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Debra Salmoni Talks Vintage Home Decor, Sustainability and Rewriting the Story of Your Home

Debra Salmoni
HGTV Canada

In the eyes of HGTV designer Debra Salmoni, age is just a number when it comes to your home. Since the start of her career, Debra’s goal has been to find new ways to breathe life back into homes in need of a refresh. While her passions are rooted in design, she prides herself in putting environmental sustainability at the forefront of everything she does. Whether its hitting up vintage markets in Paris, sourcing unconventional materials or staying on top of the latest trends, Debra is one to turn to for inspo when considering a total home redesign.


Watch Debra and Scott in Scott’s Vacation House Rules on HGTV Canada. You can also catch your favourite duo on the Global TV App and on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.

Related: How to Mix Modern and Antique Furniture, According to a Leading Design Expert


Curating a story in your home

Debra is big on thrifting and vintage markets. Part of the beauty in sourcing preloved pieces is the story that comes along with it. “A vase, rug or even a painting can be a great source of conversation and can add a ton of character to your home,” Debra mentions. “I really love vintage shopping in places like Paris for interesting art pieces – things that can move around your home easily,” – Debra calls these items “tchotchkes.” The idea is to curate ornate pieces instead of fully committing to things like a sofa or dining table.

Debra believes that vintage shopping is also a great way to be environmental conscious. “Not everything has to be brand new,” Debra mentions. “If your couch is in need of a refresh, it’s better to get it reupholstered than end up in a dumpster.” Even if you’re looking to buy new furniture for your home, Debra recommends checking vintage markets and Facebook Marketplace first. A few of her favourite international cities with vintage markets include some in Paris, France and South Africa. While a few close to home include Prince Edward County, Midland and Muskoka. “The opportunity to find unique and timeless pieces is limitless.”

Related: Try This Easy Faux Oil Painting Hack to Give New Artwork an Antique Look


Solar panel on roof

Investing in the environment

Turning your home into a sustainable powerhouse is no easy task, but well worth the reward. A long-term investment in environmental technology can curb costs on anything from hydro to heating – you just need to take that first step. From Debra’s perspective, a fully sustainable home has features like solar panels, energy efficient appliances and composting, amongst many other upgrades.

Sourcing and upcycling materials can be challenging, and you can expect some initial steep investments in the beginning. “Even when investing in sustainable upgrades for your home, it’s important to not be wasteful in the process,” says Debra. “I work very closely with homeowners to make sure we select the best and most affordable options that also don’t have a negative impact on the environment.”

Related: An Artist Transforms This East Coast A-Frame Into an Airy Nature-Inspired Fantasy

Lasting thoughts

Being sustainable is a lifelong commitment, but well worth the journey. Debra describes the experience working with homeowners in one word: Enriching. Debra understands the reluctance and hesitation when investing in sustainable technology or taking the time to thrift. “The initial investment eventually works itself out to saving you money in the long run,” says Debra. “Sometimes items aren’t budget-friendly, and so it becomes a conversation of what to prioritize.” Debra mentions an analogy of whether you would want to consume fresh, organic chicken or processed, fast food chicken. One is a little more expensive but healthier for you versus one being affordable but bad for your health.

“It’s not a race to upgrade your home, it’s ok to take your time and update as you go.” Debra isn’t lying when she says, “once you have the right bones, becoming more sustainable just gets easier and easier.” In 2023, there’s no question that the environment and being budget conscious are at the top of people’s minds. They are not mutually exclusive, and can work in tandem – it just takes a bit of time, and perhaps a green thumb.

Keep up with Debra and see her latest designs on Scott’s Vacation House Rules on HGTV Canada, also available on the Global TV App and on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.


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