WHEN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER RE­BECCA

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Hep­burn and her hus­band pur­chased their East Van­cou­ver home in June 2016, the 1908-built beauty had good bones – but they could tell that it hadn’t been shown much love. In fact, the 3,000-square-foot abode was des­per­ate for some TLC. Re­becca knew em­bark­ing on a ma­jor facelift would come with chal­lenges, but she was ex­cited and to­tally in her el­e­ment. “I love ren­o­vat­ing older homes be­cause there’s so much room for cre­ativ­ity and prob­lem solv­ing,” says the de­signer. To make things even more in­ter­est­ing, the cou­ple, who at the time had a one-year-old and a baby on the way, would be liv­ing on-site through it all. “It was a stress­ful process, but we knew it would be worth it in the end, even if it meant do­ing dishes in the bath­tub on oc­ca­sion!” says Re­becca. She was ready and will­ing to get started, so the fam­ily moved into their new digs and the sev­en­month-long re­model com­menced.

Re­becca’s idea was to cre­ate a fam­ily-friendly Vic­to­rian-meets-Scandi aes­thetic with a sub­dued pal­ette and a few show-stop­ping fo­cal points. Some struc­tural changes would al­low her to take ad­van­tage of the home’s ex­cel­lent ori­en­ta­tion and brighten and lighten the space. A wall was re­moved be­tween the kitchen and the din­ing room, cre­at­ing open sight­lines from the en­try­way to the back of the house, and small win­dows in the kitchen were re­placed by one large win­dow and French doors that

lead to the back­yard. Wher­ever pos­si­ble, the de­signer kept orig­i­nal fea­tures, in­clud­ing mould­ings and cas­ings through­out, as well as the hard­wood floors, which were bleached and re­fin­ished to re­tain their char­ac­ter. But Re­becca didn’t shy away from us­ing mod­ern el­e­ments like new ap­pli­ances and con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture. “I wanted the jux­ta­po­si­tion of main­tain­ing the 110-year-old in­flu­ence and beauty of the home while bring­ing some­thing new and mod­ern to the ta­ble,” she says. In the liv­ing room, this meant keep­ing the style as min­i­mal as pos­si­ble while in­cor­po­rat­ing fea­tures that pay homage to the home’s heritage. “We added a vintage-look gas fire­place and a man­tel that plays off the de­tails on the base­boards,” says Re­becca.

The kitchen saw the big­gest change, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of Co­rian wa­ter­fall coun­ter­tops and cus­tom white oak cab­i­netry. A burnt-or­ange-tiled floor was re­placed with pat­terned grey and white tiles, cre­at­ing a fo­cal point that draws the eye to the back of the house. “The tiles are beau­ti­ful and they wear tremen­dously well,” says Re­becca, “and our kitchen sees a lot of ac­tion, so they’re per­fect for us.”

The de­signer was look­ing for the same fam­ily-friendly fea­tures in the din­ing room chairs but find­ing the right seat­ing to com­ple­ment the cus­tom live-edge wal­nut ta­ble wasn’t easy, so she chose chairs with sim­ple mid-cen­tury sil­hou­ettes. “Func­tion­wise, they tick all the boxes – they’re very com­fort­able and easy to clean, which is su­per-im­por­tant when you’re tidy­ing up after lit­tle ones,” says Re­becca. The soft grey rug was used to ground and warm the space, while the ceil­ing was painted pale pink for a sub­tle sur­prise.

For fi­nal dec­o­ra­tive touches, she pep­pered the rooms with pot­ted green­ery to pro­mote good air qual­ity and bring in a hint of the out­doors. The art­work, too, echoes the out­doors by show­cas­ing an or­ganic aes­theic.

The project was a labour of love, and it may have taken sev­eral stress­ful months to com­plete, but the end re­sult makes way for many years of easy breezy liv­ing to come.

ABOVE A deep blue rug acts as an an­chor in the liv­ing room, where white walls and del­i­cate art­work give off a light and airy vibe. The mod­ern sil­hou­ette of the cof­fee ta­ble con­trasts the clas­sic fea­tures in the room, such as the tufted-back armchair, with its tra­di­tional yet play­ful up­hol­stery. “That pat­tern has been a long-time favourite of mine,” Re­becca says. FIRE­PLACE, Van­cou­ver Gas Fire­places; SOFA, RH; FLOOR LAMP, Nine­teen Ten; RUG, Crate and Bar­rel; A Di­a­logue with the Fraser ART­WORK (above fire­place) by Lesley Fin­layson, Art Rental & Sales; TOSS CUSH­ION, IKEA.

BE­LOW Cus­tom white oak cab­i­netry, white Co­rian coun­ter­tops and sleek new ap­pli­ances are un­der­stated yet chic and let the show-stop­ping floor tiles take cen­tre stage. Re­becca (pic­tured above) chose matte white sub­way back­splash tiles for a sim­ple clean-lined aes­thetic. COUN­TER­TOPS, Paragon Sur­fac­ing; BACK­SPLASH TILES, Tile Town; RE­FRIG­ER­A­TOR, RANGE & RANGE HOOD, Trail Ap­pli­ances.

A wall that once di­vided the kitchen and din­ing room was re­placed with a penin­sula, al­low­ing light to flood in through a new large win­dow at the rear of the home.

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