The ’90s R&B group TLC may have cautioned against chasing waterfalls, but renovating them into a cozy dream home? Well, that’s another story.

Vancouver’s Waterfall building (designed by the great Arthur Erickson) became an instant icon when it was built in 2001. The interiors of the lofts, however, have not weathered the passage of time quite so well. Still, when healthcare professionals Frank and Alicia saw the high ceilings and concrete walls of their 1,189-square-foot unit, they saw beyond the impersonal feel, and knew the loft could become the cozy home of their dreams. And so, the couple reached out to Jeffrey Liu, founder of Jeffrey Liu Studio, to help the space reach its full potential.

Before: The Concrete Jungle

The loft was a blank canvas—a sea of concrete, with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. The kitchen was functional but lacked personality, with the cooktop tucked away against a wall; the primary ensuite, meanwhile, was cramped, with a single sink and limited storage. All in all: the space was begging for a transformation.

All in the Details: It’s the little things that make a space special. The kitchen island’s dark quartz countertop and matte black faucet and fixtures contrast beautifully with the open walnut shelving, while the chic Jamaica Stools add a touch of Barcelona cool. Photo: Jeffrey Liu

The Transformation: A Full Renovation

Liu and his team, including G2C Contracting and Platinum Millwork, embarked on a full renovation in early 2022. “Frank was incredibly easy to work with,” Liu shares. “He had a palette in mind—he wanted something dark and moody. That was his only kind of instruction.”

Cooking with a View: Who said cooking can’t be a social affair? With the cooktop now on the island, the chef can whip up meals while chatting with guests and soaking in the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Photo: Jeffrey Liu
Photo: Jeffrey Liu

After: The Waterfall Loft

The loft is now truly personal—a space worthy of the legendary architecture that encloses it. The kitchen island is the star of the show, with the cooktop relocated to face the floor-to-ceiling windows. “We wanted to create a space where Frank could entertain while cooking,” Liu explains. A full-height bar with open walnut shelving and integrated lighting adds a touch of sophistication. The thin shelving profile with integrated lighting adds a layer of refinement to balance the thick counters and concrete surfaces of the kitchen island.

Living in Style: The Neo sectional sofa and U Turn chair by Bensen set the stage for comfort, while the vibrant Bicoastal rug from CB2 adds a pop of colour and would serve as the foundation for the space. The Discocó ceiling light by Marset and the Tolomeo Mega Floor Lamp by Artemide illuminate the space, and a vintage Cognac Jacquet poster (a souvenir from the homeowner’s trip to Hawaii) adds a dash of retro charm. Photo: Jeffrey Liu

On the upper level, the hallway wall was extended and the laundry closet was relocated. This allowed for the ensuite door to be shifted to the south side, creating a better sense of privacy for the owners. Now, the expanded primary ensuite includes a second sink and additional vanity storage, and increase of both open and closed storage. A full-length mirror adds a touch of luxury. “We wanted to create a space that was both functional and beautiful,” Liu says.

Refined Retreat: The expanded ensuite now features a secondary sink and added vanity storage, enhancing functionality. The Silestone counters (same as in the kitchen) and the pebble effect of the Mirage tiles create a serene backdrop, while the Bocci 57t table lamp adds a touch of elegance. Photo: Jeffrey Liu

The loft’s industrial roots are still evident, but they’ve been softened with warm, inviting touches. A dark quartzite countertop contrasts beautifully with a matte embossed stack mosaic white Stone Tile backsplash in the kitchen, while indirect lighting adds a soft glow to the space. “I think the trick is to add texture into the space to add that bit of coziness,” Liu explains.

Cozy Comfort: The bedroom is a haven of tranquility, featuring a Dino nightstand by Fiam Italia and a 73t table lamp by Bocci. The Beam lamp by Muuto adds a modern touch, while the low-voltage linear track lighting by Flexa lighting creates a warm, inviting ambiance. Photo: Jeffrey Liu

The Result: A Dream Come True

Thanks to Liu’s touch, this renovated Waterfall Loft is now a testament to the power of thoughtful design. It’s a space that embraces its industrial roots while offering a warm, inviting place to call home. And for Frank and Alicia, it’s more than just a loft—it’s a dream come true.

Photo: Jeffrey Liu

Liu’s advice for those looking to achieve a similar look? “Develop a minimal palette that works throughout the space. Don’t go too crazy with colours and different finishes. Let the architecture shine through.”

Photo: Jeffrey Liu