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    Getting wonderfully lost in a world of design old and new

    Hi my angels! Here’s a new post from our dream trip to Canada. There’s nothing that quite ignites your creative spark in the interiors and home department like scrolling through hundreds and hundreds of sale listings with your partner. 

    We’ve all been there, and I don’t know about you, but the thousands of photos, styles, and interiors (both good and bad!) certainly get my creative juices going as I try to mentally re-design every room in every house we look at.

    “I don’t like those floors”… “Those windows are so not me..”, “Why didn’t they open plan that kitchen?!”, “Oh, we could sooo extend into that garden!”… Are just a few snippets of the recent conversations from our hotel rooms and airport lounges over the last week. All of which usually end with me squinting my eyes and looking at the screen sideways (like everyone’s dog does when you ask them a question) as I try so hard to visualise my dream home in each room! Haha.. not sure how much Fergus enjoys the “wait, wait..!”, and “go back to that photo..” requests.

    Nonetheless, after all these amazing ideas buzzing around my mind, and my Pinterest boards growing by the day(!), I was incredibly excited to see what our next stop had to offer having heard so much about it from a design point of view, and was hoping pick up a few little tips for our own ‘blank canvas’ future home.

    After a lovely weekend away in Kelowna (a post from there will soon be up on my blog), we were on our way to Vancouver and due to stay in the fascinating new Autograph Collection hotel, The DOUGLAS and it’s sister hotel the JW Marriott.

    Having read so much about The DOUGLAS (and funnily enough even saving a picture of it’s lounge on Pinterest earlier this year), I had seen the design inspiration was an interesting mix of traditional features intertwined with modern contemporary boutique hotel styling. 

    For all Autograph Hotels (only ever one in each city), the task is a difficult one for the interior teams as they are designed to tell a unique story about their City’s past and carry this central theme throughout all aspects of the hotel. In theory, signs and styles of the chosen theme should follow the guest throughout all aspects of the hotel from the entrance area, bar area, and dining areas all the way down to the finer details in the bedrooms and even the choice of their amenities and lifestyle extras – such as bathroom products. Having only stayed in a few of Marriott’s Autograph hotels, the attention to detail in these beautiful and unique establishments is what really sets it apart from any chain feeling, and how they can honestly say that there is a genuine ‘boutique’ feeling.  

    How amazing is this room! I love the raw walls mixed with the dark wood. In the evening Fergus and I loved cuddling up in the big comfy bed with a Netflix on the big TV. 

    Here in Vancouver was no different, and I must say was one of the most impressive places I’ve had the pleasure of staying. The traditional styling and theme in The DOUGLAS was everywhere to be seen, but without being obvious and overbearing. 

    The theme in Vancouver was the wonderful Douglas fir tree – one of nature’s and Canada’s most impressive forest dwellers. 

    The Douglas fir itself certainly feels as though it belongs in the Royal Family of trees with it’s dominant stature, huuuge trunk and very distinctive branches.. for most of us, it looks very much like one of the classic tree emojis 🌲

    It holds a special place in history around Vancouver and British Columbia after contributing hugely to the lives of the indigenous First Nation people and thereafter becoming almost a symbol of Canada’s early logging industry. 

    Very fitting to have this classy 25 storey building towering and watching over the City designed in it’s name. 

    As you enter into the reception and lounge area of The DOUGLAS, you are greeted by a Douglas fir in all it’s glory and preserved in glass (they’re huge), and one of the most impressive spaces I have seen in recent times for the bar. 

    Usually full of live music and events, this wood panelled and leather rich space mixes the dark earth tones of the forest with modern furniture and at times a minimal approach to lighting – I LIKE! Very much my Scandinavian style coming out.
    A dark billiard table sits in front of a beautifully lit bookshelf wall whilst the furniture placement in the rest of the open plan area really allows for it to feel spacious but with enough seating. This place is definitely goals! 

    Behind a secret door in the bookshelf wall, we found a private room with the same stunning mix of dark browns and gold with industrial style furniture and a view over the city to die for. I couldn’t help but imagine it would be a pretty cool place for a few quiet drinks with the girls!

    Upstairs in our room on the 17th floor, the theme continues brilliantly with an industrial concrete style/ceiling coupled with the continued dark leather tones of the bed, desk area, and additional seating area. Our view – pretty magnificent, as we were able to see the multicoloured [name] stadium light up one side of the city and caught the best of the Vancouver skyline on the other.

