Photography: Tracey Ayton
With a plan in hand and some professional guidance, these homeowners take the reins of the modern design of their spacious new home.
Wing Lau and Kevin Teo bought their first Vancouver condo because of its easy access to work and the downtown amenities – charming restaurants, chic boutiques, art galleries and more. The problem? The one-bedroom-plus-den was a tight fit for the young couple and their two dogs. “We were barely ever home because it was so cramped,” remembers Wing. Add the fact that they were recently married and planning to expand the family, and 600-square-feet wasn’t going to cut it. For these IT professionals, though, a house wasn’t the answer. “That’s too much maintenance,” says Wing.
The solution was moving to a larger condo – a new build with panoramic views and breathing room thanks to a second bedroom and bathroom, as well as a den. Being a blank slate, however, it lacked character. “We found someone to inject some flair into the place,” says Wing, referring to designer Jamie Deck of Shift Interiors.
After researching Jamie’s work online, Wing realized the company was a great fit – and not just because she liked her style. Wing is hands-on when it comes to her home. A decor enthusiast and avid DIYer, she needed a design partner, not a leader, and Jamie’s firm allows homeowners to buy blocks of time to customize the level of service, from light guidance to full execution. So Wing requested Jamie’s advice on layouts and furniture selection, and then chose her favourites. She did much of the shopping and implementation herself.
Central to the 24th-floor condo are the living-dining area’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which showcase mountain views. They’re what sold the couple on the home and naturally became a central focus for the open-concept main living area. The room’s muted colour scheme provides the perfect frame for the vista – and also reflects Wing’s personal palette. “I only ever wear black, white or grey,” she says. “So it was an easy choice.”
With its seamless modern scheme, the kitchen was another selling point for Wing and Kevin, and required no design updates. “We got lucky that this kitchen already had a look we both love,” says Wing. The cabinet fronts and island base boast a unique striated grain in warm grey and cool taupe that lends the space artistic interest and texture all on its own – no extra design flourishes required.
Though Wing had originally wanted a concrete-look accent wall in the dining area, they were concerned it would compete with the kitchen. So they settled on a dining room gallery wall – which Kevin took total ownership of – and created the feature wall in the master bedroom instead. Complementing the concrete-look surface, a custom fabric-covered headboard that stretches the entire length of one wall visually widens the space and offers a structured, unfussy vibe.
In their new space, the couple feels proud and happy. There's something gratifying about executing a flawless design as an amateur, even when it's with significant help from a professional. Though the idea of a forever home isn't something they can commit to right now, this will be their domain for at least five years. "Until we outgrow it," says Wing, "or my design bug bites again." Maybe next time she'll brave it on her own.
Homeowners Wing Lau and Kevin Teo didn’t need designer Jamie Deck’s help in designing their gallery wall. Wing has been pinning favourite pieces for years and opted for a combination of personal photos and low-cost prints. Kevin was in charge of installation. “We had painters’ tape all over the floor and outlining the gallery wall to make sure the configuration was right,” says Wing of organizing the graphic black and white pieces in the dining room.
Wing swapped the condo’s living and dining areas to create a larger and more functional living room. After all, it has to handle the couple’s two dogs and, at some point, kids. The carpet was chosen in part for its low, easy-to-clean pile (so the battle against dog hair isn’t too taxing).
For Wing, it was important to mix high and low pieces. The Parsons dining table, for example, was a total splurge. The couple saw the piece in Seattle, fell in love with it and returned to the city two months later to haul it home in the family van. It’s something Wing plans to hang on to for a long time: “My future kids will probably spill on the table,” says Wing with a laugh. “But we’re okay with that.”
Prior to purchasing any furniture, the couple brought home fabric swatches to ensure everything matched with the kitchen cabinetry. “With its interesting grain, it almost plays the role of a feature wall,” says Wing. So it dictated what she and Kevin did with the rest of the space. “We couldn’t choose anything that competed with that.”
The kitchen is the literal and figurative centre of the apartment: It overlooks the living and dining room, benefits from the stunning view out the floor-to-ceiling windows and is a place Wing and Kevin spend a lot of time, doing everything from cooking breakfast to entertaining company.
