My Houzz: Eclectic Vancouver Loft

Homeowners Matt and Josée Davis made their attic their own by filling it with”love, music and things which make us joyful.” Their tree-lined street in Vancouver’s varied West End neighborhood features plenty of foliage to give their compact, densely inhabited place a remarkably silent, country sense. Double-height ceilings and a upper-level terrace offer breathing space, and their décor reveals their interests in art, fashion, music and a fresh, modern style.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Matt Davis, Josée Gordon-Davis and their Boston terrier, Chica
Location: The West End, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Size: 1,095-square-foot, two-story loft area, with 1 bedroom, 1 bath plus an upper-level terrace.

Heather Merenda

Heather Merenda

The attic view of this living area shows Chica lounging on the couch. The piano is a Mason & Hamlin which Josée inherited from her late grandmother, who is her greatest inspiration.

Josée painted the black background behind the piano over a collection of sunny afternoons out on the terrace. Matt selected a coordinating 1967 Italian marble and glass table lamp designed by the Castiglioni brothers. Josée discovered the white Beethoven statue at a thrift store. Does she respect Beethoven’s narrative and songs, but her grandmother had the same one. The dreamcatcher is by artist and friend, Jessica Joan Delorme.

Table Lamp: Snoopy from Flos

Heather Merenda

Heather Merenda

The few used Expedit shelving to arrange their books and magazines, and as a space divider for your dining and living room spaces. The shelves create private areas within an open area without needing too much light or making it feel shut in.

Sofa: Bensen out of Inform Interiors
Coffee table: Antique Alley Collectables
Shelving unit: Ikea

Heather Merenda

The bedroom includes art by Jessica Joan Delorme, whose job Josée believes”intelligent, soulful, and lively.” The bright colours in the painting are a nice contrast to the bedroom’s earthy wall shade. Playful accent cushions and floral patterned bedding include vintage appeal to their sleeping area.

Bedside lamps: the JJ from Itré
Art: Jessica Joan Delorme

Heather Merenda

On the opposite wall, a 1970s classic Parentesi lamp is used to highlight a gallery wall. Produced by Flos, it had been designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzu, and has been exhibited at the MoMA in New York. The spotlight is adjustable and moves up and down a weighted suspension cable. It serves as both a design and functional piece, taking up almost no room at all while providing plenty of light.

Lamp: Parentesi out of Flos

Heather Merenda

Mixing up chairs at the dining table keeps things fun and interesting. Josée told me that they plan on replacing them shortly, while maintaining an eclectic aesthetic. She says”This way each chair has its own character, bringing something fresh and different to the table.”

The pendant lamp is made up of numerous love notes written in different languages and gives the room a soft, romantic feel. Matt discovered the dining table by means of a movie set decorator in Vancouver.

Pendant Light: Zettel’z by Ingo Maurer

Heather Merenda

The sleek, clean lines and clear, open area from the hall reflect Matt’s minimalist influence on the decoration. A framed, classic illustration perched atop the storage console leaves the expansive wall area bare. The print makes a statement when leading to an open, airy texture.

Console: Ikea

Heather Merenda

Heather Merenda

Heading upstairs to the attic, a vibrant gallery wall showcases a selection of art, prints and photos. The couple changes the composition and graphics often to keep things fresh.

The most recent update in the home was done by Matt, who tore out the carpeting on the stairs and replaced it with wood.

The upstairs skylight floods the attic with natural light during the day. The wall sconce is an excellent choice for ambient light through the night or on a few of the many grey and rainy Vancouver days.

Wall sconce: Ariette by Tobia Scarpa for Flos

Heather Merenda

The portrait of their dog Chica was a gift from photographer and friend André Pinces.

Heather Merenda

Having additional loft space is excellent for Josée who uses it as her creative studio. As a music teacher, makeup artist and most recently a perfumer, she creates innovative scent compositions and the branded jars are part of a continuing project inspired by her love for traveling. Josee says,”Each scent has notes which honor each place and their history as seen through my sensory experience.” When asked about her favorite scent, she says,”It’d have to be the Netherlands: chamomile, olibanum, black agar and oak moss.”

Heather Merenda

A selection of publications in their attic is emphasized by an Ikea lamp.

Heather Merenda

Matt and Josée enjoy the numerous eating and shopping options within walking distance, in addition to beaches and dog-friendly parks to take their Boston terrier Chica.