    The little things certainly make the difference when you are on the road and the discovery of The DOUGLAS’s fabulous Aesop products in the rooms was just the cherry on top. One of my lifelong favourite beauty brands, I couldn’t help but think of my best friend Louise (her absolute favourite!) when I was applying generous amounts of their beautiful body moisturiser after my morning shower!

    Finally, the staff… always the most important element of any stay is how you feel in yourself about the atmosphere and the welcoming vibe. After all, what use is a beeeaautiful building if you are made to feel anything but comfortable when you are there?!

    “Hello Miss Thordsen and Mr Bell, welcome to The DOUGLAS” – those were the first words we heard as we came out of the elevator stacked high with bags and a little weary after a long drive.

    How did they do that?! How did they know?! We asked ourselves.. the smiling staff knew who we were before we had even got to the reception.
    Small touches, remember.. they really are everything. And so, from that initial welcome we felt immediately at home and ready to enjoy the evening on the roof terrace over the city. A very classy touch!

    Following the wonderful stay at The DOUGLAS, we had a similarly enjoyable experience in the sister hotel located at The Parq, the JW Marriott. 

    With a more classical, chic style the JW Marriott offered that ultra premium feel surrounding everything from their wonderful flower arrangements in the lobby through to their generous use of marble throughout the communal areas and rooms. 

    The feel here is slightly different, with a positive and energetic buzz around the impressive casino and multitude of restaurants available for any cuisine that you are craving. 

    Gone is the boutique feel that was ever-present throughout The DOUGLAS, and in is the all hours buzz of a hotel that can accommodate any and all of your needs. This wonderful piece of construction and design certainly is a place for the high-rollers and the international crowd.. a pleasant contrast for all types of visiting guests from The DOUGLAS. 

    This cleaner, brighter and more North American style is coupled with a wonderfully light colour scheme throughout all areas mixed with the occasional flash of gold. 

    Smiling staff walk the wide hallways and room service from one of the eight restaurants is a must! 

    A vast gym – one of the biggest I’ve been to in a hotel – was definitely one of the centre pieces of the hotel and located on the 17th floor. I couldn’t help but enjoy my morning run whilst watching over the commuting city during sunrise. 

    All in all, these two beautifully designed hotels provide an experience very different from one another but equally as fun, diverse and entertaining. 

    Whether you are looking for the gentle hum of blues music accompanied by a Negroni and sat on a crisp leather bound furniture piece, or the vibrant, all action buzz of a high class casino floor filled with the exquisite aromas of everything from steak to sashimi, then The Parq and it’s two hotels is certainly worth a visit when you are in town. 

    It depends which way you look at modern developments and hotels, but at these two hotels, I find myself totally appreciating the brilliantly clever approach to matching the old world styles and atmosphere of Vancouver and it’s many quirky suburbs like Gastown, with the new world of luxury hospitality and it’s modern high level expectations. 

    And so, despite the many thousands of steps spent exploring this fantastic city throughout the day from this beautiful base at The DOUGLAS and

    , as we lay in bed in the evenings (I know, not very exciting!) it was back to the searching, scrolling and swiping the house listings and allowing my mind to wander.

    They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but for me, design is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and so I would really love to hear of all of your own design stories and unique design/interiors styles. We are all brilliantly different!

    Have you ever been somewhere that truly inspired you to go home and re-design your space or re-think a colour scheme?
    Even a restaurant or café that has made you try new kitchen styles or invest in some new quirky coffee mugs, plates or cutlery? 

    It’s so important to take all of these small inspirations on board from your own journey so that one day you can apply them to your own home or space. 

    My final thoughts are that each person’s home design tells the most fascinating story about their life and their journey. Look closely and you will find a fascinating tale in almost every design decision someone makes. 

    Ornaments and home pieces can literally tell you about experiences and travels in people’s lives and can provide amazing tales about how that piece made it into someone’s home. 

    Our homes are definitely our own ‘blank canvas’ and without realising it, they subtly give away the most amazing secrets about who you are, where you’ve been, what has inspired you in life, and what matters to you. Our design gives us the opportunity to put all these experiences into a creative process with a beautiful end result. 

    More to come on my interior ideas, new experimental styles and definitely a big post to tell you all about our exciting plans for our next step! 

    Sending a big hug to all of you! 

    P.S. You can follow my Pinterest and all home/interior ideas here.

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    BY:
    Isabella
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    7th juni 2019

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