Small Spaces
Jul 13, 2016

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

By: Iris Benaroia
A couple trades their suburban home for a city condo

Tour this chic and stylish condo. Author: Janis Nicolay

Small Spaces
Jul 13, 2016

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

By: Iris Benaroia

Downsizers trade their house in the sticks for the prettiest pared-down condo in the city – and they don’t miss their old digs one bit.

 

With their enviable nooks and crannies, most suburban houses can handle the extras. You know, the useless bits that gobble up space: the family china passed down through the ages or a dusty treadmill dying a slow death. Shove them into a corner and no one is the wiser. But in a condo, space is a coveted commodity. Every item must count and every design decision must be carefully executed, as it is in Janice and Colin Dreyer’s 1,600-square-foot abode. Located on the fourth floor of a new-build boutique high-rise in Vancouver, the unit is vastly different from their previous home, which was nearly double the size. The couple, a pair of empty nesters in their 60s, knows about “stuff” first-hand. For 30 years, they lived on the outskirts of the city – first in Cloverdale, where they raised three children, and then in their last house in South Surrey for 10 years – slowly accumulating a lifetime of belongings. And it’s been a relief to finally purge. “I got rid of almost all of it,” says Janice, who confidently announces: “Honestly, I don't miss a thing.”

The couple didn’t have to search far to find the right person to decorate the condo. Their daughter is designer Karla Dreyer, who heads up an eponymous firm in Vancouver. In addition to providing interior services, Karla offers beautifying help virtually with her e-decor program. But for her parents’ home, she worked in the flesh, fast and furiously passionate, over a three-month period. “They really wanted it done quickly because they were excited to start their third act in life,” says Karla. The bones of the space served as inspiration. “The windows – there are a ton of them – and the white-tiled floors really lent themselves to decorating in a light, airy way,” says Karla. The springtime palette of pretty pastels makes the condo sparkle with youthful freshness. “Pastels can come off as juvenile, so the trick is to incorporate them in a sophisticated fashion,” says the designer, who tempered them with glam gold accents and a bright white shell. “I love how the soft colours evoke a joyful vibe.”

Clearly they have also influenced the occupants, who are adjusting brilliantly to city life. Says Janice, “Living with less is great.” Should a bout of nostalgia hit, however, she can always visit a selection of precious pieces she salvaged from the suburbs. “I did take out a storage unit for small items I was unsure about,” says Janice. None of them have made it back into the condo.

Photo Gallery

prev next 1 of 6

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

Lovely living space

When Janice and Colin Dreyer purchased their new condo, they knew exactly who to turn to for decorating help: their designer daughter Karla. In the living area, she decided to incorporate gold touches and coral accents for a decidedly youthful feel. “My parents are pretty stylish, so the decor represents them well,” says Karla, who believes design shouldn’t subscribe to ageism.

By: Iris Benaroia Source: Stye at Home Credits: Janis Nicolay

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

Chic wallpaper

Janice loves birds, so Karla went with an avian theme, expressed here in one area of the condo via the wallpaper featuring hummingbirds in flight, the brass sculptures on the chest and the witty painting by local talent Zoë Pawlak.

By: Iris Benaroia Source: Stye at Home Credits: Janis Nicolay

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

Dining area

"I’m used to having lots of wall space, so dealing with all the windows was tricky,” says Karla. But this spot was perfect for the dining area, allowing the couple to take in the sights over a meal. The Tulip-style table paired with mismatched chairs is fun.

By: Iris Benaroia Source: Stye at Home Credits: Janis Nicolay

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

Making room for electronics

Accommodating the 63-inch TV (a must for Dad) meant Karla had to get crafty because it dominated the room. “It’s a monster,” she says with a laugh. “The living area only has one wall, so I had to place the television there. I camouflaged its looming presence with some pretty wallpaper, which I think worked out well.”

By: Iris Benaroia Source: Stye at Home Credits: Janis Nicolay

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

Master bedroom

Layered in champagne hues and captivating textures, such as the faux-fur throw and the cushy velvet headboard, the master bedroom is inviting and luxurious.

By: Iris Benaroia Source: Stye at Home Credits: Janis Nicolay

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city

Home office

The home office, situated in the solarium just off the master bedroom, is simple yet perfectly functional.

By: Iris Benaroia Source: Stye at Home Credits: Janis Nicolay

 

Share X
Small Spaces

A pair of empty nesters trade their suburban home for a pretty condo in the city