Vancouver Home + Design Show Preview: Free Your Inner Designer

The Vancouver Home + Design Show is back and it is as much about finding your own way as it is following home trends, say experts including design duo Colin and Justin

October 3, 2014

Industrial cabinetry is recycled and given a chic new lease of life as a bookcase, as envisioned by designer Jennifer Scott
Jennifer Scott suggests filing cabinets be repurposed as TV stand
Three dated dining chairs can be up-cycled into a fabulous bench very easily, says Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault
In this updated bedroom from Colin and Justin show Cabin Pressure, two inexpensive black desk lamps from Staples are given a makeover with new BC Cedar block bases from wood left over from the deck build
A cabin basement revitalized by Colin and Justin in their show Cabin Pressure uses re-sawn pine timber cladding stained with inexpensive instant coffee and water solution

The much anticipated Vancouver Home + Design Show 2014 at BC Place Stadium returning this October, bigger and better.

Every year, the show draws tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom attend to gather inspiration and learn about the newest fall trends in home décor, from renovation gurus such as HGTV’s Cottage Life TV’s Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, as well as 325 of the industry’s finest Canadian renovation, decoration and landscaping specialists.

Whether you are moving into a fixer-upper, revamping your kitchen, downsizing or switching up your home décor, this year’s show will enthuse and inspire your inner designer.

“The Vancouver Home + Design Show is gearing up for another stellar season at BC Place Stadium,” says Tyson Kidd, assistant show manager. 

“With the triumphant return of everyone’s favourite Scottish designing duo, Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, as well as our beloved handy-hunk Bryan Baeumler and celebrity Chef Corbin Tomaszeski, there’s ample expert advice for all things home improvement and entertaining.” caught up with three sets of star guest speakers and asked them for their key piece ofadvice for would-be renovators.

TV Superstars Colin and Justin

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan TV hosts of Cottage Life will talk about their recent experiences on their show Colin + Justin's Cabin Pressure, where they renovated and revamped their cottage on a minimal budget. They will offer a sneak preview of their presentation, share tips and tricks to getting the cottage look, as well as budget-friendly shopping suggestions. 

“We will speak about creating chic on the cheap,” says Ryan. “We will tell the audience how to create a million pound look for much less; you just need to be creative and take the time to plan … planning is the key.”

“There are two types of tastes; our good taste and everyone else’s bad taste,” adds McAllister with his trademark witty deadpan British voice. “We will teach people how to set the tone and mood in their home, because when you put the key into the door at the end of the day, you should be excited about your space.”

They say:

  • If you don’t live alone, sit down with your partner and talk about what look you want to create.
  • Go online, read design magazines, go on Pinterest and Instagram and create a mood board.
  • Pick accessories that contribute to the overall look you are trying to achieve.
  • Rethink what you already have and reuse it. “We call it up-cycling … if you have an old dresser gathering dust in your garage, take it out, sand it, paint it and add new hardware,” says McAllister.
  • Spend money on key pieces such as a bed and sofa – then head to the Salvation Army and thrift stores for those “exciting finds.”
  • Both say the biggest return on renovation and décor investment is “looking forward to going home every night.”

A Good Chick to Know

Jennifer Scott is principal interior decorator at A Good Chick to Know and this year’s designer of the BC Hydro Power Smart Pad at the show.

“When you walk through a person’s house you should know a bit about their personality,” says Scott.

“People on the West Coast lead the way in making conscious choices that affect our environment. Being a conscious consumer doesn’t mean boring design: quite the opposite. A repurposed piece adds personality to a room.”

Scott will discuss how to reduce your home’s energy usage without sacrificing style and break down the tricks of the trade.

She says:

  • Change your light bulbs to LED.
  • Use reclaimed and recycled materials in flooring, furniture and hardware … have you ever thought of using old pipes as anchors for shelving?
  • Layers, lots of indulgent layers, are the key to designing a home.
  • Barn doors aren’t just for keeping the animals in – they look fabulous in homes.
  • Don’t be afraid to add or to switch around pieces from one room to another, to give a home a fresh identity – one that should reflect your personal style.
  • Check out this city’s uber-talented local artisans.

Cityline’s Design Guru Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault

Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, a regular guest speaker on Cityline, DYI and design maven on, will talk about how to freshen up your home with what you already have:

“I’m a frugal person … OK, that’s a nice way to say cheap, so I always look for budget-friendly items,” quips Perrault. “I’m the thrift shop queen. There’s nothing more exciting and challenging than discovering that piece that looks like nothing and turning it into something… it’s those vintage pieces that make your home unique and tell a story.”

She says:

  • Let spray paint, a screwdriver and a small interchangeable power drill be your best friends.
  • Whenever you reupholster, paint or stain, the right products are key!
  • When in doubt, use primer. It adds an extra coating of protection.
  • Three old chairs put together = a stunning bench.
  • Update your kitchen by painting the cabinets.

In the end, all of the experts agree that we should be a curator of our homes by allowing our inner design god or goddess out. Style isn’t about spending lots of money; it’s about pinning down your identity.

For more information or to purchase tickets to this year’s show, visit or call 604-639-2288.

Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.
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