Tag Archives: Catalina Margulis


Old meets new, older West Vancouver home gets a modern update

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Old meets new, older West Vancouver home gets a modern update

Photography by Colin Perry

When a young professional couple called upon designer Negar Reihani, principal of Vancouver-based design firm Space Harmony, to update their home, they had a tall order: They wanted a more functional space for their growing family, a home that was both welcoming and comfortable yet also made a visual statement with design choices that honoured their 30-year-old home.

Reihani was up to the task. She combined farmhouse character and west coast casual in a gorgeous, open-plan living area that’s perfect for the modern family.

Lifestyle needs

The couple moved from Port Moody and purchased the West Vancouver home to raise their young family. With both parents working full time and travelling extensively, they needed a designer who could understand their needs and create a family home that not only stayed true to its character, but was better suited to their busy lifestyle.

The pros

“The house had a great size and flow, beautiful high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. We altered the space planning a little to meet the needs of today’s busy family life and reinvented the interiors with a modern farmhouse style that would work perfectly with the existing features of the house,” says Reihani. “The goal was to create a home that could accommodate the needs of the growing family but that would also be unique enough to be desirable on the real estate market, if the need arose.”

Spacious & stunning 360 views

Nestled in the picturesque West Vancouver neighbourhood of Caulfeild, the sprawling 5,000-square-foot semi-rancher boasts stunning views of the mountains and lush pine trees on one side and the ocean on the other, while being just a five-to 10-minute drive to Caulfeild village. Although not a full two-storey, the home has five bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, and benefits from most of the rooms being on the main floor, including the master bedroom and the office, while the other three bedrooms are located upstairs.

Design language

“My job is to choose elements the homeowners like and incorporate them into the space seamlessly, so that their tastes are reflected and blended perfectly within the design scheme. The influence of a modern farmhouse was in their pictures. For example, they liked black accents, light-wood floors and shiplap boards on the ceiling,” says Reihani.

Breaking down barriers

“The first challenge was to transform the small and dated kitchen into an elegant and functional space that meets the needs of a busy family who do lots of cooking, baking and entertaining,” says Reihani.

To create more space, the wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the house was partially opened and the dining area was moved from inside the kitchen to its new location beside it. This allowed Reihani to extend the kitchen and move the cooking station closer to the windows, where messes could be kept hidden and unwanted smells could be swiftly exhausted through the double windows and the large range hood.

Storage optimization

The couple asked for as much storage as possible since their previous kitchen was small, so a variety of storage options were provided throughout the kitchen to accommodate different needs and to provide a visual balance. For example, small appliances are cleverly housed inside a cabinet with pull-out shelves so they can be used in situ. To provide a sleek, seamless look to the kitchen, the refrigerator was panelled to match the cabinet while the pantries on either side feature decorative glass panels, adding sparkle and lightness to the space.

Go big

An extra-large island in the kitchen overlooks the dining room and provides an ideal prep area, while leaving plenty of space for daily comings and goings. The Calacatta Vagli marble island features soft cream, grey and gold veining that adds an understated elegance to the space. Measuring 11 feet complete with drawers, the natural- stone island is specially sealed to protect it, making it the perfect area for food-prepping and entertaining.

Facing the family room from the kitchen, there’s another storage cabinet with a white quartz countertop and black Kohler faucet. This smart-looking setup offers a natural, informal hub for chatting or watching TV while working in the kitchen. A white subway tile backsplash (from Creekside Tile) keeps the space fresh and fun, imparting a casual, timeless quality.

Elevated farmhouse

With the new open layout, double-high ceilings and abundance of natural light, Reihani wanted to add something special and different when it came to creating the elegant kitchen finish. In keeping with the modern farmhouse style, she chose a black finish for the kitchen, which creates a bold, unexpected statement. Black Magic paint on the cabinets anchors the space, while brushed gold accents, such as the island pendant lights (from Restoration Hardware), add warmth and connect the light oak floors throughout.

“The black and gold combination has a traditional vibe, yet the gold accents add an element of luxury,” says Reihani. “I think black and gold is a beautiful and timeless combination. To me it has an old-world feel.”

While the accents reference the past, the black-and-white contrast cements this stylish kitchen entirely in the present, with features and functionality that make it perfect for family living today.

“Everything really turned the space into a nice, well-functioning kitchen,” says Reihani. “Renovation is a daunting task so it’s important to have the right team by your side who knows their craft; the success of this project is the result of close communication with the clients and their full trust and commitment to the design.”

Catalina Margulis is a writer for The Globe and Mail, Flare and Elle Canada, among others, she has covered everything from fashion, beauty and travel to health, food, decor, business and parenting. When she’s not working on her latest assignment, she’s chasing after her four young children and writing her first novel.


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Bathroom makeover, coutry style

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Bathroom makeover, coutry style

Photography By Kerri Torrey, Larry Arnal

When it comes to design, country can mean different things to different kinds of people. From barnhouse details to all things wicker and antique, country style is as vast as the landscapes it is inspired by.

Here we have two designers, Megan Crosbie and Evelyn Eshun, who have taken two very different approaches to a country esthetic to make their spaces more contemporary and unique. Whether you lean toward a slicker version of country, or you’re looking to freshen up a more traditional room, these bathroom updates are sure to give you plenty of inspired ideas.

