Margot Schulman, B.A., D.I.D., B.I.D.
Margot Schulman is a Calgary-based entrepreneur, interior designer, and sociologist of more than 25 years. She is also one of only two facilitators trained in Virtual Dementia Tour, VDT™, a scientifically proven, evidence-based method of building a greater understanding of dementia. With a lifelong passion for supporting the aging population and those with physical and cognitive disabilities, Margot leads Schulman Design, a full-service interior design firm that is spearheading change for Canada’s most vulnerable members. The firm transforms commercial, residential, and hospitality spaces into beautiful, functional, people-centered designs. “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. I believe universal design does not simply create an option for people with disabilities and a different one for people without. It creates one solution that works for everyone,” she explains.
Schulman Design works with families, caregivers, and seniors to help prepare their residences to age successfully at home and in community, and they have a worked on a variety of residential and commercial projects ranging from 1,500 to 140,000 square feet. The company also works with home builders, architects and developers to create designs that foster positive health outcomes and efficienies for operators. Margot launched the firm 25 years ago, after her brother, who suffered a serious brain injury, inspired her to challenge the design of long-term care facilities. After her family spent 20 years navigating his full-time care, she quickly realized the intricate relationship between care and design models, and the wellbeing of patients. Her family spearheaded a “home within a home” at the Sherbrooke Centre in Saskatchewan. After watching him blossom, she founded her firm with a singular mission: “Better Care. Better Life. By Design.”
“I learned quickly through my brother how small changes in our environment could make a big difference in accommodating everyone. We’re able to create a beautiful space that is functional, accessible, and safe without someone knowing it was designed for that purpose. Aesthetically, they’re beautiful,and it feels like home” she says.
Margot also believes that the crisis in Canada’s care home models is a serious human rights issue. “All stakeholders—government, private, nonprofit—need to start working together on a solution. It will take the whole community working together to overhaul our aging and caring systems,” she says. Her new design model, Curatta, which means “curating the aging spirit,” means to fix this with a high-end, aging-in-community lifetime home in Alberta. It’s a complete, caring neighborhood where those living with memory loss or dementia live as they would at their own homes. With eight family-style bungalow homes, the community will be designed to stimulate memory and promote independence, social connections, healthy lifestyles, growth, and fun. The company has completed the prototype and is currently seeking investors. “Curatta will transform how we care for people experiencing dementia, using a unique community design and drawing from the latest best practices in dementia care,” Margot explains.
Margot is a regular guest speaker at international conferences on aging, including the Environments for Aging Conference and Expo in the United States, and she has served as the keynote speaker for the March of Dimes, Opening Doors, Designing for Our Aging Population at SASHA conferences, and other events.
Margot Schulman, B.A., D.I.D., B.I.D.
Owner, Principal Interior Designer — Schulman Design
7070 Bay E. Farrell Road SE
Calgary, AB. T2H 0T2
Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Margot's feature on page 41.