SHOP MY NEIGHBOURHOOD [part one]

Anyone who knows me, knows that I move fairly often. And by fairly often, I mean a LOT. Not necessarily intentionally, but somehow the opportunity for change always comes knocking on my door with the lure of a fresh new experience that I just can’t seem to resist. While I have spent many years living in and around the Main Street strip as well as throughout Strathcona and Chinatown, about a year ago I transitioned into a neighbourhood I had never spent much time exploring: South Granville.

I had previously been over to the Granville hub between Broadway and 16th for work (I’m always in and out of shops like West Elm and EQ3 for my interiors clients), but had never taken the time to properly explore what the area has to offer. After settling in and finding my new go-to’s for all things daily life, I’ve discovered that this neighbourhood has so many hidden little gems that give it a unique charm reserved for those who venture out to find it.

From food to fashion to decor, the shopping along South Granville is diverse, both in style as well as budget. Whether you’re after a high-end statement piece or a daily special, the range of boutiques have something to suit your needs. I hit the streets with my style-savvy bestie, Rachel (who always seems to achieve the impossible feat of looking effortlessly chic - the perfect shopping partner!) to highlight a few of my go-to spots for finding my favourite things.

Whether it be for decor or fashion, I innately gravitate towards consignment and preloved pieces first to create my personal style. Fact: my entire look this shopping day was found at various consignment stores throughout Vancouver - from designer to daywear, outerwear to footwear (and everything in between) - each piece was bought second hand. Not only do consigned finds offer a more individualized look (they won’t likely be the same pieces found in mass production at traditional retailers, but rather key pieces from previous seasons that you can incorporate into your look in a more timeless way), but these items also allow the opportunity to score high end pieces at a reduced price.

Turnabout is one of the city’s largest consignment boutiques, and they have both fashion and home decor locations side-by-side along South Granville. When I’m on the hunt in my neighbourhood for a special piece, I always start here. My fashion weaknesses are designer shoes and handbags, so that’s the first section you’ll find me scouring in the shop; if you are looking at adding to your clothing wardrobe with consigned finds, I’d advise searching for designer label classics that won’t go out of style… it’s all about creating a well-rounded wardrobe, not collecting copious amounts of replaceable pieces.

When I’m not hunting consignment finds, my favourite place in the area to check out is Anthropologie. A power player in the retail game for everything from eclectic fashions to small batch beauty picks to intricate housewares, Anthro literally exudes its own style. While it’s easy to become beautifully distracted by the main floor finds here, I always make my way to the sale section first - I swear it’s often the best in the city! The store often has an additional sale on already reduced items, and over the years I have managed to score some of my favourite garments and decor finds at a fraction of what I originally spotted them for.

I admittedly have a soft spot for pretty stemware, and this shop is one of the few places in Vancouver that can rival the selection of Yaletown’s The Cross… you earn instant ‘hostess-with-the-mostess’ points when you add servingware as pretty as Anthro’s options into your party mix! I feel like the entire store is a complete experience in what beautiful living can be - from your home to your wardrobe to your lifestyle, this is the place to amp up your personal style (or find the perfect gift for even the hardest to shop for friend in your life).

When I’m shopping for decor - whether for my own ever-changing abode or for those of my clients, I have a few must-see shops that I frequent; one sure stop on my list is always West Elm. With an approachable, modern-comfort aesthetic, the store carries almost every item you need to set up a stylish space. In the main store, the lineup includes stellar basics with a twist for dishes & stemware, soft furnishings, lighting and all the textiles and accessories you could hope for; the secondary shop (just two doors down) specializes in affordable luxury for the bedroom and bathroom - think linen sheets, faux furs and chic bathroom accessories you didn’t even know you needed, but definitely do.

I like to shop with West Elm for beautiful staple pieces when designing a space (they have nailed their subtly stunning neutrals for the larger finds) , and then I hit up smaller independent and consignment shops for the finishing details - this way every room has it’s own personality and remains authentic to the people who will enjoy it. One of my favourite finds with West Elm is seating: my current obsessions are the velvet dining chairs in a feminine palette and camel toned leather sofas (full disclosure: I often pop into the store just to sit and enjoy this couch!).

When you move into a new neighbourhood, one of the first places you need to discover is your local grocer. Joining the South Granville community has introduced me to the luxury of having a fine foods shop just a stone’s throw away from home; Meindhardt has been a neighbourhood staple for over two decades, offering it’s customers exclusive finds for probably the best olive oil selection in Vancouver and a variety of gourmet food items. While I admittedly still trek to larger grocery stores with a little less-luxury pricepoints for my major shops and the basic items for home, I head to Meinhardt when I’m after a special item or gourmet dessert when entertaining (I love to host, and including some of the finer finds from this shop into your menu definitely adds an elevated element to a dinner party). It’s also a great spot to find ultra fresh produce and herbs, and offers a beautiful selection of floral arrangements - one of my personal splurges is to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers once a week!

Another major factor in feeling at home in your neighbourhood is finding your local drug store; having a go-to close to home for those last minute TP outages is essential! Not just your traditional pharmacy (although it does have an extended pharmaceutical section), Shoppers Drug Mart has always been my top choice for the home essentials: from cleaning products (including some enviro-friendly options!) to vitamins & medicine to toiletries, this is literally my one-stop-shop for the basics.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of having a Shoppers so close to home is the lineup of luxury brand cosmetics they offer within the Beauty Boutique; while I love the entire experience of shopping for my makeup at Sephora, I absolutely appreciate the convenience of being able to find my favourite brands so close to home with Shoppers Drug Mart. I’m a major advocate for cruelty-free products, and almost my entire makeup kit is comprised of Benefit Cosmetics; while I was drawn to the brand based on its animal-friendly approach, I’ve come to discover that their products ultimately provide the best results for my needs. I’m not one for wearing elaborate makeup trends, but nailing the basics for my everyday look is essential. My makeup bag must-have’s include the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick (it goes on like a cream stick, but has a powder finish that I’m obsessed with!), the Watt’s Up highlighting stick which makes soft-focus highlighting foolproof, and the Galifornina blush that gives the perfect sun-kissed flush to my cheeks that lets me pretend I just basked in a little of that Cali sunshine. Also, can I just add how much I love that Benefit has partnered with local beauty blogger Allana Davidson for their latest campain?! Love seeing Canadian boss babes killing it!

South Granville has so many fantastic spots to shop, dine and explore… too may for just one post! Stay tuned for Shop My Neighbourhood part two, where I’ll share the rest of my favourite spots for daily living, dining and - of course - Happy Hour-ing!

THE ART OF DISTRESSING: A DENIM DIY WITH CTV MORNING LIVE

I  don't know about you, but my go-to picks when choosing what to put on in the morning always seem to fall back on the pieces that look I've loved them and lived in them for years. (Actually, I tend to keep my wardrobe faves for a long time, so chances are I actually have been loving them for years, but that's besides the point). I like to feel at home in my clothes, to wear pieces that look effortless, so the distressed denim look is well aligned with my personal style. 

Earlier this week I joined my favourite crew over at CTV Morning Live to chat about my top tips for recreating the trend at home; in preparation for the segment, I tried and tested a few researched methods as well as a few different garment options to see what works best for me. I realized quickly that working on my super stretchy skinny jeans  was more of a challenge than I was looking for - the white 'weft' threads with stretch are much more prone to breakage from rubbing than with traditional denim - so I opted to work on a heavier fabric. My standard denim Talula jacket from Aritzia - which in truth has lived in my closet for a few years now without ever seeing the action it deserves because I felt it was missing a little authenticity - became the perfect subject for my DIY distressing adventures.

Once I had my project piece in hand, I had to decide what type of distressed look(s) I wanted to  create and thus, which tools I would need to get going. After some serious Pinterest-ing, I gathered up the top-rated tricks of the trade - some I expected, like a pair of sewing scissors, a stitch ripper and a mat to cut on; however, some of the recommended items took me by surprise: namely tweezers, a lemon zester and a foot loofah (seriously?!). Other suggested tools were tailors chalk, a measuring tape and a sharp blade (which I ended up preferring over the scissors).

With your tools in order, the first step to a successful distress is to decide placement and style of 'wear' you're looking to achieve. To really figure where I wanted to distress my jacket, I borrowed a coveted one from my bestie and observed the aesthetic of it's natural wear marks to copy on my own garment. Just to be extra sure (as the saying goes: measure twice, cut once) I tried on my jacket and used the tailors chalk to mark out exact placement.

I started with the elbows, as it's the easiest place to achieve the worn-to-death look I was after. Also, it's the area requiring the largest amount of wear and tear, which meant it would be the base of the overall look, with the rest being detail work. Once I marked out where I wanted to start, I opted for the blade to make my initial cuts; I could have also used the scissors, but I found that I had more control over the size and delicacy of the slices using a handheld blade. For the cutting stage, it was suggested to insert a rolled up magazine into the sleeve (or pant leg, should you be distressing the knees of jeans) to avoid slicing through to the other side of the garment. I chose not to use the magazine because while it was smart in theory, I found that it made cutting with precision a little tricky.

Once all my major cuts were in place (note: I cut across the fabric, not down the length of it) it was time to employ the two most curious of the tools - the zester and the loofah. At the opening of the cut edges, I used these two tools to fray the threads apart and create some roughness around the clean slices; this not only created a little authenticity to the cuts, but also freed up the thread edges for the next step.

I found this next step to be the most finicky of all the stages of distressing; using the tweezers on the now-frayed cut edges, the trick is to carefully pull the blue 'warp' threads out from their weave within the white cross-threads - this part was easiest between two cuts as both thread ends are now already cut free from the garment. The result of this stage is the probably the most common of the distressed looks - a worn out opening left slightly covered by the white fabric threads.

With the elbow patches now complete, it was time to master the details that finish off the overall effect. While the elbows are a natural choice for distressing, choosing the more intricate areas to break down becomes a little more specific. After re-scrutininzing by BFF's jacket that I love so much (and a lifetime of thrifting on the hunt for the perfect lived-in denim jacket), I chose a few key areas that reflect the natural distress of a well-loved piece. 

Using a stitch ripper to create the tears rather than the blade (in smaller areas I wasn't looking to create full fledged holes, but rather broken threads to show the 'wear'. I worked on the cuffs of the sleeves, the edges of the pockets and a few buttonholes, the lapels and collar points and, finally, the back of the neck at the collar scruff. Once I tore the threads, I once again reached for the zester to soften the rips and create an aged effect to the surrounding areas. 

After I was done with the ripping and softening of the sliced edges, the final distressing step was to pick a few areas to just lightly rub... not to make holes, but rather just to give the effect of the area being a little worn in. I targeted under the arms, along the body sides and just before the side pocket inserts as what I thought to be most likely to get natural wear and tear. The loofah was the most effective at rubbing the fibres without tearing them, although the interior designer in me could see a rough sandpaper working beautifully as well. 

After a quick cycle in the wash to remove the excess fibre fluff from the zester/ loofah action and to soften the tips of the torn threads -voila! I had successfully recreated the jacket I had spent years hunting down - the most perfectly worn-in, looks like it's been loved forever, distressed denim jacket. Happy dances all around. 

 

 

LIVING BOHÈME WITH SARAH SHABACON

In this design spotlight, I am thrilled to showcase one of my own personal style icons, Sarah Shabacon of BOHÈME GOODS. Sarah beautifully captures the essence and allure of bohemian vintage both for decor and personal style, using her own creative vision to curate an artistic aesthetic highly coveted by those in the know. Offering handpicked pre-loved treasures from across BC, BOHÈME GOODS truly encompasses the meaning of local art, telling the story of our province through Sarah’s eyes.

Tell us a little about yourself... 
I’m 25 years old, married to my childhood crush and we have 2 sons and a pup. We live in Maple Ridge and spend our days off taking road trips in the mountains to find new beaches or spots to spend our days together.

How did you get started and what led you to where you are now? 
I used to own a locally made label called IWTHD which I ran for 3 years before slowly transitioning into something I was much more passionate about and meant to do. I grew up preferring thrift shops over malls and have always been fascinated by design and the history behind the treasures I find.

What colour best describes your personality? 
Beige. It’s earthy and neutral. 

What is your favourite accessory (for home or personal)? 
My favourite accessory is a good basket. I have them all throughout our house and even in my car. 

When it comes to style/design, what is the one thing you covet the most? 
I covet a rattan day bed for my boys rooms. They’re so simple but have a really beachy vibe to them and are something they could keep for years.

Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
I hope it continues to grow steadily because I truly believe we can make a difference, no matter how small, to the bettering of our Earth by shopping vintage and choosing to shop ethically made clothing instead of supporting fast fashion.

Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 
I collect rugs and textiles. I have pieces fom Turkey, Africa, Afghanistan, Scandinavia and many more countries. I’m very intrigued by the stories behind all these beautiful things that have stories usually woven right into them.

Who is your idol or mentor? 
Serena Mitnik Miller. She’s a creative in California with a cool family and beautifully designed home. She also happens to run one of my favourite shops, General Store.

If you could describe your artistic style in one word, what would it be? 
Bohème.

Is there a song or a musician that inspires you to create? 
Something in my heart - Röyksopp

Is there one area of your craft you find especially challenging? 
The most challenging aspect of my job is finding space for storage. We’re fortunate to live in a town home with a garage and extra room for my office but boy does stock add up quickly…

What do you wish more people knew about artists? 
How we pour our all into what we do. We are expressing who we are and what we feel into our preferred art form and that it cannot be replicated.  It’s a beautiful thing to be able to put who you are, into a feeling that only you can evoke in others.

Do you have a favourite creative space? 
My living room. It’s filled with light and photos of our travels and favourite things. I turn the record player on and get to work photographing new stock.

Do you find gloomy weather or sunshine to be more inspiring? 
Sunshine all the way! On a cloudy day when the sun breaks through the clouds it’s like this magic moment where I feel all this newfound energy and emotion.

ART SPOTLIGHT ON ALESSANDRA SALITURI OF CITIZEN ATELIER

Art tells the story of the home, and is one of the key essentials to a well styled space. Finding unique pieces that speak to you can be one of the hardest parts of designing your house; working with artists that you can personally connect with allows their art to become part of your home, and something more than just easy adornment. 

I loved chatting with Montreal- and LA-based Alessandra Salituru - the creative mastermind Citizen Atelier. Salituri has designed her business around sourcing the talents of both emerging and established artists from around the globe, and bringing their works and stories to an accessible level for locals. 

A go-to resource for many designers and stylists in the city (as well as homeowners in the know), Alessandra shares her passion for the nature of her business: “Artists who are so committed to bringing creativity and beauty into the world really inspire me in my work.” By connecting artists and collectors through her curated marketplace, Alessandra encompasses the fundamental meaning of Home Is Where The Art Is on a literal level. "One of my favourite parts of my work is when people tell me the art they got makes them happy or inspires them to live their best lives."

1. Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm an art dealer and Creative Director behind Citizen Atelier online art gallery. We represent a curated collection of art from 30+ local and international artists and photographers. My passion is helping people create homes they love with meaningful and accessible art. 

2. How did you get started in art dealing and what led you to where you are now? 

My mother is an artist and I grew up visiting galleries, art fairs and the studios of her friends. Being brought up in such a creative environment showed me the transformative effect that art can have in a home. I wanted to offer to Canadians a platform that houses the works of photographers and artists from around the world, at a range of prices.

3. Do you have a Vancouver muse? Or a favourite place in or around the city that inspires you? 

My Vancouver muse is definitely the skyline! The mix of the city and the view of the mountains has always captivated me about the city.

4. What colour best describes your personality? 

I love the colour blue. There's something so calming, soulful and inspiring about it. The ocean is my happy place. A lot of the art I source for projects includes tones of blue.  

5. What is your favourite accessory (for home or personal)?

My favourite accessories are definitely fresh flowers, lots of pillows and of course - art. 

6. Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 

Art! I have a number of pieces I've collected over the years. Many of them are leaning on the floor of my place- I love a relaxed approach to displaying art.

7. Who is your idol or mentor? 

I take so much inspiration from business and life coaches. My favourites are Robin Sharma, Tony Robbins and Marie Forleo. 

8. Finish this sentence: my day is not complete without… 

…a latte and phone calls with friends.

9. If you could speak to a room of youth who were considering careers in the arts, what would your advice be?

I would say consider taking some business and marketing classes! I've found this to be so invaluable. Especially if you'll be working independently, knowledge on everything from online marketing, social media, PR and how to develop a business model is so helpful, even if you end up outsourcing some of these tasks. 

10. Do you find gloomy weather or sunshine to be more inspiring?

Definitely sunshine (but weather that is not too hot!). I split my time with sunny California which always invigorates me.  

DINNER, DESIGNED

Entertaining is one of my most favourite pastimes - not only the social gathering and treasured time to catch up with friends, I love the chance to play with different design themes for the event. Whether you’re planning an intimate dinner for two, or playing hostess-with-the-mostess for a group, nailing your tabletop style is key. More than just the meal, entertaining in style is all about the little details.

While in years past there were structured themes, palettes and overall directions that guided the “what’s hot” of tabletop design, this year we are seeing a much more creative flow with an overall eclectic vibe as we move into entertaining season. Colours, patterns and motifs are wildly mixed for the modern table, with the general feeling that “anything goes”, as long as you go for it. It’s all about playing with vibrancy and textiles to tell your own dinnertime story; not the time to shy away from bold choices, we’ve created a cheat sheet to help you tackle the essentials for today’s dinner, designed.

1. Cover Your Bases: 

A stellar tabletop starts from the bottom up: while a bare table can be chic, a big impact setting begins with a statement tablecloth. With nearly every palette and pattern imaginable available, this is an ultra easy way to add some dinner drama. This moody textile from Capra Designs’ Rocky Road Collection instantly adds personality to the table with it’s saturated palette, yet keeps it causal with its 100% linen makeup. The bonus of opting for a linen or cotton cloth is the cleanup - it’s a no-fuss, ‘throw it in the wash when guests leave’ scenario. Yes, please.

