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Style and Substance: Tips and Highlights from the Vancouver Home + Design Show

By Michelle Hopkins Oct 27, 2015

This year’s Vancouver Home + Design Show 2015 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West was overflowing with ideas, furnishings and designers all ready and eager to help attendees create their very own HGTV transformation. For its show director, Tyson Kidd, it couldn’t have been better.

“The show was again amazing. The move back to the Vancouver Convention Centre has proven to be everything we knew it would be,” he says. “The show looked amazing, the crowds were huge and all of the companies involved were really happy.”

Highlights of the weekend home show included the BC Hydro Dream Home, the always popular Ask a Designer feature, and presentations by Jillian Harris and Todd Talbot, Cheryl Torrenueva and Samantha Pynn, as well as a line up of local design and renovation experts who took to the main stage. sat down with three interior designers at the show to gather some fall decorating ideas and inspirational style tips.

Christine Friend, interior designer

Christine Friend is founder and principal interior decorator of interior design company Friendly Decorator.

  • Barn doors are all the rage. Friend purchased reclaimed wood from Canadian Heritage Timber Company (, which came from the old Woodward’s store and Steveston Refinery to create a stunning barn door for a client’s bathroom. “We stained it to match the floors and bought some good hardware and not only is it functional it is truly a piece of art.”
  • What do a special scarf or hand woven wool blanket have in common? Both make for distinctive table runners.
  • Choose the most prized and expensive possessions first and move forward from there - whether it’s a piece of art, kitchen cabinetry or your master bedroom duvet.
  • Choose your paint colours last. “There are thousands of paint colours, so choose the paint after you bought that sofa or pricey cabinetry.”
  • Bring in the outdoors in the form of framed vertical succulent gardens. “It’s adding interest and little bit of the unexpected into your décor,” adds Friend.
  • When decorating a new home or a room, don’t buy everything at once. You might find the perfect piece for that ideal spot while on holidays. 

Christina Dennis, style blogger

Christina Dennis writes the well-known blog The DIY Mommy, is winner of the show’s Western Canada's Next Home Stylist competition and designer of Urban Barn’s “Look Book Vignettes.”

  • Mixed metals, such as warm tones of chrome, burnished copper and hammered bronze, are the must-have metals. You can include mixed metals into your hardware, accessories and light fixtures. “Brass or copper sinks lend an air of elegance to your kitchen.”
  • Must-have coffee table trays are made out of rich leather, steel and metal.
  • Fall throws and pillows are showing up in deep teal, burnt organs and navy blue.
  • Black or darkly coloured walls in Marseille hues such as dark burgundy or ox blood red. “Where we went for light, bright colours on accent walls in recent years, we are now seeing deep, rich coloured walls.”
  • Pillows in burlap, leather, faux fur or with words and quotes are easy and inexpensive ways to change your décor for the new season.
  • Rugs are always in style. “I made a faux cowhide rug from fabric I found online.”
  • Old doors can be painted, distressed and made into tabletops, frames or pieces of art work.

Susie Wall, TV home décor host

Susie Wall is a Canadian media style expert. In addition to her work as a regular guest on Canada’s #1 daytime talk show, Cityline, Susie is Chatelaine’s west coast style expert on Breakfast Television programs across Canada.  Her homes have been featured in publications including Chatelaine, Canadian House & Home and The Globe & Mail’s Style Section.

  • When in doubt, paint it white and swap out the lights. Just like finding the perfect white tee or that go-to pair of denims, white walls and modern lighting that flow with the architecture of the space are foundational basics that will add incredible mileage to your home. Clean white walls provide a gorgeous blank canvas.
  • Turn quirky items into sculptural art. “I bought a little house-shaped wire art piece at Leuie - a children’s shop in South Granville and contrasted against a rustic driftwood deer head, it makes for a charming hallway intersection.”
  • Thought-provoking items, when installed in an environment that’s slightly out of context, make a space look elevated and inviting.
  • If you’re not a sentimentalist, consider becoming one. If you look around your home and you feel like you’re living in a show suite, she recommends getting in touch with your inner sentimentalist. Whatever your budget - surrounding yourself with a few treasures that bring you joy and a sense of calm is priceless.
  • Linen adds charm, visual warmth and instant sophistication. A favourite recent design discovery has been the linen curtain panels from Crate & Barrel. Around $40 each, Wall has used them for everything from a last minute table-scape alongside candles. and glass jars of wildflowers to a quick-and-cheerful closet curtain for my farmhouse bedroom. “I’ve even wrapped the base of an orchid with one as a housewarming gift.  Beautiful, accessible, cool.  A design trifecta.”
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.
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