Western Living Magazine
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Introducing Western Living’s 2023 Designers of the Year Award Winners
Vancouver stylist Kat MacInnes focused on delicate details and a rosy blush to turn her home from boxy to beautiful.
Finding a four-bedroom condo in downtown Vancouver is becoming a bit like discovering a unicorn—so when designer Kat MacInnes and her husband came across a 2,146-square-foot home in the heart of Yaletown, they could hardly believe it. “A four-bedroom downtown is kind of unheard of,” says MacInnes, “so we jumped on it even though it wasn’t my favourite design.” The four-level townhouse had been renovated just a couple of years earlier and had plenty of room for their three young children (and, later, two cocker spaniels). But while the size and location of the space was a dream, the decor was far from extraordinary.
“It felt very cold and dark to me,” says MacInnes. “I remember saying to my husband, ‘I wonder how long it’s going to be before this feels like home.’”
After moving the family from Winnipeg into their new West Coast digs, MacInnes decided it was time to work some magic of her own. The previous owners’ renovation had left the home a plain white box—think concrete, high-gloss cabinets and stark white walls. A homemaker and designer by passion, MacInnes (known as @her.styling on Instagram) knew those walls were due for a makeover: “I’d be looking at a wall for too long and think, ‘Okay, that needs something.’” When three kids plus two dogs equated to zero chance of another renovation, she chose instead to do some extreme redecorating.
MacInnes started by covering the chilly white walls with a light grey paint, softening the space while keeping it bright. She made the marble fireplace the focal point of the sunken living room, placing white bookshelves filled with books and flowers on one side and her favourite calming print (Tulum, by Max Wanger) on the other.
After dismissing a few potential colour palettes for the kitchen (blue was too cold; red would look too military with the white counters and grey cabinets), MacInnes found an unlikely winner: pink. A couple of bright fuchsia rugs transformed the space, and she soon dismissed her initial worries about practicality: “With the kids, I was thinking, ‘They’re going to throw spaghetti on it; I shouldn’t get a rug,’” she recalls. “But when I put that pink rug in there, it changed everything.”
The designer gave life to a boring stairwell in the same way, hanging a quirky gallery wall full of photos and prints denoting happiness and comfort—many with pink accents. She warmed up the master bedroom with gold curtains and gold-accented nightstands, hanging another beachy Max Wanger favourite above the gold West Elm bed. White geometric lamps give the soft space structure, while a peacock chair and faux fur throw add texture and break up clean lines.
For MacInnes, keeping her six-year-old daughter’s room bright and full of energy was a must. “She loves unicorns and rainbows,” MacInnes says, “and I wanted to make it a really cheerful, happy room.” She kept the decor playful with a gold polka-dot feature wall and a display of her daughter’s favourite books next to the bed.
If MacInnes had designed this townhome to sell, it wouldn’t be quite as bold. “I would have done it a little more neutral,” she says, noting that the pink rugs and gold accents were choices made with her family in mind. This downtown domicile’s unique colour palette and eclectic artwork spread warmth from the inside out. And not unlike the aforementioned unicorn, this home is not afraid to stand apart from the crowd. “I wanted it to have character,” says MacInnes. “I wanted it to be different.”
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