"I wanted the '50s, but I wanted clean and new," says Douce Diner interior designer Timi Fuller. The renovation of this North Vancouver restaurant was her first commercial project, but the owner had total faith in Fuller—partly because this self-taught designer had 10 years of experience in residential projects, but also partly because family matters. Owner and chef Dawn Doucette had no trouble giving her sister, Fuller, the reins when it came to design. In fact, once Doucette designed the menu and Timi designed the restaurant, it was Doucette's husband Nino Giangrande who constructed it. From the very start, this 1,000 square-foot space was all hands on deck.

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The transformed space has retro-feminine vibes, with graphic wallpaper, a muted pastel palette, and a hand-lain coin tile floor. Wherever she could, Fuller sourced unique or secondhand pieces from Etsy or Craigslist, which kept costs low but also gave the breakfast joint a one-of-a-kind feel. The statement wallpaper and antique pink lights were both Etsy finds, the former from Montreal and the latter from Greece. Both the table legs and the counter stools were kept from the former cafe. A neon "Hello Sunshine" sign in Fuller's own handwriting hangs over the bar, another Etsy score from an artist in Edmonton.

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White subway tiles, star-shaped cabinet handles and an eclectic collection of vintage toys and vases give Douce Diner a friendly edge. Fuller's design is airy, but the process wasn't a total breeze: "Nino fought me on the lights," she laughs, remembering her brother-in-law's hesitation to hang the bubblegum-pink crescent moon lights. Colourful and cozy, the diner is a welcoming space from top to tile—check out more pictures below:

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