meet our happy home designers
Danny Chan, M.F.A.
Small Space Designer
Danny hasn't always been an interior designer. For more than twenty years, he was an optician with his optical store in downtown. This all changed in 2011 when his wife, Sandra, was hired to decorate a townhouse for a family of five with a short time frame. Danny became a sounding board on many design matters and the two worked well together. It was clear that the synergy was there and Danny was smitten with interior design bug.
Danny went back to school and received his MFA in Interior Architecture and Design from the Academy of Art University. For a little while, he also took on the role of a student mentor at his Alma Mater to nurture the next generation of young designers. He would encourage other students not to be afraid to pursue their passion, not matter how impossible it may seem. Walt Disney once says that “It’s fun to do the impossible."
Danny calls himself a small space designer. His passion is to help people love their homes in the city, even if it may mean living in smaller spaces. In 2019, he was interviewed by the Globe and Mail and the article was entitled "Smaller homes may make you happier."
His passion for design has allowed him to create beautiful and functional spaces for clients in Vancouver as well as overseas through e-design. After working three years alongside his wife, they co-founded Chan+Dee Designs together in 2014 and continue to specialize in small space design. At the end of 2017, they decided to re-brand once again and created Happy Home Design, with the goal of making his clients' homes their happy place.
Sandra Dee, B.A.
Interior Decorator and Organizer
From a young age, Sandra has always displayed exceptional organization skills. As a child, she would rearrange her grandma's medicine cabinet whenever she went to visit her. Having graduated from Simon Fraser University with an Accounting degree, she worked for BC Hydro for several years, but eventually, she realized that her passion lied somewhere else. In 2006, she completed a diploma course with the Vancouver School Board on Interior decorating and immediately realized that this was her calling. It is not often to find a person to possess both organizational and aesthetic skills, but Sandra's instructor said that she was such a person and would be a waste not to pursue her dream to become a decorator. In 2007, she registered her business and named it Sprout Interiors.
In 2009, she gave birth to her first child, and it was difficult to run a business while being a full time mom. In 2011, while she was expecting her second child, a friend wanted to hire her to decorate their new townhouse since they were just immigrating to Canada from Asia and didn't have any clue where to shop for furniture. Sandra said yes, but because she was four months pregnant at the time, her parents in-laws told Danny to help her. Well, you already read the rest if you read through Danny's story.
why do they specialize in small spaces?
Danny was born and raised in Hong Kong, where he grew up in small apartments. So he is not a stranger to living in small spaces Over twenty odd years, he has seen how much Vancouver has changed and how housing has become more expensive. He witnessed family and friends moving away to the suburbs in search of bigger homes. The downside is that the commute time became longer, work hours increased to keep up with mortgage payment, and there are much more cleaning and upkeep that comes with a bigger house. Danny and his wife both love how Vancouver is such a walkable city. Instead of spending hours on transit to commute to and from work, they would rather spend that time with their three young children. This is why they live in a small townhouse in the Olympic Village rather than a big house in the suburb. Globe and Mail published an article in 2019, where Danny was interviewed about why smaller homes may make you happier*. Their company mission is to help people embrace small space living. Thoughtful space planning and good design are keys to creating a functional and beautiful home that is your happy place. Danny and Sandra’s design philosophy is that bigger is not always better. Downsizing doesn’t have to mean downgrading, and small spaces don’t necessarily mean small on style. Small space living often requires creative thinking for choosing and arranging furniture, finding adequate storage space, displaying collections, hanging artwork, entertaining, and in general, making decisions about what to keep and what to toss. Much like editing an article, decluttering is an essential aspect of making small space living beautiful.
Their passion for design has allowed the couple to create beautiful and functional spaces for clients in Vancouver. At the end of 2017, the couple founded Happy Home Design to inspire people to make their home, no matter how small, their happy place.
*You may read an article (by clicking here) in the Globe and Mail where Danny was interviewed in 2019 about why smaller homes may make you happier.