"We moved into Robert Ledingham’s former office in Vancouver in 2015, and I cannot count the number of times I’ve looked at some aspect of the space and thought: Bob really did think of everything here. He designed it in 1986—and while we’ve made minor updates to the space, its layout and bones are both timeless and so thoughtfully considered.

It’s the fluidity of movement he’s designed here, the incredible sightlines. There are clerestory windows that are all facing north, so you have this wonderful painter’s light coming into the space. The way the rooms are articulated, the space feels so much larger than it is. And, of course, there’s ample wall space for artwork, which we have fully embraced. Together, all of these aspects form an environment that inspires and enriches the work that we do every day. When clients walk through the space, it sets the tone for a project and gets the team excited about all the creative possibilities. I feel very privileged to be here.

This space is really a reflection of Bob’s work. An incredible aspect about him was his passion for collaboration, drawing out ideas to always find improvements in a concept. He was such an elegant man in the way he worked with clients and the way he talked about a project; you could really visualize where he was taking you with his thought process. When I look at the projects we worked on together, Bob always had a way of creating spaces that were elegant, functioned beautifully and, above all, were timeless in their design."—Paul Sangha, Paul Sangha Creative

robert ledingham

Bob Ledingham passed away in 2013.

"Robert Ledingham elevated our understanding and appreciation of interior design on the West Coast. He worked with iconic architects, but Bob’s work really was interior architecture. He raised the standard of what we think about as interior design in Canada.

I have had the great honour of updating several his homes, and they are not easy homes to undertake. The reason is this: in a good design, once you remove one part of it, the rest of it must be reconsidered. If a design is tight, there’s no millimetre left unconsidered. His work was impeccable. If I am being asked to revisit one of his properties, it is really only because the finishes have finally exhausted rather than the design itself.

Robert brought a worldliness to his clientele that was not accessible at the time he was designing. He travelled the world, hunting for special pieces to build a collection of furniture, sculpture and artwork, and he would draw from that collection for his clients’ homes. Today this is still every designer’s dream—how incredibly special to bring that kind of love and consideration to the home.

Robert really brought West Coast interior design to the world, and raised the standard to which we aspire to work to in the city today."—Kelly Deck, Kelly Deck Design

John Sherlock/Western Living October 1984
Credit: John Sherlock/Western Living October 1984

In our October 1984 issue, writer Daniel Wood celebrated Ledingham’s architectural approach to interior design. For the Mandarin Hotel in Vancouver, Ledingham brought pattern and colour to a rich architectural background. 

"When I was promoted to editor-in-chief of WL back in 2010, I was honoured that Bob both wrote to congratulate me, and then offered to take me for lunch to one of his favourite spots. He was a legend, of course, and I’d worked with him a few times when he was a judge with our Designers of the Year awards, which he had been since their inception in 2008. But I realized very quickly during that lovely lunch over a decade ago that, despite his celebrity, he was really without ego or pretense. We went for pizza at the now-defunct Campagnolo restaurant, just around the corner from his office—and both the casual meal and the great conversation immediately put me at ease. I was in the presence of a design legend, but he never made me feel anything less than a friend and colleague, catching up over a slice and a glass of house wine."—Anicka Quin, editorial director

Dick Busher/Western Living October 1984
Credit: Dick Busher/Western Living October 1984

In an Edmonton penthouse, classic modern furniture designs pair with natural fabrics like suede, leather and mohair velvet.

"When I think of Robert Ledingham, I always think of his immense talent as a designer, but also as a businessman. It takes a lot to put a firm together, and he built such an iconic interior design firm. For all of us who have followed gingerly in his footsteps, he really set the bar at a very high level. I always think of him as being rather introverted, and it was proof that you can rise to the stature that he did without being gregarious. Everything he did to advance himself was done based on the quality of the work, and not a lot of peripheral noise.

He was such a champion of IDIBC and interior design as a profession, one that requires education, testing and registration, which really set him apart in the residential design category. He brought an intense professionalism to it.

He was really full spectrum in the way he worked, from art to decor pieces. I’m working with a client right now who worked with him, and we’re bringing some of his pieces from the previous home to the new home—and they’re so striking; they truly have great endurance.

In a way, he has had a strong influence on my work: the contemporary nature of his work, the refinement, the grace, the attention to detail, the architectural adherence. He always followed the forms of the architecture, and created architecture within a space—all of those ideas that rattle around in my brain every day. I try to formulate the same kind of substantive and time-enduring work that he did so well."Robert Bailey, Robert Bailey Interiors

Martin Tessler/Western Living July 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living July 2015

In WL’s July/August 2015 issue, Ledingham’s partner, architect Robert Lemon, wrote about their vacation home for more than 30 years, Estergreen.

Martin Tessler/Western Living July 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living July 2015

“It was at our rural retreat where we relaxed both our design differences and our souls,” wrote Lemon of Estergreen. “My late partner and I had shared this beautiful patch of northern Whatcom County since we met in 1981.”

Martin Tessler/Western Living July 2015
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living July 2015

Another snapshot of Estergreen.

To read about more great people, designs, homes and innovations that shaped Western Living, click here.