Colette Soros has an important presence in the design community of Vancouver – her store, Parliament Interiors, in the city’s trendy Gastown neighborhood offers a stylish assortment of decor for the increasingly design-savvy locals. Her home, in East Vancouver, was once a quaint 1,700 square-foot bungalow, selected for its excellent location and proximity to her children’s school (just across the street). As her family expanded, she knew that the original home wouldn’t do. Instead of moving into a new home, she decided to expand the one she already had.

“We chose the home mostly for the lot,” she explained to us. “The house was originally a very modest little bungalow and we added a whole new floor – which became the living, dining, kitchen, two decks, office, and powder room – this allowed us to have high ceilings and skylights. We also have a view of downtown Vancouver so being up higher helps us appreciate that.” To be able to complete such a large project required two different permits: one for building and the other for development, both of which took a whole year to receive. During construction, the family lived in the basement suite. “I had no desire to move our family (plus pets!) somewhere else as we love being across the street from the school. It was super convenient.”

Because she added another level to her house, Colette had to reconfigure her home’s entire layout. The bedrooms were now all located in the bottom levels while the top level became the living and dining spaces. “The design direction was to have an open concept (living/dining/kitchen) but to have defined zones so it still felt intimate and cozy,” she said. “I am obsessed with high ceilings so that was a must.” Colette also wanted to be sure to create covered exterior spaces for her family to enjoy: “We have a mild climate here in Vancouver but it does rain quite a bit (other than summer) so that still allows us to use the decks year-round,” she added.

The interior design began with the brass and marble pendant lights over the kitchen island. “Since I am part Norweigen and Swedish, I wanted the feeling of the interior and exterior to have a Scandinavian vibe,” Colette shared. In true Nordic fashion, her kitchen is from IKEA with a textured white tiled backsplash to add a personalized touch. Wanting to make her home feel welcoming, she decided on a warm neutral palette instead of one based on greys. “Vancouver is already grey enough!” she quipped.

Her favorite space in the whole home is the dining area. “I designed the long bench that extends from one end of the fireplace, goes across the wall, and wraps around another wall creating a large banquette for the dining room,” Colette explained. “I had the vision and I love the outcome.” Another piece which she cherishes is the brass chandelier over the dining table. “The bulbs glow and you can see it from the street outside,” she said. “The dining area feels like a beautiful restaurant booth.”