A Stylist’s Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver

Share It

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

Photography by Gillian Stevens

  1. alexis says:

    What a pretty, bright space! I’m envious of the light! Could I ask whether the kitchen countertop is stone, composite, or patterned formica? (Or something else?)

    1. Kendra says:

      Thanks Alexis! The countertops are formica.

  2. Melanie says:

    Lovely space — we have the same IKEA couch with the custom mid century legs, the same brass lamp, and the same dish brush. ;-). And I see several other touches I may steal from you. Really beautiful home.

  3. maria-to says:

    Kudos to you! That has to be the tiniest kitchen I’ve ever seen and it sounds as though it functions quite well for you.

  4. Angela says:

    Absolutely love this space! Spent many mornings + tea dates with Kendra in this beautiful space. She has such a great eye for making places unique and cosy!

  5. Alexandra says:

    Gorgeous! Such a lovely space and well decorated.

  6. oltyrell says:

    Beautiful ! Love the combination of your style and the apartments finishes and details. The tile in both the bathroom and kitchen are awesome—-so rare for rentals. Enjoyed seeing your bright, eclectic lovely home.

  7. I love the style and light in this apartment. Every time I go to Vancouver Island I try to pop into a thrift or vintage store because you can find some real treasures. Luckily, I live not to far away in Washington, so it’s not that hard or monetarily prohibitive to bring something back in my trunk! Just make sure to have your receipt ready for customs!

  8. Kristen says:

    Your home is so beautiful! I love how you manage to have so many interesting decorations and maintaining a visually uncluttered space. Can I ask where you got the geometric brackets in your kitchen?

    1. Kendra says:

      Hi Kristen! Thanks for the kind words. I picked up the brackets from West Elm.

  9. Heather says:

    Where did you find the bed frame? I like that it’s a simple design and that it’s not too high off the floor.

    1. Kendra says:

      Hi Heather. I bought the bed frame from Ikea! It looks like it’s discontinued but the Stockholm bed seems the closest (if you take away the leather cushions that they’ve added): http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/S19017675/ Hope that helps!

  10. Lindsey says:

    Love that rug! Where did you find it?

  11. I really admire the renovations done to the Greenwood House. The modern aspects added to the 1973 home give off a certain charm that speaks to me of comfort and quiet elegance. It’s also amazing how they were able to infuse glass elements and skylights to the home to bring in more natural light and give the illusion of being outdoors. Every aspect of the renovation has brought on an airy feeling to the entire abode.

  12. marsch says:

    Nice and comforting. But it doesn’t really call out vintage to me. I don’t know.

  13. Holly says:

    I love the beside table! What would you call it? Style wise? I’m looking for a similar piece.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.