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Spotlight: Kalu Interiors

Kalu Interiors – Cornered and loving it

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Kalu Interiors – Cornered and loving it

Like true love, when it comes to real estate and you find “the one,” you’ve got to jump on it. This was my experience when my two-bedroom unit in Yaletown’s trendy Donovan Building hit the market. The 10-year-old, 19th floor sub-penthouse packed plenty of promise, with its coveted corner placement, stunning views, and 1,150 sq. ft. of living space to work with. Here’s how I made every inch my own.

Contrary to my typical professional experience of designing on deadline, one of the benefits of being both designer and client in this case, was not having to adhere to a strict timeline. Another big advantage was the opportunity to live in and experience the space, which allowed me to assess its functionality first-hand. With time on my side and a clear view of what worked in the space — and perhaps more importantly, what didn’t — I had a great launching point for my pending project.

Now, before we get into the design side of things, let’s revert to myself in client form. I love dinner parties. Entertaining is important in our household, so this was a key consideration, from concept to completion.


As it was, our new home’s layout wasn’t conducive to how we live. The kitchen was tiny, with an adjacent bedroom that didn’t offer proper privacy. This would require moving walls, but the result was well worth the effort. The new kitchen is twice as large and stocked with all the trimmings, including a butler’s pantry, corner cabinets, a 36-in. fridge, full-sized wall oven, microwave, wine fridge and coffee maker. Essentially, everything you need to throw a good dinner party. Designer advice: Function first!


The condo boasted a good balance of wall space and windows, which facilitated ample natural light throughout. The finishes, on the other hand, were much too dark. We replaced the circa-1990s dark-stained floors and cabinets with white oak millwork, serving to lighten up the interiors. And since it’s an open floorplan, the impact benefits the entire space. Light in this space also comes via mirrors – a trick of the trade, when used correctly. By positioning mirrors opposite windows, you’ll double the view and bounce natural light throughout the room.


Gold is the trending embellishment in this space. I love its warm glow and simple opulence — if there is such a thing. This modern metal became a running theme throughout this space, carrying from the kitchen and dining area, into the bedroom and retreating to the bath. But notice that this trendy addition comes in the form of “soft” accessories. Translation: Relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, when this trend eventually runs its course (which it will). Behind that, you’ll find a space that is neutral with solid staying power.

Yin and Yang: A cool white kitchen backsplash balances the lavish gold touches, and makes the black granite kitchen island pop.

Thank goodness this reno didn’t have a tight deadline or too many other restrictions – yet another benefit of being both the client and the designer!

Award-winning interior Designers PHYLLIS LUI and ALEEM KASSAM are the principal designer duo for Kalu Interiors. For more than a decade, this Vancouver based design firm has become known and for focus on creating thoughtfully curated interiors that enhance and inspire how you live. the firm provides bespoke design services for clientele throughout Canada.


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