Western Living Magazine
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A seaside space is transformed into a modern, masculine condo, perfect for entertaining.
Designer Gaile Guevara isn’t afraid to get personal with her clients, if the lengthy, surprisingly intimate questionnaire she issues at the start of each project is any indication (“I even ask who they like to date!” she laughs). It helped her understand why film industry marine coordinator Jason Crosby had moved to his new home base in Lonsdale (to be more accessible to his downtown friends) and the look he was dreaming of—something masculine and modern to accommodate his current lifestyle, but also a space that would encourage him to indulge passions that he had put on the back burner, like entertaining and travelling.The first step, though, was a complete overhaul of the 1,200-square-foot condo. Though the unit was only 12 years old, an awkward layout made a thorough renovation necessary. The wall closing off the kitchen was torn down, revealing grand views of the Lonsdale harbour and downtown Vancouver. “We’ve got a 180-degree view of the city. When you’re in the living room, you can see almost to Burnaby,” says Guevara. Crosby, in his line of work, spends most of his days at the harbour (“if you need anything done on the water for a movie, you call him,” explains Guevara), so throughout the space, she included subtle nods to life at sea: marine cleats work as a backdrop for a trio of Zoë Pawlak-commissioned paintings; colour-blocked throw cushions in oceanic blues pepper the down-layered, modular Camerich sofa; sleek silver pendant lights are hung at varied heights to look as if they’re bobbing like buoys on the waves. Crosby’s roommate—a sweet, 15-year-old golden Lab named Griffin—necessitated a dog-friendly colour scheme, but the lighter colouring—brushed white oak flooring, a nubby wool Paulig Salsa area rug—remains masculine thanks to rugged touches of leather (like the pair of mid-century chairs) and rich woods (the walnut bar stools in the kitchen).The tiny master ensuite was transformed completely from a tiny room with a three-by-three-foot shower and acrylic moulded tub into an open-concept bathroom. Now a soak in the new whirlpool tub is accompanied by incredible views of Whytecliff Park. A steam shower (smoked glass allows for a modicum of privacy) was added to the ensuite, too, though it wasn’t in the original budget. Guevara had suggested the shower as an optional upgrade, and now it’s a feature Crosby can’t imagine living without—much like the motorized shades, which were another last-minute addition. “There’s just so much window!” laughs Guevara. “Can you imagine opening and closing all those shades?”The living area is arranged to take advantage of the views those windows provide. “If you put the TV on the wall and had the sofa facing that, you’d lose the best part of the space,” explains Guevara. Instead, the television is installed between window frames on a wall painted black to provide a little camouflage for the set when Crosby’s not screening a favourite movie.Though he doesn’t cook frequently, the smartly designed kitchen is ready for action when Crosby is in the mood to entertain. Guevara kitted out the cook space with European-style appliances—a convection oven, 24-inch fridge and induction cooktop—and hid them where possible behind Ikea Akurum cabinets for a seamless look. And instead of creating a dedicated dining area, she extended the kitchen island to create an oversized dining bar, lit by chrome-plated pendant lights. With his new set-up, Crosby is entertaining more than ever—even hosting dinners for 20.When the party’s over and Crosby heads to the bedroom, the feature wall, papered with a simple, oversized world map, provides ample inspiration for dreaming about the future. “From the initial questionnaire, I sensed that he felt travel was missing from his life and that it was something he wanted to do more of,” explains Guevara. She responded to the revelation by installing this bold reminder. It seems like the message has been received; in the year since the renovation, Crosby has planned trips to Costa Rica, New York and South America. “Lots of people do a lot of things during a renovation just for resale value, but I always encourage people to do things for their home for themselves,” says Guevara. “Life is too short—if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing now, what’s the point?” See sources. OCEAN CALM A floating desk smartly stations a workspace in front of the oversized windows without blocking the natural light. Portrait by Evan Haveman. The television all but disappears into a black backdrop between windows that take in the view of Lonsdale. Handprinted cotton Unison pillows play off of the colours in the custom Zoë Pawlak seascapes that hang on marine cleats behind the cushy modular sofa. A traditional dining room is swapped out in favour of expanded island seating —and even Griffin the Labrador gets his own designated breakfast bar.
Rich textures rule in this North Vancouver bachelor pad: the raised pattern on the Hay throw blanket , a nubby wool rug, fluffy chevron-print Missoni towels and the low-slung, felt-upholstered bed add plenty of visual interest to a palette of ocean-inspired greys and blues. In the open-concept master ensuite, a driftwood stool with custom colour blocking (opposite, bottom centre) and a gallery wall backed by marine cleats nod to homeowner Jason Crosby’s work as a marine coordinator. The steam shower, enclosed in smoked glass and outfitted with black chrome fixtures, wasn’t in the original renovation plans, but today it’s one of Crosby’s favourite features of the new space.
Crosby’s office was designed with flexibility in mind. Friends can crash on the Softline daybed if they miss the last SeaBus, and a second Softline piece provides a spare seat or, with the addition of a round tray top, a modern side table. It’s all easily hidden by sliding a wooden door.
A light-up ice chest and plentiful seating—there’s Hay lounge chairs, long benches and a custom stump stool from designer Carol Kelley—would make this roomy patio an ideal spot for entertaining even without the stunning ocean views. Guevara created an instant living wall by hanging Wooly pockets and filling them with lush greenery from Cyan Horticulture.
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