Homegrown Business: Emily Lee & Sarah OuYang of CLVR Studio

CLVR Studio is a Vancouver-based distinguished interior design firm specializing in comprehensive solutions for commercial ventures and mixed-use multi-family residential developments. With a commitment to understanding the distinctive requirements of businesses of all sizes, CLVR Studio strives to create spaces that seamlessly blend functionality with aesthetic appeal, fostering an environment conducive to productivity and satisfaction for end users. We discussed CLVR Studio with Co-Founders Emily Lee & Sarah OuYang to find out more about what they do and who they collaborate with.

CLVR Studio
Clvr Studio – Emily Lee & Sarah OuYang

What is your business called and what does it do?

CLVR Studio is a comprehensive interior design firm specializing in commercial projects and mixed-use multi-family residential developments. We collaborate with businesses of various scales to understand their unique needs. Through this understanding, we set out to craft functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that not only contribute to the efficiency of the business but also appeal to the end users. Additionally, our firm engages in collaborative projects with developers, such as working with Gryphon Development on their newest mixed-use project, Marco Polo by Gryphon in the Oakridge district, aiming to introduce innovative concepts to the local market by incorporating a state-of-the-art private club which features workplace and wellness amenities, thereby playing a pivotal role in shaping the community and landscape.

What made you want to do this work?

We met during our design school days and bonded over our love of good design and good food! We noticed our design philosophies aligned. Our motivation for entering this profession is rooted in a desire to contribute to and shape our community. Fulfilment comes from the ability to design spaces that have a meaningful impact on the lives of both users and owners. The example of Marco Polo illustrates our commitment to bringing innovation to the local community, pushing boundaries, and introducing something distinct. To us, it’s not just a job but a passion for creating environments that go beyond aesthetics; to influence and enhance the experiences of those who interact with the spaces we design.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

The core challenge we aimed to address with our business was injecting a fresh and distinctive design ethos into the Vancouver market. Our design inspiration, drawn from both our heritage and experiences in Asia and Europe, fueled a desire to reintroduce these diverse influences back into Vancouver’s design landscape. Our goal has always been to push the envelope creatively, maximizing innovation and style within the constraints of our clients’ budgets.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our clientele primarily consists of prominent developers in the lower mainland who prioritize the satisfaction and well-being of their clients. Among our valued and long-standing clients is Gryphon Development, with whom we’ve collaborated on multiple projects, the latest being the distinctive Marco Polo development.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

Our business generates revenue through a personalized and comprehensive approach to design services. We collaborate closely with our clients to create tailored proposals that align with their specific needs. Being a full-service design firm, we engage with clients from the project’s inception, developing the overall concept. Our services encompass creating building permit drawing packages for city submissions, overseeing design development, providing 3D renderings, producing construction drawing sets, and conducting site visits. Clients can choose services a la carte or opt for our comprehensive packages, allowing flexibility in meeting their unique project requirements. This adaptable model forms the operational foundation of our design firm.

CLVR Studio

Where in the city can we find your profession?

Our projects are spread across various locations in the city. For a firsthand look at our work, you can visit the Marco Polo by Gryphon presentation centre designed by us at 2762 Granville Street. Additionally, keep an eye out for our upcoming office showroom project space at Heritage Office Furnishings. These locations provide glimpses into the various spaces we’ve designed in different parts of the city.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

The best question a prospective customer can ask is to see the designer’s portfolio, but more importantly, assess who they best vibe with. The most successful projects often stem from a strong level of trust and partnership between the client and the designer. It’s not just about the work on paper; it’s about finding a design professional whose style, approach, and communication align with the client’s preferences and vision. Building a collaborative and trusting relationship often leads to a more satisfying and successful design process.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part of what we do is the connection we forge with our clients and witnessing the transformation of a concept into a tangible, built space. On the flip side, the challenge arises during the construction phase with unexpected site issues. However, we are fortunate to collaborate with diverse teams of consultants and trades, enabling a collective and problem-solving approach to address these challenges and ensure a smooth process for our clients.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

We don’t only pick paint!

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Most designers we know are fueled by caffeine – we definitely are! We love Novella Coffee Bar for its delicious coffee and its fun interior. Best of all, it turns into a dinner spot at night!


About Emilea Semancik 135 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: