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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

SMALL SPACE STYLE NAILED BY DESIGNER ANGELA ROBINSON

With our city’s housing market regularly hitting new peaks and density issues reaching full capacity, it’s a near guarantee that homeowners are looking for ways to maximize their homes and seek out creative ways to add livable space, whether for personal use or a secondary accommodation.

For many young families, the idea of affording their own house in Vancouver is just a dream and finding a space where family is close by seems like an event further stretch. When local interior designer Angela Robinson was approached by her clients - a young couple with a baby girl -  she was able to completely rediscover the non-existent basement of their parents  Kitsilano home to create a stunning space that innovatively offered both. 

As the ground was excavated to make room for a lower level suite, Robinson came up with a design plan that worked with the uneven terrain to allow for a functional space that gives no visual indication of it’s partial underground locale. “It’s kind of like two homes in one: the entire front is above grade, but the back is buried and windowless,” she explains.

For this renovation, it was all about location. Opting to situate the kitchen where many would think to locate the living space - the front of the house with all the windows - made an unexpected major difference to everyday life for the family considering it is the highest traffic room during daylight hours. Maximizing the space’s brightness in the kitchen and eating areas meant that Robinson had to get creative when looking to design a living room that didn’t feel like a cave; rather than building a traditional wall and door between the living room and master bedroom, a glass sliding wall was installed to allow the natural light from the bedroom carry through into the family space. Floor to ceiling drapery allows for privacy between the rooms when desired, but otherwise an open-concept feel to the suite.

When working with a small space (this unit is 1,200 sq. ft./two bedrooms) and limited natural light, the right colour palette is essential. To keep the space feeling airy with the illusion of more room, Angela went with an  all white finish. White walls and cabinetry elevate the feel of the natural light where it is available, and eliminate the enclosed vibe of the areas with no windows. While  to some, opting for all-white everything might seem anti-climactic, this space offers a chic graphic appeal as the bright white walls and ceilings are paired with sharp black accents throughout. Sleek black window frames, faucets, hardware and decor details create flow and continuity throughout the space that give depth and interest without overwhelming the suite. 

Smaller pops of blues and greens create a tertiary element through the artwork, which becomes a gallery-esque focal point against all white walls. To truly make the space feel personalized without adding clutter, the artwork is family-focused: an all-white-frame gallery wall of family portraits adorns the living room, while statement artwork in the nursery becomes more than just a stellar image, “it’s a photo of the island of Capri, which is the baby’s namesake” Robinson shares.

Through clever spatial planning and creative customized details, the designer was literally able to create a contemporary home-sweet-home out of nothing for this young family.  

DESIGN DARLING TIFFANY PRATT COLOURS VANCOUVER HAPPY

It’s always an exciting time for designers when the celebrities of our industry come to townto chat about the ins and outs of what we do; often we are looked to as the experts with all the style know-how, so it becomes a serious treat to have the opportunity to be inspired by our peers that we don’t often get to see. I love when the strongest design personalities hit Vancouver and bring a striking perspective to the relatively safe aesthetic Vancouver traditionally embraces. 

A true ‘Jane of all trades’ with all things style, Tiffany Pratt will be taking on our city’s muted design palette and making her premier appearance at the BC Home and Garden Show on February 25th and 26th; she will be hitting the show’s Main Stage to share her connection to rainbows and how it influences her renowned designs. Famous for her fearless approach to colour, Tiffany personifies the energy of bringing colour into your life through design.

As a colour-minimalist designer, I’m always intrigued by fellow creatives who embrace the full palette spectrum and make even the boldest colour pairings seem like the obvious choice. Tiffany’s inspiring use of brights and patterns have not only influenced designers like myself, but many decor-enthusiasts as well; Pratt has hosted numerous shows on HGTV and is a regular style expert on CityLine, through which avenues she encourages people to follow their imaginations to create spaces that are truly free from traditional design boundaries and speak to their personalities.

Guided by her connections to colour, Tiffany recently launched her first book entitled after her personal design mantra, “This Can Be Beautiful”. The vibrant pages take readers on a personal style journey via 45 beautifully photographed projects, ranging from home decor to DIY to styling a party. While I have an admitted weakness for design books, I particularly appreciate this publication because it shows readers how to use what we already have to create beautiful end-result items for the home; from refreshing your old sheets to giving new life to old wallpaper, Tiffany shows us how we can give our spaces a facelift without breaking the bank on design.

With a saturated creative expertise, Tiffany not only reigns in the interior design arena, but also has numerous product collaborations including stunning stationary and jewellery, as well as her own clothing line. From her interiors to her book to her various product lines, Pratt will be bringing elements of her multi-faceted style to our city for the upcoming BC Home and Garden Show, sharing themagic of rainbow palettes in all aspects of her designs in a must-see presentation.