Every Room In This Charming Heritage Apartment Tells A Story
Picture a place where the snow falls softly outside French windows, the doorways are draped with pine boughs and the sweet aroma of sugar cookies hangs in the air. It’s the stuff of feel-good films like It’s a Wonderful Life, but to Vancouver stylist and store owner Heather Ross, it’s not silver screen magic, it’s home. “The history and charm of the building invited me to be a bit more decorative this year,” says Heather, who traded a modern condo for a 1912 heritage building in Vancouver’s South Granville neighborhood (a sought-after address reportedly once home to both Justin Trudeau and Sarah McLachlan).
For her first Christmas in the apartment, Heather blended her signature coastal palette of blue and green with aged silver and pale lavender. Walls as white as meringue, original mouldings and a vintage fireplace set the tone for her nostalgic approach.
Scroll down to step inside this charming space with a festive touch.
An antique settee stands beneath a casually pinned, unframed map of Savary Island, British Columbia, where Heather grew up. “Some of my happiest childhood memories happened there,” she says. A cozy wool throw and fringed pillows temper the formality of the sofa. “My grandmother was Danish; I love the simple, unpretentious hygge aesthetic.”
“This space is part of a fresh start for me, so I went through a mindful process of only bringing things in that lift me up, give me a sense of comfort and connect me to my history in a way that’s healing,” says Heather.
A nook off the living room overlooks a view of cypress trees. “During winter, they look so festive dusted with snow,” she says. “I’ve been so happy and peaceful here.” In the windowbox is a cluster of Japanese fishing floats.
When her mother sold the family home, Heather salvaged her grandparents’ galvanized metal garbage bin and reimagined it as her tree stand. For her holiday tree, Heather mixes mercury glass balls with clear dangling ornaments that are reminiscent of tinsel strands. “It looks like a tree in nature when icicles hang from it,” she explains.
Heather likes to display vintage mercury glass ornaments on a transferware dish with quartz and shell bits that mimic the look of real pinecones. A hit of pink breaks up the mostly cool, neutral palette.
In the dining room, a rustic drop-leaf table is juxtaposed with modern chairs. Pretty vignettes on the dining table and sideboard look collected over time.
A loose branch, vintage stag figurine and candles add charm and warmth to the dining table’s silver and white theme. “Design doesn’t have to be formal or expensive,” says Heather.
“The checkerboard floor reminds me of Paris,” says Heather of her galley kitchen, where potted herbs on the windowsill add a dash of green to the mainly white space. Cutting boards casually leaned against the wall and the woven blind layer in texture.
A floating shelf in the kitchen holds artfully displayed canisters, pretty apothecary-style packaging and baking items. Baking sugar cookies is a childhood tradition Heather shares with her sister. “I introduced the star shape by putting my cookie cutters on display.”
An antique enamel teapot, jars and salt and pepper shakers deliver a nostalgic moment in robin’s-egg blue.
A view from Heather’s painting studio shows off the apartment’s airy, light-filled hallways, which create a sense of flow throughout the home. “These spacious hallways make it feel like a house!” says Heather. “I use my second bedroom as a studio; from the window I can see the harbour, the mountains and the sunset.”
The bathroom’s refreshing blue shade recalls a certain jeweler’s iconic little blue box.
In the bedroom, chalky tones have a serene effect without being overtly feminine. The porcelain statuette of the goddess Kwan Yin holds symbolic significance to Heather and fits in beautifully with other Asian-influenced touches. “While living in Paris, I observed how people would mix chinoiserie with something French or contemporary — it adds a layer of complexity and sophistication to an interior.” Moody artwork anchors the room.
An antique dresser speaks to Heather’s lifelong love of salvaging forgotten treasures. “When I was 14, I went berry picking with my mother and came across an old bentwood chair that the farmer thought was a piece of junk. It was my first find.”