Gilded with Beauty

The grandeur of a West Side mansion rests in the harmony of classical architecture, with the contribution of fine artisans throughout Vancouver to create freshly updated, timeless room settings.



“It was void of furniture, yet magnificent,” says Kallman, creative director at Patina Home Staging and Design Ltd. “The style of the home has all the elements of classical architecture philosophy, with refined symmetry, proportion and regularity of balance and form. The original designer used decorative and constructive elements such as coffered ceilings, friezes, fluted pilaster, cornice, dentil mouldings and columns throughout, as well as marble floors, crystal chandeliers, arches and grand scales.”

 Kallman instinctively had a vision of how each room could be enriched, informed with a sense of place, with carefully edited fine furnishings. She synthesized these ideals with the homeowner’s desire to create a remarkable showpiece of original, yet graceful design.

 Today, the 7,600-square-foot custom-built estate in Vancouver’s upscale Southlands neighbourhood is a testament to what can be realized when Vancouver’s most brilliant artisans — those undiscovered by the mainstream and those considered the very best worldwide in their craft — combine their creative prowess. Each decor item has a story behind it — the inspiration choices, the design process, and how it was constructed.

“Not one pillow or piece of furniture was selected from a store. Everything was custom-made, right down to the sheets on the bed,” Kallman says, describing the bespoke two-year decorating project that’s still in progress. “We went soul-searching to find exactly what was desired.”

The lofty budget allowed silk velvets to be sourced from Italy to cover the Lillian August dining room chairs, draperies and bedding to be produced by Pisolino in Vancouver, custom leather sofas to be shipped from Toronto, gorgeous oil paintings and bedroom panels in floral motifs to be commissioned from local artist Elena Ilku, and hand-painted, antiqued glass panels created by Vancouver’s own Gorman Studios.



Each space, whether the grand foyer, master retreat, piano lounge, or exquisite living and dining rooms, is dressed to impress with furnishings selected from a variety of exclusive suppliers, including Hickory White, Barrymore, and Christopher Guy. From accent chairs to upholstered bed frames, each echoes the classic architectural elements of the home while conveying a contemporary variation — a high gloss finish or an artistic embellishment.

When the right table to complement the scale of the living room and its 12-foot ceilings could not be found, the creative ingenuity of Mike Maca, a forged steel artist, was enlisted. He 

custom designed two coffee table frames and gilded them in lustrous gold. Topping them in marble would have been too predictable, so internationally renowned decorative artist Peter Gorman was commissioned to fabricate verre églomisé table tops — an ancient craft wherein gold and metal are applied to the back of a glass panel, resulting in a mirror-like finish which shows through to the front of the glass, with the quality of a painting. The technique was revived in the 18th century by French decorator Jean-Baptiste Glomy.

Verre églomisé makes another appearance in the kitchen, but this time Gorman has created 12 custom panels. Against the backdrop of antiqued white cabinets, the reverse-painted glass is intrinsically beautiful, while realizing the homeowners’ dream of bespoke artistry.

“It’s these pure artisans, these hidden jewels that can paint your pictures, design your furniture and ultimately make your custom interior even more special,” says Kallman. “I give them the credit.”

Photography by Carsten Arnold Photography