The views shine at this high-flying condo
BY PHILLIPA RISPIN
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROGER BROOKS
STYLING: PATRICIA GRAY and SEAN LEW
Can a pied-à-terre high above the city be called a pied-à-ciel? This condo apartment downtown is the second home for a couple who live mainly outside Vancouver. It’s on the 37th storey and offers 180-degree views of the city – heavenly, but a challenge for interior designer Patricia Gray, who had to showcase the views while providing a quietly luxurious aerie for her clients.
“When we first viewed this condo it was a classic bachelor pad,” says Gray, president of Patricia Gray Inc. “It didn’t have any character. What it did have was a spectacular 180-degree view of downtown Vancouver.”
Gray’s brief from her clients was very simply stated: to provide a five-star hotel feeling to the 1,760-square-foot apartment. They wanted a place to sit in the entry, a Duxiana bed in the master bedroom, and office space with Aeron chairs; otherwise, Gray was pretty much free to do whatever was needed.
Of course, that freedom was set in context. “I offer a complete design service for my clients, including full design-build project management, which includes everything that’s required to make a space personal for them,” Gray says.
Gray and her assistant Sean Lew first set about “redeeming” the foyer. It was given a walnut dropped ceiling around its perimeter, creating a recessed ceiling finished with silver leaf and LED cove lighting for a smooth, warm look. The grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries that covers the foyer walls offers an unobtrusively tactile surface. A settee, designed by Gray, in a medium-dark taupe-grey velvet with a ruched back is both functional and a textural accent in the space. The existing chunky closet doors and the door to the master bedroom were replaced with frameless sandblasted glass doors in keeping with the subtle decor.
With its two bedrooms (each with an ensuite bathroom), powder room, office, open living-dining space and alcove kitchen, the apartment met all the clients’ needs, and there was no need for structural changes. “We used a large area rug to define the living room. In a place like this there are several focal points – the view, the big-screen TV, conversations in the living and dining areas – and thus I placed two custom-designed chairs that swivel in the corner by the window,” Gray says.
“What I do is unique and specific for each client,” says Gray. “I like to think of my design as couture.”
One element Gray did not design is the bear sculpture by artist Cathryn Jenkins on the 200-square-foot balcony. “We had to get the strata council to accept this. It took time, but we finally got it approved.”
The strata council might have been careful and cautious, but the clients gave Gray their full trust – to great success.
This project won first place in the Residential Design category at the Northwest Design Awards 2014.