Elegance and Opulence: Highlights from the Luxury Home Show

Michelle Hopkins
May 5, 2015

The Vancouver Convention Centre was transformed May 2-3 into a 58,000-square-foot mansion for the second annual 2015 Luxury Home & Design Show. The event showcased collaborated vignettes between some of the city's top architects, builders, interior designers and most exclusive international vendors and furniture makers. The fair is said to be the only Canadian exhibition featuring curated home furnishings and well-known brand names of the rich and famous.

Organized by Taste of Life magazine publisher Wendy Guo, the show is also the first of its kind in North America. This year attracted approximately 3,000 of arguably some of Vancouver’s wealthiest residents.

With tickets going for $100 (or $150 for access into the VIP room) to $200 for a weekend pass, affluent attendees enjoyed the show sipping on a cocktail or glass of wine, serenaded by a pianist. Decked out in their finest, people milled about, checking out the opulent spaces designed by many local and international trendsetters who are often seen in the pages of home design and décor magazines.  

The Italian-inspired $250,000 grotto bathroom with $18,000 gold faucets, handcrafted marble sinks and Versace wallpaper attracted lots of attention, as did the French-chateau inspired gardens and covered lanai. A wall covered with a custom Chinois floral wallpaper by England’s de Gournay, whose hand-painted frescos grace dresses worn by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, greeted the crowd as they entered the centre.

“The show was much better than our first. This year was about redefining what luxury means,” Guo says. “It was also about fuelling the desire in all homeowners to appreciate the work that goes into creating beautiful homes. It’s not all about money; it was about the craftsmanship involved in the beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories.”

Guo went on to say that the entire showcase floor was designed to help “inspire the visitor to invest in local talent to help them achieve the homes they aspire to create for themselves.”

Indulgence on a Grand Scale

Marque Thompson of Design Marque oversaw the transformation of the convention centre into the opulence manor. Local award-winning designers included Sarah Gallop of Sarah Gallop Design; Joy Chao of John Henshaw Architect; Reisa Pollard, founder of Beyond Beige Interior Design; and Frits de Vries, founder of Frits de Vries Architect.

In another corner of the centre, Joy Chao of John Henshaw Architect created an indulgent $50,000 Renaissance bathroom. The inspiration came from Stile, an Italian hardwood floor company (represented by BC Hardwood), who she says creates interesting design and specialty finishes for their hardwood floor every year called StileLab.

“One of the finishes they did was gold washed oak flooring,” she adds. “Stile sent me a piece of it. I was quite intrigued and always wanted to design something around this gold washed hardwood floor. That’s my starting point of design.

“I also incorporated a custom Schonbek crystal chandelier.” 

The great room was resplendent in Paramount Furniture’s tobacco coloured leather chairs and a Roche Bobois ivory and taupe undertone sectional, Venetian wall paneling and a crystal and brushed gold chandelier.

“For this room, it was old world charm meets modern contemporary,” says Chrissy Cottrell, principal designer, of Vancouver’s Chrissy & Co Design Savvy, who designed the space.

Although the great room on display is affordable mostly to the moneyed, Cottrell says there are ways to create a similar look for less.

“Check out estate sales, antique and secondhand stores to find quality, affordable vintage pieces with soul and character that tell a story, and make that your centerpiece” she adds.

“Add some gold accessories, not in the high gloss but brushed finish, to add elegance. Lastly, paint, pillows, lighting and flooring don’t have to be expensive but can give that look of elegance for less.”

Luxury Bathrooms on a Budget

REW.ca asked Joy Chao to give tips on how to create an indulgent, beautiful ensuite bathroom on a budget. She said:

“I think the most important thing is to keep the design simple. Then add some additional details to personalize the space.

“So often I have seen homeowners think the way to make a place looks luxurious is to install as many expensive things in the space as possible. That’s really not the case. One can have a simple white bathroom, but by adding some nice touches – a nice vase of filled with a bouquet of flowers or striking accessories such as soap dishes, trays to keep the knick knacks at bay and lush towels – you can create a spa-inspired sophisticated space.

“Other easy tips include: hanging a few unique prints for artwork on the walls to add more visual interest to a space and paint the walls in a rich tone of colour that you like. These small things can convert a simple bathroom into a very beautiful space."

Michelle Hopkins
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.