Designer Home: Refined ROOTS
BY W.J. MUNIAK • Photography By Colin Perry
Nature and heritage influence a designer’s home, set against a modern backdrop
After 10 years of designing beautiful interiors for her clients, Negar Reihani finally was able to use her talent to create her own space. Reihani and her husband purchased a spacious condo on the outskirts of the trendy Yaletown neighbourhood. The airy, three-bedroom apartment overlooking David Lam Park and False Creek in downtown Vancouver was a dream come true.
“I was super excited and nervous at the same time,” says Reihani, as she recollected her design decision process for her own home. Her approach resonated with a quote from writer Gore Vidal, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn,” the designer moved forward with her design inspiration adding her unique personal stamp. “When I design a space, I stay away from trends, as I believe they are temporary. I focus on style, which I believe is permanent, that’s the key to designing timeless interiors. My style is transitional with the emphasis on simplicity and understated elegance,” says Reihani. Naturally, she wanted her home to be a reflection of her personality and her roots. Not surprisingly, Reihani’s Persian roots compelled her to incorporate some subtle elements from the rich culture of her home country.
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS
Before unleashing her creative power though, Reihani realized that the place needed some remodelling. Despite stretching over 1,600 square feet on one level, the unit felt small and dingy mostly due to black granite floors, cherry-wood cabinetry and old carpet. Also, the way the walls and corridors were arranged, Reihani recalls it was like walking into a labyrinth. After removing some walls and eliminating broken lines, the condo gained space and a sense of flow. “I was particularly pleased with creating an open-kitchen concept,” says Reihani. The existing kitchen didn’t have any windows, so connecting it to the light-flooded living room was very important. Another huge improvement was creating a stand-alone laundry room, which also doubles as a pantry and extra storage.
NATURE IS NUMERO UNO
Overall, Reihani used the surrounding nature as her main inspiration during the design process. Not surprisingly, considering the floor-to-ceiling wall of glass, which wraps around half of the perimeter of the condo. Avid hikers and sailors, the couple wanted their place to be an extension of the beautiful North West landscape. Once the desired layout was achieved, it was time to decide the finishes. Reihani selected a beautiful, bleached brushed-oak flooring that runs throughout the house. “I love the flow of the wooden surface; it’s clean, simple and elegant while being casual. It truly makes the apartment come alive and brings the outside in,” says Reihani. The fact that there are no transitions between rooms creates a warm and welcoming feel.
The light reed-green colour for the kitchen cabinetry was perhaps an unusual choice, but somehow it works perfectly with the light-wood floors and the white-oyster glass backsplash.
CREATIVITY & CULTURE
One of the challenges during the renovation was an unattractive 15-inch tall, electrical heater cover running alongside the windows. Luckily, Reihani found a professional metal sheet artist who was able to make custom-designed casings, which blend beautifully with the floors and glass walls. The feature is so unusual that it almost creates a focal point in the living room, not to mention accolades from most visitors. The seating area consists of a large L-shaped, cream custom-made sofa with harem-style cushions in ornate patterned fabrics, with a hint of Middle Eastern influence. The modern wool rug with subtle linear design adds a sense of cosiness and comfort. The gold-leafed doors of a contemporary buffet add an unexpected touch, balanced by a cluster of original calligraphy artwork authored by a famous Iranian artist.
SOOTHING & SOPHISTICATED
An oasis of peace and tranquility exists through beautiful French doors— an oval-shaped TV/reading room, surrounded by tall trees is the perfect place to go when you need to relax and recharge. A pea-shaped, custommade sofa embraces the curved contours of the glass wall and its green velvet fabric merges seamlessly with the outdoor greenery. An oversized TV bench and wall-mounted shelves, in a beautiful walnut finish, add a contemporary touch and proudly display a diverse collection of small antiques from around the world. A tribal rug from the province of Kerman in Iran adds a splash of colour and element of playfulness.
The subtle Middle Eastern touches are spattered throughout the house and meld with the predominant modern elements. As in the master bathroom where a refined beaded damask-patterned wallpaper is the backdrop for modern features like a six-foot furniture-like vanity. A recessed medicine cabinet hides behind the mirror providing extra storage.
The whole house is a blend of creativity, treasured objects and unique pieces of art offering an understated elegance in a relaxed ambience. An interesting mix of textures and materials merge beautifully to stimulate all the senses, this designer’s abode is inspired by the magic of nature and the small details that create an eclectic and unique home.
With over 20 years of design experience, Negar Reihani is known for her elegant and simple approach to high-end, polished interiors that celebrate the tastes and lifestyle of her clients. spaceharmony.ca