Remember that wall of artwork I showed you a few weeks ago when it was being installed? Well here it is now on the front page of BC Home for their Design Issue in September! I have recreated the entire article here for you to see!
Have you ever splashed your space with paint only to discover, a little too late, that you hated the end result? It’s a common occurrence among today’s DIYers, emboldened by television’s crop of home reno programs. It’s also one of the leading reasons behind the growing appeal of hiring a specialist, such as Vancouver-based colour designer Maria Killam.
The colour queen – clad in white capris and a sunny yellow top – is all smiles as she proudly unveils her latest project, a tri-level Yaletown loft occupied by a 35-year-old corporate lawyer. Killam has every reason to smile. The space boasts a style far removed from the stark and sober aura that one might expect in the home of a corporate lawyer. Indeed, it shatters stereotypes with a punchy, playful vibe – one, Killam says, that reflects the young lawyer herself, a Twilight fan who shares the rental unit with her two Boston terriers, Lucy and Polly.
“My client, Kareen [Zimmer], is definitely not a stuffed shirt corporate type!” says Killam. “She’s young, vibrant and feminine, so she wanted surroundings to match.” She also wanted the residence, accented in Zimmer’s favourite colours of purple and green, to be elegant, leaving guests in no doubt that they’ve entered the domain of a successful career woman.
When a newly hired Killam first entered the loft four months ago, the 1,300-square-foot unit was just an empty builder box containing whitewashed walls, yellow-beige carpets and zero personality. Undaunted, Killam’s first task was to select furniture, and she chose contemporary shapes in colours that would coordinate with the carpeting.
“It’s a rental, so we needed to work with the colour of the flooring,” she explains. “I suggested we go with a fabric covered sofa instead of leather because in terms of colour, texture and pattern, the choices are endless, she says, gesturing to the grass-green sofa and twin footstools upholstered in a polka-dotted fabric.
Fun furnishings aside, the home’s biggest wow factor is arguably the living room wall – an expansive white backdrop that has been boldly colour-blocked in a shade of moss green. Its eyepopping impact comes as no surprise to Killam, who believes that the best way to create maximum bang for minimal buck is with a gallon of paint.
Minimizing costs is important to this designing woman, who has a knack for mixing high-end indulgences – like the custom-made, tri-colour curtains lining a set of windows overlooking False Creek – with wallet-friendly finds. One of her best buys was a $300 dining room table from Ikea, which left enough money in the budget to adorn it with eight chairs custom-upholstered in a chenille stripe.
If God is in the details, Killam paid heed to this mantra right down to the minutia. Thanks to her, future dinner party guests needn’t fear of any awkward lulls in conversation. That’s because the dining room wall boasts a striking photo gallery chronicling Zimmer’s world travels. This dynamite detail was an easy (and inexpensive) way to personalize an otherwise featureless wall.
And, as every Yaletown trendster knows, accessories can make or break a look. Together, Killam and Zimmer trawled various retailers for funky finishings, including whimsical table lamps shaped like eternal circles. After all, Killam declares, there’s no point in giving your place a 21st-century update if your accessories still scream 1999.
One of Zimmer’s favourite retreats is three flights up a carpeted staircase, past her cosy loft bedroom, to an outdoor patio overlooking the city. “I wanted an outdoor space where I could do gardening,” she says, adding dryly: “As a corporate lawyer, I don’t get a lot of creativity in my day.”
This flower-filled patio, worth every step of the tri-level climb, is outfitted with an outdoor sofa and chair set, whose apple-green and coral cushions are as bright and cheery as the surrounding pots of gerbera daisies.
It’s a mood shared by Zimmer herself, who says Killam’s services were worth every penny. “Maria did a great job,” she raves. “I had an unformed view of what I wanted, just some ideas, and she pulled it all out of her hat in a way that wasn’t outrageously expensive.”
Praise like that? For Killam, no doubt, it’s priceless. Maria Killam is a Vancouver-based colour designer who runs her own design firm. mariakillam.com
Photography by Anna Beaudry Photographic Design, Interview by Anna Dupas.
I have included a few extra photos that were not in the magazine and will write a different post soon to show you all the before photos!