“Contemporary country” is how designer Megan Crosbie describes this bathroom, which features a combination of updated traditional elements, natural details and modern whimsy.

When the owners of a farmhouse in Erin, Ontario, decided to renovate their master bathroom, they called on Crosbie, who had already designed other areas of the rural home and was familiar with their modern style and their wish to maintain some of the original feel of the traditional home.

“The key to contemporary country is keeping things simple,” says Crosbie. “Clean lines and not too many things competing, then adding little details that reference back to country.”

Traditional elements

One of the traditional features used throughout the farmhouse is beadboard wainscotting. Crosbie carried this into the bathroom redesign by incorporating beadboard into the fronts of the cabinets, by Fox Custom Woodworks. White subway tiles from Saltillo were also used to mimic wainscotting on the bathroom walls, giving the room a traditional feel with a modern twist.

One of the “must-haves” for the client was a clawfoot tub, says Crosbie, who sourced the Victoria + Albert tub from Taps Bath, and paired it with a faucet from Rubinet. “The tub is really traditional, the clawfoot is one of those things that just feels really authentic in a country bathroom,” she says.

Modern finishes

Contemporary simplicity was introduced through a black-and white colour scheme and this gives the space a clean, bright feel. Black, textured metal on mirrors (Restoration Hardware), sconces (Schoolhouse Electric), faucets and towel bars add an industrial feel to the space that’s also very of the moment.

The heated slate floors, in a large-scale chevron pattern, also from Saltillo, provide a modern foundation to the room. Tiles on a shower shelf, also in a chevron pattern, tie into the floors for a cohesive, elegant look.

“I like the play between traditional elements and modern ones. It perfectly suits the home, the homeowners and the space,” says Crosbie.

Natural details

With lush nature surrounding the farmhouse, Crosbie decided to bring some of the outside in by incorporating the colour green along with the black and white.

“I think green has really turned into a neutral — much to my delight — and in what can be a cold, more sterile space, it gave us the opportunity to warm things up,” says Crosbie. “It also helped to avoid falling into the more contemporary and very popular black-and-white bathroom trend.”

To balance the seriousness of the space, Crosbie chose a whimsical roman blind from Christopher Farr Cloth, sold at Kravet, featuring vines, much like the ones growing outside the farmhouse and barn.

“It really completed the space for me,” says Crosbie, “as it worked so beautifully with the vanity, and offered that softness we were lacking with all the hard elements in the space. It acts like a piece of art in itself, without being too formal or stuffy.” A match made in contemporary country heaven.

“Rustic refined” is the look designer Evelyn Eshun came up with when she was brought in to design a main floor bathroom in a brick bungalow near Port Perry, Ontario. While the homeowners love the clean and simple lines of contemporary design, they also wanted welcoming country undertones to suit the rural location.

“The goal was to create a space that felt textural and warm while embracing the simplicity of a minimal design esthetic,” says Eshun. “The clients wanted to embrace the fact that they live next to a forest, yet they wanted to be current in their expression of their lifestyle.”


In the bathroom, a vanity by custom builders Tacoma Woodworks sets the tone for the city-meets-country space. The vanity, which is highly durable, mimics the look and feel of real wood, yet features clean, flat, contemporary lines. For storage, an asymmetrical tower cupboard was added to the design.

The textured feel to the room continues via a solid granite sink from Art Bathe and black hardware from Berenson on the cabinets, which complement the dark grey Caesarstone countertop.


On the back wall, striped wallpaper, from Crown Wallpaper, is also textured, and, like the vanity, is also very durable — it’s made from vinyl that won’t be damaged by water.

“My client wanted the space to be comfortable and low maintenance but to also have personality and character,” says Eshun.

Golden glow

To elevate the rustic feel of the space, Eshun added touches of brass throughout the room. A mirror with an antique brass trim from Renwil was chosen, along with other coordinated accessories — including a brushed brass soap dispenser, tissue box and small decorative dish — giving the room an elegant feel. For the floors, 24″x 24″ limestone tiles from Tycos Tile were chosen for easy maintenance and a coordinating gold tone.

“I like the juxtaposition of different materials — the rough wood-looking vanity with the sophisticated warm, brushed metal — it makes the space so much more interesting,” says Eshun.

All in the details

Another goal for the space was to include as little white as possible, and that extended into the inside of the drawers, which are covered with gunmetal grey drawer liners from Bloom.

Attention to detail also applied to the lighting: two pendant lights from Union Lighting were hung on either side of the feature wall mirror for a symmetrical look. “It’s sophisticated but also provides a balanced light,” Eshun explains.

With its metallic accessories and rustic, wood-themed cabinetry, the room has a unique style and polish to it that’s not out of place in the country.

Indeed both bathrooms, thanks to their integrated design and thoughtful touches, showcase contemporary stylings and traditional design for truly inviting, statement-making spaces inspired by the homes’ natural surroundings. Country chic indeed.

Catalina Margulis can’t wait to renovate her master bathroom into the ensuite of her dreams. Until then, she satisfies her cravings for marble floors, spa-like showers and photoshoot-worthy tubs with decor articles showcasing the hottest looks and trends. As a magazine editor and writer for The Globe and Mail, Flare and Elle Canada, among others, she has covered everything from fashion, beauty and travel to health, food, decor, business and parenting. When she’s not working on her latest assignment, she’s chasing after her four young children and writing her first novel.


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