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For the Kids Help Phone Homes for the Holidays tour, Kalu Interiors embraces at least one classic holiday ethos: more is always more.
All designer Phyllis Lui wants for Christmas… is more Christmas.
I'm a bit of a Christmas nut, laughs the co-principal of Kalu Interiors. At home It's over the top, and every year I'm changing and tweaking it.
Designers Phyllis Lui (left) and Aleem Kassam of Kalu Interiors, who decorated the home for Kids Help Phone's Homes for the Holidays in 2019.
Last year, her holiday dreams came true: as part of the Homes for the Holidays fundraiser for Kids Help Phone, she got the chance to decorate a whole second housea gorgeous contemporary home in Kerrisdale from builder VictorEricin full-on winter whimsy. And so, Lui and design partner Aleem Kassam leaned into her holiday obsession full-force, using the opportunity to embrace the season's allowance for over-the-top touches. You just cant be afraid to go bold and take risks, says Lui of her more-is-more holiday decor philosophy. It's hard to do it wrong.
On the dining table flower arrangements from Vancouver's Gilligan Girls on Main lean in to the pastel concept, while simple dishes from Pedersen's Event Rentals top golden placemats from Kerrisdale Lumber. Place settings here are topped with a macaron or a snow globe ornament. It's fun to use ornaments in a non-traditional context, says Lui.
With that in mind, Kassam and Lui veered away from classic red and green in favour of a pretty pastel palette of soft pinks and turquoises. The goal was whimsical glamour, explains Lui, a kind of surreal, fairy-tale feeling. Out of context, the colour story might not compute, but alongside flocked greenery, Christmas-y metallics (warm golds, sparkling silvers) and twinkle lights galore, It's downright dreamy.
String lights wrap the trees of course, but Lui and Kassam also added some to side tables around the room. I love layering lights, says Lui. Turn off all the lights and have the sideboard and tree lit, and it warms everything up.
The design duo also brought in elements like feathers, faux fur and glitter wherever possible, to add layers of texture. Traditional ornamentsmany from Lui's own stashare nestled into a giant flocked fir tree from Hunters Garden Centre alongside glittery, blush-pink poinsettias.
In the den off the entryway, Kassam and Lui embraced some winter wildlife: a pair of little polar bears live under a glass cloche, and a bowl of stuffed mice (You can put just about anything interesting in a bowl and It's an instant centrepiece, says Lui) is wrapped up with feathery garland.
Baubles arent constrained to the tree, however. Lui and Kassam have scattered them throughout the house: piled playfully in a mercury-glass bowl, positioned on bedside tables, dangling from the chandelier over the dining table and even scattered through the garland that wraps the stairway banister. Theyre even in the flower arrangements, laughs Lui. It's almost like the decorations themselves cant help but spill through the house to spread joyjust like Lui's own holiday cheer.
The designers kept it simple in the breakfast nook, with bows on the backs of the chairs and a small flower arrangement that matches the more festive florals in the living room.
The dangling pendant lamps in the stairwell just happen to look like Christmas ornaments: Kalu just added the garland (adorned with more ornaments, of course) and a pair of mini trees to enhance the holiday vibe. I feel like with Christmas, you've kind of allowed to go a little tackier, Lui laughs. Embrace stuff that's unexpected.
Upstairs, the holiday theme is continued subtly via soft pink, white and grey linens from QE Home in the bedrooms. In the girls rooms, the team at Kalu added tiny seasonal details, like little gift boxes on the nightstands, Christmas angel dolls and a macaron tree; in the parents suite, a simple wreath hangs over the headboard to signal the season.