Jamie suggested multiple furniture configurations for the master bedroom, but they settled on a set-up that takes advantage of the mountain views. The space is a lesson in how to create a successful high-low mix: The head-board was custom-made by Shift Interiors, but Kevin painted the concrete-look feature wall himself. The bedding and toss cushions are big-box-store finds.
With its simple mirror, metal console and wooden stool, the entryway announces the muted palette present throughout the space. Floating circular hooks offer a functional yet chic place to hang coats.
The bathroom echoes the kitchen with the same seamless cabinetry, but the countertop adds another layer of pattern that the kitchen lacks, proving it’s easy to be more daring with design in closed-off spaces. His and hers sinks allow for stress-free mornings.
Traditional style home is given an industrial vibe a la Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton flips this Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles house into an industrial-style home and it's on the market.
Something's gotta give and it's this Pacific Palisades home, which was just flipped by Diane Keaton, Oscar-winning actress and interior design lover.
The property sits at just over 10,000 sq. ft. with the home itself at 7,800 sq. ft.
With an edgy and industrial vibe, this traditional style home has 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a gorgeous pool and a home theatre. And it can all be yours for $6,995,000!
If you can't wait to move in, check out the details and listing here:
The simple exterior of this home is no match for what's inside.
Large block numbers identify the house, even from the road, and also divide the greenery and brick to create a welcoming entrance to the house.
Because of ample natural lighting the foyer has a calm, relaxing vibe.
The dining room features large, industrial-style chandeliers.
The black and white palette seems to be a predominant theme in this home - and we're not complaining!
The furniture throughout the house has a rustic, lived-in feel while dark wooden floors are featured in every room.
With a large kitchen island and lots of counter space, hosting and cooking in this kitchen would be a dream.
Paired with white walls the dark hardwood floors definitely stand out in this home.
The modern fireplace in this master suite fades into the background while still creating a cozy feeling in this space.
Jars and baskets help keep your bathroom organized and counters clutter-free.
Another pop of bold lettering stands out in this bright and airy guest room. The space is one of the few rooms featuring lighter floors.
The vanity in this bathroom has built for storage and the details make it a fun bathroom for children and teens.
Large typography prints are found all over this home, even in the large wine cellar.
Red furniture and dim walls replicate the perfect home theatre. Add some throw pillows and a bag of popcorn and you won't even realize you're still at home.
Throughout the house bold numbers, letters and typography are featured. This has created a constant industrial vibe to most rooms. Keep one bold colour, a fun pattern or special message carried through each room for optimal flow.
This office space is great if you're looking for inspiration. The metallic accents in the room make the space edgy and will have you itching to get in there and work on your projects.
The backyard is green, gorgeous and features a large pool. More lettering adds a hotel-feel to the yard, making this the perfect hosting spot during summer months.
Image: Michael Nangreaves / Production: Christine Hanlon
Can you tell the difference between the high end and low budget Scandi-inspired dining room?
This eclectic Scandi-inspired dining room was crafted on budgets befitting a snug cabin and a luxe chalet. Can you tell the difference?
1 Mirror, Elte, $995; 2 Wallpaper, Thibaut at Kravet Canada, $126 per single roll; 3 Pendant light, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $150; 4 Pendant light, Universal Lamp, $585; 5 Dining table, Mobilia, $999; 6 Dining chairs, Art Shoppe, $499 each; 7 Ottoman, Elte, $1,195; 8 Rug, Wayfair.ca, $1,682; 9 Dining chair, Casalife, $1,100; 10 Tablecloth fabric, Designer Fabrics, $45 per yard; 11 Box, Elte, $1,795; 12 Table lamp, Universal Lamp, $830.
