Before and after: our condo

Note: I’ve been “sitting” on this post in drafts forever (at least a year since the most recent photo below) that it’s kind of ridiculous. Currently, our place looks nothing like it does below, LOL. But I love the how I have photos from when we moved in and it was empty and far more sparse. Those were the days!


When it rains, it pours, which is so apt for Vancouver. When things happen, they happen all at once. Like finding our condo last May while planning our May vacation. Like moving in in May but all of the furniture (save for one piece) arrived between December and March. I’m exhilerated by the rushes especially after the droughts because it means we are getting things done.

Second bedroom


After – for a hot minute, I had this lovely desk in an alcove



We lived in our second bedroom for seven whole months before we decided upon a bed to order custom. We moved in just before summer last year and I had a double bed that I had only used for a year in Toronto (and six months in the previous rental). Then we waited three months for the bed to be built. Christmas break threw a wrench into the usual schedule for filling the custom orders. Finally, the double bed was on its way out and I could fill the second bedroom as I had imagined as a small sanctuary. In the last days of sleeping in the second bedroom, we did appreciate how cozy it was with the blinds down and soft sunny light coming in two sides of the room.

The sofa is way bulky but I can’t part with it yet what with its cost and the cost of moving it back from Toronto and it is perfectly good still. It kind of engulfs the room and the TV is also big, deemed slightly inappropriate and the “stand” is fugly. We are making do. I thought I might be able to leave the desk in the room but it is not a dainty size (as it is also possible a small dining table) but I got really excited when I realized it fits (albeit not gracefully) entirely inside the closet. I’ve long wanted a desk in a closet that you can keep out of sight but I’m afraid it won’t be a long-term possibility as it will be required as a closet again in the future.

Sofa: IKEA Vreta (discontinued)
Table and chairs: IKEA tabletop with gold spraypainted legs and IKEA Gilbert chair (discontinued) with gold spraypainted legs
Shelving: 3×2 shelf is Martha Stewart Living stackable cube organizer with MSL fabric drawers from Home Depot, vertical shelf is ClosetMaid from Canadian Tire

Master bedroom

Original wall colour

We painted the walls gray



The before photo was taken at the height of the mess when we were installing a new closet and things were everywhere. For the ten months it wasn’t used, there was just a white fitted sheet-clad queen mattress on the ground all lonely in a 10′ x 10′ room.

While we waited for three months for the bed, NPY was so nervous about the blue fabric swatch we decided upon and it would be the fabric for a whole king size headboard. Initially, we were going to go with a dark indigo denim-like fabric but on the day we placed our order at the store, we saw this lighter royal blue shade and I urged us to go for it. We were also unsure about the headboard height because we hadn’t calculated exactly how tall the mattress would be. NPY didn’t like tall dramatic 54″ headboards and he feared that adding a foot to the original 36.5 inches was too tall but it all worked out.

We’re not too proud at all for IKEA furniture – Malm we went, although I would have liked to have Hemnes finally but the dimensions didn’t work – because it’s “hidden” in the bedroom, has clean lines, provides a lot of storage and has the right dimensions. When we unwrapped all the pieces for the dresser, NPY muttered that the work and pieces and assembly were the reason why he wouldn’t buy IKEA but it is always worth it in the end.

Bed: custom Van Gogh bed in the style of Parliament’s Conrad with 46.5″ royal blue fabric headboard ordered through Home Effects
Dresser: IKEA Malm 6-drawer dresser in White with Malm Glass top in Transparent
Nightstand: IKEA Malm 2-drawer chest in White with Malm Glass top in Transparent
Duvet set: Organic Pintuck duvet cover and shams in Feather Gray from West Elm
Bedside lamps: IKEA Klabb lamp
Floor lamp: IKEA Magnarp floor lamp

Outstanding items are an armchair and art.

Master bedroom closet


I was pleased that when a friend visited early on and saw our before closet and she wondered if the white shelving was “built-in”. Alas, but no. It’s the magic of the clean and slender lines of white shelving you can get at any home store. We struggled for a year with these dinky shelves and spread into the closet of the second bedroom until we followed some friends’ lead and ordered and installed a Rubbermaid Configurations kit. The biggest difference comes from raising the top rail to accommodate a second rail below. My side ended up looking a little boring and messy (darn tunic length tops are longer than the space allocated for my tops) so it’s NPY’s half that is the “showcase” with the matching pants valet and sliding tie rack as “luxury” closet features for him.

Closet kit: Rubbermaid Configurations Deluxe 4′-8′ kit in Titanium

Living Room



One of the first things we did get early on (so we were busy with that) was a couch but while my old couch was still in the living room, NPY would occupy it to keep the new one pristine! Meanwhile, I made myself comfortable on the new couch because it has a chaise section. It took about five months to decide on the coffee table and dining table and two more months before they arrived. But it would be ten months before we laid down a rug to cozy it all up pull it together.

