When one sis­ter has a brand new cus­tom-build home that needs dec­o­rat­ing and the other sis­ter is a de­signer...well, you can guess the rest.


When one sis­ter has a brand new cus­tom- build home that needs dec­o­rat­ing and the other sis­ter is a de­signer... well, you can guess the rest

Home­owner Melina Maierle was in the first trimester of a very queasy preg­nancy. Her sis­ter, de­signer Tanya Kr­pan, had just had a baby. To­gether, they took on a huge project: de­sign­ing the 4,700-square-foot home in Port Moody, B.C., that Melina and her hus­band, Mike, were build­ing. “We were de­sign­ing with a baby on the hip and a baby on the way,” says Tanya. “It was rushed!” But Melina wouldn’t have had it any other way. “We’re as close as two peo­ple can be,” she says. “I can hon­estly say that my sis­ter – well, her de­sign sense – was on my ‘must-haves’ list.”

And that list was lengthy. Hav­ing just re­turned from a five-year work stint in the Ba­hamas with their son Ma­son (now 5) in tow and son Jude (now 2) on the way, the cou­ple de­sired a for­ever home that re­flected their fam­ily: young and modern but also warm, liv­able and kid- (and baby-) friendly (the cou­ple has since wel­comed a third child).

With that in mind, Tanya slightly tweaked the floor plan. “The kitchen is big so I wanted to make it feel co­zier,” says the de­signer. “There were plans for an ex­posed pantry area with a sink, but I turned it into a lit­tle nook to make it more hid­den. And there’s plenty of space there for baby bot­tles and stor­age.” That’s perfect for Melina, for whom or­ga­ni­za­tion is para­mount. “My sis­ter likes com­part­men­tal­iz­ing,” says Tanya, “so func­tion­al­ity played a big part in the de­sign.”

The re­main­ing items on Melina’s list, other than a show­stop­ping pow­der room (not shown), fo­cused on fur­nish­ings, specif­i­cally wow-fac­tor light fix­tures and a sofa big enough for the whole fam­ily to curl up on. “The floor plan is open so all the pieces had to be in­ter­est­ing from ev­ery an­gle,” says Tanya. “We wanted a bit of colour and lots of drama. I like mix­ing ma­te­ri­als, and warm and cool tones, for a strik­ing ef­fect that’s never static.”

This dy­namic ten­sion of warm and cool deftly punc­tu­ates the abode, from the kitchen’s back­splashes and is­land base to the din­ing table and pen­dant lights hang­ing above it, but

RIGHT Drama was the buzz­word for the kitchen, and Tanya achieved it with a mix of ma­te­ri­als and tile ap­pli­ca­tions. “We con­trasted the bold mar­ble backsplash with the pantry’s light tiles, which were ap­plied in a her­ring­bone pat­tern,” she says. “You can see this wall from the is­land and din­ing area so I wanted it to be more than just dry­wall.” To ac­com­mo­date the ex­pense of the mar­ble, the sis­ters nixed the orig­i­nal plan of us­ing high-end Euro­pean ap­pli­ances and opted for mid-range mod­els in­stead. The pair­ing of white-painted and un­adorned oak cab­i­netry speaks to Tanya’s pen­chant for eclec­ti­cism, right down to the hard­ware. “The black pulls complement the grey mar­ble and the brass ones link nicely to the din­ing room lights. It’s a rich look that isn’t static.” CAB­I­NETRY HARD­WARE, Riche­lieu Hard­ware; BACKSPLASH & WALL TILES, C&S Tile Distrib­u­tors; AP­PLI­ANCES, Coast Whole­sale Ap­pli­ances; FAUCET, Brizo.

it’s per­haps most ev­i­dent in the liv­ing room. “The fa­cade of the fire­place con­trasts oak with heav­ily veined grey and white Cala­catta mar­ble for a truly spec­tac­u­lar ef­fect,” says Tanya.

But it’s not all eye candy. With Melina’s love of or­ga­niz­ing in mind, Tanya flanked the jaw-drop­ping fire­place with prac­ti­cal white stor­age banks that seem to dis­ap­pear into the wall and keep the hearth as the fo­cal point.

This show­piece of form and func­tion en­cap­su­lates Tanya’s ap­proach to de­sign­ing this house: It’s su­per prac­ti­cal and fam­ily-friendly yet so ut­terly gor­geous any­one would want to live in it in a heart­beat. It’s an ef­fect not lost on her sis­ter. “When ev­ery­thing was done,” Melina says, “I was like, ‘Oh wow, Tanya, you know me so well. I al­ways knew you were good at your job.’”

ABOVE Tanya added pan­elling to one en­try­way wall. “The ceil­ing here is 18 feet high, so this ex­panse needed some vis­ual in­ter­est to break it up,” she says. “You can also see this wall from the main liv­ing ar­eas so it acts as a fea­ture.” The bench and...

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