The thing about a home with a bad layout is that you appreciate a renovation all the more when it’s done.

“We took out pretty much all the walls on the main floor,” laughs Katie Maudsley, principal of Vancouver’s Mave Interior Design Studio. The homeowners had been living in the basement suite of their Coquitlam home for seven years, hiding from the mess of a layout that was the main floor. But at a certain point, enough was enough, and they tapped Maudsley to come in and make things right.

The dining room, for instance, used to be a nook of a family room, and the kitchen started as half the size. “There were lots of 45-degree walls. The main powder room door hit the toilet. The mudroom was just unusable,” recalls Maudsely. The interior was also chockablock with oh-so-‘90s details: think glass blocks lining the entry door and white glossy cabinets. Everywhere you looked, there was evidence that it was time for a fresh start.

Before: A Super-’90s, Super Awkward Design

Mave Interior Design Studio coquitlam renovation

And so, demolition began to give the designer a blank slate for a floorpan that made sense for a busy family. The kitchen, living and dining room were reconfigured and vastly improved. Once Maudsley blew out the walls, though, they had room for a double island: perfect for entertaining. “They have a huge family and host Christmas so to have the extra dining seating and extra island space for serving was amazing,” says Maudsley. White oak veneer cabinetry (in a streamlined reimagining of a shaker style) and Caeserstone countertops create a welcoming vibe. A new picture window overlooks Golden Ears.

The exterior got a makeover too. “It used to be this bright baby blue–it was kind of the ‘famous blue house’ on the street,” recalls Maudsely. It was time for a rebrand: she painted it a sophisticated cream tone with black accents. (You’ll find that colour combo echoed in the mudroom and bathroom cabinetry.)

After: A Fresh, Modern New Layout and Look

A new living room makes space for storage and display. Photo: Giorgio Locatelli
Photo: Giorgio Locatelli
Photo: Giorgio Locatelli

A new layout allowed space for four bedrooms instead of three, and the parents room now has a roomy walk-in closet. Storage was added “everywhere,” laughs Maudsley. Engineered white-oak floors have a “super-extra-durable” titanium finish on top, explains the designer. “They’ve got two kids and a gigantic golden retriever, so they were very concerned about durability.”

Two islands provide plenty of room for serving and eating. Photo: Giorgio Locatelli

In the living area, Maudsley incorporated more storage for the kids’ toys as well as space to display family photos and decor pieces. A custom porcelain slab keeps the look from leaning too traditional, though it’s mitred to create some depth. A sofa from Van Gogh was “the biggest one we could get in the space,” she says. “It’s the home base of the house, where everyone can get cozy watching the game or whatever.”

Of course, as practical as many of the family’s choices were, Maudsley directed them towards plenty of fun and personality too. Case in point: the playful tiles you’ll find in the powder room and mudroom, and the ceramic lights sourced from Etsy.

The dining room features more built-in storage. Photo: Giorgio Locatelli

Upstairs, a new laundry room (closer to the bedrooms) was installed, and the ensuite was reformatted for improved efficiency, scrapping an inconveniently placed nine-foot-long tub and awkward shower and surprising everyone by replacing them with a hidden nook for the toilet, a soaker tub, roomy vanity and luxurious shower. “It’s amazing what a good layout can do,” says Maudsley.

A smart layout made the most of the ensuite. Photo: Giorgio Locatelli

The laundry room. Photo: Giorgio Locatelli
The mudroom. Photo: Giorgio Locatelli