The Home Front: How postal codes can reflect our design preferences

[Source: Vancouver Sun – August 11, 2018]

Kendall Ansell, of Kendall Ansell Interiors, says design preferences in the suburbs differ from downtown Vancouver.

Where you live doesn’t always reflect who you are, but there’s a good chance there’s some consistent interior design trends happening in your neighbourhood, says Kendall Ansell,  of Kendall Angell Interiors, who recently expanded her Vancouver Burnaby practice to include an office in Surrey.

“We’ve made more of a commitment to going to the South Surrey, Surrey, White Rock area, just based on the amount of need in the building industry out there,” she says.

The Clayton Heights area of Surrey is booming, says Ansell, when it comes to new builds and renovations, and there’s a growing demand for interior design consults, particularly for smaller renovations — like kitchen updates — which don’t justify charging clients exorbitant travel times.

“I did a consult in Abbotsford, a few months ago,” she says. “And from Burnaby, it took me an hour and a half to get there,” she says. “I think people feel like they’re inconveniencing us to ask us to come out there, so we’ve decided to expand, and get an office space in that area so we’re able to be more reasonably priced, as well as more available for our clients.”

Design preferences in the suburbs do differ from downtown Vancouver, says Ansell. “There’s more of a traditional feel to some of these bigger homes,” she says. “There’s a sense of keeping up with the Joneses, building the bigger home on the street. So we definitely recognize that, and we’re very adept and knowledgable about the market. We’ve done homes that are 8,000 square feet, and we’ve done homes that are 16,000 square feet, so they’re big.”

Big spaces need good design to ensure that the scale matches the details, says Ansell, and one approach is to envelop them in “luxe”, she says.

“It’s the harmony of being in Vancouver, as well as keeping to your heritage and roots,” she says. “They want to know that they have a Vancouver B.C. West Coast designer, and incorporate the traditional elements that will help them keep up with the Joneses and they want luxe for little.”

Ansell says it’s a departure from designing for smaller Vancouver spaces that require more multi-functional furniture.

“When we’re doing these big homes we have to look at the bigger stuff again,” she says. “All those stores that sell bigger-scaled furniture are still open because there’s still a huge need for that stuff, and those stores are doing more business obviously in the Valley.”

Style preferences are also generational, says Ansell, with multi-generational homes typically going for a more traditional style, while those owned by younger generations preferring a more West Coast contemporary style.

Interior design preferences in the suburbs are changing, says custom builder and renovator Jordan Harrison,  of Square One Homes, of who does a lot of work in Surrey, and South Surrey.

I think people are slowly modernizing a little bit more,” he says. “I think there was a real bent for a little more traditional craftsman style, but we’re seeing it swing towards being a bit more modern, and more smart home technologies, as well, with innovative automation products for homes, which only really existed a little bit more in high end homes, and now, because it’s a little more readily available, and costs are coming down, it’s existing in a lot more homes.”

Harrison’s company is just finishing up a new four-unit townhouse complex in White Rock, to be completed in September.

“A lot of the stuff we’re doing there would not be typical of your average developer,” he says. “So higher-end finishing materials, lots of masonry, we’ve got some really cool steel siding, glass and steel canopies, and we’ve got elevators and beautiful ocean views in all the units. Kind of a little bit higher end than your average spec place.”


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