1 Mirror, Elte, $525; 2 Wallpaper, Thibaut at Kravet Canada, $97 per single roll; 3 Pendant light, Canadian Tire, $70; 4 Pendant light, Union Lighting and Furnishings, $450; 5 Dining table, EQ3, $599; 6 Dining chairs, IKEA, $99 each; 7 Ottoman, Elte, $775; 8 Rug, IKEA, $299; 9 Dining chair, Casalife, $484; 10 Tablecloth fabric, Designer Fabrics, $9 per yard; 11 Box, Elte, $825; 12 Table lamp, Universal Lamp, $315.
No matter your budget, there are a few design tips that will help you create an on-trend room like either of these.
Master the art of mixing: When modernism meets minimalism, a chic Scandi look is born. But don’t be fooled – this design aesthetic is far from predictable. Take cues from the sought-after style, as we have in our High and Low rooms, by mixing and matching furnishings, pairing sculptural black chairs with a sleek wooden one of similar build and then tossing in an über-plush ottoman for an unexpected touch of texture. Staggering light fixtures that vary in hue and scale strikes the ultimate stylish cord.
Pick accents that never go out of style: Glam brass accents will never fall out of fashion. It’s a notion contributing design editor Christine Hanlon stands behind: “I’ve purchased beautiful vintage brass pieces over the years, and I always have them on hand to add warmth and character to a display,” she says. She suggests scouring flea markets for hidden gems that do double duty, such as her footed bowl that also serves as a planter.
Try a DIY napkin project: Give a soft, organic feel to a modern tablescape with DIY frayed napkins. Cut your preferred size from a piece of linen and run the fabric through the washer to naturally fray the edges. Once it’s dry, pull at the ends with your fingers to emphasize the worn appearance. Juxtapose the look with sleek, bold flatware.
Dare to go wild with wallpaper: With a pared-back, monochromatic design as our starting point, adding a hit of flavour in the form of this chinoiserie wallpaper came easy. Though the two styles don’t typically go hand in hand, the room’s clean-lined aesthetic lets us get away with it.
Not sure where to start? Go with the most important piece in the room, the dining table. Streamlined and slender, these Scandinavian-influenced dining tables are striking in their simplicity. Any one will bring raw and rustic appeal to your dining room, whatever your budget. Check out our six top picks in the slideshow below.
Walnut-veneered MDF Thao with rubberwood legs, Structube, $249.
Lisabo in Ash Veneer, IKEA, $259.
Lena Mid-Century dining table - large, West Elm, $499.
Stained acacia Kacia, EQ3, $599.
Walnut-veneered MDF Sareen with beech legs and antique brass caps, Mobilia, $999.
Sealed walnut Catalina, Casalife, $4,143.
Take a tour of this classic farmhouse laundry room.
Draw decor ideas from this stylish country-inspired laundry room.
“I wanted a place where I would enjoy doing laundry, but at the same time, it had to be functional,” says Fort Langley, B.C.-based designer Kelley McNamara. To create order, she settled on lower cabinets with deep drawers instead of shelves to maximize space and provide easy access to oft-used items like detergents and stain removers.
To lend her laundry room country character without breaking the bank, the designer opted for inexpensive white and grey porcelain floor tiles set in a checkered pattern. This helped justify her decision to splurge on handmade glazed terracotta backsplash tiles, which add interesting texture to the space – especially when the light shines in through the nearby window.
A patterned linen Roman shade injects subtle personality into the room. Other thoughtful accents, such as elegant corbels, sturdy baskets and glass apothecary jars, elevate the classic farmhouse look further.
When you have two children who play sports, unwashed items tend to pile up quickly. The solution? A rolling laundry sorter. “We each have our own bag, and the kids know to throw their clothes in once they’re done playing,” says Kelley. “It works perfectly!”
5 ways to get the look in your own laundry room
1 Brass 4-inch semi-flush Eastmoreland light fixture in Polished Nickel, Rejuvenation, $255 US.
2 Honey-Can-Do quad laundry sorter, Walmart, $140.
3 Behr Seagull Gray N360-1 paint, The Home Depot, prices vary.
4 Nexus self-adhesive vinyl floor tile in White (12" x 12"), O.co, $23 per pack of 20.
5 Classic extra-large glass canister, Pottery Barn, $44 US.