Creating great living spaces for men

For some men, interior design doesn’t extend much beyond finding the right spot for their beer fridge and big-screen TV. Many others, however, want their surroundings to reflect something deeper.

For some men, interior design doesn’t extend much beyond finding the right spot for their beer fridge and big-screen TV. Many others, however, want their surroundings to reflect something deeper.

Enter Michelle Miazga.

The former Stettler woman and her business partner Kyla Ray have carved out a niche helping men create living spaces that they’re comfortable in.

Based in Vancouver and operating as Port + Quarter, the pair offer services ranging from new-build design to finishing touches on existing homes.

“There’s definitely a market for it,” said Miazga.

She described how interior design firms often lean toward feminine aesthetics, or focus on their own unique look.

“We kept finding a lot of male clients, or couples, who just weren’t satisfied with their interior designers.”

Miazga and Ray have discovered that the tastes of the two sexes do vary.

Women, said Miazga, are more likely to follow evolving trends; men tend to favour classical, more permanent looks.

Females are interested in the visual appeal of objects, she added, while men focus on function and are intrigued by things like stereo systems and security devices.

“While women are drawn to pretty or more aesthetic things, men aren’t interested in that. They look at a piece of sculptural art and say, ‘What does it do?’”

Since starting Port + Quarter two years ago, Miazga and Ray have gained an understanding of their male clients’ needs.

They study men’s magazines and blogs, and bounce ideas off male friends and Miazga’s boyfriend, who is a graphic designer.

The biggest part of Port + Quarter’s work involves the construction of multi-family housing, like condominiums and townhouses, said Miazga.

She and Ray will assist developers from the initial floor plan, helping them pick finishes and even marketing their units.

They also help homeowners customize their living spaces.

“We get a lot of couples because the women are finding it hard to convince their significant others to take the designer route,” said Miazga, explaining that men are more amenable to working with a firm that understands their tastes.

Vancouver is a prime market for Port + Quarter’s services, she noted, because so many men live in small homes.

They don’t have the luxury of developing a man cave in a basement of a guys’ place in a garage.

“You need to be able to take that space and make it function for either a couple who are living there of for that single gentlemen.”

Port + Quarter also helps clients develop commercial space to meet their male customers’ tastes. Miazga noted that an increasing number of businesses — from hair stylists to clothing stores — are catering to men.

Now 34, Miazga left Stettler when she was 18 to pursue a career in musical theatre. She studied at Red Deer College and then moved to Victoria to attend a musical theatre school there.

“I was a working musical theatre actor for the better part of my early 20s.”

Eventually, Miazga realized she needed “a more sustainable career” if she wanted to remain in Vancouver.

After attending the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Visual College of Art and Design in Vancouver, she worked in a few industry-related jobs. One was with a home-staging firm, where she met Ray.

Port + Quarter recently enjoyed a jump in its profile when the Canadian Youth Business Foundation featured the Vancouver entrepreneurs in a national advertising campaign.

“It’s really increased the traffic to our website,” said Miazga, who would be tickled if the exposure attracted some clients east of the Rockies.

“I’d love to get some work in Alberta.”

Port + Quarter’s website can be found at portandquarter.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Most Read