Great style can’t simply be bought. style comes from within and is very personal, says interior designer Samantha Muller of Kleen Design as she admires the alphabet collage she recently installed in a Langley showhome.
“Breaking the rules is big for 2013… to think outside of the box,” says Samantha. “This collage is a fresh take on the typical photo gallery wall. I used reclaimed and new letters sourced out from all over the continent. There’s vintage gas station letters, handmade moss, antique wood and even letters silk-screened on jute!”
Samantha’s finesse for bringing showhomes to life is spurred from everyday moments – a trip to the market, an intimate dinner party or a family walk through the forest. Her free spirit and strategies for maximizing small spaces has garnered her industry recognition for enthusing new-home buyers with attainable style.
When the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia (CHBA BC) recently announced this year’s Georgie Awards’ finalists, Samantha could hardly contain her excitement.
Nature’s Walk, a new community of 83 townhomes in Langley’s fast-growing Willoughby neighbourhood, was nominated in five categories, including “Best Interior Design Display.” For Samantha, who worked alongside the developer Royale Properties from the onset with selecting finishes, specifications and styling the showhome, this was an enormous compliment.
“I would love to win this year,” enthuses Samantha. “I always try to create functionally inviting living environments that portray a bit of whimsy and help free up the home owners’ imaginations to showcase what they could possibly do to personalize and outfit their own homes.”
Nature’s Walk is the only townhome nominated in this category. Other finalists awaiting the announcement of who will take home the Gold at the gala event at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Feb. 23, include: The Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia, Meccanica in Vancouver, The Austin in Coquitlam and 15 West in North Vancouver.
While Samantha has not yet received any direct feedback from the judges, she expects they found the “Light Colour Scheme” of the 1,340-sq.-ft. townhome to be fresh and inviting, and were engaged by the numerous memory points in the display home – the bistro-style setting in the kitchen nook, the bold black and white striped wallpaper in the powder room and the reclaimed-look of dining table that gives the showhome a West Coast feel with its mock dinner party setting of Malbec and mussels.
“First-time buyers have especially loved the showhome,” says sales coordinator Tianne Matchett. “Both the style and the price point from the mid-$300,000s make this home one they can relate to.”
So once homebuyers become homeowners, how do they make a home their own? Truth be told, it’s easy when moving into a new home to purchase items on a whim – pieces you may fall in love with spontaneously, but when brought home look fragmented and out of place.
Before taking a crack at DIY (do-it-yourself) decorating, Samantha encourages new-home owners to fuel their imaginations and define their style – flip through magazines, create an idea book at houzz.com and conceptualize a plan.
“A home will have a better flow and the space will feel more cohesive and inviting if it grew from an initial concept,” says Samantha.
For this award-winning showhome, Samantha envisioned a couple in their 30s who enjoy good food, good company and the finer things in life like fine wine and overseas travel. Her theme developed from juxtaposing a Liberty furniture style – forever playful and glamorous, edgy and classic, beautiful and liveable (but always with a wink), with a more casual Granville Island marketplace feel, for a result that fuses sophisticated moments with those that are very West Coast. Throughout the home, personality is subtly divulged with personal collections, handcrafted accessories, beautiful art and flowers.
The three-bedroom home has an easy-going charm and flow that’s as ideal for entertaining as for everyday living. From the light-filled garage, with its charming potting table and leafy wall decals, to the nine-ft. ceilings on the main floor, laminate hardwood floors and the convenience of a two-piece powder room, the home has both purpose and panache.
To its sizzling grey quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and contrasting white cabinetry, Samantha adds pops of personality with mustard-yellow pasta pots, an inspiring chalkboard message, industrial chandelier and chic black bistro stools astride the island.
When choosing furnishings for the showhome, Samantha was motivated to create a “customer-attainable experience,” with pieces that were purchased from familiar stores like Ikea, Pottery Barn and HomeSense, and accentuated with custom drapery and bedding, as well as made-to-order pieces from Knock on Wood and etsy.com.
Being “sent to one’s room” is hardly a punishment when it’s as whimsical as the bedrooms at Nature’s Walk. One bedroom was transformed into a cabin in the woods, while the other feels as dreamy as a cloud with its white coverlet, wrought iron bed and adorable owl motif. Changing the hardware and pulls on furniture is one of Sam’s little secrets for imparting personality into a space. In the master bedroom, the classic bureau is given a modern twist by simply switching the pulls to ones with a black and white motif to complement the colour blocking on the duvet. “It’s those small finishing touches that make all the difference!”
Experience Nature’s Walk in living colour this week with both the light and dark schemed showhomes open for viewing daily (except Fridays) from noon to 5 p.m. at 20966 – 77A Ave. in Langley.
Written by Janine Mackie