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Cover Story – Home Away From Home – Feb/Mar2017

Cover Story - Home Away From Home - Feb/Mar2017

Photography By Colin Perry

A Vancouver pied-à-terre is a beautiful fusion of sleek modern and rustic, organic styles

How do you decorate when you are equally drawn to two styles that are polar opposites? For the owner of this Vancouver condo, the answer was calling designer Negar Reihani, who runs the small boutique firm Space Harmony. The goal was to make the Yaletown unit a warm and welcoming home away from home for the owner, an American actor who films often in Vancouver. He loves rustic, natural materials, but equally admires super-slick contemporary styles.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT

Reihani says she first showed the owner various images to gauge his personal style before embarking on the project. “He was very much leaning toward the two sides of the spectrum like the swing of a pendulum, which was fun,” she says. Reihani decided to simply embrace both styles. “I mixed rustic and contemporary through furniture pieces and finishes, like the white marble coffee table on top of the jute rug,” she says. “It’s mixing worlds so that you can connect with both.” The more traditional pedestal dining table is made of sundried wood, but is paired with mod Eames chairs. It’s an unusual mix, but the contrast works, feeling cool and edgy, but also homey and comfortable.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

The 600-square-foot unit was a bit of a blank slate in a cookiecutter Vancouver condo building. With a small balcony in front of the large window and another building right across, it doesn’t get a lot of natural light. Brightening the old black kitchen cabinets was the first thing on the agenda. “Before, it was rather depressing,“ says Reihani. “The black kitchen sucked so much light and energy from the space.” When you walk in to the condo, the kitchen is the first thing you see. By refacing the dark cabinets in a slick white, and adding in some glass cabinets, the space is transformed, setting the tone for the rest of the open-concept condo.

WHERE TO GO BIG IN A SMALL SPACE

The square footage, or lack of it, presented some challenges, but Reihani’s layout and clever use of furniture creates an effortless flow. Nothing feels cramped or forced. “Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of using small furniture in a small space,” she says. “Instead of going for one big sectional, people tend to go for a loveseat and two chairs, which chops up the space with visual clutter making it look even smaller.” Instead, she opted for one large sectional in the living area paired with two textural ottomans, which function as occasional seating. She didn’t skimp on the coffee table either, using a large, glamorous marbleand- chrome piece that bounces light around the space. There is a continuous push and pull of texture and shape that keeps the space interesting— boxy and organic, sleek and textural.

WORLD AT LARGE

This mix works well for the once non-descript condo, creating a pied-à-terre that perfectly suits the owner for long stints throughout the year. Reihani was inspired by his world travels to cover one entire wall in the bedroom with an oversized map in lieu of traditional wallpaper. It’s the main focal point in the master (and only) bedroom, which is so small that standard bedside tables wouldn’t fit next to a queen-sized bed. As a crafty alternative, two custom wall-mounted tables, painted the same colour as the bed for continuity, keep contrast to a minimum, thus visually enlarging the room. “It’s all tone on tone, warm greys,” says Reihani.

And though a fusion of two styles is not a brand new concept, here, it is done so subtly, that you barely realize what’s going on. It’s just warm, welcoming and comfortable. “I like when I get to work with clients with a strange wish list or likes that are outside of the box,” she says. “It makes your imagination fly higher and makes you think about things you wouldn’t necessarily do.”

VERTICAL THINKING

Small condo bedrooms can be challenging to furnish. Floating bedside tables and wall-sized artwork take things up a notch.

SOURCES BEDROOM: LAMPS: Mercana BEDDING & PILLOWS: West Elm WORLD MAP WALLPAPER: NumerArt KITCHEN AND DINING: CABINETRY: Space Harmony TABLE: LH Imports CHAIRS & STOOL: Style in Form LIGHT FIXTURE: Restoration Hardware CLOCK: HomeSense LIVING ROOM: SECTIONAL: Custom by Space Harmony COFFEE TABLE, MIRRORED END TABLE: Mobital Art LAMP & POTTERY: Mercana OTTOMANS & JUTE RUG: Surya

 

Catherine Sweeney is a Toronto-based writer and editor who loves design, architecture, poetry and animals. She has worked for numerous publications including House & Home, Designlines and Azure.