Join the IDIBC for a fabulous night of fun and 5-pin bowling at the 2nd annual Bowlerama! The event proceeds benefit the Tom Park Student Bursary and features a silent auction with additional games and prizes. Cheering tickets are on sale now! Come out to cheer on your peers, or network with interior designers and industry members. Click here for further details and registration information.


Left to right: Sharon Bortolotto (moderator), Alessandro Munge (Munge Leung), Cynthia Penner (Box Interior Design), Vicki Pearson (Porada)

What makes an interior space successful when it comes to hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs? What is there to know about hospitality design? How are top firms designing for today and for the future? Here are my key takeaways from the interior design keynote panel at Buildex Vancouver 2014.



Black and Blue – Alberni St. Vancouver, BC.

 Cynthia Penner of Box Interior Design shared the thought process behind the concept of Black and Blue. The restaurant creates a scene with a darker, provocative colour palette. Everything from changing the tenor with materials and design, to the guest experience, adds to the value of the atmosphere, making the venue a place to see and be seen.

Box Design and Inform Interiors came together to create an aesthetically pleasing focal point with Tom Dixon’s etch metallic frames. The light installation features 86 gold shades, located centrally in the restaurant.

The Roof at Black and Blue

The Roof at Black and Blue



1 Oak – Las Vegas, Nevada

1oak-07Munge Leung, a Toronto based boutique design firm, focuses on luxury condominium developments, restaurants, resorts and  nightclubs. 1 Oak, located in the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas boasts graphic prints, textures and bold colours.

1oak 53.

Oak Bay

Oak Bay Beach Hotel – Victoria, BC.

Hotels are “no longer a place to sleep until you get to the next place”. Hotels are becoming more of a destination, somewhere to experience and enjoy, with amenities like spas, fitness studios, open rooftops, bars and restaurants. Boardrooms and meeting areas are incorporated into the space plan to accommodate the guest traveling on pleasure, or the guest on business. Lobbies and entrances are viewed as a space to lounge in, often with a major design feature or focal point to break the ice and build up conversation.

Oak Bay 2Considerations in aspects of hotel design include meeting the needs of the client, while maintaining the brand of the hotel and keeping the design authentic to the location. The design intention can paint a representation of its surroundings to help one location stand out from the rest in its chain. If the space captures elements that make the hotel unique and suited to its area, there should not be a question of: “What city am I in?” – Vicki Pearson, Porada Design Groupph13In keeping with the times, many firms offer a Comeback Program, where a followup is done with the client to evaluate the space and see what is working and what can be improved. As technology is ever-changing, this is a valuable way to maintain an efficient, current and environmentally sound space.

Hospitality design goes beyond achieving a beautiful space, or showing off an unusual concept. In order to achieve a successful project, many facets of the design must be orchestrated together, as it comes down to the end user and a curated experience.

IMG_2132The Eastside Culture Crawl is a festival that celebrates and showcases the work of local artists. The crawl is now in its 17th year and attracts approximately 15,000 visitors over the 3 day event duration. Taking place between the boundaries of Victoria Drive, Main street and 1st Avenue, this is a great way to experience the heart of Vancouver’s creative community in a one stop shop.


Trays made from Stanley Park maple.

IMG_2078  IMG_2081 IMG_2082  IMG_2084 IMG_2085 IMG_2086 IMG_2087 IMG_2088   IMG_2095  IMG_2097 IMG_2098 IMG_2099 IMG_2100  IMG_2102  IMG_2104 IMG_2105  IMG_2107 IMG_2108 IMG_2109 IMG_2110 IMG_2111 IMG_2112 IMG_2113 IMG_2114 IMG_2116 IMG_2117 IMG_2119 IMG_2122 IMG_2123 IMG_2124 IMG_2125 IMG_2126   IMG_2138  IMG_2141


Designed for energy, water and space efficiency, this Vancouver vertical garden yields 8 racks of plantation per day. This type of farming keeps land costs down in urban environments.


Using space leased from the city in a parking lot, rooftop farming has plenty to offer. This farming method is optimal when it comes to water efficacy, as it utilizes only 8% of the water that a California field would need for sustenance. Spatially, the farm carries a small footprint for the amount of greens it yields.


Daylight spectrum metal halide lighting is used throughout the greenhouse for general ambience.


The horizontal motion system is made up of 12 trays stacked vertically, with 3000 trays in total. The computer-operated mechanism allows for lower costing as it requires less physical labour. This increases productivity by better-utilizing man power to control the interior greenhouse settings as necessary, against environmental factors.


The “walls” in the greenhouse are made up of 2 layers of thin poly that are inflated with dead air in between, acting as an insulator.


To increase airflow in colder months, carbon dioxide is released to assist the plants.


The greenhouse roof has shading curtains to provide a controlled growing environment.