2. Go Natural:

While the usual go-to for everyone when thinking about dinnerware is porcelain or stoneware, this is an easy area to amp up your style by thinking outside the box; choosing unexpected materials for your dishes creates an extra layer of intention to your table setting. Options like these teak carved plates from Southbound Living are an ideal choice as we move into the cooler months, as the warmth and natural heaviness of the wood starts to set the mood for a seasonal gathering. 

3. Horse (or, monkey…) Around:

Just when it’s starting to feel a little serious, throw in an element of surprise. I love using mismatched dinnerware sets to spark a conversation, and these West Elm Dapper Animal series serving ware fit the bill perfectly. Using a bold colour way or motif for side plates to contrast your main setting is an easy way to introduce vibrancy and personality without committing to purchasing a full set of dishes you may want to swap out down the road. As with decor, keep your main pieces more neutral and let your (easily interchangeable) accessories take a walk on the wild side. 

4. Go For Gold, Baby:

Even your flatware is an opportunity to keep your tabletop style on point. Gone are the days of basic brushed nickel - today's cutlery ranges from the full palette spectrum to all the metallics. I usually like to stick to the golds, as it adds an upscale element to even the most playful table, but for a softer twist the rose gold or copper palette, like this set from West Elm, is a beautiful addition to almost any tablescape. 

5. Soften Up:

While cloth napkins may seem like a thing of generations past, nothing puts a rough edge on a stellar meal like a paper napkin. Choosing proper, soft textiles for your serviettes allows your guests to have an elevated dining experience, and also provides you with an opportunity to play with even more tabletop style. Again, look for an uncoordinated pattern from your dinnerware set to keep the mood fresh - a tried and true go-to is a classic black and white stripe, like these Wheaton Stripe Napkins from Pottery Barn

6. Drink Up to Double Duty:

With all the rules for stemware seemingly out the window these days (seriously, even some high end spots are serving expensive vino in a basics rocks glass), it opens the door for some seriously playful drinking. Using unexpected vessels for beverages not only takes the pressure off whether you’ve correctly selected your stemware for the occasion, but is also allows for that mix-and-match principle to come back into play. These artistic porcelain cups from Koh Living - available in a variety of stunning motifs -  are sold as both votive cups for candles as well as distinct drink ware collections to further the wild side of your tabletop design, however you choose to incorporate them. 

PUBLIC PROFILES: A SPOTLIGHT ON VANCOUVER’S ARCHITECTURE FIRMS

With design, we often start the conversation around the decor details that we can touch and interchange. However, the true beginning of any successful design is the structure and bones of the space, which are brought to life by the creative minds of architects. It is with their vision and mastery of their craft that some of the most stunning spaces in the city are present. This week we are bringing the spotlight to some of Vancouver’s top architecture firms; often out of the public eye, yet responsible for so much of our city’s stunning urban landscape, we are taking a look at the works of four design ‘dream teams’ that are beautifully impacting the aesthetic of Vancouver.

Evoke International Design:
Since 2000, the interdisciplinary approach to design that Evoke brings to the table has created their place and reputation as one of the most sought after firms in the city. The brand, founded by Robert Edmonds and David Nicolay, brings perspective from a multitude of design principles to their work and offer not only architectural expertise, but also spatial, interior and graphic design. It is the marriage of these elements that offer their clients a fully encapsulating experience. Outside of an impressive client roster for design that includes Pixar, Kit + Ace North American offices and stores, Bel Cafe at the Hotel Georgia and Heirloom Restaurant, Evoke also is responsible for conceiving and opening some of our city’s best neighbourhood haunts, like (my personal fave in the city) El Camino’s, The Union Bar Restaurant and Main Street Brewing, to name a few.  Whether in their own restaurants or in the spaces of their clients, the signature style of Evoke remains clean, modern interiors, custom designed furniture combined with simple, vibrant graphics. The team shares, “We approach design from a collaborative point of view, and align ourselves with clients that share our modern aesthetic values and creative process. The resulting project should be a well-integrated design that doesn’t rely on overly trendy concepts: it is about composition and the combination of form, function and innovation to achieve the client-unique design objective.”

Scott & Scott:
The husband and wife duo behind the Scott & Scott architecture and design firm run their practice out of perhaps one of the most recognizable studios in the city, and by far one of my personal favourite spaces to pass by. The couple reinvented their home - a former old grocery store just off Main Street - to accommodate a street level studio for their firm to operate. The ingenious redesign includes a workshop for the completion of industrial design, proto-typing and material research. With a notable history with various prominent Canadian firms, the duo branched out on their own in 2012 and have since become an award-winning boutique firm: in 2014 they were awarded an Architizer A+ award for the design and construction of their Alpine Cabin project; in 2016 they were both awarded The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Young Architect Award and the Restaurant and Design Award for Best Americas Restaurant for Torafuku, and; in the spring of 2017 they were selected to present their work as a recipient of the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices Award. Their breadth of work - which includes commercial, mixed use, restaurants, residential spaces in both urban and remote environments and also agricultural projects - has been widely recognized by worldwide design publications, including recent releases from renowned publishers Taschen, Gestalten and Phaidon. 

McKinley Burkart:
Our city recently saw the opening of the impressive new Vancouver offices of boutique architecture and design firm, McKinley Burkart. The Calgary-based firm has established itself as an industry leader, with a self-professed “passion for contextual architecture, visionary design, and immersive brand strategy.” The firm’s Vancouver offices were a natural progression for the company, as both founding partners Walker McKinley and Mark Burkart have ties to our city, and their client roster is well-rooted in here - it includes many of Vancouver’s big names, such as Aritzia, Stanley Park and the team behind Herschel Supply Co. “Our vision for the Vancouver studio was to create a space that not only spoke to the McKinley Burkart identity but also embraced the essence of West Coast design, such as abstractions of coastal driftwood and metaphoric elements of the sea and coastline. Maintaining the history of the building was also key for us,” said founding partner Mark Burkart. The firm supported their interest in making the new Vancouver office integrally intertwined with our city’s creative community by including artwork from notable Vancouver artists such as Ben Skinner and Anthony Redpath.

Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio:
Spearheaded by the vibrant and effervescent architect, Marianne Amodio, the boutique firm plants itself comfortably in the realm between structure and playful creativity. Known for innovative ‘out of the box’ designs, MAAStudio is pushing the boundaries of how we approach dwelling spaces and (co)habitation in Vancouver. With a unique perspective on multi-resident spaces, the firm’s residential design centres on multi-family residential buildings, micro co-housing, and custom multi-family homes. “Architecture isn’t just for the elite,” says Amodio. “It can live in the mid-range zone.” Looking to that concept, MAAStudio is forward-thinking with their fundamental principles - the belief that modern design should speak to more than just aesthetic, but also to the social, environmental and affordability issues facing our community. Stepping away from ‘serious’, Marianne has been described by a client as possessing the ability to “...magically transform ordinary spaces and humble materials into places of poetic beauty.”

WALLPAPER REVIVAL

If your last interaction with wallpaper was the unforgettably tacky, impossible to remove and overused versions that ran rampant in decor from the 50’s to the early 80’s, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the concept. Gone are the days of the kitschy peach or ‘dusty rose’ papers that everyone’s mother and grandmother enveloped her (entire) home in - we’ve entered an era where wall coverings have become an ultra chic feature in decor.

While anyone who knows me knows I’m a strict advocate for all white walls, there is always a time and place for breaking even your own design rules. Wallpaper is one of my only exceptions to a completely whitewashed space - within this type of wall treatment, my design pendulum swings the opposite direction to bring a room alive. With wallpaper, it’s all about pattern, palette and texture.

Today’s wallpaper collections are as diverse as design itself. For prints and patterns, we have seen the introduction of highly realistic faux-finish wallpapers, with which you can recreate the effects of  anything from agate (seen on the moody emerald feature wall of one of my clients) to wood to concrete. There has been a modern revival of florals, ranging in exaggerated scale from ultra tiny to completely oversized, like Roomcraft Design’s playful pink poppies, and has branched out to include other on trend plant life… think: the current obsession with palm leaves and cactus plants. And, we have seen a playful twist with graphic and typographic papers that offer high contrast shapes or lettering on repeat to create a striking effect, as with the Cole & Sons fuchsia geometric print  . 

Modern design has also seen great diversity in the colourways that are most popular with wallpaper - everything from super brights to moody saturated dark palettes to neutral tone-on-tone papers like the Cole & Sons white on white cubes have found their way into some of today’s most stylish spaces.  It seems that while paint palettes tend to follow colour trends, everything and anything goes when it comes to papers. Texture has become another key element to today’s wall coverings; while the effortless glamour of grasscloth has maintained it’s place (as shown by Gillian Segal Design with their client’s stunning bathroom), we have also seen the rise of finishes like metal adornment, sandy texture and, my personal fave, vinyl wallpapers. Vinyls have found their fundamental place in design not just based on the visual effect of their texture, but moreover on the functionality the material offers. With a rubbery, resistant finish, vinyls are easily wipeable (ie: kid friendly) and are also moisture resistant, making them an ideal choice for kitchens or bathrooms, as seen in my last home with a pretty shibori-effect ribbed vinyl. 

