Designs on Growth

Led by an award-winning entrepreneurial couple, Sarnia-based William Standen Co. establishes a Forest City presence

Photo: Cassandra Nordell in the new William Standen Co. London showroom

ANYONE WHO HAS lived through a home renovation project knows how stressful it can be to manage all the moving parts. William Standen Co. makes it their business to streamline the ­process so homeowners can simply enjoy the excitement of seeing their new space come to life.

The award-winning kitchen, bath, whole home design and renovation firm was founded in Sarnia by the husband-and-wife team of Cassandra Nordell and Patrick MacLean. Named after the couple’s grandfathers, it is a one-stop-shop for interior design, ­renovation and home décor.

At William Standen Co. everything from the initial consultation, to the design, 3D renderings, selection of materials, demolition and construction is done in-house, explains Nordell. The company even offers a curated collection of household goods—available in store and online—for finishing touches like appliances, furniture, light fixtures, rugs and artwork.

“When homeowners work with us, they only have to deal with one person,” she says. “It saves a lot of time.”

Launched in 2010, the firm’s innovative business model quickly attracted the attention of busy homeowners looking to upgrade their living space. In 2013, the company made the Profit Hot 50 list for one of the fastest growing new companies in Canada. Only three years later, Nordell was named one of the Top Female Entrepreneurs in Canada on Chatelaine and Profit magazine’s W100 list.

This April, William Standen Co. expanded its reach by opening a ­showroom in London.

The 2,500-square-foot design ­studio showcases the company’s design talent and bespoke product lines, including their Canadian-made cabinetry, furniture, plumbing fixtures, flooring and luxury kitchen appliances.

“Over the past few years we have had customers contact us from London, but they didn’t necessarily want to drive to our showroom in Sarnia. We felt opening a location here was a necessary next step for our business” —Cassandra Nordell

“Over the past few years we have had customers contact us from London, but they didn’t necessarily want to drive to our showroom in Sarnia,” Nordell notes. “We felt opening a ­location here was a necessary next step for our business.”

When she’s not running the company or working with clients, Nordell writes on design and renovation for newspapers including the London Free Press and Sarnia Observer. “Writing the design column has definitely helped get our name out in the London community,” she says. Her team’s work has also been featured on HGTV Canada and in national and international magazines.

Around half of the company’s 20 employees already live in London, she adds, and commute to jobsites across the province in company-branded vehicles.

Cassandra Nordell and vice president of operations, Megan Cole

Along with providing a seamless renovation experience, William Standen Co. is known for creating finished spaces that are both functional and stunning.

“Our designers are extensively trained,” says Nordell. “We send them to places like Chicago and Toronto to gain ­firsthand experience with the brands we carry. We want to make sure we find the right product for the customer’s needs, their space and their budget.”

The company carries an extensive line of quality ­furniture in many styles. For customers struggling to find the perfect piece, William Standen Co. also offers bespoke furniture for every room in the house. “People are usually surprised how reasonably priced our custom design can be compared to non-custom furniture,” Nordell says. “And it’s all made in Ontario, which is a bonus.”

Now that the London showroom is open, Nordell has her sights set on further expansion. “We have our eyes on two locations right now. It’s not something that will happen immediately, but in the near future. And then we’ll go from there.” Nicole Laidler

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