On a summer day, you may often find the few here when they’re relaxing in your home.

Peace sign sculpture: vintage

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Fantastic Design Plant: Hens-and-Chicks

Low-water landscapes filled with colorful succulents are still surge in popularity since architects and nurseries discover extraordinary species and hybrids. Topping the list as one of the most popular are”hens-and-chicks,” a frequent name given to two species that appear similar but are appropriate to very different climates.

This story concentrates on the cold-hardy Sempervivum spp. Native to the mountains of Central and Southern Europe, these challenging plants flourish in snowy winters and temperate climates. In case the desert landscape of the Kaufmann House is your aesthetic ideal but your climate is more like that of Pennsylvania’s Fallingwater, then literally thousands of Sempervivum spp. Are good choices for you.


Botanical name: Sempervivum spp.
Common names: Hens-and-chicks, houseleeks
USDA zones: Typically 4-9 (hardiness varies between species)
Water requirement: Small to medium
Sun requirement: Full sun
Mature size:Mature rosettes vary from 1/2″ to 6″ in diameter
Tolerances:Frost resistant, drought
Gains: Crushed leaves used medicinally to treat warts, burns and other skin irritations


Distinguishing traits. With roughly 50 species of Sempervivum currently recognized, their capacity to cross easily suggests that there are thousands of hybrids and cultivars to choose from. Their shapes and sizes range from the dense rosettes of Sempervivum tectorum to long fleshy leaves of Sempervivum‘Rubikon’.

Colors include bold chartreuse to bluish gray, deep magenta and frosty mauve. Some varieties of Sempervivum are covered with fibrous webs.

Far Out Flora

Each rosette flowers once prior to the plant dies. Luckily, Sempervivum also reproduces extremely efficiently. Throughout the creation of offsets, the first plant produces more tiny rosettes that will eventually live independently of their first plant. These offsets enable the plant to live forever — hence the title Sempervivum.


Witness the mother hens-and-chick offsets in action.

Far Out Flora

How to utilize it. Plant Sempervivum in rock planters and gardens, and in gaps between stones, boulders or on garden walls. In their native regions, Sempervivum are traditionally grown on roofs.

David Edwards

Sempervivum do good indoors or out, so for those of you with rainy winters, think about taking your Sempervivum indoors for this season. Place on a great bright window or vacant shelf for winter decoration.

Vojislav Djindjic

Keep it growing. As with most succulents, Sempervivum prefers gritty and well-drained soil and cannot tolerate overwatering.

Remove spent rosettes after flowering, and you can expect a long and maintenance-free planting.

More amazing design crops:
Snake Flower
Black Mondo Grass
Feather Reed Grass
New Zealand Wind Grass
Red Kangaroo Paw
Blue Chalk Sticks
Slipper Plant

Great layout trees:
Manzanita | Japanese Maple | Persian Ironwood | Smoke Tree | Bald Cypress | Tree Aloe

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Layout 2012: Not Your Grandma's Antiques

Antiques never fall out of favor, but they will claim a huge share of the spotlight in next year’s insides. Because so many of them boast exceptional detailing and meticulous craftsmanship, they could add instant character to a room. The key to making them seem fresh: Blend them into sleek design, spark them with sudden colours, and repurpose them in creative ways.

Whether you’re an antiques collector or just trying to figure out what to do with a cellar filled with your grandparents’ furniture, there’s plenty to inspire you here.

Justine Hand

Distressed sky blue on a classic sideboard adds the sole strong hit of color in this tranquil, rustic area. The area is all lines and angles, and the sideboard dovetails perfectly. Upholstered armchairs supply a needed bit of softness.

Black wall paint provides this traditional room an instant advantage. Dark finishes on the Windsor-style chair along with the hutch keep the appearance streamlined.


My favorite strategy to antiques: Look for components from some other nations and cultures. This black rain drum pulls double duty as a side table.

Lucid Interior Design Inc..

A classic office desk changed to a dressing table is a genius touch. The drawers provide more storage for toddlers.


Although this classic chest is the focal point of the wall, a grab bag of chairs along with a collage of eclectic art keep it from feeling fusty.

From time to time, it’s all in the accessorizing. A patinated cable basket, an assortment of classic glass bottles, and shelves filled with crisp white towels provide this painted cabinet a cottage-chic upgrade.

Splendid Willow

Wow! Just add Prussian blue, and this classic chest sizzles. Leonine drawer pulls complement the carved detailing and the regal color.

Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

The classic file cabinet and cowhide seat both layer texture within this space. As a result of the spareness of the décor along with the chair’s modern lines, the cabinet feels contemporary instead of cast-off.


I really like this homeowner not only embraced a very old-fashioned desk, but also had the moxie to pair it with a totally mod seat. The comparison makes for a gorgeous balance.


Who could not use another place to display novels? If you have a chair that is too rickety to sit on, here’s a fantastic way to give it new life.

Joani Stewart-Georgi – Montana Ave. Interiors

Spunky orange and pink, along with glam mirrored accents, make this classic bed look complicated.

Go”Green” With Antiques
Get the Look: Immediate Collection
Classic Pieces: The Secretary Desk

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The Bed: Sleeping on Air

If you want to give your bedroom a contemporary makeover or would like to furnish a small bedroom with no overpowering the space, consider the bed. These designs use a hidden ground support or wall installation which makes the bed itself seem to float, leading to a modern look that takes up less space both physically and visually. Wondering if the look is for you? Have a peek at the photos to learn.

More: Bedding Trends — Tailored and Tucked-In

Kia Designs

This is the floating bed. While many floating bed designs require some kind of minimal ground support to pull off the visual understanding of drifting, the Fluttua bed seems to be really on air by means of a wall installation. More about this room

Audrey Matlock Architects

The floating mattress layout is excellent for minimalist chambers, as it seems visually milder because of space under the bed and the deficiency of headboard. This allows the statement bits of a space, like this antler chandelier, to take center stage.


This contemporary design gets even more sleek and contemporary when finished in vivid red lacquer. Carrying the colour to the space and doorframe shelving unifies the room’s design.

This floating mattress layout manages to adopt both contemporary and traditional aesthetics by mixing a sleek white finish with natural wood. Set against a stunning background of dark patterned background, the floating bed becomes the area’s chic focus.

Floating bed designs also work wonders for smaller chambers since they take up minimal visual space. A clean-lined side table offsets the bed design in similar contemporary fashion.


A monochromatic color scheme and floating bed equals a room that is equal parts complicated and contemporary.

House + House Architects

This oversize square design complements the contemporary take on this room’s square and rectangular windows, adding to the general contemporary aesthetic.

The clean lines of many floating bed designs result in the perfect sign of masculinity in almost any room. The look can be offset with linens of a female vibe, or maintained with streamlined bedding like the linens in such an case.

KuDa Photography

Many bed designs seem to”float” by means of a ground support. Disguise that ground support as much as possible by choosing a finish for the bed that closely resembles that of your floors.

Moon Design + Build

Some concealed ground supports include extra storage drawers.

AIA, mark English Architects

Each bedroom includes a few extra nooks and crannies for storage.

More: Platform Beds for Each Style

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7 Areas With Style to Accessorize

For nearly all of us decoristas, blogs and magazines and the gorgeous spreads of perfectly styled houses you will find what inspire us and make us moan … and make us feel inferior at the same time. The spreads of imperfect spaces, rooms that feel completed, lived-in and loved, rooms that are accessorized with perfection. Perhaps not a blank wall or tabletop to be viewed. How do they do it?

Well, first off, most the chambers in professionally photographed spreads have also been professionally styled by quite talented people. Nevertheless, there are a couple of tips that homeowners can remove from analyzing these pictures to produce their homes fabulous also.

The major rule: experimentation!

Don’t be afraid to try and fail and try again. Move things around, buy items (more than you think you need) return what you do not love or use. Buying accessories is one of the very first and toughest parts of accessorizing a house. We all know when we need a sofa or side table, however when faced with a decorative vase, dish, bookend, anything, we ask ourselves “do I need it?” Or “where would I place it?” If you do have the money and space for a fantastic new find, leave these thoughts and give yourself permission to have pleasure. Your home will have character, a sense of humor, and first and foremost, a sense of being completed over time.

For People design

1. Coffee tables. I’ll start with one of the toughest acts to follow. Accessorizing doesn’t come naturally. When I see something like this I really think, “how did them come up with this?!” Upon further thought, I look like a painting that is written. You’ve got different textures, scale, color, shape — play around with these things until the arrangement pleases your eye.

Burnham Design

Coffee tables are hard because they are functional; you do not wish to fill the whole table top so you can not put down a cup of java. But you want it to seem elegant and calm without it seeming as if you fussed too much by it. I liken this to dressing for a party: I wish to look fabulous, I simply don’t wish to seem like I attempted to look fabulous. See the way the items are paired to little conversations in random places on the dining table? 1 section is seems more scattered while the other hand is piled and structural. Effortless and elegant, and place together just enough.

Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

For the fundamentals, think in strange numbers. Three objects seem better than 2 or 4. Our minds want to produce patterns and also often we fall prey to organized things in a line or symmetrically. That’s the passing of an interesting tablescape. Here, it is all about scale (low basket and tall finial) and monochromatic color.

For People design

2. Consoles, credenzas and unwanted tables frequently have their own terminology. Symmetry can definitely work here, but it is not required. Have fun with collections of items, or frame a wall sculpture, painting or mirror with matching table lamps. I love the color in this particular arrangement. The tiny bit of bright pink, orange and yellow alongside the mostly brass and faded pink palette really makes this job.

For People design

To get a more manly and structured look, play with shape and scale, however keep things neatly organized. The oversize lamp, piled books and smaller items in between create a timeless arrangement, but it is the small, rectangular wall bit under the mirror that makes this more interesting. Don’t simply stick a mirror on the wall along with a lamp onto the desk with a couple books and think you are done. If your accessories and arrangements look stale, your house will feel warmer.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

3. Entryways and foyers can suffer from being ignored and forgotten — particularly when we use back and side doors more frequently than our entrance entrances.

Make your foyer to a little gallery of curiosities. While many of us may not use our entrance doors as much nowadays, we still walk through them to get upstairs, therefore make this space an experience as opposed to an afterthought.

Tracery Interiors

Foyers do not have to be formal or fussy. This table almost resembles a little kitchen island piled with blossoms. I adore the simplicity of this traditional arrangement of a lamp, painting, smaller items of different scales as well as the great complementary colors.

greige/Fluegge Interior Design, Inc..

4. Dining room tables are another challenging act. They’re long and full of lots of surface space to cover. Don’t feel as though you’ve got to have a massive arrangement of fresh flowers daily. A couple of glass jars, cloches, or even empty vases with one filled with a couple stalks of fresh or dried greenery is going to do just fine. Remember to change texture, scale and shape.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Have fun and do not feel as though everything has to match. Mixing glass with metal functions as well as moving the all-glass path.

Tracery Interiors

5. Mantels. Avoid the temptation to centre one large picture or one large mirror slap dab in the middle. Layer pictures or mirrors and you can manipulate a stack of books to just the right height to balance an adjoining object.

Fiorella Design

6. Kitchens can be rough because they are so function-focused and whatever unnecessary can wind up looking like clutter. I adore these topiaries; they are almost cartoon-like within their anthropomorphic texture, with different heights and haircuts. I have seen rosemary topiary plants as well, and those add an excellent smell to the kitchen. Potted herbs, one bud vase, along with other things of a more straightforward character work in kitchens.

Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

7. Bedrooms. While I like my accessories to have a sense of humor and haphazardness in a public space such as a living room or living room, I like bedroom accessories to make a sense of calm. This room makes me just want to crawl in bed. It is serene and sparse, without being dull. I adore the little mirror on the wall along with the almost miniature looking stack of books. The space around each bit is what gives them their sense of serene.

More: Coffee Tables Done Right
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Tray Chic: Turn an Everyday Item Into Décor

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Kitchen Hint: Extra Storage Above the Stove

It seems as if you can not have enough storage in your kitchen. In this kitchen, Kelly Nelson and Michelle Plachter of Nelson-Plachter Design set up a slick stainless steel shelf above the range. A normal stainless steel backsplash panel has been set up between the range and the hood, and the plate has been mounted on top of the board. This shelf combines seamlessly with the Viking selection and hood and adds a pleasure screen element to the space.

Nelson and Platcher often turn to kitchen railing and shelving systems from Rolse and Franke when designing kitchens. These easy-to-install units can be used previously ranges, above sinks, or some other open wall space in a kitchen.

The stainless steel can help create a very contemporary look, or just add some contemporary design to a more traditional kitchen.

In case you decide to install one of these shelves above your cooker, consider the usual care when cooking and prevent storing things there you’ll want to utilize while the cooker is on.

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Tastemakers: Our Paper Life

For all, the idea of cardboard furniture seems a little absurd. Who would wish to have a cardboard desk? Would it work?

Yes, say Chris Porteous and Geoff Christou of Our Paper Life. They would like to create the process of building, purchasing, and putting together furniture as simple as possible. And for these, the reasonably priced and quick solution was to create their pieces out of caliberrecyclable cardboard.

These bits are water resistent, simple to assemble and reasonably priced. “These bits can do everything that they need to,” says Christou. “They fulfill their functions — to hold books or laptops — and are a positive, frictionless part of life.” While it’s not suited for everybody, these simple designs look like they have been made with college students or first-time renters in your mind. Best of all, they’re challenging the way that we think about furniture.

Read on for more of Christou’s perspectives on design now.

Our Paper Life Desk – $19.99

This cardboard desk is affordable, eco-friendly, lightweight, and sometimes even water resistant. Made to simply make your life simpler, you can decorate it, draw it, pin it, or even staple on to it.

Q: What is it about paper which inspires you?
A: Using cardboard is exciting because it’s made up of 95% recycled material, is 100% recyclable — and yet is quite strong, stable, and lightweight. It’s an excellent material to work with because it allows for so many distinct possibilities. Also, the ubiquity of cardboard as well as the ease of manufacturing (in 1 step) make it ideal for applications such as furniture.

Q: How did you get started in product design?
A: I had completed architecture college and was traveling through London once I stopped, transfixed by an inlaid jewelry box in a storefront window. I believed, I could do so, then came home and began furiously designing.

Our Paper Life Shelf – $19.99

Although made from cardboard, this bookshelf is strong — it can hold books, books, magazines, clothes, shoes, and just about anything else. It’s cheap, lightweight, and waterproof.

Q: What kind of changes do you see occurring in product design now?
A: Compared to this imitation wood-veneer bookcases, desks and pieces of furniture that are omnipresent (and exceptionally inefficient), I see a tendency towards honest design, wherein simple materials are celebrated rather than concealed behind imitation plastic patterned decals and coatings.

Materials like polypropylene, plywood (or in our case( cardboard) are shown to be amazing. There is a desire for an authentic relationship between the user, the thing, and the firm which manufactured it. I see this as a cooperation between the user and the item.

Q: Exactly what are you trying to convey with your designs?
A: irrespective of how much an objects costs, how much time it’s used, whether it’s cardboard or marble, it could be aesthetic and certain in a space. The process of purchasing, transporting, assembling, using, and disassembling furniture is what I focused on — I wished to make this experience enjoyable and simple at all phases.

I don’t feel that assembling a desk or bookcase needs to take more than 5 minutes, however I have heard anecdotes of hours or even days spent small and cursing with tiny screws and fragile fire-board pieces. I am trying to say that a well-designed merchandise can contribute to wellbeing, instead of taking away from it.

Q: How has your work evolved since you first started? How can you see it evolving in the future?
A: My work was of diverse scales and materials, from large pavilions, to birdhouses, to the cardboard bookcases. In the brief decade of my career, I have discovered a large change in how I spend my time as a designer and architect. I concentrate on the entire process as opposed to only on the finished item.

As I have heard more about methods and materials, I have come to understand that ultimate product is a random point in what is a lengthy, complicated, and complex material orchestra. It’s the use of this designer-architect to style this whole motion, from inception, to manufacturing, to delivery, to use, to disposal.

Q: What are some of your favourite new design trends?
A: I am stoked for its incorporation of mass-customization in product design, which is afforded by the diminishing price of pc fabrication technologies. To be able to fully customize products for people is among the most exciting trends in design.

Q: What designers inspire you?
A: Jonathan Ives, the present industrial designer for Apple is a professional material-technician, he understand the limitations and possibilities of the stuff he works with. I was inspired by him to always use prototypes built of the last material at full size.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses exhibit a keen sense of proportion, rhythm and cadence. Being inside of these, walking through their halls, and sitting in their own rooms, it’s impossible not to feel at home.

Directors and founders of Our Paper Life, Geoff Christou (right) and Chris Porteous.

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