Photos: Inside a Lofty, Art-Filled Vancouver Home
A family home in Vancouver is equal parts light-and-airy gallery and warm-and-welcoming hideaway.
With its museum-like airiness, the design of this Vancouver home is quietly glamorous—but there’s an intentional push and pull between the grand and the laid-back here. And you’ll witness it in the treads of high-tops and flip-flops as the homeowners’ three teens and their entourage move over the polished taupe-grey tile floors—nothing is kept too precious here. It may be art-filled and clutter-free, but this is a shoes-on house: first and foremost, this loft-like space is a family hideaway.
Set in the leafy and tranquil Kerrisdale neighbourhood, the 6,000-square-foot home is surrounded by foliage with peek-a-boo views of planes landing at the nearby airport. From the main living space on the second floor, it’s an almost 360-degree view from aerial highway and gigantic trees to tall hedges and the pool and guest house. It’s the family’s own Palm Springs-style oasis, complete with palms.
When the homeowners bought the house seven years ago, its mid-century-modern style—designed by legendary local architects Pat and Chart McCulloch—seemed ready-made for their version of the ideal family pad. They loved the open-concept second-floor hybrid of living, dining, TV rooms and kitchen that extends into the secluded courtyard-like space. It could be both a lofty hub of activity and, with its gallery-like setting, the perfect showcase for their art collection.
Bold canvases and panels take up entire walls and become conversation starters at parties. (One recent summer gathering included some 200 guests in the seamless indoors-and-out space.) The Graham Gillmore piece at the head of the dining table poses questions true to its title, Psych Test, while the same artist’s work over the fireplace acts as another provocateur. A Warhol print brings a magenta pop to an alcove by the master bedroom. Then there are the huge, almost-photographic Gordon Smith paintings of a waterfall and forest, adding a layer to the treehouse vibe that exists here—from the second floor, the home appears to be perched above the trees.
Nothing distracts from the art’s graphic punch—not even the pendant light over the dining table, a choice that keeps sightlines unobstructed the entire length of the main floor and to the exterior. The furniture is monochromatic greys and whites; everything is neutral and unfussy. “We’re pretty minimal,” says one of the two homeowners. “Sometimes I think too much so.” But that means there’s less to worry about. “I have no rules in the house,” she says (although the bright-white sectional sofa is off limits to her teens and their friends—though they will cheekily send her photos of themselves sprawled atop it).
Amid the spotless design, texture brings softness: sheer drapery, nubbly rug, velvet upholstery. Metropolitan armchairs by B&B Italia seem to match the silvery family cat, who has no boundaries and is a furry foil for the decor. A raw warm-wood bench also grounds the in-the-clouds quality.
Underlying these tactile furnishings is the persistent polish of oversized floor tiles that reflect the light (and are low-maintenance under those clad feet). A baby grand piano brings more gloss, alongside the sheen of the minimalist white Archipenko sideboard by Minotti, its circular handle reiterating the piano’s curves. The linear is offset with the curvaceous, from the simple “X” of a Barcelona chair to the sinuous S-shape of Panton chairs in the outdoor dining area.
This mix is the homeowner’s vision, a passion project in which she channelled muses like Kelly Wearstler and Tom Ford. Taking inspiration from fashion as well as interior design, she decorated the home herself, with help from local design shops, such as Inform and Livingspace. But it’s the homeowner’s innate sense of style that comes through. The low-hanging lights over the master bedroom’s nightstands—whimsical, bloom-like Discocó pendants by Marset—just felt fun, she says.
Elsewhere, she’s added touches of red, like the Egg chair in the downstairs den. She played off the big crimson lips outside, a pre-existing sculptural piece that the homeowners kept when they bought the house. Approaching the front door, it’s the first thing visitors see beyond the fountain. It’s like a preview of what’s inside: a cheery welcome into an exhibition space that’s also a very lived-in and lively home. And please—leave your shoes on.