories of old buildings in their second life. 

 

Dfy (as in "defy the norm") specializes in complete interior design for the tech startups that have become the region's newest powerhouse sector.  

 

The seeds of Dfy were planted as the lead of the design division to a development and construction company. That unique start gave Adah a background in development construction, years of job-site experience, and a magpie's eye for material details. 

 

Back on Gaukel Street, Adah gestures toward an iron-clad, wood supporting pillar. She spotted it when it was slated to be regressed behind new walls. Now, the scarred wood is a focal point at one of the entrances. 

 

On the approach to second life spaces, Adah says "we'll walk around the building and say 'OK, what can we salvage. How can we bring the history of the building and the space forward?'" 

 

Adah's expertise has been called into structures with diverse origin stories including a funeral home, a former department store and a cavernous 400,000 square foot warehouse.

 

Her work's inspiration - a revitalizing downtown - is part of what's keeping Adah in this old manufacturing town; she gets to rework these familiar landscapes. 

 

And it's no different at home. Adah and her husband recently purchased a Victorian-style house built in 1905, with a roof that is collapsed over the living room. Aside from the design opportunities of history-rich buildings, something else is keeping Adah creative in Kitchener. 

 

"I've had clients that became friends. People are more open here, easier to work with. You're creating relationships here." 

  

Sam Trieu  |  @strieudal

Photography: Sam Trieu  |  @strieudal

. a photo of a fireplace inside of Vidyard that Adah designed
 

 

Adah Trabulsi consulting on site

 

 

An interior photo of a space Adah designed (Vidyard)

 

 

An interior photo of a space Adah designed