Globe-trotting designer Sophie Burke searches Gastown for world-class style.

Designer Sophie Burke in Gastown“What I love about Gastown,” says designer Sophie Burke, “is that it’s constantly evolving.” Yes, there are the tourist-baiting souvenir shops and shabby, if buzzy, hostels, but hip boutiques and modern coffee shops are quickly changing the face of the city’s oldest neighbourhood. Having spent her early career exploring the world—Burke completed a BA in art history at UBC, studied design in London and later worked on projects in Paris, Tokyo and Delhi—she finds the neighbourhood’s diversity appealing, a tidy fit with her eclectic approach to interior design.For the recent winner of the Western Living Robert Ledingham Memorial Award for an Emerging Designer, good design is all about contrast: high-end pieces mixed in with more affordable ones; old, distressed items alongside sleek new elements. And, as the mother of three young children, practicality and comfort are an important part of her own space, she explains, as she points out a few of her favourite pieces around the neighbourhood. At Old Faithful, she loves the soft Faribault throws and sturdy but chic woven rugs by Swedish brand Pappelina (spotted at Örling and Wu). For the big pieces, Burke favours clean, classic lines (she’s a fan of Montauk’s customizable sofas) alongside a few carefully chosen statement pieces. But for Burke, shopping Gastown isn’t just about finding the perfect piece: “The shops here have such beautifully styled displays—they even smell beautiful,” she laughs. “These spaces are so welcoming. You want to come back over and over again.”The Juice Truck 200 Abbott St.,

The Juice Truck is great if you’re running around and in need of a rejuvenating pick-me-up. The Green Smoothie is my favourite.”Old Faithful Shop 320 W. Cordova St.,

Old Faithful is a great place for buying products that you know aren’t going to break on you in 20 years. I love the rustic, camping vibe they have going on. This grey articulated desk lamp would be great as a bedside lamp in a kid’s room—it has a very cool, industrial vibe. These galvanized buckets would be perfect garbage cans for kids’ rooms too. These Faribault wool blankets feel like they would last forever. I love their cottage-y look, and the blanket-stitch detailing. These canvas laundry carts are look like they’d be hard to damage! They’re sturdy but cool—perfect for families with kids.”Inform Interiors 50 Water St.,

Inform has a wonderful selection of items that put a modern twist on old classics. I always find products that catch my eye here! This Giorgetti four-poster bed is so light and fresh. It’s a very architectural piece, and I love how the volume fills the space. These George Nelson lights are great—they give such a warm glow. I love this grey Cassina felt chair—it would be perfect for an office set-up. I love updated takes on classics, and this Fritz Hansen Ro easy chair is a new take on the traditional wingback chair. I could see these DGB sheepskin chairs in Whistler—they have a very cozy, Scandinavian feel to them.”Örling and Wu 28 Water St.,

“The owners of Örling and Wu, Fredrik and Julie, are super helpful—they’ll drop stuff off for you, and they have an