July 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

Homes For The Holidays: Designers decorate Cecil Green Park House

6 min read

Five interior design teams will come together to decorate different rooms in UBC’s Cecil Green Park House

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Homes For The Holidays is a fun, annual event that provides holiday decor inspiration as showgoers wander through spaces decorated by leading interior designers who have teamed up with local florists and retailers. This year’s event takes place on Nov. 18 and 19 and is in support of the Take a Hike Foundation, which aims to empower vulnerable youth.

In the past, this tour has included multiple private residences, but this year, they’ve chosen to centralize it at one grand space — the iconic Cecil Green Park House at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Five interior design teams will come together to decorate different rooms in the stately mansion.

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Postmedia sat down with two of these design teams, Phyllis Lui of Kalu Interiors and Megan Baker of Megan Baker Interiors, to get a glimpse of what they’re planning for this event.

A secret garden

Phyllis Lui and Aleem Kassam of Kalu Interiors, who are taking part in this year's Homes For The Holidays event.
Phyllis Lui and Aleem Kassam of Kalu Interiors will be transforming the Conservatory into a ‘secret garden’. Photo by Jenny Liu Photography

The team at Kalu Interiors is decorating the Conservatory in the Cecil Green mansion, which is something of an “indoor secret garden” that feels unexpected and hidden away, says Lui.

They decided to turn it into a music room where people can sit and enjoy music while immersed in a beautiful winter wonderland. They’re opting for mostly white and neutral furnishings, with warm lights in the trees and decorations. It’ll be cosy inside while cold outside.

Kalu has partnered with Granville Island Florist to cover a good portion of the ceiling in green foliage, making it a focal point. The space will feature a white baby grand piano from Showcase Pianos and a flocked grand noble fir Christmas tree from Hunters Garden Centre, says Lui.

They’ve also partnered with GardenWorks for their Christmas decorations and CF Interiors for their furniture and decor.

Lui says along with the generous donations from these retailers; she might rifle through her own personal stash of ornaments and decorations accumulated over the years.

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She always feels “more is more” at Christmas time and is totally okay with things not matching.

Many people have decorations that their kids made in kindergarten or treasures handed down and hold sentimental value. The memories these decorations evoke are priceless, says Lui.

“I feel that instead of hiding these items, they deserve to be celebrated and included. I also especially love that the collection grows with each year, bringing with it new memories and sentiments.”

Tackling hard conversations head-on

Life is hard for young people today, says Lui. Mental health and emotional well-being have never been such an important topic, and it’s a conversation that should be met head-on, not avoided. Supporting the Take a Hike Foundation seems like a great thing to do, says Lui. “We are happy to be contributing to this conversation and to help the children of tomorrow.”

A sparkling citrus soirée

Megan Baker, of Megan Baker Interiors, who is taking part in this year's Homes For The Holidays event.
Megan Baker of Megan Baker Interiors will be decorating the Langara Room in a ‘citrus soiree’ theme. Photo by Megan Baker Interiors

Megan Baker and her team chose to decorate the Langara Room in the Cecil Green mansion for this event, which is the foyer and space that connects the upstairs mezzanine, two adjacent rooms and the outdoor terrace. A sparkling citrus soirée will inspire the theme.

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The building’s caramel wood flooring and coffee-coloured wall panelling inspired a cosy, classic feeling, says Baker. And her mom, who is the “queen” of a beautifully decorated home for the holidays, has been talking about a “citrus decor theme” for years.

“I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. A citrus colour palette has a really fresh, fun, uplifting quality that is exactly the contrast I was looking for to the cosy, moody architecture of the room.”

Baker says she always considers scent when designing and decorating a space.

“It’s an underestimated element of design that can add a magical layer to any space. Crisp, bright citrus is a very happy scent and will set the tone for our soirée.”

Baker always prefers seasonal rather than event-specific decor, like decorating for fall instead of Halloween or the holiday season rather than just for Christmas.

“Our sparkling citrus soirée will be a perfect example of unique Christmas decor that can last you through the whole holiday season. From a cocktail party with colleagues to a holiday girls’ night and from Christmas dinner to New Year’s Eve,” she says.

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To pull off this vision, Megan Baker Interiors has partnered with The Cross Decor & Design for furniture and decor, Lock & Mortice for a beautifully crafted table, and flowers by Bloomier.

The power of finding your people

Baker says they’re happy to support the Take a Hike Foundation because it provides a different approach to learning, allowing teens to find the right support systems.

“I certainly know that when you find your people and your passion, amazing things start happening, and that’s a feeling I think everybody deserves a chance to experience.”

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