Cu­rated cou­ture

A mix of Hep­burn and Chanel brings high fash­ion to a tiny Vancouver coach house that’s as com­fort­ing as it is clas­sic.

Style at Home Big Style for small spaces - - Contents - text Kath­leen Dore pho­tog­ra­phy Tracey Ay­ton

A mix of Hep­burn and Chanel brings high fash­ion to a small Vancouver coach house

1. Cre­ate Strong Vi­gnettes

While an open-plan space should have co­he­sion, “each area needs a spe­cial touch that makes it wor­thy of look­ing at in­di­vid­u­ally,” says de­signer Chrissy Cot­trell. The modern con­sole, paired with an an­tique mir­ror, re­lates to the liv­ing area but doesn’t match it; deep draw­ers of­fer a spot to store mail and house­hold items.

2. Get Benched

“The ta­ble needed to seat a rea­son­able num­ber of peo­ple with­out over­load­ing the limited area be­tween the kitchen and ad­join­ing liv­ing room,” says Chrissy. Vis­ually, the bench con­sumes lit­tle space and al­lowed the de­signer to tuck the ta­ble closer to the wall and out of the way. “Less is more in this open space,” she says. “Four din­ing chairs next to two liv­ing room so­fas and two kitchen bar stools would have been too much.”

Down­siz­ing from 4,000 to 1,400 square feet was daunt­ing, ad­mits this Vancouver home­owner. It took sev­eral months to trim her pos­ses­sions prior to mov­ing. “But it’s lib­er­at­ing,” she says, ad­vis­ing oth­ers to em­brace the re­al­ity of their new square footage and to en­list a de­signer they’re sim­patico with. For her, that was Chrissy Cot­trell, whose pri­mary goal is more per­sonal than find­ing the per­fect pal­ette. “I look for ways to tell my clients’ sto­ries. Not just who they’ve been, but who they want to be,” says Chrissy. That phi­los­o­phy suited this home­owner, who was tran­si­tion­ing to a new time in her life, cre­at­ing a home to share with her twen­tysome­thing daugh­ter. She en­vi­sioned a fem­i­nine take on French modern – and Chrissy con­curred. “This home­owner is a hy­brid of Coco Chanel and Au­drey Hep­burn. There’s a soft, pretty fem­i­nin­ity but also a se­ri­ous so­phis­ti­ca­tion,” she says. Those qual­i­ties in­formed ev­ery space-savvy de­sign de­ci­sion. The re­sult: A chic per­son­al­ized home that proves if you em­brace the space you have, it em­braces you right back.

3. Sit Pretty

The kitchen’s el­e­gant stools can eas­ily be pulled into the liv­ing area for ex­tra seat­ing. The brass legs re­late to the nearby cof­fee ta­ble but don’t feel matchy­matchy with the rest of the fur­nish­ings.

4. Make a Bold En­trance

“I’m a big be­liever in a bold en­trance door,” says Chrissy. “A foyer has to have pres­ence.” It’s the first thing you see and, in this home, it’s vis­i­ble from the en­tire open-con­cept main floor. “We wanted the door to have more sass, more drama and a more grounded uni­sex vibe. It sets you up for the play­ful pal­ettes in the other ar­eas of the home.” The white back­ground es­tab­lishes the in­te­rior’s so­phis­ti­cated modern mood.

5. Add Stylish Stor­age

A big-box shoe cab­i­net cus­tom-fit­ted with pretty hard­ware mar­ries form and func­tion. “The hard­ware gives it a cu­rated feel,” says Chrissy. Pink up­hol­stered benches pack a punch and are moved to the liv­ing area when ex­tra seat­ing is needed.

6. Lighten the Mood

The orig­i­nal wooden slat blinds weighed the room down with their busy hor­i­zon­tal pat­terns. The new sim­ple shades dis­ap­pear, wel­com­ing in day­light and im­part­ing an airy feel. Chrissy also avoided too much cus­tom mill­work, which would have sim­i­larly over­com­pli­cated the space; re­fined float­ing shelves stand in for fancy built-ins.

7. Cu­rate for Con­trast

“You can’t ap­pre­ci­ate soft­ness un­less there’s some hard­ness,” says Chrissy. “If a room is too quiet or too bold, you won’t have that well-cu­rated, bal­anced sweet spot.” She off­set the gen­tle space, with its tufted so­fas and fem­i­nine pal­ette, with an oval cof­fee ta­ble fea­tur­ing strong ar­chi­tec­tural lines.

8. Add Grandeur

“This home­owner’s a clas­sic soul who likes time­less, sim­ple ba­sics but isn’t afraid of whimsy, so ivory mixed with pinks, blacks and greys suited her,” says Chrissy. The main seat­ing area cen­tres on a mar­bletiled fire­place and glam­orous chan­de­lier. “To make a small space feel grand, you have to in­cor­po­rate some­thing worth look­ing at,” she says.

9. In­dulge in Colour and Pat­tern

A stun­ning damask-look wall­pa­per boasts what Chrissy calls “an avant­garde vibe.” Its sat­u­rated colours and dis­tinct pat­tern pro­vide a beau­ti­ful striking back­drop for the bed that’s nei­ther over­whelm­ing nor su­per bold.

10. Work It In

The home­owner needed a desk, so a cor­ner of the up­stairs den was fit­ted with a white piece that blends into the wall, as does the bare­lythere Ghost-style chair.

11. Be Brave

“Peo­ple tend to think a small space should feel unas­sum­ing, so they avoid pat­terns and bold colours,” says the de­signer. “Quite the op­po­site is true.” This bed­room is the small­est in the house, but its look-at-me black and white scheme en­sures it’s the room’s style you no­tice, not its size.

12. Gloss It Over

“The home­owner’s daugh­ter’s room had only two tiny clos­ets, so more stor­age was a must,” says Chrissy. A clean-lined piece in a high­gloss white strength­ens the pal­ette and re­flects a bit of light. Plus, it’s glam­orous!

“Some­times you have to put more fur­ni­ture in a small space than you’d like. The trans­par­ent chair works be­cause it doesn’t over­crowd the den.”

An­nounce your con­fi­dent style with a dramatic black front door

A tall black head­board in an all-white bed­room adds in­stant luxe

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