Home + Design Show Highlights

Michelle Hopkins
October 20, 2014

The 2014 Vancouver Home + Design Show at B.C. Place Stadium wrapped up October 19. The event drew tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom attended to be inspired and learn about the newest fall trends in home décor, from renovation and design experts.

One hugely popular guest speaker was HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler, host of Leave it to Bryan, House of Bryan and Disaster DIY. He entertained the standing-room only crowd with his quick wit, all the while giving sound renovation advice, .

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, the brilliantly witty hosts of Cottage Life’s Cabin Pressure, delighted a crowd of more than 400 attendees with their cabin renovation tips... and their Scottish kilts.

Other highlights of this year’s show included the Urban Barn’s second annual search for the Next Top Designers, which pitted three young local designers vying for the coveted title, a $1000 Urban Barn shopping spree and a booth at next year’s show.

Rising stars, Kimberley Casselman, Dexter Dolores and Joanna Kado were given a specific colour that they had to integrate into the 150-square-foot microspace.

All three showed off completely different designs – Kado’s Mid-Century Mad Men room was a throwback to the retro with punches of gold and bold print mixed with a splash of modern - with the very trendy Living Frame (plants in a wooden frame by Nature Design).


Casselman’s Vintage Vino incorporated jewel and grey tones with recycled and new pieces made to look vintage.


And the winner was Dolores’s Parisien Retreat, which blended transitional and classical French for a warm and modern room.



Here are some other trends that played prominently at this year’s 31st annual Vancouver Home + Design Show:

Start with a neutral base

If you choose furniture, flooring and main wall colours in neutral tones, it’s easier to change the look of your room with accessories and bold patterns and textures.

To prove their point, McAllister and Ryan asked the crowd to look at to a photo of a warm chaise longue they purchased at Ikea for their Muskoka, Ontario cottage. Ryan pointed to the tossed cushions in bold, geometric patterns, looked up and said: “By mixing patterns such as retro, floral and geometric on a neutral surface you are adding the wow factor.

 “For the changing seasons, change the look of your couch by slip-covering it or accessorizing it with toss cushions and throws.”

Both of the guys are big on blending modern with traditional.

Renos are more than meets the eye

Brian Baeumler started by asking how many in the audience felt that they were “good at renovations?”

Noting the hands raised he quips: “You overestimate your skills.”

Here are a few key tips he tells his television audiences:

Establish a budget and if you want to stick to it, be willing to give up something. Otherwise, count on an extra 25 per cent contingency fund.

Never touch plumbing, electrical, gas or structural work; unless you are certified.

You have to trust your contractor as you would your spouse. Ask friends/family and even some sub-contractors for references. 

“Everyone loves to spend money on the nice appliances, the gorgeous hardwood floors or the bathroom fixtures but you have to put the money into what you don’t see,” adds Baeumler. “I’m talking about what’s behind the walls. A home is your most expensive asset but if you don’t look after the bones of it, down the road you are going to be in for major problems.”

Smaller spaces = dual-function furniture

From today’s move to a smaller, open living floor concept — one that tears down the whole notion of separate formal and informal living space — has emerged a trend for multi-purpose furniture, says Dexter Dolores, of Dexter Dolores Design.

“People living in smaller spaces look for multifunctional furniture such as ottomans that go from coffee table to desk to extra seating,” adds Dolores.

Whether you have outgrown your space or you’re living in a shoebox, you’ll be amazed at how much your home opens up and becomes more livable when you properly store all your possessions, he adds.

Dolores’s three principles of furnishing a small space are to have accessible storage located where the items will be used, to choose dual-function furniture and to take advantage of vertical space by using a loft concept.

Bring fall into your home

Fall is in the air and introducing items with those warm earthy tones will turn your home into a cozy retreat.

“The warm fall colours are a great start to base your colour scheme on,” says Joanna Kado. “The pop comes from those brilliant oranges, greens, reds and yellows.”

There are also textures that evoke the fall feeling: anything fleecy, woolly, or cable-knit (think throws that you can wrap around your body for warmth from the chilly evening air). Using these fall colours and textures around your home will give a change of setting to bring your home into right season, she adds.

When the leaves have fallen on the ground and the trees are bare, bringing colour inside instantly brightens not only your space but your mood as well.

Recycle, reuse

This trend never gets old, says Kimberley Casselman. The young designer is a huge proponent of recycling by reusing old products and turning them into new designs and uses.

Before you throw out that old door or those worn shutters, breathe new life into them, rather than heading to the dump.

“An old door becomes a fabulous tabletop and old shutters become a stunning headboard,” says Casselman. “By recycling you can then spend money on those staples, such as a new couch or, what is very trendy today, a gorgeous upholstered headboard.”

Great design isn’t a matter of spending lots of money; it’s letting your own personality shine through. “Go minimal on trends and go for pieces that are timeless, ones that have clean, simple lines, and you will never go wrong,” she adds.

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.