Win­ter White

A for­mer restau­rant de­signer’s own three-storey home in Van­cou­ver puts a soft spin on hol­i­day decor.

Western Living - - CONTENTS - by JACQUIE MOORE // pho­to­graphs by JA­NIS NI­CO­LAY

If your sea­sonal modus operandi in­volves go­ing down a rab­bit hole of in­ten­sive dec­o­rat­ing, well, we can’t stop you. We can, how­ever, present an al­ter­na­tive, cour­tesy of a Van­cou­ver de­signer whose take on the sea­son is as sim­ple and nat­u­ral as a frosty fir.

A for­mer de­sign di­rec­tor at Earls Kitchen and Bar, Tanya Kr­pan knows am­biance. Her tal­ent for com­bin­ing modern and tra­di­tional fur­nish­ings and tex­tu­ral el­e­ments to cre­ate widely ap­peal­ing restau­rants took her across Canada and through the U.S. over the course of more than a decade. Kr­pan’s trav­els fu­elled and re­fined her pen­chant for de­cep­tively sim­ple, richly lay­ered neu­tral back­drops and, a cou­ple of years ago, in­formed her per­sonal de­ci­sion to de­sign her fam­ily’s modern-day brown­stone in Van­cou­ver’s Mount Pleas­ant neigh­bour­hood.

“I’d been in­spired by all the brick I saw in Chicago and Bos­ton, and I wanted that time­less feel,” says Kr­pan. She and hus­band Jure Kr­pan (a builder with Dakota Homes) nabbed a lot be­tween Cam­bie and Main; over the course of a year and a half, they built a brick three-storey, which they promptly painted white to give it a modern twist.

In­side, white dom­i­nates as well, but, as Kr­pan puts it,

“it’s not a typ­i­cal ‘white-kitchen’ home.” In­deed, warmth and orig­i­nal­ity quash any chance for stark­ness to creep in. White oak, creamy-white walls, tex­tured plas­ter, a her­ring­bone pat­tern on porce­lain tile floor­ing and smoky blue-grey un­der­tones in the kitchen and liv­ing room gran­ite add rich­ness to the neu­tral pal­ette.

As well, some un­ex­pected arched door­ways and win­dows add in­ter­est and soft­ness. Kr­pan says their in­clu­sion in the home was not only her re­sponse to the de­sign world’s “many years of very hard, modern lines” but also a throw­back to a child­hood love of Span­ish Colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture. “When I was a kid, my fam­ily trav­elled to Cal­i­for­nia quite a lot and, from a young age, I was in­flu­enced by that style,” she says.

Such an un­der­stated back­drop could eas­ily be over­whelmed by Christ­mas colours and or­na­ments. In Kr­pan’s hands, the hol­i­days are an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a be­guil­ing

feel­ing rather than a per­for­mance in dec­o­rat­ing. “To me, the fo­cus is the win­ter sea­son,” she says. “I wanted to cre­ate a fes­tive, nat­u­ral feel that in­cor­po­rated what I love in my life year-round.” Kr­pan plays up the warmth of wood tones, brass and gold ac­cents, soft grey fab­ric and caramel leather

fur­ni­ture with cush­ions, fur and throws in cream, tan and fawn brown. ( Visi­tors who toured the house last year when it was spot­lighted at Kids’ Help Phone Homes for the Hol­i­days are to be con­grat­u­lated on not curl­ing up for a nap.) A white-flocked tree, olive branches and fluffy eu­ca­lyp­tus gar­lands are fit­tingly sub­tle and soft; frosted gin­ger­bread houses look more like cozy hunter cab­ins than fairy-tale set­tings (thinkhygge ver­sus Hansel and Gre­tel).

Still, Kr­pan’s style is not with­out whimsy—far from it. “We kept the com­mon ar­eas warm and fuzzy, and I saved the colour and en­er­getic, play­ful stuff for the be­d­rooms,” she says. “The kids played a big part in my want­ing to bring fun into the decor in the play­room and be­d­rooms.” Plaid bed­ding, lit-up strings of pom­poms, mul­ti­ple snow globes, ran­domly placed stars and an­gels’ wings, and a gold-tree shower cur­tain de­light Kr­pan’s young chil­dren and adult guests alike. As is true through­out the main floor, all of it could eas­ily re­main through to spring with­out look­ing out of place.

What Kr­pan calls, with sig­na­ture re­straint, “a nod to Christ­mas” is, to us, a great big bear hug to win­ter.

That’s a Wrap Even the gift wrap takes its cues from de­signer Tanya Kr­pan’s cool, na­ture-in­spired de­sign theme, uti­liz­ing white kraft pa­per, fresh fir sprigs and twine.

Gold and Glory A lush gar­land is draped over the din­ing ta­ble, in­ter­spersed with jars of twin­kling string lights and glit­ter­ing gold can­dle hold­ers.

Per­fectly Play­ful In the be­d­rooms, the more colour­ful decor pieces are out in full force—think strings of pom­pom lights (top mid­dle), minia­ture sled­ders (top right) or snow­globes ga­lore (bot­tom right).

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