A mirror-clad bachelor pad gets a Brooklyn-inspired makeover.
For two young professionals splitting their time between New York and Vancouver, the hunt was on for a new loft-style apartment that channelled a cool Brooklyn vibe.
When they found it in Vancouver’s Crosstown district, it had the city views and open loft floor plan they wanted—complete with a roomy 500-square-foot patio—but the interior didn’t work. “A bachelor lived there before,” explains designer Chad Falkenberg of Falken Reynolds Interiors. “There were lots of mirrors.”
Design goal: Open-concept for easy entertaining
The 1,100-square-foot space needed to be completely gutted and redone, so Falkenberg and his partner, Kelly Reynolds, started planning the space around one of the couple’s top priorities. “They’re both really big sports fans, so the TV and access viewing points to the TV are really, really important for them,” says Falkenberg. As big entertainers, the homeowners wanted their guests to be able to watch the game from almost anywhere in the loft. (Plus, the woman of the house works as a consultant on NHL and NFL marketing projects, so keeping up with sports was essential.)
In the kitchen, this meant cutting out part of the wall to create sightlines. “It wasn’t a huge move from a construction standpoint, but just removing two feet of wall really made the space feel open,” explains Falkenberg. Now, diners pulling up a stool at the kitchen island can still keep their eyes on the game.
Design challenge: Designing around a clunky TV
As for the all-important TV room, the condo owners wanted a big, comfortable sofa and, more specifically, a classic Eames lounger. “We almost designed the whole space, this whole sitting area, around the TV and the Eames lounger,” shares the designer. The television can often pose a design challenge: when it’s turned off, suddenly a big black screen is the centre of attention. To provide balance, the team went with an all-black lounger and a Jeff Martin Joinery console in walnut, a wood with a black grain pattern. Where most walls in the home are white, this back wall is grey, something that also helps mitigate contrast between the room and the screen.
Even the nesting coffee tables were chosen with the TV in mind. “If they have more people over and some need to sit on the floor, then it’s really easy to move those two little tables out of the way, and they tuck up next to the sofa,” says Falkenberg. The tables’ dissimilar colours were also intentional, as the design firm played with different kinds of woods all over the apartment. Dark elements help balance the existing black in the room, while the lighter wood matches the breakfast nook’s chairs and tables as well as the kitchen stools. Falken Reynolds intentionally peppered the space with the same materials to make the whole home feel more cohesive. “Especially in a loft, where you don’t have different rooms, the spaces need to relate and speak the same language, visually,” explains Falkenberg.
Style tip: Mix and match a variety of wood
To get the Brooklyn-style loft the couple wanted, the designers pulled in a wealth of mixed woods (like the rich oiled walnut that can be found in the flooring throughout the home), and went turn-of-the-century with black powder coated metal accents in the powder room and kitchen, exposed industrial shelving in the bedroom office and subway tiles in the master bath.
That tile was a specific request from the homeowners, and Falken Reynolds built the bathroom around it, creating a custom-made cabinet that looks like a movable piece of furniture, and opting for textured hexagonal floor tiles in different shades of dark grey to play off the bath’s old New York feel. Bocci light fixtures that resemble folded lilies soften what is an otherwise fairly masculine aesthetic.
Designer advice: Create a space that's beautiful and liveable
In fact, the Brooklyn-inspired look is perfect for the couple’s lifestyle. Robust mixed-quartz countertops, metal hardware and metal and mid-century lamps create a sense of modern ruggedness. “If they’re having a party and the lamp falls over, it’s okay,” laughs Falkenberg. Nothing was meant to feel too precious: “This just makes sense for the way that they live. Stuff happens.”