McMurray Interiors: The Architectural Millworkers Behind Albertan Institutions
Ambre O. Khiari
If you went to school or raised kids in Alberta, there is a chance you saw one of McMurray Interiors’ architectural millwork projects while wandering the halls. Founded in 1960, the company first specialized in producing store fixtures before expanding and eventually focusing on schools.
Today, led by fourth-generation owners Mark Whitman & Joseph George, the Edmonton-based company, which diversified over time, provides fully custom commercial millwork to schools, hospitals, stores, and other commercial enterprises, in Western Canada.
The team of around 40 people, including seven office workers and about 30 skilled workers, never backs away from a challenge. Caught a game at the Rogers Place arena in Edmonton? Have you visited the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital? Shopped at the Flower & Fire stores across Canada? They took care of much of the architectural millwork within these facilities.
Maintaining high quality standards is what they are known for, and what they continue to strive for, whether tackling large projects like the ones just mentioned, or when taking on smaller projects, says Whitman.
Part of McMurray’s process is operating as a “one and done company.” McMurray works with several providers specializing in upholstery, metal, stone, solid surface, lighting, or custom finishes that are common in their various projects.
Since their founding more than 60 years ago, McMurray Interiors has built and maintains connections with other companies in Alberta. Those connections led to the successful and award-winning Vida Dermatology project. McMurray’s worked with Bold Design Interiors and Seagate Contracting to create a unique modern space. The first challenge on this project was for Bold Design Interiors to bring the space, located in a building from the 1970’s, up to code.
“As the Clinic straddles a structural concrete block wall at the mid-point, our design focused around separating the public spaces from the examination spaces,” they explain on their website. “From there a ring-road was created around the entire clinic to provide flow efficiencies and spatial separations.” McMurray’s biggest challenge in the Vida Dermatology project was acquiring a supply of Sapele (or Sapelli) Mahogany, which is native to tropical Africa. With this uncommon material sourced, McMurray’s was able to bring creative life to Bold Designs concept.
Founded in Edmonton in 2007 by Troy Dashney, Principal, Bold Design Interiors won the 2020 Award of Excellence under $100,000 for their work on Sorrentino’s West restaurant in Edmonton, before winning the 2022 design award in the Outstanding Millwork $100,000 to $250,000 for Vida Dermatology. McMurray Interiors was the proud millworker for the Vida Dermatology project, added Whitman.
For him, the Northern Alberta AWMAC award granted to Bold Design Interiors for the Vida Dermatology project represents recognition for their part in the project.
Looking into the future, Whitman says his long-term goals for the company are to continue expanding and diversifying into other avenues of custom commercial millwork, while maintaining relations with General Contractors and designers. “McMurray Interiors is looking forward to manufacturing many more local and surrounding custom high-quality millwork in the coming years” affirms Mark Whitman.