Tricks of the Condo Décor Trade

Michelle Hopkins
November 19, 2015

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An oversized pendant light, vases filled with fresh cut flowers and a cluster of photographs positioned in just the right spot. When interior designers decorate or stage a condo, the colours, design, style, lighting, size of rooms, and location are all taken into account.

West Coast Condominium asked some of Vancouver’s busiest interior designers to show us around a local condo or show home they staged, and share their savvy design ideas that make for imaginative, elegant, and sophisticated condo living.

Kendall Ansell Interiors: Kendall Ansell, principal

Condo at 1199 Seymour St., Vancouver

In the heart of downtown, this condo’s interior was inspired by the luxurious W Hotel in New York City.

“The W does a good job of bringing inviting greys into its hotel so that it looks chic,” says Ansell. “By layering warm grey textures and fabrics you create a very classic look that doesn’t seem to date itself.”

Ansell also likes to introduce a dash of whimsy to the décor, such as a mirrored cube table, glass desk or the mix of industrial pieces as a way of offering homeowners a chance to think outside the box.

Her goal for the overall appearance of the show home was to create a casual, yet elegant look that also reflects the stunning west coast topography.

“We know that Seymour Street, being between Granville Street and Yaletown, is usually for someone looking to enjoy the night life of the city,” she adds. “The apartment reflects a chic, sophisticated person.”

When decorating a smaller space, she suggests people stay with light colours, an open concept and pieces that can be moved around easily.

“For instance, the large ottoman in the living room can be added to the sofa to make a ectional,” says Ansell.  

Shopping guide

  • Bar stools: Pottery Barn
  • Sofa, lamp, ottoman, coffee table, bed, bedside tables: The Living Lab
  • Rug, desk and console: West Elm
  • Art, pillows, bedding: HomeSense

Patricia Gray Interior Design – Patricia Gray, principal

Bayshore condo in Coal Harbour, Vancouver

As you enter the Bayshore condo, light and airy whites, soft creams, and browns reign supreme. The living room’s white sofas and chairs offer a soft, contemporary interior design.

“It is comfortable, minimal and everything was chosen to complement and not detract from the view,” says Gray. “We used swivel chairs so people can turn around to take advantage of the magnificent view.”

The custom-designed sofa features a chaise lounge on the right-hand side so people can put their feet up while watching the TV on the opposite wall, read a book, or have a nap. 

This residence definitely took its cues from its stunning cityscapes, and views of Stanley Park, the ocean and the North Shore Mountains.

“Everything was designed to capitalize on the view,” adds the designer. “Where a space does not have as beautiful a view, it requires more attention by creating focal points within the space.”

Lastly, Gray says invest money in your key furnishings.

“In any living room, the sofa is the biggest anchor piece,” says Gray. “Make sure it is comfortable, the best quality you can afford because you are going to have it for the longest time.”  

Shopping guide

  • Coffee table bowl: 18Karat 
  • Bedding: Duxiana 
  • Master bedroom throw: LivingSpace 
  • Master bedroom bedside lamps: Luminosa Light Designs
  • Custom furnishings throughout: Patricia Gray 

Insight Design Inc.: Linda Gallo, senior interior designer

Compass for Seylynn Village in North Vancouver

With this condo, Gallo and her team were looking to create a space that was fresh yet elegant and clean. At the same time, they filled it with thoughtful details that reflect the essence of home.

The warm grey palette in the kitchen, with a clean, crisp countertop and backsplash, was a great backdrop for the interior furnishing selections, says Gallo, adding for the most part, they kept a fairly neutral palette. Punches of bold colour were injected in order to create rhythm and movement.

“Incorporate area rugs to ground spaces and use pieces that sit up off of the floor so that you can see beyond furniture or, better yet, pieces with glass like the dining room table,” she says. “It’s great to mix pattern and finishes but try to limit yourself to just a few, otherwise it can start to feel cluttered.”

Because the condo is in North Vancouver, Gallo went for a slightly urban feel, yet comfortable and inviting enough to reflect the active lifestyle of the true North Shore resident.

For that wow factor, Gallo chose the living room coffee table, which she says is a little piece of luxury with a chrome base and a marble top.

“This piece was custom made to anchor the space and create a piece of beautiful and natural art in a room largely full of windows which doesn’t allow for much art elsewhere,” Gallo adds.

Shopping guide

  • Living room chairs: Mint Interiors
  • Living room table lamp: Bocci
  • Living room floor lamp: LightForm
  • Art: Art Works Gallery

Polygon Interior Design Ltd.: Celia Dawson, senior vice president, interior design

Bradley House at Windsor Gate, Coquitlam

The modernistic white light fixture in the kitchen forms a centerpiece to draw people into the home wanting to see more. 

“We like to include dramatic lighting to create different focal points within the room,” says Dawson. “Lighting today is truly sculptural art.”

This show home is filled with unique, contemporary furnishings with injections of brilliant colour courtesy of the art work and rugs. This combination made the space modern without feeling cold and unwelcoming.

Using white paint as an overall canvas offers a striking backdrop for furnishings and art work. Then, adding a darker earth tone or patterns and textures on one focal point wall adds more drama and elegance to any room.

“In one dining space and in a bedroom, there's a similar effect with the horizontal lines or slats on the wall and headboard,” adds Dawson. “There's a distinct sculptural feel to it, and in the bedroom specifically, it seems to stretch the eye, so to speak. The effect is one of a seemingly elongated the room.”

Dawson went on to say that horizontal lines widen a space just like vertical lines will tend to elongate or give the space more height.

“Repeating the theme or keeping it consistent helps to keep the spaces flowing and not seem too busy,” she adds.

Shopping guide

  • Lighting: LightForm; The Lighting Warehouse; Once a Tree Furniture
  • Carpets: East India Carpets; Salari Fine Carpet Collections
  • Original artwork: Bau-Xi Gallery; Winsor Gallery
  • Televisions: Pure Image
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.