The founder of Field Design Office shows us around her historic abode, where her super modern designs are brought to life
If the name Megan Oldfield doesn’t instantly ring a bell, allow me to jog your memory. As the founder and creative director of Field Design Office here in Toronto, she has spent years creating branding, environments, editorial art direction, exhibition design, product and packaging and much more, for clients here and in the States. Her resume is that of a graphic design rock star, with stints at Bruce Mau, EMI Music Canada and New York’s famous Sagmeister & Walsh studio under her belt, as well as serious teaching and advocacy credentials. Oldfield is an educator at Sheridan/U o fT Mississauga Art and Art History Program and has a seat on the Board of Directors of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers. You may have enjoyed her exhibition design on Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show which was presented at the Design Exchange in 2013, or have experienced her rebranding of the flagship Drake Hotel and the branding, wayfinding and packaging for Drake One Fifty, Drake Devonshire and Drake Commissary. Oldfield produces her masterpieces at home and while a Tudor might seem like an incongruous backdrop to accomplish such modern designs, it works for her smashingly. Let’s take a tour and get to know her and her space a little better.
Designlines: Can you tell us a bit more about what you do and who your clients are?
Megan Oldfield: I work on projects with a broad scope. I love to stretch my design muscles and make sure I’m challenged to do something interesting. When I started my career, I worked primarily in the music industry but now my focus is project-based, working with a wide range of clients from sports to the culture sector, retail, cannabis and hospitality. Currently, I’m working with a sports analytics company to rethink the design of their data products for the NHL; an e-commerce site for Pro 6 Cycle; branding and packaging design for LA-based concept jewellery company TALYSMN; and I’m the creative director on Madge and Mercer Modern Apothecary, an amazing new female-driven and focused venture in the cannabis environment.
Designlines: Where do you live and with whom?
Megan Oldfield: I live with my partner Joe Temperato – a former professional motorcycle road racer and co-owner of a multifaceted motorcycle business, Pro 6 Cycle – as well as our two Potcakes, street dogs from Turks and Caicos, and our two rescue cats. We live near St. Clair West in the Humewood-Cedervale neighbourhood. I wasn’t very familiar with the area when we were house-hunting 10 years ago, but Joe grew up here, two streets over, and I fell in love with it.
Designlines: Tell us more about the history of your house and the challenges involved in making it your home.
Megan Oldfield: The house is a century-old centre hall Tudor-style structure. Not exactly what we were looking for but when our real estate agent knocked on our door and said, ‘you have to come with me right now, I have to show you something’, I went and fell in love. It had all the original charm and a ton of potential. Sure, we are modernists, but we also love craftsmanship and because of all the woodwork and details in this home, we of course entered a bidding war and here we are.
Keeping the home’s original details posed some challenges but we always put those first front and centre – after all, it was the details that drew us to the house initially. The entire house was stuccoed and that was the first thing to go. Then we upgraded the garage that houses our 1977 Alfa Romeo and Joe’s motorcycles. My office was completely redone with in-floor radiant heat and built-in bookshelves, and we put in a modern kitchen from Molteni&C/Dada. The previous kitchen was very small and very 70’s, in the worst way. Joe and his dad, a former cabinetry maker, did the installation together.
Designlines: Moving forward, with home-time now more important than ever, are there further changes you would like to make to your living environment?
Megan Oldfield: There are always projects on the go but the next one is the back garden. With the addition of a fence and deck this year off the kitchen, it should be a beautiful oasis when summer decides to arrive. We have done a fair amount of work on the home but there is always more to do. My Italian mother-in-law perfectly encapsulates this sentiment when she says, “quando é finita la casa, muori,” which, roughly translated, means ‘your house is only done when you are dead.’