Who: Mike, a physiotherapist and Sami, an interior designer, recently welcomed a baby girl, Poppy, into their personality-rich townhouse in Vancouver. Their labradoodle, Ruben, will have to take a back seat in future photos I’m afraid (he’s quite the star in the following, which were taken in Sami’s last months of pregnancy) now that Poppy is on the scene.
What: A 1400 sq ft. townhouse with concrete and cedar exterior, by architect Battersby Howat. Built in 2006, the modern home spans four floors and includes two bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths, a top-floor den and two outdoor spaces.
Where: Main St. / Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC. Sami describes it as a "…lively area of town with a young and artistic vibe. Main St. is filled with bicycle riders, tattoos, coffee shops, strollers and babies, vintage furniture shops, local fashion designers and great restaurants. It’s multicultural and has a lot of local parks. We love our neighbourhood because it feels like a community and we can walk everywhere." Amen to that.
Why: The space is modern but contrary to common opinion (of modern spaces), feels warm, fun, eclectic and lived-in. Much like Sami’s description of her neighbourhood, the home is a reflection of city living: a love for quirky and unique objects, vintage furniture, the creative impulse and a healthy sense of humour.
HGTV: How did you come to live in this home?
Sami: We found our home just over two years ago on MLS.ca. We fell in love with it immediately, the stars aligned, we acted quickly, and then it was ours.
HGTV: Did you renovate?
Sami: No renovations. It’s pretty new and we really respect the architects. We just added some wallpaper.
HGTV: Did you work with a designer for your decor?
Sami: I am a designer 🙂 samiwall.com
Living room fireplace
HGTV: Tell us about "Long Live Family"…
Sami: "Long Live Family" is actually a shopping bag from the store Moule. I just loved the message, the photograph and the colors so I popped it in a frame… easy art 🙂
Kitchen and dining nook with Ruben.
HGTV: Tell us about the W painting…
Sami: The W is a Vancouver landmark. It’s from Woodwards, a historic building in the downtown east side of Vancouver. It used to be a department store and was recently made into a condo development. The painting is by Vincent Bernier. It belonged to our old neighbour who is a fashion photographer. She traded him the painting for a vintage camera. We then bought the painting from her.
HGTV: I spy Ikea’s monster hit, the TOBIAS chair, flanking your gorgeous vintage dining table. As a designer, how do you feel about Ikea?
Sami: The dining table is a vintage rosewood table; we bought it at Fullhouse Consignment. It was quite a splurge for us so we decided to mix it with Ikea chairs to balance out our budget. I am a big Ikea fan and I think there is definitely a place for Ikea in your home. The TOBIAS chairs have a really comfortable cantilevered design and the fact that they are made of clear plastic keeps our small dining space looking less cluttered.
HGTV: Where did you get most of your furniture?
Sami: So many different places! A lot of items are scavenged from family members… Our bedroom set was my parents’ set from just before I was born! Our Danish teak unit (record player and seat) in the den was my Great Aunty Myrna’s. The Acapulco chairs, like the Danish rosewood dining table, are from Fullhouse Consignment. The Solair chairs [not pictured] are from Vancouver Special. The shelving unit in our living room is from a local vintage store called Refind. Our crib is from Westcoast Kids and is made by Oeuf. There are Ikea items throughout our home such as the TOBIAS dining chairs and the dresser and shelves in Poppy’s room. Our furniture is really from all over the place.
Sami’s Aunt’s Danish credenza; Sami painted the Pink Portrait for an assignment in design school.
HGTV: Obviously you love vintage — did you find pieces specifically for the space or did you buy things you loved that you later made to work in the space at hand?
Sami: A little bit of both. I love moving furniture around and really playing within a space. Our design style definitely leans towards the mid-century modern and vintage feel. I guess I am eclectic because I just surround myself with items that I like. I love furniture and accessories that tell a story and carry some sort of meaning for me.
Vintage resin-with-flower paper weight; shelving unit from Refind.
HGTV: What is your favourite vintage find in the home?
Sami: That’s a tough one! I have so many favorites. I have a special place in my heart for a resin paper weight with an orange flower inside. It’s probably from the ’60s or ’70s and was my Grandma’s. I always loved seeing it on her desk. It now sits on some design books in my living room adding a fun splash of color and retro nostalgia.
HGTV: Tips on vintage hunting?
Sami: Have fun with it. Surround yourself with items that mean something to you or at least just make you feel happy.
Side tables came from Sami’s parents’ house; lamps, Home Sense; headboard and pillows upholstered by Sami; foremost throw pillow, Urban Outfitters.
HGTV: Your bedroom paintings are, if I may, hilarious — intentional tongue-in-cheek or unassuming art? Commissioned or happy find?
Sami: These paintings were a happy find from the Fairfax flea market in LA. I paid $10 for the pair and I just love them!
HGTV: Baby room — who was the mastermind? Initial concept? Did you know the gender of your baby when you decorated? Did you find it hard to resist getting a glider chair? Also, is that a bean bag as a bookend? CUTE!
Sami: I am the mastermind 🙂 We didn’t know the gender of our baby when I designed this room and it was a bit tricky to stick to a gender neutral design that could grow and evolve after the baby was born.
White shelving, IKEA
Sami: I wanted a simple, Danish-inspired design. I like the color chartreuse because I find it happy and calming so I decided to tie that color in with the wallpaper. I don’t like baby rooms that are too cutsie; I just wanted a space that felt happy and comfortable. Since Poppy was born, the room has changed a bit to suit her more.
Prints by Pebble; dresser, Ikea.
Sami: Choosing a rocker was tricky because I cared about the look as well as comfort. This rocker had the perfect balance. I like that it’s small and has the wooden legs. I re-covered the toss pillow with leftover fabric from my living room pillows to suit the color scheme of the room.
Elephants by Front and Co.; beanbag bookend by Sami.
Sami: The elephants reminded me of Dumbo (Baby of Mine is my favorite mother/baby moment… makes me cry so much!) Beanbag bookend was a "do-it-yourself" idea that I stumbled upon on Pinterest. I recently learned how to sew so I made the bookend as well as the crib sheet. There are many handmade items in Poppy’s room.
Sofa by Van Gogh Designs; coffee table, reproduction of a Noguchi design; yellow lamp, Refind; chair by Nuevo; Sami found the Vogue print at a bargain store. She confesses to have a thing for synchronized swimmers and vintage telephones!
HGTV: Your favourite room? Why?
Sami: I love our living room. We love having friends over and entertaining so not putting a television in this room helped create a warm and inviting space for good conversation. We get the barbecue going, turn on the music with our little red Tivoli radio, pour our friends a glass of scotch from Mike’s collection and sit in front of the fireplace hanging out until the wee hours of the night. I am a huge Jonathan Adler fan so the birds, orange coasters and Acapulco pillow make me happy. I love sitting on the couch flipping through design books and getting inspired. Our living room is my happy place.