At an overall level, wallpaper has become the ‘built in’ artwork to design. It offers a creative foray into expression, colour and pattern combinations to suit any style personality and a broad spectrum variety that is likely to ensure individuality and exclusivity - unlike painting with ‘cloud white’, you’re almost guaranteed that you’ll be the only kid on the block with your chosen paper. With permanent and removable options on the market (making it viable for homeowners and renters alike), wallpaper has embraced it’s revival into modern design. 

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH VANCOUVER'S TOP STYLE-MAKERS

With Holiday entertaining in full swing, all eyes are on how the who’s who is styling their home for the festivities. For our final My Digs, we’re headed into the homes designed by six of the city’s biggest decor influencers to see some of the hottest ways to bring the Christmas spirit to life. From the outdoors to the foyer to the family room traditions, these ladies have got their Holiday style on point.

KATE HORSEMAN:
The way local Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Foods Chef, Kate Horseman, has approached her Holiday style is far and away my favourite Christmas look to date. The whitewashed space is minimally injected with the key essentials for the season; a natural tree anchors the great room while festive lights adorn the desert-inspired details, including a large cactus and the fireplace focal point skull.

AMANDA HAMILTON:
As one of Canada’s top interior designers, Amanda Hamilton sets the bar high for personal style. When it comes to seasonal decor, Hamilton takes a departure from the expected to make a big impact in her own space. Opting for a break from the traditional trimmings, the Hamilton residence uses cheeky typography to set the Holiday mood. 

MARIA KILLAM:
On the opposite end of the design spectrum, colour expert Maria Killam curates bold brights to amplify the festive fun for the Holidays. Playing up the perfectly styled shelves, Killam selected striking pop colours to light up the tree and mantle. The perfect example of working your current decor scheme into Christmas, making a personalized stamp on the seasonal decorations.

MONIKA HIBBS:
Lifestyle expert Monika Hibbs' signature style embodies the essence of country chic. With an upscale take on comfortable family living, Monika has created a space that beautifully compliments the neutral white and gold palette of the space, yet uses scale and detail to add a polished elegance to the Christmas scape. Keeping the boastful tree in a similarly neutral colour way, the natural green garland on the staircase and mantle have an impactful effect without being overdone. 

RASHELL GOEWENBURG:
Holiday style isn’t limited to the main entertaining spaces. Rashell Goewenburg, owner of the dreamy decor boutique Peridot Decorative Homewear (formerly a South Granville design staple, now relocated to a stunning Fort Langley locale) shows us the importance of setting your Seasonal style to invite guests in. Rashell uses luxe textiles, layered decorations and perfectly placed gifts at her foyer settee to set the tone of an understated opulence for the Holiday mood within her home.

TRACEY AYTON:
Lifestyle and Interiors photographer, Tracey Ayton, is best known within the design community for her uncanny ability to beautifully capture the vignettes and details of some of our city’s best designed spaces. [Note: she captured many of the spaces we are featuring in this column!] However, for the Holidays Ayton reminds us of the importance of looking outdoors to share her simple and organic take on Holiday style. Using bright greenery to create an oversized message of Holiday cheer against the oversized white exterior, Ayton allows the festive feeling to reach far beyond just her family and friends, but her surrounding community as well.

STYLE SAVVY GIFTS FOR YOUR WHOLE HOLIDAY LIST

With just over a week until Christmas, the last minute hustle to finish our Holiday shopping is on in a major way. If your “nice list” is long and you’ve yet to find the perfect present for those you love, we’ve got you covered. With style in mind, we’ve put together our top picks for everyone from Bae to the little babes that add style to the home and smiles all around. 

FOR HER:
Whether it’s for mom or the woman of your dreams, this year is all about luxury for the ladies. Giving the gift of relaxation and pampering is a sure-win, but keeping style in mind is key. With small spaces and limited storage a part of urban living, choosing pieces that blend beautifully into a well-designed bathroom (even if left out) is essential. 

BARE SKIN BARS:
Hand crafted in Vancouver (by a team of stellar babes who totally know what women want), these pretty little bars make any bath a luxurious experience. The brand knows the importance of natural ingredients for natural beauty, and also have a passion for keeping our environment beautiful, too - no animal testing, 100% recycled packaging and partial proceeds of sales go to the BC-based non-profit organization, Sea Legacy. This feel-good gift will leave your lady feeling extra lovely as well, with four different bars to choose from: Softening, Calming, Restoring and Detoxifying.

DYSON SUPERSONIC HAIRDRYER
We’ve all heard that beauty comes at a price, but our hair (or bathroom style) shouldn’t be paying it. With seemingly little innovation over the past few decades for our daily hair drying tools, Dyson has brought women around the world a brilliant new machine that not only looks sleek (read: it can live visibly within the bathroom and add an element of visual interest), but the technology behind it is designed to save our hair from damage. Relying on powerful airflow rather than extreme heat, this chic little tool is turning the haircare industry on it’s head. Salon-style blowouts at home? Your lady will love you for it.

FOR HIM:
Everyone is leading busy lives, so encouraging the man in your life to take the time to unwind is a gift he’s sure to appreciate. Finding items that are functional (keeping in mind that men are  often all about the practical gifts), look good within the home (is it fair to say most men would appreciate a little help with amping up their interiors style?) and also give him an excuse to chill out , is priceless this time of year. 

SONOS ONE HOME SPEAKERS:
Technology is always a win-win gift for men, but finding gadgets that wow him and also add to his interior decor is the ultimate score. Sonos speakers can be used together around the home, offering a whole-home sound, or rooms individually controlled with different playlists and volume all via your smartphone. Working off wifi vs bluetooth, gone are the days of phone calls and message notifications interrupting the mood - the music (which combines all his itunes, spotify and other streaming libraries in one place) keeps playing uninterrupted even when his phone is blowing up. The best part? Sonos designed their speaker collection to seamlessly blend into any decor: with a minimalistic appearance and sleek design, these speakers literally let their sound make the style statement.

IN BED SHEETS
After a hectic Holiday season, giving the gift of comfort is sure to be a hit. For all the post-Christmas lounging he’s sure to want to do, IN BED has created a stellar collection of washed cotton sheets that offer up the ultimate in softness and comfort, but come in an array of colours that he’s sure to be into.  The Australian label has made bedding less something that you want to tuck away behind closed doors, and more something that you can haul out to the sofa for those extra loung-y nights in front of the tv without compromising on style. 

FOR THE LITTLES:
While the majority of kid-related gifts are seemingly designed to overwhelm us with noise, loud colourways and overall obnoxiousness, we’ve found a few  kiddie finds that are style-approved, too.

DOMESTIC OBJECTS PLAYTENTS:
Every kid loves to hang out in a fort, so this year Domestic Objects (founded by a Vancouver mama who was hunting for stylish play areas for her own littles) is bringing you decor sanity by offering a super cool tent that will save your living room cushions and blankets from old-school fort making. With a chic, minimalist aesthetic (I’m loving the neutral unbleached cotton, but they also offer a variety of colour ways and patterns for the more fun-loving parents) the tents come in a smaller teepee style silhouette and also a larger size that can come with a mattress, allowing it to double as an extra bed for sleepovers. Don’t have any human littles in your life? The Domestic Object tents also make super stylish beds and hang outs for your fur-babies, too

GINGER LIFESTYLE CACTUS TOSS CUSHION:
When it’s time for the little ones to snuggle up, give them a place to lay their head that looks good around the home. This Ginger Lifestyles toss cushion is ultra-soft and brings a playful pattern, making it a fave for wee ones, but it also has been designed with current design trends in mind: the indigo-dye pattern and colourway is complimented by this seasons hottest motif, the cactus. So whether in the nursery or dragged out to the living room, this cushion is a stellar score.

THE BEAUTY OF DESIGNING INTERIORS WITH HIGH END FASHION HOUSES

Interior design and fashion trends have always been intertwined, from colour schemes to prints and patterns, to overall style; many decor musts-have’s have been inspired by high end runway looks, and it continues to be a stellar way to transition personal style to the home. 

Recently, some big names in the fashion world have become not only influencers, but destinations, for Vancouver’s interior design scene - and we are seeing everything from polished classics to the bold & brazen take over our city’s hottest looks for the home. In 2014 the highly publicized opening of the Verace Home store took to the streets of Gastown, bringing us some of the most lavish and fashion-forward decor that we’ve seen in the city. The brand, best known for over the top elaborate fashions, offers everything one might need to create an opulent home: from exquisite furnishings to tableware & decor accessories to lighting and even wallpaper. While some have observed that the neighbourhood was an unexpected choice for the brands first home retail boutique (the location previously housed deLuxe Junk consignment for over three decades), Versace Home has continued to thrive within our high end decor market.

Continuing the trend of luxury brands branching into beautiful interiors, one of my  personal favourite labels has just debuted their home collection… and it’s not surprisingly, stunning. In November, Tiffany & Co. announced the launch of their home and accessories line, which includes lifestyle accessories and decorative pieces for the polished home. With a fashion-focused influence, the Tiffany Home & Accessories Collection brings bold colour blocking and geometric patterns to the line, finished with the classic Tiffany & Co. elegance that brings an element of luxury, home. The inspiration behind the collection was the notion that beautiful things should not be limited to special occasions; “I think what makes the collection unique is that it incorporates the best quality, craftsmanship and design with a level of functionality that allows you to use these things every day,” says Reed Krakoff, chief artistic officer at Tiffany & Co.. 

