Mill District blends traditional with contemporary
Mary Frances Hill
What: A total of 82 homes, 41 units in each of two six-storey-high wood-frame buildings in Abbotsford’s Mill Lake neighbourhood
Where: 2555 Ware St., Abbotsford
Residence sizes and prices: Remaining homes range from one-bedrooms to three-bedrooms, 684 — 1,404 sq. ft.; one-bedrooms start from $299,900; $489,900 for three-bedrooms
Developer and builder: Heinrichs Developments
Sales centre: 33323 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford
Hours: noon —5 p.m., Sat — Thurs
In Abbotsford, where Heinrichs Developments is building its new Mill District community of condominiums, traditional tastes that have long defined the market of homebuyers meet a touch of contemporary interior design. Lisa Perry of i3 Design took on the challenge of creating a display space that would appeal to a diverse group of of home-hunters by embracing contrast, the formal and casual, warmth and luxury decor.
Perry has a taste for authentic, handmade goods, and it shows in the “harder” details of the space, such as the sculptural base of a coffee table and kitchen island chairs in an open-concept area. She added velvets, silks, and luxury touches of gold and glass. “We like that those elements add an industrial touch to the spaces,” she says. To contrast those pieces, i3 Design used distressed finishes and soft textures like wools and cottons throughout the suite, “like your coziest sweater or favourite jeans,” she says. “We wanted visitors to walk into the suite and feel they could plop down on the sofa, put their feet up on the coffee table and make themselves at home.”
In a living room, i3 Design created another great contrast with the light sofa against the brightness streaming through the window. The effect looks even brighter compared to the dark millwork housing the TV and fireplace, and a set of darker chairs and the dark coffee table.
She says she used this variation of light and dark to balance the masculine and feminine esthetic in the space. At the same time, it presents a blend of moods and uses to downsizers who may need one room to function in the same way two spaces might have, in their former homes, says Perry.
“It was important to mix elements of a formal living room with a casual family room or basement or man cave. We also imagined that there would be some items buyers would absolutely want to bring from their homes that would need to be combined with some new ones. In order to have this work, there has to be a balance of light and dark as well as curves and geometry.”
Abbotsford is sometimes deemed a “traditional” market, though new buyers and young families often lean toward the contemporary décor. With a mind to appealing to every visitor, i3 Design introduced two cabinet colour schemes.
“The white cabinets will appeal to those buyers wanting a total change. The dark-stained wood cabinet has a grey/brown cast and will appeal to buyers with more traditional taste.”
She has crafted a rustic-looking wall with wooden panels out of reclaimed barn board covered in a whitewash finish, in one bedroom. It’s an artistic centrepiece, responding to Perry’s desire for a look that is at once upmarket and casual.
“We liked the juxtaposition of the casual rough texture of the wood with the formality of the velvet bed. It felt inviting and timeless.”
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