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An Eclectic & Industrial Vancouver Loft

by Lauren Chorpening Day

I love the way that homes speak for the people who live there. Loved pieces and styles are what make a house feel like home no matter what the architectural structure is. To me, a well designed home incorporates the housing style and homeowner’s style in a cohesive way. This renovated loft mixes the minimal, industrial building design with mid-century pieces, treasured objects and books for a space that truly reflects the homeowners.

Nicole Phillips, a freelance graphic designer and Andrew Walker, a creative writing manager, are creatives working in the city of Vancouver. When they finally found their loft, they looked past the 1990s wall colors and outdated fixtures and focused on what they wanted from a space. “Vancouver has a limited selection and affordable options rarely become available, so when this one came up, we jumped on it,” Nicole says. “Aesthetically, we chose this loft because of the large windows and two skylights that let in so much light.” The couple didn’t waste any time making it work for them practically, too — the built-in bookshelf, kitchen/bath update, beam and wall painting all took place within the first three weeks of owning their home.

“The main goal was to divide the open loft space up into a live/work space without it feeling cluttered and divided – we wanted all areas to feel cohesive in style and flow from space to space,” Nicole says. “When we first moved in, we had to pair down our belongings and mesh our design styles; luckily we have a very similar style.” The moments throughout the space of collected antiques, books and objects all point to the creative minds of the people who call this loft home. While the home is significant on its own, Nicole and Andrew have helped it come alive with their collaborative style and creative vision. –Lauren

Nicole and Andrew's loft floods with natural light from giant windows and skylights. The clean lines of the loft mix perfectly with the eclectic personality of their pieces.
Andrew's giant book collection called for a giant built-in bookshelf that allows the space to incorporate the industrial and eclectic styles in their home naturally.
"This is our custom built library, we painted and installed each shelf and found the vintage ladder online. It’s an old BC Hydro electricity ladder that was attached to hydro poles outside. We cleaned it up and gave it a new life," says Nicole.
Andrew and Nicole painted this vintage chest white and paired it with an art piece Nicole did in school.
Vintage details and collections are scattered throughout the house.
During the day, the office space is where Nicole spends most of her time - Andrew uses it in the evenings. Their great use of space allows the office to be separate from the living area even in a large, open room.
"This IKEA unit holds our collections and is a main storage area for office supplies. The large yellow sign was salvaged from a video rental shop several years ago and it actually lights up," says Nicole.
"A collection of found art and a vintage credenza that stores our bar and record collection. In front of the credenza is a small vintage table where we eat most meals," says Nicole.
Nicole and Andrew have found a way to display everything they love without making the space cluttered. The layering effect is one that is used throughout their home to show off their pieces.
While they transformed their kitchen almost completely, Nicole and Andrew were able to save money by updating the cabinet doors and reusing the cabinets themselves.
"After ripping out the old layout, we kept things simple and went with an 'L' shaped kitchen and a stainless steel island. The fridge is original and very old. We took the opportunity to spray paint it a fun color," Nicole says.
Even the small section of open shelving reincorporates the style of the rest of the home - clean lines with personality.
The bedroom and one of the bathrooms are located on the second level. They were hoping for an area that would divide public space from private space and found it in this loft.
The skylights and living room windows allow light to fill the beautiful, minimal bedroom space.
Mid-century inspired furniture is everywhere in this loft. Nicole found this side table for free and refinished it and added mid-century legs.
Nicole and Andrew are great at adding personality with color without overwhelming the generally neutral palette.
"This is the small hallway leading into the bathroom that’s just off the bedroom. You can see the custom cut-out window on the right and the skylight above. To hide plumbing and other ugly pipes we wrapped the wood-slatted ceiling around the side to keep everything clean," says Nicole.
"This is the upstairs bathroom that’s just off the bedroom space," Nicole says. "There is no door and a custom cut-out window on the right side to allow plenty of light from the skylight to flow in. The countertop was sourced from a local reclaimed wood supplier and to bring texture into the space and stay on budget, we installed a wood-slatted ceiling instead of drywall."

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  • Did she create the giraffe piece? It’s exactly what I’ve been envisioning for my own home! Beautiful tour – thank you.

    • Hi Megan,
      I made the giraffe piece. Let me know if you’d like to buy a digital print. Thanks and sorry for the late reply :)

  • “This is the upstairs bathroom that’s just off the bedroom space,” Nicole says. “There is no door and a custom cut-out window on the right side to allow plenty of light from the skylight to flow in.”
    YIKES! How does that work?

  • It’s amazing how much they re-salvaged and made their own. The bookshelf is a fantastic addition and the skylights add tons of light. The reclaimed wood in the bathroom and the ceiling made of wood in the bathroom add an original touch. Great space!

  • Nicole is so talented! The interview mentions that she’s a freelance graphic designer – she does great work. She also has a creative side project where she takes cast off furniture (often beat up MCM pieces) and refurbishes them. Such beautiful and unique items!

    When you are creative like Nicole, you can’t stop making/creating beautiful work.

  • Nicole, please share where you got the giraffe. Absolutely IN LOVE with the space. Great job you guys!

  • Just my cup of tea – with the mid-term-century highlights! I appreciate the layered effect in arranging collector items. Each item fits in so well, exuding ease and comfort!

  • Hi Linda,
    Thanks so much for liking our place. I’m a graphic designer, I purchased the giraffe photo online and altered it to make some custom art for our space. If you wish to purchase the graphic from me to print at your local print shop, let me know. You can find my contact details over on my website http://www.visualheart.com

  • Hi Iris,
    The open bathroom is quite lovely, it’s a private nook where no one can look in and see you because of the angles of the walls, but we also have a small powder room downstairs if you need a little privacy.

  • I love the living area. It’s bright, clean and still interesting… and that bathroom and foyer?! Crazy love! I have loft-envy – so nice!

  • Oh that light everywhere!!! Now that it’s (almost) spring, I’m beginning to plan some re-inventions for my Berlin flat, too – this has much to pin down for inspiration!! Thanks and xo, Sol

  • I’m wondering if you have more details about the ladder? You found it online? Meaning eBay? I’m so curious! What a beautiful home you’ve created!

  • It’s fantastic how the natural light comes in, perfect for reading the books. But having the windows covered would be a safe bet, don’t you think? Even the addition of some draperies with a nice shade would be great.

  • So lovely to see this house tour! I’ve been a faithful Visualheart blog reader for a couple of years now and have seen the renos in bits and pieces. This post is a great illustration of tying everything together. Beautiful space – I agree, the natural light is amazing especially in the Vancouver climate. Love your: MCM re-dos, dining room gallery wall and the bathroom counter top. Keep it up!

  • Hey LondonBlindsCo,
    There’s actually roller shades on each window, they are simple, clean and very minimal. We kept it simple because we love the windows so much and didn’t want to interfere with the look. The roller shades filter the light and block UV, just what we wanted!