My Digs: Design guru Gillian Segal


As a designer, one of my most favourite opportunities is to sneak a peek into the homes of my peers; I love exploring how fellow creative minds interpret style – the colours, the textures and the trends. Vancouver boasts a strong community of interior designers and this week we are touring the glamourous space of one of our local industry leaders, Gillian Segal of Gillian Segal Design. You may have seen Gillian stealing the show at this year’s IDSWest Open Studio, or caught her work on MarthaStewart.com (for which she is an interior design contributor). Her eclectic-meets-chic South Granville abode is definitely covet-worthy.

What is it? We live in a ground-level condo in the South Granville neighbourhood.  While I think ground-levels have some negative connotations, we couldn’t be happier with our set up.  We have about 1,100 square feet over a single floor with a private patio that’s about 500 square feet. Our view overlooks the buildings’ common gardens, which are never in use so we often feel like we have our own back yard.

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Gillian Segal - Tracey Ayton photo

Occupants: My husband, our little Pomeranian, Bear, and myself. I run a boutique interior design firm here in Vancouver and Adam is the CMO of a furniture company specializing in juvenile furniture; Bear is a part time sock-eater and napper.

Major selling features: For us it was all about the efficient floor plan (two bed, two bath, plus living and dining rooms). The high ceilings (10-feet throughout the unit) and outdoor spaces make the condo feel even larger than it is. 

First thing I changed: Being a designer, I had a long list of things to change! We put in new broadloom carpet in the bedrooms, installed black-out drapes and put in a walk-in closet. We painted/wallpapered and changed out all of the light fixtures. I think the smallest, and possibly most effective thing we did was to rip off the doors to the solarium (which is located off the kitchen) and turn the space into an enclosed dining room. It’s great for dinner parties, and freed up the rest of our living space for a luxurious living room.

Feature I brag about: My favourite feature is more abstract – it’s definitely the feeling of coziness our place has. I love to entertain and I know our guests always feel comfortable and at ease here (as do we).

That one conversation piece: I have a lot of skulls (prints, accessories) sprinkled around the apartment. I can’t explain why I love them, but I do! The other conversation starter is our pink Dana Claxton photograph of Tonto, which reads, “You speak much but say nothing”. While I tried to maintain more masculine/gender neutral décor for my husband, we both seem to have a weakness for colourful art.

The décor: I would say this is my signature style, which I call “modern eclectic glamour”. A mouthful I know, but for me it’s all about creating unique spaces that represent the client (us, in this case). I love mixing the old with the new in unexpected ways.

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles: The mirror above the fireplace is an antique mirror my mom found about 20 years ago in a house that was slated for demolition. Our dining chairs are also antiques from my parents, so they have sentimental value for me and I loved how they paired with our Tulip table. In terms of collectibles, we love buying art and I also collect teacups (I have a Hermes tea service set and a huge array of mix-matched vintage tea cups).

Downsides: That it’s too small for us to stay in forever! I also wish I could have put my own spin on our kitchen and bathrooms, but they were brand new when we bought so it didn’t make sense. I would love to find a fixer-upper or build for our next home.

Neighbourhood haunts: I love the bar at West (their cocktails are the best in town in my opinion). I also love going to Stable House Bistro for an after work drink and charcuterie plate. 

Compared to your last place: Our last place was the first home we shared as a couple and was a teeny tiny apartment, so this felt like moving into a mansion!                                                                                                     

Favorite apartment/house/condo activity: Cooking (when time permits) or cracking open a bottle of wine with my man and just lounging. I also love a good bubble bath!
 

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