Western Living Magazine
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Designers of the Year 2023: These Are Your All-Star Interior Design Judges
A designer is given carte blanche to create a perfect homeand to imagine a family to match.
When interior designer Andrea Robinson first took on this three-storey Michael Green Architecture-designed Vancouver townhouse (part of the Sixth and Steel development), she was handed the ultimate blank slate: no owner, no pre-existing interior design to work with and no renovations needed. “It’s fun in that sense because we create the client ourselves,” Robinson explains. “And we get really involved in creating a character, right down to imagining what kind of books they read and art they like, so that it feels as authentic as possible, rather than just a bland beige.”With their figurative family soon in mind—a father and his teenage son, with a passion for art, photography, music and entertaining—it was time to bring their dream home to life. For Robinson, this meant making the most of the main level’s skinny, open-concept layout: a light grey Bensen Edward sofa acts as a visual anchor for the room, while a buttoned seat provides visual texture.A walnut Bensen Radius table and black Tom Dixon Slab chairs—chosen for their sculptural, angular shape—create a defined eating spot within the open area, and, on the wall, a blue custom-designed cabinet for glass and dish storage allowed Robinson to maximize the floor space. A Fortuny lamp in the corner of the living room—reminiscent of a photography floodlight, reflecting the fictional owner’s love for capturing a moment—and a contorted Sarfatti chandelier above the dining room table, chosen for its raw, masculine, pared-back look, add angular, functional art to the room. The office is outfitted with drum-shaped Space poufs “to balance the rectangular feel of the space,” says Robinson. “We wanted it to be welcoming, since it’s right off the door.”The kitchen flows seamlessly from this space thanks to the continuous lines of the white oak floors, Caesarstone Raven quartz countertops and white laminate Armony Cucine cabinets, which give the space a sleek yet quiet vibe. “It sort of disappears, which is important when you have an open plan area,” Robinson says. “You don’t want to make it feel like you’re sitting inside the kitchen when you’re dining.”Head up the stairs to the third floor, however, and a bold, blue-grey statement wall adds some serious personality. Hoping to soften the structural furniture pieces and rectangular shape of the unit, Robinson staggered gold oil drum lids on the wall at different depths, creating an art piece in the process. Emphasizing the height of the space, the 13-foot wall leads up to a den with an adjoining skylight patio—the perfect way to extend future entertaining upstairs without invading the bedroom. On quieter nights at home alone, the blue Bensen Park lounge chair in that upper den is the ideal spot for curling up with a good book and a cozy throw.The bedroom is painted white, but walnut furniture warms the space (and adds contrast and a subtle masculinity), and views of leafy treetops through the floor-to-ceiling windows blur the line between outdoors and in. It’s a feature managing architect Asher De Groot, of Michael Green Architecture, echoed in the kitchen and living room to take advantage of the apartment’s north- and south- facing facades. “Obviously that gives a little bit of dynamism to how you experience this space,” says De Groot.The influx of natural light has a transformative effect on the condo, whether it’s reflecting off the lustrous bamboo silk rug in the living room or the blue statement wall in the stairwell. The latter’s reflections produce an effect that, depending on the quality of light that day, creates what Robinson describes as an “almost magic colour” that transforms from shades of cool blue to warm grey and everything in between.The end result is a home any family—fictional or otherwise—would find difficult not to love. Though the master bedroom is compact, a wall of windows helps make the space feel expansive. Flexible Parentesi lights on either side of the bed are a perfect fit for the small space – hung from the ceiling, the cables are weighted down at the bottom so the lamps can be slid up or down to be used as either reading lights or as uplighting. A splash of red here – the Eames desk chair – is a surprising departure from the soft blue palette elsewhere in the house, providing a visual cue that this is no longer “Dad’s space.” The Ikea bed features big built-in drawers to help make tidying up easy. “We wanted to create a space where a teenager could hang out with his friends without feeling like they were in a bedroom,” Robinson explains.
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