IMG_2039 IMG_2040  IMG_2043 IMG_2044 IMG_2045 IMG_2046 IMG_2047 IMG_2048 IMG_2049 IMG_2050 IMG_2051 IMG_2052 IMG_2053 IMG_2054 IMG_2055 IMG_2058 IMG_2069


Here is a beautiful video recap of DESIGNfinds – ‘Not Your Neighborhood Garage Sale’, courtesy of APM Production Ltd. The 5th annual sale, hosted at the North Vancouver ReStore, was a complete success. The sale not only created funding for safe, affordable housing, but also generated awareness by bringing the community together through volunteerism and of course, some wonderful design finds!

Click HERE for more information on ReStore locations, or HERE, to learn more about DESIGNfinds.

IMG_1897  IDS West is suitably held in the Vancouver Convention Center, showcasing the beauty of design and sustainability. The West building is the first convention center in the world to receive the highest  LEED rating with Platinum certification.

IMG_1954IDS West is the home of trade professionals, design enthusiasts and anyone looking for some inspiration. For the duration of the weekend, it provides design savvy individuals with a place to share ideas, network, shop and even learn a thing or two from guest speakers.
Below are some photos from ‘The Party on Opening Night’ and the weekend trade show.IMG_1839Dinner by Design InstallationsIMG_1842     IMG_1847 IMG_1848      IMG_1854      IMG_1860 IMG_1861      IMG_1867  IMG_1869   IMG_1872  IMG_1874               IMG_1890  IMG_1892                      IMG_1915 IMG_1916    IMG_1920  IMG_1924 IMG_1928     IMG_1940 IMG_1941  IMG_1943 IMG_1944 IMG_1945  IMG_1947 IMG_1948 IMG_1949 IMG_1951 IMG_1952   IMG_1956 IMG_1957


Arrive early for best selection and pay a fraction of the retail value!

The Interior Designers Institute of BC is putting together the Habitat for Humanity’s 5th annual garage sale. Hosted by the newest BC ReStore location in North Vancouver, the sale will be anything but average. Including building supplies, furniture, accessories and more, the sale features items donated by industry professionals, ensuring quality and value, without the hefty price tag.

For more information on ReStores, click here

lanefab solar laneway house - from streetWhat is a laneway house, who lives in one, where are they built and why? Lately, I have noticed quite a few laneway houses popping up in and around Vancouver. Curiosity got the best of me, so I attended a panel discussion at the Hive with top laneway housing experts to answer a few of my questions.section and kitchenSection cut – two storey LWHIMG_1655Panel – From left to right: Kate Allen [Smallworks], Bryn Davidson [Lanefab], Sonia Erichsen [City of Vancouver] and Ellen Pond [Pembina Institute]lanefab solar laneway house - from laneA laneway house (LWH) is a one or two storey garage-sized home built on the lot of an existing single-family dwelling. The average LWH is approximately 590 sq ft.lanefab solar laneway house - patio 1The minimum qualifications for a LWH are as follows:                                                                                    – A 33′ wide lot with lane access, or a double fronting lot
– Fire fighting access
– 16′ clearance to backyard space
– Maintenance of site permeability (green space)
– One off-street parking space, parking pad, or a parking spot inside the LWH

living_room_6_hdr_ed copyAs Vancouver is now the most expensive North American city to live in, laneway houses can lessen the strain of mortgage payments by offering a rental income, as well as additional options for renters. This type of dwelling is typical for the aging population, adult children, caregivers and renters who wish to live in detached housing.
living_room_2_hdr_ed copyPROS:
– Provides an alternative to renting a basement suite or apartment
– An excellent opportunity for meeting new people and having additional friendships, as many people enter and exit their home via. back entrances
– Adds more security and character to the lane
– Contributes to rental housing in the city, allowing an easier commute for jobs, services and amenities
– LWH’s meet green standards for energy and water efficiency
– Opens doors for creative “lanescaping” in the laneway, such as vertical gardens and plants
bathroom_washer_ed copyCONS:
– Less accessibility for the aging population, as stairs can be seen as a major issue for the elderly to navigate
– Designated parking pads are not always used, creating wasted space
– LWH’s with a second floor can create shadows in alleyways and can also become a privacy issue  where neighboring houses and yards can be completely visible
– The process for obtaining a permit to build a LWH is time consuming
– Separate connections are needed for plumbing and electrical
– Only affordable if the property is owned
– LWH’s are generally small when considering square footage
lanefab solar laneway house - bedroomAfter weighing out the pros and cons of laneway housing, they can definitely work for many. As a low impact way to solve population density in Vancouver, laneway houses can provide the answer, with prices as high as they are.


Net zero solar laneway house by Lanefab, photographed by Dylan Doubt

“Lanes as places, not spaces”