Vancouver’s decor scene is not a surprising choice for these labels to join; with longstanding luxury interior retailers like Atkinson’s Home and Provide Home offering exquisite furnishings and home accessories to our market for years, the city has shown not only the interest but the affluence to support high end retail for the home. 

Atkinson's, a South Granville luxury destination for 35 years, offers high-end European decor, tableware, bed linens, and gifts for discerning Vancouverites. Known not only for their luxury goods, but equally for their top tier customer service, the second generation family business continues to evolve with our city, bringing both modern design and old-world global brands to our interiors.

Provide Home, which recently relocated to Vancouver’s Armoury district, is a go-to for both designers and a design-savvy clientele for a curated collection of high end decor lines. With each object of distinct elegance, the boutique brings our city the best of decor from around the globe, as well as our very own streets - it notably the best destination for local luxury designers, including Martha Sturdy. and Barter.

It appears that we are set to see more fashion influence on the Vancouver decor scene - signage is up on the corner of Pender and Hamilton indicating that Fendi Casa (the furniture and decor arm of high end fashion house, Fendi) and Bentley Home is soon to open in the heritage building where the two streets intersect. With Fendi owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Bentley renowned for its luxury vehicles, it will be a sight to see what the boutique brings to our city. 

FIVE FACES TO WATCH AT THIS YEAR'S EAST SIDE CULTURE CRAWL

With the annual Eastside Culture Crawl kicking off today, getting a game plan on where to be, and who and what to see during the four day festival is essential. More than 500 creatives are opening their studios to over 30,000 visitors this weekend, showcasing artistic talents ranging from handcrafted furniture to mixed media artwork to artisanal housewares and beyond. We’ve nailed down our “must-see” shortlist if you’re looking for local artists with offerings to amp up your style at home; we asked our five faves to share a little about their creative inspiration, as why they feel the Crawl is an integral part of Vancouver’s artistic community.

1. JAMES KEMP OF HAND EYE DESIGN CERAMICS: 112 E. Hastings Street, Studio 140. Map code: B17

How would you describe your work?
My work is bodily and exploits basic human senses. It’s physically non kinetic in its final state, but as it operates through an evocative nature, using textures and form, its gestures engage with our primal human anticipation of movement.

2. MIRIAM AROESTE: 1000 Parker Street, Studio 221. Map code: D3

What keeps you inspired to continually create?
So many things... traveling, talking to interesting people, other artists, observing life from different lenses. I love newness and the way it stimulates my senses. I create based on what I feel in the moment drawing attention from my own stories and experiences.

3. JUSTIN WILLIAMS OF BISON FURNITURE + DESIGN: 1000 Parker Street, Studio 101. Map code: D3

Why do you think the Culture Crawl is an important part of our creative community in Vancouver?
The Crawl helps connect the general public with local makers. With the vast amount of information and images available on internet/social media, it’s such a rare opportunity to see and feel something in person. It also helps keep artist places like 1000 Parker Street alive, which is especially important in a city like Vancouver where spaces available for public or creative use are rapidly disappearing.

4. AMANDA BULLICK OF BRUTALLY BEAUTIFUL:  651 E. Hastings Street. Map code: A13

How would you describe your work?
Pondering the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, my work aims to conjure a feeling of earthy connectedness as well as a sacred sense of magic; like altars honouring the dearly departed and the stories of their wild lives that they took with them. The natural world, although it is all around us, never ceases to dazzle with its quiet secrets and mysteries. If you look hard enough there is beauty all around us, even in the decay. 

5. LOUISE FRANCIS-SMITH: 1000 Parker Street, Studio 108. Map code: D3

What keeps you inspired to continually create?
I am inspired and am drawn to the juxtaposition of perceived beauty alongside the harsh reality of the undervalued and neglected. I love light and the complexity of what my images reveal or uncover. Put simply, when I photograph, I feel completely alive.

AHID X PROVIDE

One of Canada’s most sought after interior designers, Amanda Hamilton, has just unleashed her creativity on our city. Hamilton is the Principal and brilliant eye of Amanda Hamilton Interior Design,  as well as the director of The Loft in Calgary - a unique space that double duties as a showcase of curated goods and an inviting place for design workshops, seminars and private functions. Cementing her influence on the Vancouver design scene, Amanda recently opened the doors to her Vancouver office, as well as unveiled her self-titled home accessories collection.

In celebration, Amanda hosted a style savvy evening earlier this month at Provide Home - one of our city’s go-to stops for beautiful decor - with the local industry’s who’s-who to launch her lifestyle goods line. The collection is a full extension of her brand and offers Vancouver a look at Hamilton’s twist on how to create wow-factor design at home.

Looking at what decor pieces are key for this season, Hamilton’s line is offering up some of the must-have essentials for Fall weather living: sleek candles and statement ceramics for a warmer entertaining vibe. With cooler temps outdoors, our gatherings and parties are moving indoors - it’s now all about creating curated ambiance through standout decorative pieces with big impact, and this collection nailed it.

Hamilton’s signature scent - NO. 001 Virility candle - sets an instant-sultry mood with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, black tea, lavender and tobacco leaf while gently lighting the home. With a seductive, marbled black appearance (my favourite palette for accessories this season), the inspiration behind the scent is described as “reminiscent of a single moment in time. The smell of a man’s collar that is perhaps sweaty, rich and warm. An aroma that lingers upon the pillow top the morning after. Curiosity and longing”. Yes, please.

My favourite aspect of the collection lies with the custom ceramics line Hamilton created in collaboration with btw Ceramics’ Brooke T. Winfrey. The artisanal pieces have an overall playful vibe, yet maintain an underlying level of chic with a polished nude, black and white palette. Bold colour blocking and organically graphic elements make these pieces a definite conversation starter around your table, but still offer up the functionality of everyday dinnerware. When asked about her inspiration and thoughts on the collaboration, Amanda shares, “Originally I was attracted to Brooke’s mantra of ‘embracing the irregular’ which aligns with our brand philosophy and how we approach design. The inspiration behind the collection represents the duality of both of our personalities. The patterned portion embodies our eccentric and playful side, while the colour block portion is much more thoughtful. I also love the practicality of this collection; you are getting something that is hand tooled without giving up the beauty of convenience, as all of these pieces are dishwasher friendly”.

If you’re looking to explore the collection, Amanda’s line is available at Provide Home, located in the heart of the Armoury District at 1805 Fir St. For interior design services, Amanda’s by-appointment only Vancouver studio is now open at 1275 Venables, Suite 330. 

CELEBRITY DESIGNERS SHARE THEIR TOP TIPS IN TIME FOR THE VANCOUVER FALL HOME SHOW

With the Vancouver Fall Home Show taking over the Vancouver Convention centre next week, the streets of Vancouver are once again seeing design experts and industry celebrities check out what our local scene has to offer. The annual show, running October 26 - 29, brings the big wigs of the interiors world to our city. HGTV superstars Sarah Richardson, Dave and Kortney Wilson and the ultimate darling of decor, Tiffany Pratt are all set to hit the main stage this year, chatting everything from inspiration to must-haves to practical hands-on tips. In preparation for the event, we caught up with Tiffany, as well as Kortney and Dave, to get their thoughts on what’s hot now for design, and their tried and true advice for homeowners looking to update. 

1. Fall is such an exciting time for design - in many ways, it’s the “New Year” for our industry: everyone is on the hunt for fresh ideas and looks for the home. What are you finding most inspiring for this season? Are there any palettes or decor details that you are particularly loving this year?

TP: This painting by Bella Foster explains what is inspiring me this season. The colours, the layering, feeling and pops of black. I am also loving red and purple again!

K&D: I've been doing some research on colour palettes the last few weeks and it seems like that COLOUR is actually IN - ha.  It's been "IN" for me for a while but the idea that intense colours can be used with a more minimalistic approach to furniture is definitely the trend for 2018 and I love it.  The use of hues in berry tones in unexpected places like ceilings and smaller rooms is definitely making for a fresh approach in designing some of the houses for season 3 of Masters of Flip

2. As the cooler weather settles in, people tend to spend more time entertaining at home and gathering together within their spaces; everyone loves to change things up with the seasons ,but it’s not always feasible to opt for a major overhaul. What are a few easy tips you have for people to amp up their style without breaking the bank?

TP: Switching out your accessories is always such a swift quick trick! Simple things like new pillows, throws, carpets, accessories always make a space feel fresh! Painting walls is always a good idea--it simply freshens things up! But one of my easy favourite all time home trick is paint your front door some wild pop colour! It is so easy to switch and change and it makes you feel so good!

K&D: One of the easiest ways to spruce up the exterior is to change your front door colour.  If the door itself is wood and you can just repaint it, it's a great way to give your home a new look on a smaller budget.  Offset it with fall flowers or new front door hardware to really pull it altogether.

On the interior, it's fairly inexpensive to buy some new pillow covers to accent for the season without it feeling all themed out (aka Christmas pillows).  You could  keep them all year, but if you get bored, changing out some of the accents is fun and can drastically change the mood of the room.

