By Vancouver, Canada standards, the 1911 converted hotel building where Kendra Murphy lives is a rare antique. She enjoys thinking about the similarities and differences between the lives lived in the rental apartment before she and partner Will took up residence a year and a half ago, and their own. For one thing, Kendra runs her styling studio, online shop, and blog Kit + Forage out of the flat, with enough room for an inventory of vintage homewares and the textiles she designs in the 625-square-foot space. Also dissimilarly from previous tenants, Kendra found the West End neighborhood spot through Instagram, after seeing pretty glimpses of a friend’s place in the building and reaching out to the property manager. She didn’t even step foot in her own unit until move-in day, but was relieved to find that settling in amongst its classic features with modern updates was ultimately worth the risk. The older building, as one might expect, retains some interesting features. Both the bedroom and living room have roll-away beds that recede into the walls. Visitors often discover unique quirks for themselves as they come through.
For their part, some of the furniture pieces the couple arrived with came from Will’s family, and others Kendra built with her dad. The personal touches that have accumulated over time — like the decorative dishes and artwork, or the plants still thriving in the bright sunlight — feel like physical memories scattered around their environment. Unable to keep any secrets in the small space, Kendra and Will can’t hold onto things they don’t want to look at every day. Each corner of the apartment gets used, and often serves multiple purposes. Because Kendra runs her business from home, it needs to be functional for work and supporting all facets of her and Will’s lives; someplace in which they would be equally as happy working or relaxing. To Kendra, it’s the perfect hideaway perched above all the excitement of downtown. —Annie