House Call: Celeste's Mount Pleasant Loft

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Name: Celeste
Location: Vancouver, BC

My husband, 10-month old daughter and I live in a 850-square foot loft in Vancouver. We moved here from LA in 2007 and I knew that the lack of sunshine would be a big issue for me in the new city. So we painted all walls in Benjamin Moore's Simply White and matched that to an epoxy white paint for the concrete floors--even on the grayest Vancouver day, the apartment is filled with beautiful white light that reminds me of sunny LA. I work from home, so the "office" space is along one wall, where my husband built a long narrow desk using left over hardwood used in the upstairs bedroom (photo 1). For legs, he poured three concrete slabs and we had shelves for our record collection and stereo made in stainless steel.

The entrance is long and narrow and a complete waste of space. Because there are few walls in the loft (the place is all floor to ceiling windows), we needed some wall space for our art book collection. A regular bookshelf was out of the question so I came up with a solution of creating white powder coat steel shelves for displaying the books as you would photos or art (photo 2). The end of the hall is covered in a black and silver flock wallpaper. There are whimsical touches throughout, like the words "La lessive" (french for laundry) handscripted on the fuchsia door (photo 3) that leads to the washer/dryer.

The guest bathroom also doubles as a small library. Above the toilet we put up Ikea shelves, which are lined with travel books and mags, graphic novels, etc (photo 4). Here we used the left-over wallpaper for a narrow strip of wall next to a concrete slab by the sink.

The open-concept kitchen features white Ikea cabinets that pop against a fuchsia backsplash (photo 5). And beyond the concrete countertop is the living room, which features a cow hide rug from Brazil, tomato red Ligne Roset sofas and b&w photos above the fireplace. I was pregnant at the time of the renovation, which probably explains the vibrant fuchsia I chose. Beyond the dining room is a small balcony where I painted one wall in a bright blue, which also cheers me up when the skies are gray (which is often).

Upstairs we converted a corner of our bedroom into the nursery, choosing items that were cheerful and baby friendly but not something we would hate, i.e. there are no pink bunnies or frilly things. Instead we chose cool indie rock posters to decorate the walls, and handcrafted toys made in recycled wool and wood from LA and elsewhere in the US as well as Buenos Aires, where I am originally from. Experts say that for the first few months of a baby's life, they only see black and white. Doctors recommend high contrast toys and object to stimuli baby's vision. Chloe must have been plenty stimulated in our monochromatic loft.

Thanks, Celeste!

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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