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One Vancouverite shares her peaceful-meets-playful corner of the city.
When Kate Horsman first laid eyes on her Railtown condo, it didn’t scream “West Coast retreat” as much as “Italian prince’s seaside villa.” Instead of standard doorways, stone-like Roman arches divided rooms, a grand fountain held court on the patio, and the walls were awash with Tuscan-yellow paint.
Horsman, a stylist turned private chef and holistic nutritionist, fell in love with the princely palace anyway (the panoramic windows, 1,000-square-foot deck and Burrard Inlet view had something to do with it) and promptly turned everything white—“It was like I snowed on the house,” she says.
The patriating continued with decor additions like a faux-brick wall in the bedroom, beachy bleached driftwood rescued from Tofino, shell lighting, dream catchers and surf boards. Horsman and her husband love escaping to the Island to get in some surfing time, but these are often two-birds-with-one-stone trips. “Usually something will call out to me and I’ll force him to put it on top of his car and bring it home,” she says, describing her driftwood crush. “A lot of times we’ll have this giant bundle that lies on the patio for a couple of months.”
Outside her condo, the B.C. landscape is all old-growth evergreens and rainforest, yet Horsman brings the outdoors home with heavy influences from two of her favourite arid destinations, California and Arizona. “I find the desert staggeringly beautiful . . . maybe because it’s such a juxtaposition to what we have here.” On the patio, the previous homeowner’s boxwoods were supplanted with palms, yuccas and pampas grass, while a desert palette of sandy tones with bleached wood and bone and, of course, a large spiky cactus work the look from the inside.
In the serene and palatial centre room (there are no doors to her bedroom or dining area, so the area forms one wide-open space) the central arched bookcase is where Horsman, a self-proclaimed “maximal minimalist” keeps an eclectic mix of treasures. A David Bowie candle, a vintage mascot head in the form of a perpetually peppy chipmunk, taxidermy—these are all little clues that tie back to her love for another strong theme woven throughout: ’80s nostalgia. The E.T. doll on one shelf is just foreshadowing for the life-sized replica in her bedroom (unfortunately not pictured). “He’s just a symbol of hope and innocence and pure love—I think he’s adorable,” she laughs. “The ’80s were just a little bit more magic; I guess I want to hold on to that.”
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