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Designer Gillian Segal brings home the Festival of Lights in glorious silvers, whites and blues for the 2020 Kids Help Phone Homes for the Holidays tour.
Photos by Janis Nicolay.
When Gillian Segal designed this bright and airy home in Vancouver for her family back in 2016, it was just the two of them—Gillian and her husband, Adam. But the space has always been intended for hosting a big crew: Adam comes from a large family, so dinner parties are usually a the-more-the-merrier affair. And since they moved in, the couple’s own little brood has grown too. They’re now a family of four, with three-year-old toddler Gigi, and baby Coco, who happily came along in April of 2020.
A striking modern pendant light from Lindsey Adelman is swagged over a vintage, ’70s-era console in the entryway. Segal brought olive branches throughout the home as part of her Hanukkah decor, as in these garlands.
The room-to-move design is probably best seen at this time of year, when Hanukkah celebrations bring the family together—if more distanced this year than in times past. “I grew up celebrating Christmas with my family, and I converted to Judaism after I met my now-husband,” she says. “When we started celebrating Hanukkah, I felt unsure how to make it feel festive—so I wanted to do my own interpretation of what it could look like.”
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The dramatic floral arrangement over the fireplace was designed by Hana by Celsia Floral, and spray-painted in silvers and blues for Hanukkah.
She went intentionally “all-out scale,” she laughs, for last year’s Homes for the Holidays, a fundraiser for Kids Help Phone that ran virtually in 2020. The traditional colours of Hanukkah are white, silver and blue, so Segal worked with the florist Hana by Celsia to spray-paint large arrangements in those shades, and placed a particularly dramatic asymmetrical piece over the green marble hearth.
In the living room, a custom sectional from Fabulous Furnishings pairs with a Cassina coffee table, on a richly textured area rug from East India Carpets.
“A big part of the story of Hanukkah was celebrating and using foods fried in oil, so there is a big focus on olive oil,” says Segal. “There was just enough oil for one night, yet it lasted eight.” To bring that tradition home, she placed olive branches throughout the house, including in the garland that runs up the stairs.
While the space has both formal and more casual moments, all of the upholstered pieces on the main floor were covered in either indoor-outdoor or high-performance fabric—perfect for a young family that tends to be tough on fabrics. The chandelier is designed by Vancouverite Randy Zieber, and the table by Christian Woo.
As it turns out, that olive-tree focus just happens to fit perfectly with the design of the home itself, that mossy green nodding to the olive-green powder room, the sage-green marble on the fireplace and the area rug in the main room.
As designers are often wont to do when creating their own space, Segal kept her design focus broad and brought in what she loved—without worrying too much about one design style or another. “I couldn’t commit to modern or traditional,” she says. “I wanted it to be a blend of both: a contemporary home with the warmth I feel from more traditional spaces, those traditional details.”
The millwork is a cerused oak, a process in which the grain in the wood is filled in with wax. Once It’s stained, the graining shows up whiter and a little more pronounced than it would with a classic stain.
During Hanukkah dinner and beyond, Segal’s pairing of design styles is elegantly displayed in the striking modern pendant light from Lindsey Adelman that’s swagged over a vintage, ’70s-era console in the entryway; in the curvy design of her custom sofa from Fabulous Furnishings, which pairs with an elegantly modern coffee table from Cassina in the living area; and in the selection of artwork that gathers behind the banquette in the eating nook. Beside a ’50s-era mirror her mother salvaged from a construction site is a random assortment of art and photos that Segal loves. “It’s a mixture of mostly prints that I really like, that spoke to me,” says Segal. “Nothing is super expensive, some of the pieces are local artists, and the only personal piece is one photo of my grandpa. It’s a picture of him on his volleyball team—we’re Latvian, and he was living in a refugee camp.”
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In Gigi’s room, Segal brought in a playful and tree-filled mural from Lulu and Georgia for the walls, and a dresser from Made Goods.
Local makers are featured throughout: the dining area chandelier is from artist Randy Zieber, its alabaster discs creating a soft glow over the table in the evenings, and the 12-seater dining table is a piece from Vancouverite Christian Woo. Together, they create the perfect space for hosting the whole family: Gillian, Adam, Gigi, Coco and the rest of the gang, once it’s safe for everyone to gather again. While the Hanukkah festivities come just once a year, It’s a space made to be celebrated the year round.
Cole and Son wallpaper lines one wall of the kids’ playroom and Ikea PS cabinets provide storage for toys.
This story was originally published on November 19, 2020.
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