Everyone has their own perception of the ultimate dream home. But no matter how elaborate the design vision, it really only hinges on one thing: creating a personal place that makes you feel good every single time you step inside. No one knows this better than interior designer Erin Chow of The Cross Decor & Design, who was tasked with transforming a lifeless two-bedroom condo in downtown Vancouver into a Zen retreat for a young family of three.
Photography: Janis Nicolay
After purchasing the 1,350-square-foot condo, husband and wife Bianca and Kyle Wellwood (she’s a registered therapeutic counsellor, he’s a former NHL player turned wellness investor) envisioned a calm and light-filled home to share with their six-year-old son, Roman, that reflects their personal values and lifestyle.
Keeping the above in mind, the designer got to work, dressing the space in pastel-infused pieces that exude a timeless and tranquil quality. “Bianca wanted the home to have a feminine, boho feel, but in a way where her husband would still enjoy it,” says Erin.
This meant adding rustic wood elements to balance out the soft pinks and other dainty details, from the whitewashed brick feature wall to the vintage-look furniture pieces. “We kept the overall look fairly simple,” says the designer. “You don’t want to overdo it in a condo.”
Keeping the couple’s penchant for mindfulness and well-being in mind, the designer layered in character through spiritual elements like rose quartz crystals and Buddha statues. She even utilized an awkward corner by transforming it into a soothing meditation space, pictured below.
“These elements were especially important for the overall wellness of our home, which is reflected onto our family every single day,” says homeowner Bianca.
The homeowners and designer were also mindful about square footage. “When we first moved in, space was a concern, so we maximized it by adding function and beauty to every corner,” says Bianca.
One example? The minimalist white shelving unit (a budget-friendly IKEA find) that provides ample storage without blocking all the natural light that floods through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
And thanks to the home’s open-concept layout, the rooms naturally flow into one another, lending a chic and curated feel that’s far from cluttered.
Personal touches, such as a gallery-style family photo wall in the entryway, make for a more intimate setting. Every happy home also requires an ottoman as cheerful as this floral beauty.
The neutral bedroom is the ultimate sleep sanctuary. With such a subtle palette, textural elements take over, from the woven rug to the vintage-look side table. And what appears to be time-worn wooden boards behind the headboard? It’s actually wallpaper.
Instead of a standard builder-grade balcony, the condo features an enclosed version that doubles as a small sunroom. “We wanted this to be a space where the homeowners could sit and sip coffee or read a book,” says Erin. “It follows with the Zen theme seen throughout the house.” So she installed interlocking wood-look floor tiles coupled with warm wooden objects and hits of sunny yellow, amounting to a floating retreat in the middle of Vancouver’s downtown core.
“One of my favourite aspects of our space is the amount of light it receives and the pieces that are highlighted because of that,” says Bianca. “But most of all, when you enter, you truly forget that it’s an apartment. I am most proud of being able to make this space look and feel like a home.”
The wellness-inclined couple intend to spread their knowledge and holistic approach to life beyond their home’s interior. Two years ago, Bianca founded Spirit Lift Counselling Inc., a company offering therapeutic counselling services, of which her husband Kyle is the COO. And who else but Erin to help the pair design their first studio location?
Fast Five with Interior Designer Erin Chow:
- Something forever on trend: Simplicity.
- Cardinal design rule: Always mix and match styles.
- Go-to source for inspiration: Travel. I just came back from a month-long trip to Nicaragua. It was amazing.
- Currently on nightstand: An eye mask and a candle.
- First thing you do when you wake up: Drink a giant glass of water.
BALCONY: The Cross Decor & Design