The grand design

How Debbie Travis and hubby Hans met and married in three weeks


DEBBIE TRAVIS IS widely regarded as a pioneering home decorator: she created one of the first decorating shows to air in North America.

The British-born former model — along with her business partner and husband, Hans Rosenstein — now calls Toronto home.The designing duo essentially began their courtship with marriage. Debbie shares their story.

How they met

It was 1985 and I had been invited to a party in Cannes, and of course, I was doing what everyone does in Cannes: behaving badly. I was actually there with another date, when I saw this cute guy across the room. He asked me to dance, and I said, “Sure,” but then my date came over, tapped me on the shoulder, and he actually picked me up and threw me into the pond.

So here I am, soaking wet, and I have to get changed and everything. It was just a big mess. So that's how [Hans and I] met initially, and three weeks later, we were married.

The proposal

Well, I don’t really remember. We tend to remember how we met, more so than the proposal.

I guess it was when we were stuck in traffic in a tunnel, and he sort of said, “Well, I’m going back to Montreal, so if you don’t come now, you’ll never see me again.” And I said, “Well OK then. Yes.” And I moved to Montreal. Yes, he already lived in Montreal. He was working in television production.

The Wedding

We got married in the Whalley- Abbey Church [in Yorkshire, England), which has very steep, old steps. I remember that.

Their lives today

We have two sons, who are 20 and 21 years old, and they’re both in university. One is in London, and the other one is in Paris. At least I hope they’re in university — God knows what they’re doing over there. Yes, we both handle our production company,Whalley-Abbey Media — yes, named after the church we got married in.

Working together

Yes, we do work in the same office. My husband handles mostly the business side of things, and I work on more of the creative side of everything.

At first we didn’t tell people we were married, but we do now. I remember being at this breakfast meeting — and I hate breakfast meetings; I can’t stand trying to eat and talk at the same time.

And Hans was eating a croissant, and of course he was getting croissanty crumbs all over his lips. And without thinking, I reached over and wiped them off, and everyone’s eyes popped out of their head.

And we’re very different, personality-wise. He is sort of very calm. He gets things done. In many ways, it’s almost easier [to work with your spouse]. I mean, we both have the same goals, at the end of the day. In a lot of workplaces, it can be disheartening — I mean,if everyone is going off on vacation for a holiday or something and you can’t afford it. When you’re married and you’re working together with your partner, if you don’t have the money for a holiday, you don’t go!

Relationship advice

I think you really have to admire each other. You have to admire the way that person speaks,the way they laugh, and admire what they’re interested in.

I mean, I don’t care how slim you are and how much Botox you’ve had, you’re still 45. And in the end, that admiration is what is going to keep him from straying. I think it’s the little things, too. I mean,if you hate the way he sneezes on the first date,20 years later,you’re still going to hate the way the bastard sneezes. Also, I think we both have the same goals, when it comes to our children, when it comes to creativity.


Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

How They Met: How Jim Cuddy wooed Rena Polley

How They Met: How Jim Cuddy wooed Rena Polley

Jim Cuddy will be playing a Valentine’s Day show tonight at Massey Hall. With love in the air, we chatted with him and his wife Rena Polley about how they met and fell in love.
Posted 5 days ago
How They Met: Hayley Elsaesser on meeting her hubby Down Under and being married by Elvis

How They Met: Hayley Elsaesser on meeting her hubby Down Under and being married by Elvis

Fashion designer, Hayley Elsaesser, chats about how she found love with her partner, Josh Davis, around the globe.
Posted 2 weeks ago
How They Met: A first date with the whole family

How They Met: A first date with the whole family

Award-winning playwright, speaker and producer Trey Anthony dishes on how she found love with her partner, ER doctor Vernetta Harris.
Posted 3 weeks ago
How They Met: From one wedding party to another

How They Met: From one wedding party to another

Posted 1 month ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module