Now Open: Kate Duncan Loft
Furniture maker and local design enthusiast Kate Duncan invites us into her new live-work showroom to chat brunch, built-in cabinets and finding a space to call home.
Kate Duncan has had a busy year. In addition to spending time in her Parker Street Studios woodshop—and shining a spotlight on Vancouver’s designers and makers at her third annual Address assembly—the furniture phenom has been busy setting up shop (and home!) in Gastown’s Koret Lofts. We caught up with Duncan to get the scoop on her new space and learned, unsurprisingly, that she can’t wait to let others in.
WL: First of all, congratulations!
KD: Oh my god, what have I done? [Laughs.] I don’t know if I’m excited or terrified or just plain stupid. Nobody knows! Only time will tell.
WL: What made you finally decide to open your own showroom?
KD: I think the space did it, actually. I like to keep my eye on the real estate market, so I was looking at different listings and properties for at least a year. When this came up, my mind just started spinning a mile a minute thinking of all the different possibilities. When my realtor showed it to me I was like, “Dude, let’s just make it happen! I must have this space.” [Laughs.] It was a no brainer.
WL: It looks like an amazing location. Tell me a bit about the space.
KD: I’m so excited! It’s 1,400 square feet over two floors and I guess the beauty of it is that I can live in the space. So, upstairs is my bedroom and the master bathroom and downstairs is this really cool showroom. I’ve also started to leverage it as an event space so other design-centric brands are using it as well. It has 16-foot ceilings, exposed beams and tons of windows. It’s a corner unit in Koret Lofts. It’s a beautiful space—there are so many cool perks.
WL: So this will be your full-time home as well?
KD: That’s right, yeah. Call me crazy! [Laughs.] It’s not something I’ve seen too many other people do, the live-work-showroom thing, but I don’t know, I think it will be kind of neat.
WL: And Gastown seems like such a great fit.
KD: Oh, I know! [Laughs.] I love Gastown! I was looking into Railtown and the West End, but then then Gastown space came up and I felt like I won the lottery. It’s so perfect.
WL: What are you most looking forward to?
KD: That’s a great question—and one I don’t know if I have an answer for. The space right now is fairly organic in the way I’m approaching it. But I love community and working with other designers and makers—it’s something I really believe in. I’m just really excited to see who gets involved and to see how they use it.
So far, it’s been really fun—I’ve actually been quite pleasantly surprised. The space is listed on a platform called This Open Space (it’s like Airbnb, but for commercial properties) and it’s been rented out a couple times. It’s been super cool to meet other rad people in the city who are really into their brands and their craft.
I’m also really excited to use it as my own little spot to host parties. I love to do New Years Day brunch. I always figure there’s no competition because nothing’s open and everyone is super hungover so I do ham and pancakes, eggs and mimosas. I’m excited for stuff like that—It’s a great space to do really fun things.
WL: What’s next for you?
KD: For the past six months, I’ve been dreaming in cabinets. [Laughs.] It’s something so different, but I’m super excited about it. We’re actually really excited to be launching a new line of cabinets that are built-in. It’ll probably be over the next six to nine months that we’re going to unroll it, kind of piece-by-piece, by replacing [what’s in the showroom now] with new prototypes.
WL: And I have to ask, what do you love most about the new showroom?
KD: The stoop. I love the stoop. Just outside the front door, there are two steps down to the street level and it’s my favourite place to sit and have a beer. It’s like the ultimate window seat. And the neighbourhood is so quirky, you just sit there and you never know what’s going to walk by—it’s kind of amazing.
Kate Duncan Loft
253 Columbia Street, Vancouver
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY