Designing a home for someone else is a collaborative and creative experience. To celebrate the aesthetics and values of the people living in a space, an interior designer plays the role of a journalist, questioning and evaluating what matters and is loved. But sometimes, a design project begins with intuition. This often happens to interior designer Gillian Segal. “Deciding which projects to go on is a serious process,” principal and founder of Gillian Segal Design told us, noting that this is the case with this stunning Craftsman home renovation in Vancouver’s coastal Kitsilano area. “I immediately fell in love with the client.”
Segal lets this kinship guide her as she renovates the charming home of her client, an “incredible” retired woman who lives with her dog Lexie and is an occasional long-time guest. term (mainly the client’s two college-age children). While most elements of the house “did need an update,” recalls Segal, the house was built in the ’90s, and has a solid skeleton. Original heritage-style oak floors, gorgeous stained glass and “old-fashioned” brass door hardware are treasures Segal leverages to celebrate the neighborhood’s classic, eclectic character.
With a fondness for mixing old and new, design and vintage, Segal has chosen decorative elements that celebrate the “old-fashioned” feel of the home. This includes a blend of heritage and modernity, represented by vintage floor lamps, custom ribbons, Montauk Sofa, Arteriors Home side tables and ceramics by B Zippy & Co. A neutral color palette allows eclectic pieces and art collections to shine.
The finished home is “elegant, unexpected and effortless” as Segal describes it. We couldn’t agree more. For a closer look at how she put it all together, we connected with the talented designer. We have to say: this Craftsman’s stunning refurbishment is truly the product of sheer talent and intuition.
How did you honor the original bones of the house?
We wanted to achieve eclectic luxury. To do this, we have maintained some of the original features such as laminated oak floors, which we have removed and re-stained to give them a modern feel. We kept the original topcoat where possible and added new, more subtle moldings with pencil rails for a fresh twist. The house has several stained glass windows. These are beautiful but customers don’t like their traditional feel, especially with their palette of all primary colors. Instead of eliminating them, we design new windows by creating our interpretation of stained glass. This turned out to be one of my favorite features.
Talk to us about a room you especially love.
This kitchen is one of my favorites that I have designed so far. It feels so peaceful, elegant and inviting. While the materials seem tranquil, we focused on details such as the cast metal pillars running through the island, sculpted bronze scissors, minimalist Bocci Design plugs, and marble cases around stained glass. new design. Choosing lights has always been one of my favorite parts of the design process, and this project was no exception. The bronze Pelle pendant with cast confetti is a work of art. And the Studio Apparatus fixture in the kitchen is another favorite. It gives off the most beautiful light.
Resilience is key, no matter where you are in life, what you’re doing or where you’re at.
What was the inspiration behind the color scheme?
We worked with a fairly neutral palette, layering subtle colors and saving the most saturated colors for incredible artwork. We wanted a palette that felt warm, subtle, textured and also represented the natural colors found along the beaches of the Pacific Northwest.
You have layered in so many amazing decorative elements. What are some of your biggest finds?
With a more neutral palette, we wanted to focus on materiality to create a layered and warm look. We used a lot of natural stone, mainly marble, and worked with oak to finish a variety of home furnishings. We have also worked with a number of metals, including cast bronze, rusty brass and black steel.
I also love the art collection we’ve built together, with a focus on Canadian artists. Erin Armstrong’s works in the dining room are bold and whimsical. We also commissioned Curtis Cutshaw to do two black and white wall sculptures in the living room that reflect the fireplace and TV, hidden in the upper cabinet. The area rug from The Rug Company in the living room is another personal favorite. Fun fact: After our first home party, our client called us with an urgent design request: A guest spilled red wine all over the carpet! Thankfully, the wool blend is so durable that it stays like new even after cleaning.
You have a talent for keeping the space you design balanced and timeless, as well as minimalistic yet warm. What is your secret?
I have made a conscious effort to move more and more towards working with natural products and materials, handcrafted items and small products that tell a story and advocate a craft or trade. It’s that little bit of imperfection that works wonders. It is what brings life and feeling into our homes. Without these, space can feel sterile and new rather than endless.
Add layers. Make sure that the layers are of different materials, whether it’s bedding, paint, wallpaper, pleating or lighting. This approach creates a cozy surrounding space.
What advice can you share for those just starting out in design?
The most important thing to offer your customers is a personalized experience! We pride ourselves on educating our clients during the design process while making the process as comfortable and fun as possible. We strive to create original work for our clients to push design boundaries while making it feel like it represents them. Ultimately, we want to do everything we can to keep our customers happy.