Karin Bohn approached the 32-story condo building called Three Harbour Green by floatplane, James Bond style. It was a fittingly dramatic entry for her first appointment with the penthouse owners who would make her famous. You can reach the building in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour by car or boat, but the owners offered to fly her over from across the bay and she didn’t refuse.
The building’s exterior of green granite and glass makes it shimmer like an emerald against Vancouver’s skyline. Its lobby is an expanse of polished stone, marble finishings, fountains, pools, and 20-foot ceilings.
When she entered the penthouse, it was impressive in its size and views — 9,000 square feet, including almost 4,000 square feet of outdoor space on two terraces and a balcony, overlooking Burrard Inlet, Stanley Park, the surrounding mountains and cityscape.
But the penthouse’s interior was awash in white, lacking personality. It was a blank canvas for Bohn.
That’s how it started in 2014, when Bohn was commissioned to change just the flooring and wallpaper in the Coal Harbour Penthouse, atop Three Harbour Green. It turned into a 2.5-year complete remodelling project with Bohn at the helm.
When she was done with the condo in 2016, the owners put it on the market for $58.8 million, making headlines nationwide for the most expensive listing in Canada. That was about 250 percent more than the owners had paid for it in 2014, with Bohn’s artful design making the multi-million-dollar difference. The owners later decided not to sell after all, but they’ve given us a glimpse into their one-of-a-kind penthouse.
“The overall aesthetic is eclectic and modern with a little bit of a retro vibe,” Bohn says. She decided on a geometric pattern for the flooring for some areas in the home, and it became the jumping-off point for the whole design. The pattern is formed by black marble, an earth-toned marble, and a light onyx — a look both funky and natural.
“Those stones were chosen for their colouring, inspired by the landscape,” Bohn says. “The pattern we designed custom, to mimic the pattern of the mountains outside.”
Most of the space is decorated in hues of cream and honey, along with natural oak and walnut, a relaxing contrast to the colourful panorama outside.
Bohn’s outstanding use of stone is a signature mark of her designs, and it is evident not only in this penthouse’s flooring, but also in the marble waterfall island and backsplash in the kitchen, the rich black-and-white marble fireplace in the living room, and the honey onyx from which she built practically the entire master bathroom.
An angular, geometric theme unites the design across all the rooms. The design is “a nod to Italian retro and Art Deco elements,” she says. She balanced this geometric look by choosing furniture that would help soften the overall aesthetic. A lighting fixture in the living room designed by Apparatus, for example, evokes soft clouds with its frosted glass spheres.
The terraces are “a little oasis in the city,” Bohn says. “The team put together a Zen garden where you could go upstairs and relax and meditate.”
Photography by Amanda Oster | Provoke Studios