A Stylist’s Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver

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By Vancouver, Canada standards, the 1911 converted hotel building where Kendra Murphy lives is a rare antique. She enjoys thinking about the similarities and differences between the lives lived in the rental apartment before she and partner Will took up residence a year and a half ago, and their own. For one thing, Kendra runs her styling studio, online shop, and blog Kit + Forage out of the flat, with enough room for an inventory of vintage homewares and the textiles she designs in the 625-square-foot space. Also dissimilarly from previous tenants, Kendra found the West End neighborhood spot through Instagram, after seeing pretty glimpses of a friend’s place in the building and reaching out to the property manager. She didn’t even step foot in her own unit until move-in day, but was relieved to find that settling in amongst its classic features with modern updates was ultimately worth the risk. The older building, as one might expect, retains some interesting features. Both the bedroom and living room have roll-away beds that recede into the walls. Visitors often discover unique quirks for themselves as they come through.

For their part, some of the furniture pieces the couple arrived with came from Will’s family, and others Kendra built with her dad. The personal touches that have accumulated over time — like the decorative dishes and artwork, or the plants still thriving in the bright sunlight — feel like physical memories scattered around their environment. Unable to keep any secrets in the small space, Kendra and Will can’t hold onto things they don’t want to look at every day. Each corner of the apartment gets used, and often serves multiple purposes. Because Kendra runs her business from home, it needs to be functional for work and supporting all facets of her and Will’s lives; someplace in which they would be equally as happy working or relaxing. To Kendra, it’s the perfect hideaway perched above all the excitement of downtown. —Annie

Photography by Gillian Stevens


A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


1/21

In Kendra and Will’s Vancouver apartment, a revamped IKEA sofa recovered in a grey fabric and fitted with stained mid-century style tapered legs allows it to work well in the space.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


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Kendra adores the built-in features of her cozy historic home. “I grow to love it a little more every day that I’m here,” she says.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


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In the living room corner, a revolving collection of vintage dishes is always on display. A patterned throw pillow from the first textile collection by Kendra adds some graphic detail.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


4/21

Kendra’s parents found the striking rug at an antique auction on Vancouver Island. “I love how the intricate pattern creates a focal point in the room, and grounds the whole area,” she notes. Her dad helped her to build the coffee table, too.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


5/21

A hardy fiddle leaf fig tree thrives in the bright natural light.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


6/21

The small kitchen works well for the couple’s cooking needs, and they love the classic tile combination.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


7/21

Kendra and Will installed geometric brackets for a new shelf, and stained the wood the same shade as their sofa legs. The window above the shelf looks through to the shower – a quirky feature of an older building.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


8/21

With a lot of awkward space behind the sink, Kendra and Will currently fill it with decorative objects, but hope to devise a more functional scheme for the valuable counter space.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


9/21

Renovated recently (but before their time in the apartment), the couple enjoy the modern conveniences mixed with quirky original features.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


10/21

“What I love most about my home is all of the quirky character in this 100 year old building, and spending slow mornings enjoying a cup of tea.” – Kendra Murphy

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


11/21

Layered shower curtains (à la Emily Henderson) in the bathroom work well to wrap all the way around the original clawfoot tub.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


12/21

Kendra and her dad also built the little bathroom table, decorated with a blue vase from a vintage shop on Vancouver Island, where she and Will both grew up.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


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Open sliding doors between the bedroom and living room make the small space feel bigger and brighter. “But it’s nice to be able to shut them when we have company,” Kendra shares, “Or we just need a place to hide a busy week’s mess.”

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


14/21

Kendra and her dad also built the bedroom clothing rack for some extra storage. “It tends to become a rotating display of whatever items we’re favoring in our closets,” she adds. Will made the bunting for her years ago.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


15/21

Two corner walls of windows in the bedroom make the design a bit tricky. “Between the built-in on the one wall, the two windows, and the sliding doors, there isn’t a full wall in the bedroom,” Kendra explains. “Because of all the action on the walls, I’ve found it tough to not let this space look cluttered.” No rug, simple bedding, and clean walls allow the room to maintain a feeling of openness.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


16/21

Stacks of books and magazines in progress on Kendra’s nightstand. A West Elm carpet sample adds some sparkle to her side of the bed.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


17/21

Kendra had an awkward taxi ride home with this large plant, but having green life in the bedroom makes her glad she undertook the effort.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


18/21

Working in and around built-ins, the bedroom wall serves as Kendra’s small yet efficient workspace.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


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A tailored vintage dresser from Will’s bedroom in his parents’ house. “It was hidden under high school year books when I realized how amazing it was,” Kendra reveals.

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


20/21

“I bought this lamp at one of those thrift stores where you really have to work for it.” Kendra jokes. The nesting dolls were a present for her mom, “But one by one, they became presents from her, back to me.”

A Stylist's Vintage Hotel Home in Vancouver, on Design*Sponge


21/21

The cozy layout of Kendra and Will’s hundred-year-old apartment with modern updates.

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