I never would have imagined that setting up the rug would have been such an ordeal. We went with Home Depot because they could offer us a 100% wool rug at a fraction of the price of Crate & Barrel and – honestly – the actual pattern didn’t matter so much to us as long as it was not outside of our tastes (e.g., no flowers) and the muted colour mattered most. NPY had determined he wanted a 6’x9′ rug but I couldn’t turn one up at Home Depot that we liked and so when he agreed upon an “8×11″ (7’10” x 10’10”) and it was delivered to us, I realized our expectations were completely different. So, we set up this rug on a Sunday afternoon and fiddled ever so many times and moved the sectional on and off to rotate and reposition the rug until it as you see it. NPY isn’t wholely satisfied because he wanted it slightly wider and thinks we’re wasting rug we paid for because about four feet of it is under the soft and runs up the wall to shorten it. I’m reasonably pleased but wary about the amount of wool lint we’ve signed up for!

Sofa: Jane Loft Bi-Sectional by Gus Modern from Full House Modern Vintage
Coffee table: Caine (walnut veneer and glass) from Möbler Furniture
Rug: wool from Home Depot
Lamp: $7 from Canadian Tire!!

Outstanding items are a fabulous lamp (we have our eyes on a C&B one), a wingback or large armchair in an accent colour or additional seating and wall art.

Dining area

It was vacant.


While we waited for two months for our dining set to be built and then shipped from a Denmark, I got anxious. Had it been a mistake to get this enormous white tempered glass table? Were we accidentally going pop/retro? And the chairs that we saw along side it in the showroom and consequently ordered, were they too funky? Even if I didn’t like it, MIL was really envious of the table with the built-in lazy susan and our chairs are more comfortable than hers. Half a year earlier, she ordered a dining set from the same place, also white tempered glass but a rounded rectangle Moda and similar black and white Foster chairs and it worries me if I have similar tastes with an elder! But we got a great kind of modern industrial looking light which was as turn from the circular ones oh so common these days and I dressed up the table in modern colours and I love it.

Originally, we had arranged the chairs most “logically”, along the four points of the compass, one back each to the kitchen counter, wall, window and living room. But we got the idea to shift it all by 45 degrees and it made such a difference opening view of the table to the living area and vice versa and all of the chair legs fit on the small rug (for which I am searching for a replacement).

Table: Solstice (white tempered glass with built-in lazy susan) from Möbler
Placemats: IKEA Ordentlig in Turquoise and Gray
Chairs: Byron (polyurethane fabric) from Möbler
Sideboard: Dalia from Möbler
Lamp: from Vancouver Lighting
Rug: similar to this 4’4″ x 6’5″ low-pile IKEA Läborg rug

Outstanding items are a properly sized rug and art.




We have a decent size patio that is nearly 7′ x 11′ and faces southwest looking out on Mount Pleasant and beyond that we see the planes flying in and out of YVR. If we stand on the southwest corner of the patio, we have a north view and colourfully lit BC Place. For a year it has housed just a barbecue we rarely use and our recycling (:o). Meanwhile, in the tower next door, we can see there is a patio all decked out because they love their patio time. There is a full patio set and a firepit and it was often occupied last summer. Since I will be home a lot this summer, this was the year to get ours set up.

I long wanted something like fake grass and the turf sold at Costco was so lovely and soft but NPY didn’t agree with it and the 1m x 4m dimension didn’t work for us. So we got the grass colour (although NPY thinks it’s a putting green turf) in a no-fuss very low pile rug. Patio sets in the price range we considered never strike me as modern-looking. Too curvy and traditional-looking but also cheap-looking. I want sleek lines and cushions that aren’t typical colours like red and chartreuse. So I like this set as soon as I saw it. I doubt we’ll stack it in the winter because it doesn’t latch altogether and might topple over and crash against things. Finally, for the touches of elegance, I got one tall plant and the white lights.

BBQ: Weber, second-hand from a friend
Bistro set: Stackable rattan bistro set from Canadian Tire
Cushions: Cynthia Rowley from Home Sense
Rug: 6′ x 7’6″ grass rug from Home Depot
Lights: IKEA Borrby lantern

Flex room


I guess it wouldn’t be a proper tour without a peek into this room. I’m pretty pleased with it as it does well to keep our infrequently used possessions out of sight. There’s more white shelving, as you can see. It is our file room, shoe closet, wine storage, pantry and paper recycling center. As we inevitably accumulate more things, we’ll need to use the vertical space better by adding shelving and such.

Bookcase: IKEA Billy bookcase in White with Morliden glass and aluminium doors
Shelving: 2 3×3 Martha Stewart Living stackable 9-cube organizer with MSL fabric drawers from Home Depot
Shoe rack: For Living 40-Pair shoe rack from Canadian Tire

Come to think of it, this was quite a bit to procure so it’s okay it took a year. But boy was it bunched up in the last six months!

On this day..