Western Living Magazine
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A serene West End apartment plays host to a celebration of eclectic tastes, thanks to the team at Peter Wilds Design..
Photos by Janis Nicolay
Peter Wilds is a bit of a collector. “When I’m out in the world, if I see a shape or pattern or piece of fabric that catches my eye, I put it into my arsenal, even if there’s no specific project in mind,” the Vancouver-based designer says. “And then I just wait.”
So when he walked into this 1,100-square-foot West End apartment, which hadn’t been updated since the ’80s, he was armed with inspiration and ready to make something beautiful. Luckily, he and the homeowner had worked together on past projects, so there was already a connection and shorthand at play when it came time to tackle a refresh. “We share a similar aesthetic,” explains Wilds. “We’re fans of modernism, but at the same time love historical shapes and raw, primitive elements.”
READ MORE: A Townhouse That’s Anything But Cookie-Cutter
But before he could implement anything from his mental catalogue, the layout needed some serious work. Wilds gutted the space, knocking down walls to let natural light flow through the whole condo. The second bedroom has been reconfigured into a study nook; the galley kitchen is still small but now has access to stunning views of Stanley Park.
Then came the lush area rugs and graphic throw pillows, along with antique wood cabinets, beautifully worn olive-wood bowls and a pair of Barbara Barry-style chairs reupholstered in a grey-and-white print—a collection of patterns, materials and colours that Wilds had been stowing away for just the right moment. The result is an artful layering that gives this space a deeply personal vibe. But pulling all these disparate elements together was a constant balancing act. “The minute I have something very clean and serene and modern, I want something honest or historical,” laughs Wilds.
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The neutral palette—a diverse mix of whites, creams and beiges mixed with sand tones and charcoal greys—offers a serene backdrop for the eclectic collection of furniture and accessories. “The colour story connects things, bringing those elements with varying scales and shapes together,” says Wilds. Though the seating is custom-upholstered, Wilds also commissioned multiple slipcovers—white, tan and charcoal options—so the look can be changed up when the mood strikes.
You’ll find a metallic thread running through the space, too—the silver Jonathan Adler lamp, the gold and white Oly Studio coffee table—to add another layer of warmth and texture. The most striking example of this, of course, is the ornate gold-framed mirror sourced from Gild and Co. “Because the space is so calm, it can handle those things,” says Wilds. “That’s the way in which I like to bring history in: on a clean backdrop.”
READ MORE: Inside a Strathcona Loft with Plenty of Bohemian Cool
That pursuit of serenity extends to the compact galley kitchen, where clean lines and a mellow palette rule. “I love a white kitchen, but the homeowner wanted something different,” says Wilds. “The challenge was trying to figure out the balance between having an interesting tone without being too dark or heavy.”
He turned to Livingspace for some help, who set him up with Arclinea MDS, who produced cabinetry in a warm taupey-grey tone. With the countertop, though, they embraced the dark side: it’s now lined with a graphite marble. Instal-ling it was a lesson in precision, says Wilds: “We stood with fabricators and marked out where we wanted the veining lines to go and how they would work around the cut-out for the sink and the cooktop.”
Meanwhile, the backsplash—or lack thereof—is an exercise in restraint. “I didn’t want to see any seams or grout lines or pattern there, so we just skipped it.” That minimalist attitude extends to the appliances, which are hidden by the sleek and simple millwork.
In the study, Wilds found just the right use for the grasscloth he’d been keeping in mind for months. “It’s a great addition of texture, warmth and movement in a serene space,” he explains. Now a swath of the rich taupe paper lines the wall behind a relaxed slipcovered chaise longue.
Wallpaper appears again in the bedroom, where watercolour-style stripes in charcoal, grey and olive pop from behind a custom upholstered bed frame. It’s a pattern Wilds is particularly pleased with. “I was obsessed with that print and palette!” he laughs. “It’s timeless and classic while still edging up the space with a bit of cool factor.”
While this well-curated condo started as a showcase for Wilds’s collections of inspiration, it’s so much more than a sum of pieces and patterns: it’s a space that feels like home.
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