High school sweethearts Claire and Dave Mandell are native Vancouverites who love the food, fashion and art of their city. So when they were looking to buy a home, they wanted to be part of a funky neighborhood and settled in East Vancouver, British Columbia.
“We have young families on literally every side of us. Our neighborhood is full of cool restaurants, little shops and is really central for both of us when going to and from work,” says Claire, owner of JoyRide Nails.
There was a quick turnover between buying this 100-year-old house and moving in, but Claire was up for the challenge to have it furnished before they got the keys. “I’m a visual person, so I just used the floor plan and the photos of the house to put it all together,” Claire explains. Some of the furniture came from their apartment and most of the knick-knacks they brought along. It took about a month to get all the new furniture ordered and the design execution was underway.
The couple’s decorating goal was to create a space with neutral, larger pieces so that they could always change the look with accents like pillows, rugs, or art to make the space fun and bright. “It [isn’t Dave’s favorite thing, but] I like to change all the throw pillows up based on the season,” Claire says. They both love mid-century modern furniture and believe in setting a solid foundation of investment pieces that can be convertible, changed, and made to feel new again.
The most challenging part of the home for the couple was sorting out storage. Without a garage, and being an older home, closet space is a premium. “I had California Closets come in and we basically have built-in storage in every single place we can,” Claire shares. And like most older homes, it is a never-ending series of projects. The basement is the newest challenge they plan to tackle this year, making it into a place where the family can lounge and relax together.
“I think one of the coolest things about our house is the exposed beams on the top floor,” Claire asserts. The attic was blown out to make the ceiling higher and to add skylights, which adds so much natural light. Instead of removing the beams, most of them are still there, adding depth and lending a nod to the old structure of the house.
As you’ll see, the Mandell family’s home is a charming example of how a combination of old and new can invigorate a space’s character and soul. —Karla