Vancouver: a new home in a renovated apartment

8 minutes

Vancouver, Canada

Traditionally, Vancouver is one of the world's top ten cities to live in. The city in British Columbia offers everything that makes Canada special: mountains, sea, fjords and friendly people. However, it is also the second most expensive city in the second largest country on earth. Young people like Riko and Yoshi have to be creative in order to fulfil their dream of owning a property and make the best use of the available space.

Something old mixed with fresh ideas and modern design

Riko and Yoshi have been together for 4 years and got married in 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 this 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, the enthusiastic stand-up paddle boarders 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."

riko yoshi paddle board

Riko and Yoshi live in Vancouver and have transformed their new apartment into their personal haven of comfort and well-being.

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. "What is typically Canadian about us is that we like to be outside, we apologise too often and our English isn't perfect," says the 28 year old, winking. 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. But before that, an obstructing wall had to be removed: Yoshi picked up the sledgehammer and did some DIY.

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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 the marketing employee.

Professional help provided invaluable advice

"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," Riko summarises the conversation with their interior designers. Shortly afterwards, they decided they were going to use intelligent Blum cabinet solutions.


The advice of the interior designers means Riko became aware of the importance of the function of the kitchen and therefore of the fittings required.

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 LEGRABOX free drawers, simultaneously creating space. The integration of AMBIA-​LINE as interior organisation means that everything is always easy to find. This also structures the storage space and gives an elegant touch.


The wide wall cabinets with AVENTOS HF lift systems allow easy access and are a real storage miracle. The use of the SERVO-​DRIVE electrical motion support system makes the entire kitchen handle-less, the smooth opening movement increases convenience – both for drawers and wall cabinets – and makes it 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.


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

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