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