This apartment, located high up in Vancouver’s iconic Woodward’s Building, belongs to a single woman with a high-powered job. With a lot of responsibility on her plate and long hours, it was important her home serve as a sanctuary. She had been living there for a few years when she contacted Oliver Simon Design, a boutique Vancouver interior design firm, founded by Greer Nelson and Jamie Hamilton. “She loved the location and the spectacular view but was finding it difficult to make it function in a way that she needed it to,” Greer says. Jamie continues, “She told us right in the beginning stages that she will choose comfort over aesthetics every time, so our task was to make it cozy/comfortable AND look as cool and stylish as possible.”

When the designers first visited, the home felt dark and lacked organization. “It was full of things that were sentimental and important to her but she had limited storage to put anything away,” Jamie recalls. The designers worked with the client’s budget to first determine the top priorities — deciding what she could live with and how to make the most of what they had to work with. “The number one feature was the view from the 28th floor looking northeast. She has stunning views of mountains, ocean and cityscapes for as far as the eye can see. It was definitely the focal point and we designed around that.”

The pair first set their sights on the kitchen. “We wanted to begin with replacing the kitchen counter and backsplash,” Greer explains. “We found them to be dated and ‘bossy’ in terms of color, so once we got rid of the bright blue we were free to focus on a new color palette that could brighten up the space while creating a calm feeling, and take advantage of the amazing views!” To optimize the budget, they opted to keep the existing kitchen cabinetry, but brought in a new sink and faucet. The old parquet floors were updated, new lighting was installed, and custom millwork was added wherever possible. “We solved so many problems with this one suggestion, but custom millwork can be expensive,” Jamie tells us. “By adding custom storage we found solutions for both storage and layout issues, as well as adding beautiful open shelves that brought interest to the space. Definitely worth it!”

After the initial updates were complete, the designers brought in new furniture throughout, keeping the colors neutral and organic — a look that Greer says made all the difference. In the living room, a vintage rug inspired the palette. “The antique look and feel was a nice contrast to the other modern elements of the home.” The project took about 6 months, and the client was quite pleased when she returned to the finished space. “She was thrilled with it, which makes our job so joyful and satisfying,” Jamie smiles. “She even cried a little, so that’s when we knew she was home.”