See how designer Annaliesse Kelly transformed an awkward 1980s condo into a clutter-free family home.
This Kitsilano condo might look bright and airy now, but that wasn’t always the case. Before designer Annaliesse Kelly was brought on board, it was a mess of strange angles, weird ceilings and skylights with floral patterns on them. “The condo was pretty much unrenovated,” she recalls. “It was built in the ‘80s, the rooms were separated, it was all heavy and dark, it didn’t feature the view. It was just extremely dated and really not open.” A layout like that wouldn’t work for a lot of people, but it especially wasn’t going to work for Kelly’s clients. The homeowners, two parents and their teenage son, live a pretty minimalist lifestyle—as you’ll soon see, there’s a place for everything in this home. “Their main goal was to open it up, maximize the view, and hide everything,” says Kelly. “They wanted super-clean lines and lots of cupboards.” And that’s exactly what the designer gave them. The closet in the main-floor entryway features floor-to-ceiling walnut cabinetry. This obviously maximizes storage (there’s plenty of room for coats, bags and shoes behind those doors), but it also helps to ground the space. “The main floor actually has 10-foot ceilings,” says Kelly, “which in small spaces can feel kind of cavernous.” Extending the wood finish all the way up to the top minimizes this effect. The master bedroom can also be found on the main floor. “It was meant to have that modern hotel vibe,” says Kelly. “We really made the space as warm and inviting as possible, without over-decorating it.” Though the walnut paneling is gorgeous, the king-size storage bed is the real star in this room. It features a custom wall-to-wall velvet headboard and extra-large bedside tables that double as dressers. And as if that wasn’t enough, Kelly gave the homeowners custom closets, also finished in walnut. (We were told the husband’s side is home to a very impressive shoe collection.) Upstairs, the kitchen is dominated by a nine-foot island. It has enough space to comfortably sit the family of three—and then some! But the homeowners’ didn’t want to fill the space with anymore seating than that. Instead, they reserved the space opposite the kitchen for a small home office. And once again, storage plays a big role. The two cabinets pictured here are carefully organized by the homeowners: one for utilities (think a wall-mounted Dyson vacuum) and one for food (because the kitchen didn’t have enough space for a pantry). “They are so minimalist,” says Kelly. “There are a lot of clever storage solutions, but there’s no more than what’s actually needed for three people—it’s surprising!” The walnut detail continues into the top-floor powder room, where Kelly installed a backlit mirror for a streamlined look. “It offers a subtle lighting accent without overpowering the room,” she says. “It’s a trick to add interest without being decorative.” The kitchen flows right into the dining room, allowing for easy entertaining. Here, the blue-grey wall behind the buffet (more storage!) is a standout feature. Kelly even reframed the homeowners’ hand-etched artwork to better fill up the space. The original design had the dining room and living room separated by a railing; Kelly removed this and lengthened the step to better join the two spaces. Like the rest of the home, the living room is minimal. It features a classic Eames lounger and a big comfy sofa. “They’re quite a tall family—like, really tall,” laughs Kelly. She sourced furniture that could fit them comfortably, without looking clunky. And of course, storage plays a role here, too. The walnut cabinetry that surrounds the TV and fireplace is loaded with AV equipment and the family’s collection of books.