In a former opium merchant’s building, in the Old Town District of Victoria, Jesse Taylor has carved out a natural light-filled, visually exciting, 600-square-foot multifunctional home. One of the most powerful ways to make a small home feel larger is to live in an even smaller one first; something Taylor experienced first-hand living in a room in his older brother’s house while the Union building was in the construction phase. Taylor purchased the modestly sized, one-bedroom condo in Union, across the street from his tech office in Market Square.
Designed by world-renowned local architectural firm, Paul Merrick and Robert Ciccozzi Architects, and built by award-winning Anthem Properties, Union is 35,500-square-feet of historic residential space, with 6000-square-feet of elevated landscaped courtyard, and ground floor retail. Taylor loves the buzz of urban living and wanted to create a personalized space for relaxing, working, and entertaining. To help unlock the potential of his new bachelor pad, he recruited Bespoke Design Ltd. for their custom interior design expertise.
Carefully curating a design marriage of functionality and character, Bryn Taylor, an interior designer at Bespoke(and yes, Jesse’s sister), customized a home that makes a unique visual statement while maximizing its pint-sized proportions. Textures, geometric patterns, and a sophisticated neutral backdrop embrace colourful accents and set the stage for a bold design that feels both cozy and open. For visual interest, Taylor created contrast and a creative push and pull with texture, colour, and a blend of materials. Working from the top down, the Apollo pendant light in the dining area, was the inaugural piece that inspired the rest of the design.
“I used a black-and-white honeycomb rug to anchor the living area and help define the room as a distinct space from the dining room,” notes Taylor. The dark rug and the bright, linearly-spaced, framed prints work together to draw your eye to the far end of the room to create an illusion of a more expansive area. The bright graphic prints personalize the space and create an energy that contrasts the sophistication of the sofa and sets the mood for the room.
“The neutral colours, textures, grey sofa, wool rug, cotton pillow and chunky-knit throw allow the colourful art to absorb the light and stand out,” adds Taylor. The design discovers its rhythm in the clean, linear lines, wood and white accents, and geometric shapes that have been visually-echoed throughout the home.
Philographic prints by graphic designer, Genis Carreras, of London. Jorge Sectional Sofa, with tufted back design, and chrome legs is made in Canada and adds a warm sophistication to the contemporary space. The neutral wall colour behind the sofa is Farrow and Ball, Purbeck Stone.
“The geometric wire Apollo pendant light in the dining area was the jumping-off point and inspiration for the entire design,” says Taylor. Adding a bold punch of style, the pendant transforms the dining area with a flood of ambient light in the evening. Keeping sight lines open, the industrial wire doesn’t dominate or create a weighty feel above the table. A wire basket with leather straps for added storage sits beside the console and a metal geometric wine rack maintains the edgy, industrial look without burdening the small space.
Complementary to the custom media unit, the dining area preserves the contemporary blending of both organic wood and industrial materials with white highlights. Emphasizing the vertical proportions of the open-plan room,Taylor used a large, vertical mirror to act as room divider, to reflect light, and also contribute to the illusion of a larger space. Oak harvest style table and bench from the Bay. Birch console from Ikea for added storage and bar.
With white cabinets and black backsplash, the modest, yet functional, kitchen offers plenty of storage, and mimics the contrasting colour theme throughout the design. “The unexpected pop of red on the kitchen cabinet was a welcomed inspiration for art throughout the home,” says Taylor. White moulded Max dining chairs add contrast to the wood and keep the space feeling light and modern.
White, large scale, textured vase adds organics to the space and the unexpected wooden arm amid the spirits adds to the youthful, quirky appeal.
Custom-built media unit on feature wall and custom-built desk both by Cowichan Woodwork. The media unit echoes the contemporary blend of wood with white highlights and with integrated pot lights and added storage, warms the space as a place to display personal objects and books.
Two sliding doors open to reveal a cozy, modest-sized bedroom. Birch Ikea headboard with white floating shelves continues the cohesive contemporary theme throughout the condo. Farrow and Ball paint in Stiffkey Blue for headboard wall.