Making a renovated apartment a new home in Vancouver

February 23KitchenLifestyle
Riko and Yoshi have been married since 2020. Since their wedding, they have been living together in a 36 square-metre studio in Vancouver. "We have considered all options to find a bigger home," explains Yoshi. From pre-sales of future building development projects to moving to the suburbs. "But the projects in the area were either sold out, too small or out of our price range. Moving further to the outskirts of Vancouver was out of the question due to the commute to work," adds Riko. So the only option was to renovate an older apartment.
We knew that while a renovation meant more space for our home, it also meant more flexibility in our ideas and a lot of work on our part.

Seek and you shall find

After intensive planning and searching for over two years, Riko and Yoshi had luck on their side: a structurally sound building from 1992 with a breath-taking view of the famous Fraser River. "I will never forget when our real estate agent called us and said that our second offer was accepted," recounts Riko. The product developer for a personalised cosmetics company knows why the moment was so emotional: "The joy of years of hard work finally paying off was reflected in this moment. There is no better feeling than fulfilling a dream."

The two enthusiastic standup paddleboarders Riko and Yoshi love life in the Canadian metropolis of Vancouver, but finding an apartment was a challenge. They ultimately decided on an older apartment which they passionately renovated.

New floor plan as a basis

The next step was to set priorities: "We were both born in Japan. I also lived in Mexico for 24 years. Hospitality and socialising are very important to us," says Yoshi. "So the heart of our house has to be functional, open and inviting," says the 39 year old marketing professional. The couple put a lot of time into the planning and by combining two living areas they created one large space, allowing the kitchen to become the focal point of their new home.

From old... new

Clever planning is half the battle

"To cook a great dish, lots of small details have to be right and together they create a harmonious whole. When designing the kitchen, we wanted to follow the same approach," says Riko. "Every centimetre had to be used but we had to make sure that, given the limited space, functionality and design work in perfect harmony. It was clear to us then that we needed the help of professionals," adds Yoshi. "Zami and Milan from DT Design explained to us the importance of fittings in planning and design. They helped us make the kitchen functional and ergonomic for years to come," says Riko, summarising the conversation with their interior designers. Shortly afterwards, they came to the decision that they were going to use intelligent cabinet solutions from Blum.

Professional assistance provided them with key inputs, as Riko and Yoshi received support from DT Design when planning their dream apartment.

To make the plan a reality, an obstructing wall first had to be removed: Yoshi picked up the sledgehammer and did some DIY.

Riko and Yoshi changed the layout of the apartment and redesigned the separate kitchen into a large open-plan kitchen/living space.

Functional solutions from Blum

"We wanted a modern, handle-less design combined with as much storage space as possible in our small apartment," Yoshi explains. The kitchen island with the adjacent table is the centre of the home and there is plenty of storage space thanks to the L-shaped kitchen units. The interior designers reduced the number of drawers required by using extra-wide and also maximised space. By integrating as the interior organisation system, everything is constantly at the user's fingertips and the inner dividing system also organises the available storage space and gives an elegant touch thanks to its exquisite appearance.

The handle-less, modern fronts conceal a whole load of storage space in the LEGRABOX drawers.

Do away with annoying searching – the AMBIA-LINE inner dividing system gives you an immediate overview of the contents of the drawer.

The LEGRABOX from Blum is characterised by an elegant design and high quality. Riko and Yoshi can easily store even large and heavy pots in the spacious drawers and the drawer also glides open and shut with a feather-light motion.

Storage miracle in the wall cabinet

The wide wall cabinets with make reaching items easier in day-to-day life and are a true storage miracle. Thanks to the use of the , the entire kitchen is handle-less, the smooth opening movement increases convenience – both for drawers and wall cabinet fronts – and it is child-friendly.

"I would never have thought that such small changes would have such a big impact and I wouldn't want any of these features to be missing from our new kitchen," explains the passionate karaoke singer Riko about her practical AVENTOS stay lifts with motion support system excitedly.

Well equipped for the future

All these small details allowed the couple to make space for another bedroom for future additions to the family. "I especially like the fact that the kitchen is so practical, and we can cook our favourite dishes together, such as pastel from Brazil, curry bread from Japan, tacos de suadero from Mexico, or classic Neapolitan pizza from Italy, without getting in each other's way," Yoshi concludes. "We brought all of these recipes back from our travels," Riko adds with a grin. "Maybe we'll have to learn a new recipe before a baby is on the way." After 6 months of renovation, the two of them absolutely deserve it.

Riko and Yoshi are looking forward to their future in their renovated apartment.

Apartment renovation in Vancouver at a glance

  • Renovating an older apartment can often be a good and cheaper option than purchasing a new home, but

  • converting an existing apartment requires more flexibility during the planning process.

  • When it came to adapting their apartment to their needs, Riko and Yoshi are sociable and therefore opted for a large kitchen/living space.

  • The number of cabinets required can be reduced thanks to wide cabinets with drawers.

  • Inner dividing systems ensure that everything is constantly at your fingertips and

  • electrical motion support systems such as SERVO-DRIVE boost convenience.

Got a question or ideas you want to share?

We'd love to hear from you!