The event that showcased the city’s best design minds, most talented builders and exquisite craftsmanship left an indelible mark on Vancouver’s luxury home market.
On April 28th, 2015, dozens of BC’s finest home builders walked onto the Vancouver Convention Centre’s bare concrete floor to build one of the most spectacular and ambitious home shows in the world: Taste of Life’s Luxury Home & Design Show. They had only four days.
“When I got there, starting to build the booth from the start, we were just like, ‘How’s it going to be?’” admitted Jeff Gunson, project manager for Euro Canadian Construction.
On opening night, Friday, May 1st, the craftsmen relaxed and enjoyed the fruits of their labour. They had done it, and the crowds were impressed.
“The amount of people that showed up Friday night was absolutely phenomenal,” said Chris O’Donoghue, owner of Great Canadian Landscaping. “People just kept coming and coming and coming.”
“To me, this is the best show Vancouver has ever seen,” chimed in Iuri Morgan, of Eurohouse Construction in West Vancouver.
“It definitely feels like I’m walking into a whole other world,” said Dawn Chubai, co-host of City TV’s Breakfast Television.
Providing fresh new experiences and redefining luxury are at the heart of Taste of Life Magazine. Our mission is to move away from the focus of a price tag and to rediscover the essence of elegant, refined lifestyle and true craftsmanship, core tenets of the Luxury Home & Design Show.
“I believe every product is just like a living being,” says Wendy Guo, show director and Taste of Life’s editor-in-chief. “If you want to shine on the surface, you have to first shine on the inside. You have to first craft your skill. That’s no longer just materially beautiful but also spiritually inspiring. That’s true art. We just wanted to do something to touch people’s heart and connect with them deeply.”
To bring this vision to life, Marque Thompson of Design Marque created a floor plan to harmonize the entire show space of en suites, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms and courtyards, into one elegant estate.
A Ferrari and Maserati, King Louis XIV’s Vaux le Vicomte style gardens, serene bubbling fountains, and an exquisite 300-foot-wide façade of a Mediterranean residence greeted visitors and captivated senses.
Inside, each of the show suites had been conceived and built by a unique three part team: an award-winning designer, one of Vancouver’s best luxury home builders, and a top home-products brand to showcase their offerings in a way never seen before. “It’s a place where you can step into a designer’s imagination and into a designer’s dreams,” says Brett Price, the show’s manager.
In the foyer, a piano and violin transported guests into a warm and sparkling corridor. Crown mouldings and thousands of feet of hardwood flooring, from chevron patterns to wide and long planks, added the necessary touches of authenticity.
A private putting green on artificial turf, glowing gas fire bowls, and a garden with a kaleidoscope of colours brought the vacation close to home.
The journey continued to southern Spain in an en suite framed with weathered cave walls, with flooring and sinks made of rare Italian limestone, and custom Moorish screens.
In another en suite hung a custom obelisk-shaped chandelier, hand assembled with hundreds of crystal droplets. Wrapping around the credenza was a hand-painted églomisé glass panel from Gorman Studios. Though famous around the world and considered the leader in chinoiserie, reverse glass painting and lacquered panels, the studio has been relatively unknown in Vancouver.
“Our work is certainly not anything that people are used to seeing in Vancouver, so we’ve had a very, very favorable response,” said Peter Gorman, owner of Gorman Studios. “Most are going, ‘Are you from Vancouver?’ And I’m going, ‘Yes, for 30 years I’ve been from Vancouver!’”
Chrome, mirror, and high-gloss cabinetry set up a beautiful contrast to a traditionally profiled kitchen island. And a glittery, glamorous backsplash and countertop kept people talking.
The VIP room bridged East and West, marrying spacial principles of Feng Shui with traditional 18th-century French chateau-inspired design, hallmarked with antique furniture inspired by the Louis XV era.
What started out as mission impossible became an event of possibilities.
“I’m definitely going to be doing some shopping. My purse is full of brochures,” said guest Chantelle Wong. “I found the ‘Apple.’ It’s a big outdoor orb that I’m going to sit in under my pagoda on my balcony. I’m sure I’ll never get in there because everyone else will want to sit in there all the time.”
A heartfelt thank you and congratulations to Vancouver’s finest designers, builders and luxury brands whose efforts dropped jaws, opened eyes and unlocked dreams for the future.