3. When people are looking to renovate or update an existing space, it can get overwhelming thinking about all of the possibilities (and costs!) associated with a design undertaking. Can you share your go-to ways to help keep a project within a reasonable scope? What are the areas you suggest people to splurge, vs what areas can people find creative ways to save while still achieving a high impact end result?

TP:During my Home Show presentation I suggest visiting Home Depot and finding easy to access, very effective and not so cost effective options to transform your space. 

Two things that are cost effective are: Changing out your light fixtures and adding new lighting to the home. Just reimagining the lighting and switching out a fixture can change the game! Also adding open shelves is such an easy and artfully organizational way of displaying your treasures and filling a wall! 

A few investment things you can consider are changing out your countertops to a new material in colours that really makes your counter tops in any space pop! I have a new quartz product called Silestone in my kitchen and I am in love with it! Lastly, one of the most transformational tips that I recommend to my clients is to change the colour of your kitchen cabinets! Most of us like our kitchen footprint and do not need to renovate entirely! By enlisting a new service at Home Depot called RENUIT you can have all of your cupboards sprayed out into a bright fresh colour that makes your space feel like new!

K&D: If there is one area to splurge on, it's the main living space.  You're likely going to spend the most time in the kitchen, living and dining areas so making it a space that you, your friends and your family will love, is getting the biggest bang for your buck.  I would start with a fairly neutral room colour and bring in the punches of colour and personality through accents that you can change out if you tire of them over time.  The use of art and draperies will warm up the space and this can be accomplished inexpensively now with all of the big box stores offering straight panels for a reasonable price.

CHATTING 2018 COLOUR TRENDS WITH AMANDA FORRREST AND ERIKA WOELFEL

Design inspiration is in full swing. With IDS Vancouver recently kicking off the season and the Vancouver Fall Home Show coming up later this month, style at home is top of mind. An easy (and affordable!) way to give your space a major update without a massive overhaul is paint; tackling a feature wall or a whole room refresh is a simple weekend project and offers up a serious style statement. Looking to what’s going to be on everyone’s must-have colour wish list as we move into 2018, I checked in with a few style experts to see what the 2018 colour trends are looking like. Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Colour and Creative Services at BEHR, speaks to the brand’s recently revealed 2018 palette and Colour of the Year, while design darling Amanda Forrest shares her faves from her collaboration with The FAT Paint Company and how she’s loving them paired for the upcoming season.

What were the primary inspiration factors behind the Behr 2018 Colour Trends collection?

EW: Each year, our team is inspired by what’s happening in the world around us and how colour comes to life in new ways―in fashion, pop culture, travel, home décor and more. We spend months imagining a palette filled with colours that will reflect what’s to come. This year, we were specifically drawn to lifestyle trends of awareness, mindful living and the Danish concept of hygge―the feeling of cozy, comfortable conviviality and well-being. People are organizing and decluttering to prioritize experiences over material items. They are searching for balance amid their busy schedules, while trying to escape technological overload.

What colours are you feeling inspired by for the coming year? 

AF: Sensual earth tones reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour have got me really excited for the season ahead. Colours like deep plum, luscious teals and my paint colour Can't See Me Camo are all perfect paired with this past seasons pastels. The mix of light and dark give the colour combos strength and presence while feeling luxurious.

What made ‘In The Moment’ the standout colour for the year?

EW: Throughout the process of researching and curating our BEHR 2018 Colour Trends, cool, spruce blues popped up at every turn. From furniture to décor to fashion, stylists and designers across industries are finding new and beautiful ways to incorporate this usable blue-green. It’s so versatile, bringing a sense of sanctuary to almost any room―kitchens, bathrooms, dining rooms, you name it! We couldn’t resist giving In The Moment T18-15 the spotlight this year.

Do you have any favourite colour combinations or trends for 2018?

AF: Absolutely! Anything Camo Green Coloured paired with blush-I would love to design a room around these colours with a little gold sparkle thrown in for good measure.

How do you predict the public will connect with and interact with this palette? What feelings do you think the 2018 Colours will evoke for people?

EW: The 2018 Colour Trends palette is all about the intentional use of colour to enhance the energy of your most meaningful spaces. We hope these 20 new colours will work to create personal sanctuaries, inspiring consumers to relax, disconnect and simply be present. The hues encourage people to capitalize on the positive effects of colour by using it sparingly or generously throughout their home. We often can’t wait to get home and just be―so it’s about choosing colours that allow us to do just that.

What were the driving factors behind your palette collection with FAT paint?

AF: Each of the 6 colours in my FAT Paint collection are inspired by parts of my personality. Blushing Bombshell is the sexy version of my personality while Navy State Of Mind plays homage to by inner girl boss. Orangeapalooza is a party in can sparked by travel to the Caribbean. 

What do you feel your clients are most excited about when it comes to colour selection?

AF: Clients are generally afraid of using too much colour but Navy has been a great all around colour for both men and women. I have used it on painted cabinetry, on dining room ceilings and in dining rooms. It's a timeless colour that packs punch. Navy State Of Mind is my best selling colour.

GETTING INSPIRED WITH IDS VANCOUVER

It’s back: the time of year our whole design industry waits for. IDS Vancouver returns this week and the city is alive with anticipation and creativity. The annual design show , once again taking over the Vancouver Convention Centre West, brings industry forerunners to the front lines, and designers, influencers, experts and aficionados alike under one roof to see what’s what for the future of design. Running September 28 through October 01, the show offers everything from speaker series to artisanal shopping to cutting edge installations to leading exhibitors. With so much to take in, I’ve narrowed out my faves for this years show, and what features I’m most looking forward to checking out. 

STUDIO NORTH
Studio North brings Canadian and international designers together to present custom pieces from a variety of disciples of the design world: furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, textiles and surface design. The gallery-like installation allows the industry, media and design-savvy show-goers to explore the fresh perspectives of the participants creativity. This years exhibitors include the 2016 IDS Vancouver Prototype Winner, Chop Value - the  name stemming from the use of recycled chopsticks as raw material for product development and design, as well as Vancouver-based furniture designer Will Morrison, who focuses on sustainability with flat-packable heirloom pieces with a non-toxic makeup.

CLAY & GLAZE
Modern ceramics are given the spotlight with Clay & Glaze. Artists from across the globe bring their innovation forward in this curated installation. Victoria-based  Amanda Marie Ceramics, whose terracotta and milk-glazed works derive inspiration from nature, as well as Italian ceramicist Matteo Cibic - a creative mind with featured collections shown worldwide in various galleries and museums - are just a few of the invited artists to showcase their pieces in this must-see show feature.

THE MIX
A unique concept new to IDS Vancouver this year, The Mix is an international, interactive connection between three leading Vancouver designers and three established Netherlands-based designers that includes both on and off site talks, show displays and collaborative installations. Vancouver’s own Brent Comber partners with Eindhoven-based designs duo Studio OS & OOS to discuss the similarities and differences in preferred materials, and how geographic factors may play an influential role in their creative processes. We will also see local artist Bobbie Burgers pair up with Studio RENS designers Stefanie van Keijsteren and Renee Menen to talk, amongst other elements, how they are each influenced by colour within their work. 

THE DISTRICT
One of the most bustling areas of the show each year, The District is the marketplace where guests are able to meet and take home treasures from local artisans showing and selling their work. Some of this years most prominent curated artisans include Saige & Skye, which brings unique handwoven pieces from fibre artist Jolynn Vandam, as well as Urban Walls, which offers up a modern, playfully chic alternative to wallpaper with their fashion forward, removable wall decals. In am also beyond excited to see some of my design go-to’s in the industry, Haven Textile Company, G Ceramic & Co., Anara Design Company and Bloc showcasing their incredible talents and wares in The District. 

SPEAKER SERIES
The biggest buzz about the show amongst the industry is who’s taking the stage to share their expertise. This year has a stellar lineup to satiate the crowds, with a wide variety of local and international style stars set to speak. Friday, September 29 brings us, among others, Spanish artist/ designer Jaime Hayon; Hayon is multi-disciplinary, with his creative services in high demand for commercial interiors worldwide, as well as design of furniture, lighting and fixtures.  TIME Magazine and Wallpaper Magazine have included Hayon as one of the most relevant creators of our times. Saturday, September 30 will see world renowned Camille Walala take the Ceasarstone stage to bring us a little peek at what life in Walaland is like (she is also creating the Walaland Central Bar installation in collaboration with Ann Sacks); Walala originally began as a textile designer and expanded her colourful, energetic pattern designs to grace interiors and public spaces across the globe. Perhaps the talk I am mist looking forward to is taking place on Sunday October 01; gathering some of our city’s most talented designers and influencers to discuss the meaning of West Coast Luxury. Moderator Fiona Forbes will be joined by an inspiring group of creative women, including Karen Bohn, Gaile Guevara and Gillian Segal to chat everything luxury, from design to decor to entertaining.

FALL DECOR REFRESH

With the feeling of Fall setting in, it’s time again for a seasonal decor refresh. As we look to swap out our airy Summer vibes and channel the comfort of warmer pieces, there are a few key elements to look to that give the illusion of a full makeover without committing to a major design overhaul. Textiles, accessories and ambient lighting are the easiest way to add a sense of layered softness to a space, so for this weeks Five Finds I’ve rounded up my current faves for nailing your Fall style with ease.

