Inside a Coal Harbour Condo's renovation that highlights its showstopping views of Vancouver.
“You buy the view,” says designer Lesli Balagno. “You buy the view and then you start to embellish.” Thirty-one storeys up the Fairmont Pacific Rim, a pair of jet-set clients bought a 2,000-square-foot suite that gazes out on the waters of Coal Harbour and, beyond, a troop of smoke-blue mountains. She regularly travels to Toronto, and he (a CEO for a Vancouver company) is often on the road, too. When they came to Heffel Balagno Design for help with their new home, they knew they wanted a place that gave them a life in the hub of the city, but that could also be locked up and left. “This was pretty bare bones when we first saw it,” explains Lesli Balagno, who worked on the project with senior designer Joel Trigg. “Just painted drywall.” For starters, a bit of reconfiguring was required; the couple wanted the dining room where the living room had been. “They’re the kind of people who will dine at the dining room table even if it’s just the two of them, so they wanted the view, something prominent,” she explains. Balagno delivered a luxe, eight-person Minotti dining table, and situated it beneath a stellar chandelier from Bocci’s 28 series. “A real showstopper,” says Balagno, “especially when night comes on.” Speaking of dinner, it’s hard not to notice the substantial wine display case that dominates one wall. The suite came with a Sub-Zero wine fridge in the kitchen, but he had plans for starting a proper wine collection and so a larger trophy case was in order. “He wanted something illuminated and decorative, and so that really was the starting place for creating the wall of millwork,” notes Balagno. The most dynamic part of the home, the “wine wall” is built of interlocking planes of lacquer, plus a smoked mirror, which all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Half-inch stainless steel shelves are cantilevered off the wall to display treasures from their travels, and a built-in counter features a white Caesarstone top for added durability. Much of the rest of the living space is focused less on showiness and more on stepping out of the view’s way. Rugs, created by Tufenkianand custom-designed by Heffel Balagno, feature neutral patterns reminiscent of the shoreline’s soapy water. Furnishings—from theDesiree sectional to the Camerich coffee table—have a subdued profile so the windows get their due. Even the floor lamps (by Arteriors), have glass bodies for transparency. Finishing touches included extending the granite backsplash and cabinets in the kitchen so they touch the bulkhead. (There was originally a six-inch gap that “just made it feel like it wasn’t a custom home.”) Throughout, a palette of taupe and grey and cream keeps things West Coast, whether in the master bedroom’s custom linen or the Holly Hunt fabrics that deck their chaises. Punches of humour and colour give the home “the feel that she could still put her feet up,” says Balagno. A metallic gold Moroccan pouf does the trick, as does a flamboyantly patterned makeup chair by Kartell. Ultimately, this home remains a platform, a nest, for a pair that flies when they like. Maybe that’s why—right beside a bathroom laden with Bianco Statuario marble—a pair of precious glass birds have pride of place on the vanity. THE INSIDE SCOOP A Desiree sectional, complete with its own smartly functional Minotti side table, takes centre stage in the living room. In the kitchen beyond custom work by Heffel Balagno extends the cabinetry and backsplash to the ceiling. Beyond Coal Harbour the smoke-blue North Shore mountains are in view. A pair of plush swivel chairs by Desiree are the ultimate viewfinders. The kitchen features an Azul Aran granite backsplash. The same stone appears in that generously proportioned countertop, which serves as an impromptu dining area. Two custom Heffel Balagno chaises are arranged in the large living area, decked in the “Great Plains” fabric by Holly Hunt and grounded with a custom Tufenkian rug that delivers texture. Walls are crisp and cool in Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace” paint. The bathroom features marble bathtub surround that extends up the wall (recalling a similar trick in the kitchen) and finishing touches include a Martha Sturdy resin tray and plush Coyuchi towels. The makeup chair is a brightly floral piece by Philippe Starck, appropriately called “Mademoiselle.” Vintage glass birds by the famous Venetian studios of Murano add a definite shimmer and whimsy to the makeup table. The master bedroom features custom Heffel Balagno night tables and bed. The textured bedding is also custom-designed by Heffel Balagno in collaboration with Robert Kuo for S. Harris. wl
SOURCES Designer, D’Arcy Jones, 604-669-2235, darcyjones.com. Contractor, Brian Funk, 604-218-7323. Flowers, West Van Florist, Vancouver, 604-922-4171, westvancouverflorists.com.
LIVING ROOM | Sectional, swivel chairs and side table by Desiree, Bloom Furniture Studio, Vancouver, 604-215-0051, bloomfurniturestudio.com. Coffee table and dining chairs by Camerich, HB Design, Vancouver, 604-251-9585, heffelbalagno.com. Designers Guild custom Heffel Balagno toss cushions and Arteriors standing lamps, Da Vinci's Home, Vancouver, 604-921-3344, davincishome.ca. Custom Heffel Balagno chaises with Holly Hunt “Great Plains” fabric, Carmel Designs Upholstery, Vancouver, 604-215-0051. Custom Heffel Balagno bar stools, Bari Designs, Richmond, 604-448-8684, baridesign.com. Custom Heffel Balagno Tufenkian rug, Style Solutions, Vancouver, 604-733-5338, stylesolutions.ca. Custom Heffel Balagno millwork, Precisionwerkz, Burnaby, 604-422-8920, precisionwerkz.com. Minotti dining table, Minotti side tables and Bocci pendant, Livingspace, Vancouver, 604-683-1116, livingspace.com. Mirrors, shelves, Azul Aran Granite countertop and backsplash, Hari Stones Limited, Vancouver, 604-599-4274, haristoneslimited.com. Dornbracht faucet, Cantu Bathrooms & Hardware, Vancouver, 604-688-1252, cantubathrooms.com. Benjamin Moore “Chantilly Lace” BM 2121-70 High Gloss Polyurethane finish, Kerrisdale Decorating Centre, Vancouver, 604-264-9255.
MASTER BEDROOM | Custom Heffel Balagno bed and custom Heffel Balagno walnut stain night tables, Carmel Designs Upholstery, Vancouver, 604-215-0051. Custom Heffel Balagno bedding with Rubert Kuo by S. Harris fabric, Windowworks, Richmond, 603-231-1433, windowworks.ca. Lamps, Da Vinci's Home, Vancouver, 604-921-3344, davincishome.ca.
MASTER BATHROOM | Czech bowl, vintage Murano birds, art, Hurricane lamp and loofa, Da Vinci's Home, Vancouver, 604-921-3344, davincishome.ca. Martha Sturdy resin tray and Coyuchi towels, Provide, Vancouver, 604-632-0095, providehome.com. Plants, West Van Florist, Vancouver, 604-922-4171, westvancouverflorists.com.