Vancouver open-plan apartment by Peter Wilds
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A former glass factory becomes an open-plan apartment in Vancouver

Systems on show, concrete floors and classic red brick hark back to the industrial past of this flat designed in a contemporary vein

Peter Wilds Design

Vancouver open-plan apartment by Peter Wilds
By Redazione The Plan -

Enabling the past and present to boldly and stylishly cohabit. Finding the right key for a concept that emulates the distinctive character of the Gastown neighborhood, in the old harbor area of Vancouver, Canada, without turning to stereotypes. Peter Wilds' new interior design project to convert an ex-warehouse belonging to a glass company into an open-plan apartment succeeds in this. Created specifically for the owner ‒ a tech professional ‒ wanting a comfortable space to enjoy back with his family after returning from San Francisco in California, the project took the designer about two years to complete, between designing, permits and the actual renovation: plenty of time to fully respond to the client's desire to combine an industrial air with a residential feel.


Red brick and systems on show to flaunt simplicity and minimalism

Loft-Style Apartment in Vancouver - Peter Wilds Design © Janis Nicolay, courtesy of Peter Wilds Design

This open-space home occupies the third floor of a four-storey brick and concrete historic edifice built in 1910 by a British glass manufacturer aiming to make Vancouver its business outpost. The entire building was converted into a residential block in the early '90s, nevertheless conserving the charm of its industrial origins, also in its external appearance.

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The way the project came into being is curious. As Wilds himself narrates, the tech professional had recently returned to Vancouver and, while looking for a property to buy, was renting a flat that Wilds had designed. It was in an apartment block where the original character had been preserved, with exposed beams, red-brick walls and concrete floors.

"I got an email where my client wrote that he'd bought an apartment in another historic building with all the same industrial features and the same appeal as the one he was temporarily living in," Wilds remembers. "So he was already familiar with the details of my work, he'd seen them, and thought I'd be the perfect person for his project. How could I refuse?"

But the story doesn't end here. "My client had an essential detail that he wanted me to shape the whole concept around: his sofa," Wilds continues. "I love this style of buttoned-back sofa ‒ a classic ‒ and I knew it would be perfect for creating a lived-in and relaxed mood." All this helped strengthen the blend between old and new, and the adding of one-off pieces, including the faded Persian rug in the living room, a made-to-measure pouf and the luxuriant floral wallpaper in the kitchen.

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An industrial and utilitarian identity that holds warmth and elegance

Loft-Style Apartment in Vancouver - Peter Wilds Design © Janis Nicolay, courtesy of Peter Wilds Design

A long corridor off the open expanse combining the lounge and the dining room leads to the night zone, made up of two bedrooms with en-suite bathroom. All the systems are visible, just as they were in the past, and their original tones have intentionally been kept to pick up on the black patches on the brick caused by coal use. Wilds likewise opted for a dark color palette in the kitchen, with lacquered furniture and an oak-wood worktop very similar in its veining to the red brick. The exception is the floral wallpaper, which breaks away from the rest of the apartment in terms of style and color.

The choice in bathroom fixtures too picks up on the vintage air sought by the client: from the claw-foot tub to the wall-mounted wash basin with tapware reminiscent of the past. Since the flat faces north and is therefore a little lacking in natural light, the illumination reiterates the industrial and utilitarian feel but nevertheless manages to convey warmth and elegance. And this is what makes this apartment a unique example of a pairing of styles and different eras, in its materials and furnishings.



Location: Vancouver, Canada
Interior Design: Peter Wilds Design
Main Contractor: Matt Glavind - Leftcoast Homes

Photography by Janis Nicolay, courtesy of Peter Wilds Design

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