1. LIMITED EDITION WAFFLE DIP DYE THROW. Available at www.aurahome.com; 140cm x 200cm, pricing available upon request.
The quickest indicator of the seasonal shift is the need for a blanket to wrap up with in the evenings. Not yet time for the heavy wool throws we crave during the winter months, this lightweight waffle version is the perfect transition piece. Made of 100% cotton, it offers a soft, breathable layer while the waffle act as little pockets to help train heat; the dip dye effect adds a hint of visual interest and keeps a fresh, modern feel.

2. VANCOUVER CANDLE CO. WEST COAST CANDLE. Available online at www.vancouvercandleco.com and various retailers; $42.
With their recently launched Great White North Collection, Vancouver Candle Co. offers a signature series of candles and diffusers handmade in chic all white vessels to represent the beauty of our country’s incredible landscape. The West Coast candle offers the inviting scents of fir, spruce and oak moss to evoke a woodsy, sweet ambiance; made with premium soy wax, perfume grade essential oils and boasting a 70 hour burn time,  this little flame naturally adds the warmth we're searching for this time of year. 

3. COLCA WOOL RUG. Available at West Elm, pricing varies by size.
A quick way to warm up a space for the season is to add softness underfoot. While I always love  the ease of bare floors during the summer months, I definitely look forward to breaking out my textured rugs for the cooler weather. Finished with a warm, neutral palette the Colca Rug suits any decor and lends itself as an easy transition from summer brights and whites; the natural fibres of the wool and cotton blend make it easy to clean and low maintenance, which is always something to consider when rug hunting. Not just beautiful, the Colca is a feel-good purchase as well: each rug is handcrafted by a Craftmark-certified artisan in India and is Fair Trade Certified™, which ensures the support for better living and working conditions for the artisans.

4. WHITE MUDCLOTH CUSHION - RHYTHM. Available at Nineteen Ten Home, $115.
While we keep it simple for the warmer months, Fall is the time of year to step up your pillow game. Adding in extra layers in varying finishes creates an inviting atmosphere for you (and your houseguests) to relax in; keeping on the vein of warm neutrals and natural fabrics, the White Mudcloth cushions offer up an ideal place to cozy into during the cooler evenings. The handmade, hand dyed block prints keep a playful edge to even a sophisticated decor and make each piece one of a kind. 

5. KLEIN REID MIHARA LARGE BOWL IN SULFER GOLD. Available at Provide Home; $390.
Texture isn’t just found in textiles - another easy way to amp up the visual interest and sense of layers within the home is through decorative accessories. I love the high impact tactile effect of this Mihara bowl from New York based studio, Klein Reid - the collection offers an organic take on pattern while the saturated neutrals of the sulphur gold colour way create visual warmth. Stunning craftsmanship is inherent in this unique piece, as the studio’s work is known for gallery and museum showings.

DESIGN SPOTLIGHT ON AMANDA HAINES OF REFORMATION PR

Spending her days creating beautiful content for lifestyle brands, it’s no surprise that Amanda Haines’ new digs are ultra drool-worthy. Making the shift to the North Shore from Mount Pleasant, Amanda and her husband have curated a space to call home that still satisfies their inner “city” spirit, yet offers a personal oasis to decompress. Check out how a mix of carefully selected decorative pieces, vintage family heirlooms and travel treasures have become the heart of their home in this weeks My Digs. 

What is it:
1.5 year old, 1008 square-foot, two bedroom/two-bathroom, two-level craftsman-style townhouse in Maplewood, North Vancouver.

Occupant:
Amanda Haines, founder + head of creative at Reformation - a modern public relations agency for lifestyle brands - her fiancé Joel Lazeski, territory manager at Carlsberg Group, and their puggle (pug/beagle cross), Dexter.

Major selling feature:
The nine-foot ceilings and the oversized windows. The natural light and ceiling height both lend such a spacious feel to our space - we fell in love with it the minute we walked through the door. It was bright, airy, and felt just like home. We made an offer two hours later.

First thing I changed:
The closets. I'm borderline minimalist and hate clutter, so I knew I wanted to keep things simple, especially when it came to furnishing the master bedroom. Instead of filling the space with dressers and other storage furniture, we hired Arbutus Furniture & Closets to install designer closets with built-in drawers, hampers, clothes-rails, and plenty of shelving so we could keep all our clothing, shoes, and personal items literally behind closed doors. 

Feature I brag about:
We're only 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver on a good traffic day, but we live next door to a farm. There is something magical about working in the city all day, and coming home to total peace, quiet, and the sound of horses and cows next door. I'm definitely a city girl, but I've come to appreciate the balance that our location offers, especially when I'm constantly on the go running a business.

That one conversation piece:
I'm notoriously picky, so we went without artwork on our walls for more than a year. One day, I came across an image on Pinterest of typeset artwork in simple black frames and I knew it was the perfect look for our living room. I stole the wording, "Steady my soul/Ease my worry," from my favourite Ryan Adams song, laid it out in Adobe InDesign, and had it printed for $30 at a local print shop. The words are a good reminder to slow down and unwind - exactly what our home is all about. We get a ton of comments about it from friends and family alike.

The decor:
Modern bohemian farmhouse. We really wanted to stay true to the design of the space, without going too rustic or kitschy. At the same time, since our lifestyle is so hectic, it was important to us to have a home that feels lived-in and comfortable. I worked with Kathleen Lin at The Cross Design & Decor to curate pieces that lend a breezy, laidback feel, with lots of white, texture, and greenery. It feels like a breath of fresh air every time we walk through the door.

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles:
Joel and I love to travel (this year alone, we've been to four European countries and Mexico), so we try to bring pieces home from our favourite places around the world, like glass fish floats from Hawaii and ceramics from Amsterdam. We also like to incorporate vintage items from our families. The old Crown Cork & Seal Company crate in our living room was rescued from Joel's parents' backyard in Summerland, and the stacks of vintage books in both bedrooms came from my grandmother's collection. Some of them have names and notes written inside. I find it fascinating.

Downsides:
The commute downtown is challenging. We live and die by traffic reports to know when to drive and when not to drive. We also have a confused owl that has taken up residence in the trees behind us - he hoots all day and sleeps all night! That's taken some getting used to.

Neighbourhood haunts:
Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers has become our regular Friday night date spot. We love walking over, Dexter in tow, and grabbing a table on the patio to snack on fresh-baked pretzels, beer, and cocktails made with their house-made vodka or gin. I often spend afternoons working from Buddha-Full at Northwoods - their Avo Smash is to die for!

Compared to your last place:
We rented our last home, a 750-square-foot penthouse in Mount Pleasant. It was a great spot, but it never truly felt like home. We love having more space, especially with a dog. The one thing we miss the most is our old patio - we had a 200-square-foot deck overlooking the False Creek Flats and North Shore mountains. It was incredible.

Favourite apartment/house/condo activity:
Sharing our space with family and friends. We love entertaining and hosting dinner parties with our nearest dearest. When we furnished our home, we made sure to choose a larger dining table and set up our second bedroom as a guest room so that we could have loved ones over as much as possible. It means the world to us to share it with them.

DESIGNING WITH LIFE: FIVE STYLISH HOUSEPLANTS TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR DECOR

When styling the perfect room, the details don’t stop with furnishings and hard finishes. For most designers, adding literal life to a space is essential and choosing the right greenery is just as important as the right piece of art. While we work on an aesthetic level and would love to choose all the details based simply on how they look, there are other considerations with plants  - light requirements, temperature limits, potential growth and definitely how much work they will be. This week I’ve shared my own go-to’s for indoor plants and weighed in with a few local creatives who have shared what their favourite houseplant to work with is, and why. 

1. Rachel Harrison of RoomCraft Design: The (indoor)  Palm

“Palms are a great way to bring the outdoors in. They add a tropical vibe to even the most urban home, which sets a relaxed and beachy tone,” Harrison explains. “I loved using this Butterfly Palm because I find it also keeps a visual reference of warmer destinations for future getaways and daydreams.”  

Light requirements: a bright room but no direct sunlight (they can actually get a sunburn!)

Watering: moderate, allow the top soil to become dry but do not overwater

Size: Butterfly Palms (aka Areca Palms) can grow up to 8ft indoors, so are an ideal space filler.

2. Erin Sousa of Sparkle Media: The Fiddle Leaf Fig
Erin shares, “I love the freshness that my Fiddlehead Fig brings into my living room - it’s the perfect shape and size to fill an empty corner, plus, it’s super modern and on trend!”

Light requirements: a bright room with minimal direct light (early morning direct light only)

Watering: moderate, allow the top soil to become dry but do not overwater; water less during the Winter months

Size: another great focal point for any space, the Fiddle Leaf can grow up to 9ft in height

3. Joy Leimanis of Spade & Pointer: The Succulents
“Succulents are a stylish and easy way to add plant life to any home,” Leimanis explains. As a greenery designer, she shares why these little plants are so versatile:  “I love working with succulents not only for their unique appearance, but also for ease of care. They  thrive on a sunny windowsill where other plants may suffer (as they would dry out too fast), require little water so they are low maintenance and they are less attractive to pests than many traditional house plants. Succulents are available in an array of colours, shapes and textures which can make for uniquely attractive planter combinations which add visual interest to any decor.”

Light requirements: bright window spots are best, especially if South or West facing. 

Watering: light watering. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Size: varies depending on type of succulent

4. My Pick: The Cactus
“I feel like in many ways the cactus is my spirit plant - I’m a sun-seeker, I love hot, dry temperatures and am adverse to the rain. My personal aesthetic currently has a very California desert vibe going on, so adding a variety of cacti really helps set that tone. The biggest bonus? These plants are almost impossible to kill… even during the Summer months they require very little water, and even less so while they are dormant in the Winter.”

Light requirements: your sunniest spot will do nicely - remember, these are desert plants. They can handle direct sunlight, but it’s best to turn the pot every so often so that all sides of the plant is receiving equal light (and to avoid burning one spot).

Watering: very minimal regular watering through the warmer months, and less watering during with Winter allows the plant to go dormant while it’s cool. Overwatering quickly causes rot within cacti.

Size: varies depending on type of cactus.

5. My Pick: The Bromeliad
“Design is all about texture, layers and details. That’s why I love using Bromeliads - they offer a lot of layers and organic movement, which makes each one a little different. With the larger varieties like this Urn Plant, I enjoy the presence they bring to a room… they feel somehow elegant and ominous at the same time. I find them a little tricky to get to flower, but once they do, it’s super cool and again, adds a whole new element of texture.”

Light requirements: very bright rooms with no direct sunlight

Watering: these are unique because you water the ‘vases’ created by the leaves (replace every 2-3 weeks) and only water the soil when it is dry to the touch

Size: typically grows up to 18in. in height (although this very mature urn plant has exceeded that)

STYLE SPOTLIGHT ON CELINA DALRYMPLE OF FABULOUS FURNISHINGS UPHOLSTERY

Fabulous design is the sum of it’s details. While there are many areas to ‘save’ on budget and score a deal, there are a few key elements that are worth the splurge. From a designer’s perspective, textiles and upholstered goods (especially the sofa) are perhaps across the board the items to put a little extra into… the quality, feel and longevity is worth investing in. Within the design community, our go-to resource for top notch upholstery (alongside custom built furniture and stellar window coverings) is Fabulous Furnishings. I sat down to chat with one of our industry’s sweethearts and serious boss babes - owner, Celina Dalrymple, about the history of this family business and how her love of creation keeps her at the top of her game. 

Tell us a little about yourself...
I am a furniture freak obsessed with perfection, proportion and textiles. For nearly 18 years have run a unique custom furniture and drapery manufacturing company carefully named " Fabulous Furnishings" with a talented crew by my side. 

How did you get started in your furniture manufacturing company what led you to where you are now? 
As a second generation upholster, and the child to entrepreneurs running this business is what I was meant to do. Over the years Fabulous has evolved into a very custom shop that works with some of Vancouver's top Designers and Architects. As things have shifted over the last few years, working more and more with the trade we have been putting together a new program geared towards simplify things for everyone. Stay tuned!  

What colour best describes your personality? 
Oh I love the perfect emerald green. It speaks to my glamorous side, and maybe to my envious side, but hey...I'm a Scorpio what can you expect! 

When it comes to style/design, what is the one thing you covet the most? 
Furniture or objects with personality. I love to think of the furniture I am working as having a personality or character that I am helping to bring out and let shine!

Do you have any predictions for the future of your industry?  
Folks going back to the roots of what is good and right.  People are definitely more conscious of sustainable furniture built locally, with local healthy materials, that will last generations. Thinking of our interiors in the way our parents generations did.  Investing in something of quality that will be passed down through generations and is worthwhile just recovering when you want to. Recently I read a post by local designer Kyla Ray about wanting to start a movement called #savetheantiques . I am in! 

How would you describe Vancouver’s artistic/creative community?
I feel us coming together to build a more prosperous community for everyone, shows like The ADDRESS ASSEMBLY are proof of that. Less competition, more alliance and everyone becomes better at what they are doing. I remember when I first started out, I needed guidance and had so much to learn. I knocked on the doors of my " competitors" and as the new kid on the block basically forced some of the older generation of upholsters into friendships and mentor-ship!  It has been a beautiful thing for the both of us through the years and has taught me how important it is to have a community. 

Some people collect old cameras & typewriters. Do you collect anything? 
Good humans. I like to think of there being this invisible umbrella over me and everyone being under the "fabulous umbrella". My crew/clients/delivery crew/suppliers etc. just collecting the good humans together with good vibes. And great earrings! 

What do you wish more people knew about artists?
That we bleed for our craft.

Do you have a favourite creative space? 
My big warehouse/studio.  I have a full carpentry shop, a studio loft with room to do whatever I want, an upholstery workroom with every tool you can think of, all the sewing machines and bits and bobs to put together anything together that tickles my fancy. 

If you could speak to a room of youth who were considering careers in the arts, what would your advice be?
Expect to work harder than you could ever imagine you could, then start to work smarter. Just keep your head down, put the blinders up and keep going. Eventually you'll have been doing what you are doing for so long that, A. you will be good at it and, B. everyone will know you for doing it. The rewards are great if you stick it out because you are able to sculpt your own future. 

Artistically, what is your favourite part of the city?
I am most inspired by the sculpture of nature which is why I worked my ass off to move my business and life to North Vancouver. I am so grateful to have the forest in my back yard. 

GETTING BOLD IN THE BEDROOM WITH THIS SEASONS HOTTEST BEDDING

Our homes are our personal sanctuaries, yet it seems that the first spaces to get attention with decor updates are the rooms that we share with the public eye and our houseguests. The entertaining areas of a house take top priority for design, with our intimate spaces often left last on a never ending list. One of the most essential elements to creating a haven for yourself at home is allowing focus to be placed on the private rooms that we look to for rest and rejuvenation. This week we are jumping into what the upcoming months are offering for sleeping in style; from the mattress to the covers, it looks like things are about to get bold in the bedroom.

1. Ted Baker London Pink Ombre Floral Collection; available exclusively at Hudsons Bay Company concessions. Prices available in store. 
This season marks the Canadian launch of fashion powerhouse Ted Baker London’s luxurious bedding line. With four different collections within the launch, the product lineup includes comforter sets, throw pillows and coverlets to either coordinate or mix and match to create the ultimate in on trend sleeping scenes. The pink floral collection embraces the summertime vibes with the ombre palette, while the oversized flower pattern carries the set into the height of Fall fashion. Stunning now yet enticing for the seasons to come, this collection hits all the high points of luxury bedding. 

2. Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase; available at www.slipsilk.com. Prices vary by size.
This is my number one secret weapon for a beautiful sleep (and wake up!). With over 20 years of our lives spent in bed, opting for a pillowcase that works hand-in-hand with our beauty routine feels like a no-brainer. The Slipsilk technology uses Grade 6A long fibre mulberry silk to reduce friction and retain your skin’s moisture to provide an anti-aging, anti-sleep-crease and anti-bedhead sleep… seriously, what more could you ask from a pillowcase?

3. Samantha Pynn X Simons Fall 2017 Collection; available exclusively at Simons. Prices available in store.
When an HGTV superstore launches yet another stellar home collection for one of Canada’s largest retailers, it’s time to pay attention and get ready for a revamp. Design darling of the TV world, Samantha Pynn, has just unveiled the upcoming Fall bedding line she designed for Simons; using fresh whites with patterned pops of colour, the pieces are an easy transition out of summer and will keep life bright in the bedroom well into the Winter months. The full collection will be available in store this September.

4. The Endy Sleep Mattress; available at https://ca.endysleep.com. Prices from $675.
No matter how stylish your sheets, without a good nights rest the bedroom is nobody’s haven; embracing the infamous “keep it simple” model, Endy is revolutionizing the way Canadians sleep. Offering just one mattress model (and similarly, one pillow) in a full range of sizes, the fully Canadian brand designed the ultimate place to sleep with four main principles in mind: comfort, firmness, temperature and motion. The mattress design has three levels  - a gel infused top coat for comfort and temperature control, and middle layer to gently transition energy from comfort to support, and a bottom layer of high-density foam to maintain optimal posture and support. The breathable, hypoallergenic and micro quilted cover - hand sewn in Montreal - is easily removable to make cleaning and care a cinch. 

5. Sheets on the Line Pure Linen Collection; available at www.sheetsontheline.com.au. Prices vary by size. 
The ultimate classic sheet, pure linen is a luxurious sleeping material as it keeps you cool in the warm months and warm when it’s cool outside. The organic, perfectly-imperfect aesthetics of linen bedding have made it a must-have favourite amongst designers for years, and is one of those magical materials that gets softer and more appealing over time and washings. Sheets on the Line offers a wide array of pure linen bedding, with generous top sheets that offer a wide border on all four edges (read: no more hunting for the top!) and tailored corners that allow it to look just as chic as a lightweight bedcover. Fitted sheets are designed with deep pockets to give space for even  pillow-top mattress.