Design

The Designer Nursery

Welcoming a tiny human to the world is quite exciting, but designing a room for your first child can be a daunting task. Amongst all the other things you are preparing for, creating a room for them should not be the most stressful. Before you invest a lot of money into this new room, take a couple minutes to arm yourself with these helpful tips. We hope that this will help you design a room that grows with your baby – saving you time and money in the long run!

Choose a Style, not a Theme

Although it seems like a lot of fun, going to the Disney store and picking up every possible Princess item is probably not the best idea. Yes, a themed room can be a lot of fun, but will it grow well with your child? Probably not, especially if you have a second one. We suggest choosing a style and not a theme. A good place to start is to decide on furniture finishes. Whether you go all white or a wood tone, keep it consistent. Also, try and stick to one feature color – a gender-neutral one is always a good choice. You can use this color on one wall as a focal point or have it in the textiles you choose. When choosing an interior paint, make sure to look for one with low or no VOCs such as the Natura paint from Benjamin Moore to ensure that your newborn isn’t breathing in any harsh chemicals. To add a bit of whimsy and fun to the space, choose a geometric pattern! Simple patterns such as stripes or dots and many other Scandinavian inspired prints are a good way to go. One of our favorite neutral lines is Ollie + Lime available at Westcoast Kids. At our recent project Berkley Village we used this black and white bedding line along with a grid wallpaper from Ferm Living and Ikea furniture for a modern gender neutral nursery. Other fun ideas include an alphabet, animal, transit or nature concept. If you keep it simple with a decorative wall lamp, framed posters, or toss cushion it will be easy to change as your child grows.

Be Creative with Storage

Have you ever noticed that the tiniest people need the most stuff? From toys to diapers, clothes to other gear, the stuff babies need is endless. The challenge is to find ways to store it because chances are, you don’t have a lot of extra room to spare. Getting creative may be the way to go! Wall shelves can be a great solution as they are out of the reach of children, but are accessible to you. Install them near your changing station and add some bins and baskets for convenient storage of changing essentials. Hangers in a closet probably isn’t useful at this time, so add some hanging closet storage instead that make storing tiny clothes much easier. These SKUBB organizers or TROFAST line from IKEA are very inexpensive options. If you have the room, consider finding a chest or shelving unit that you can add a cushion top too. Not only is this good storage for toys, but also doubles as a seat.  Ouef is a modern eco-friendly children’s furniture line. We think their XL station is a clever multi-purpose solution. It can be secured to their Merlin 6-drawer dresser and doubles as a shelving unit, once the diaper years are done. Hang on the wall as a shelf or use as a large tray for storing baby toiletries. The mini library shelving unit can be configured and used to whatever child or baby needs (this could also look great in a family room). How about a pegboard for the nursery to hang or bin all those small items? We like the Cambria – Peg Board by Gautier Studio.

Leave Room to Grow

Before you go out and stuff the room full of furniture, think about what you will need long-term. While the room is a nursery you will need a crib, a nursery chair and a place to change diapers, but these pieces will not permanently reside in the room once your child grows up. Think about the space that you have. By putting in a changing table, will you have space for a toddler bed in a few years? Why not consider a change table that doubles as a dresser with a removable top? When buying a crib you might want to consider one that converts into a toddler bed. A few worth looking at is the Babyletto Hudson 3- in-1-crib,  Ikea’s SUNDVIK, GULLIVER or lastly the Ouef Perch toddler bed can become a bunk bed as your child grows and wants a new adventure and sleepovers?

How will you create a room that grows with your baby? Let us know with the hashtag #area3babyroom

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12 Best Websites for Design Inspiration

As designers, we are always keeping our eye out for inspiration. Some days we get a great idea on a walk, sketching or simply making coffee. Other days we may get designer’s block (similar to writer’s block) and need something to help prompt some ideas. Images are great for that! There are so many great websites out there that provide us with inspiration. Many beyond Pinterest, but where should you look? Here are 12 of our favorite websites for design inspiration that will leave you scrolling, clicking and very inspired for hours.

  1. Designspiration 

If you have never used Designspiration before, you are missing out! It is similar to Pinterest but is focused only on design. It’s perfect for some interior design, graphic design, typography and architecture inspiration. Create an account and you can save them all just like Pinterest!

 

  1. Design Milk 

Design Milk is a fun site for all kinds of design related inspiration. From architecture and interiors to style, tech and travel, you will come across quite a variety of interesting images and articles. Their Instagram accounts also make it very easy to follow along!

  1. Houzz 

Houzz is a great site for discovering design ideas for your home as well as a great tool to find design professionals (like us!). You can even shop for a variety of design products from their curated collection. You will find us there. We have been fortunate enough to win “Best of Houzz” for the last few years.

  1. Gray Magazine 

For those looking for some local Pacific Northwest inspiration, Gray magazine features some of the best. You’ll always find interiors, architecture, fashion, art and design that will keep you dreaming. It might also inspire your next design filled trip to Seattle or Portland!

  1. Western Living Magazine

For a little more lifestyle inspiration, Western Living is the place to look. Among the great images of homes and design is food, wine and travel. A fantastic mix we must say!

  1. Interior Design Magazine 

If you want to be inspired by some of the best interiors worldwide – whether it be the home, office or hospitality – definitely start at Interior Design Magazine’s website.

  1. Azure Magazine 

Azure has some great features such as their product guide that can help you find anything from residential furniture to flooring and appliances. The Field Trip category also has some great shots of spaces around the world that you’ve never seen before!

  1. Dwell

Need some modern home inspiration for your residence? Dwell is dedicated to that and features some very unique homes that are sure to spark some ideas. With that midcentury vibe and some stunning prefab homes, this is sure to be found on many a coffee table.

  1. Dezeen 

For architecture and interior design enthusiasts in all aspects, Dezeen has a plethora of posts that you will delve into. From forward-thinking buildings to sculptural cakes [https://www.dezeen.com/2017/09/07/dinara-kasko-sculptural-cakes-carved-from-sheets-chocolate-food-design/?li_source=LI&li_medium=recommended_movies_block], you are sure to stumble upon something drool worthy.

  1. ArchDaily 

As the name suggests, Arch Daily is your go-to site for architecture. Explore buildings from around the world – small and large! Each project has its own page along with some great images, drawings, and details.

  1. Yellowtrace

Design inspiration and resources for creative and curious minds is the tagline here, and they do not disappoint. Started in 2010 by an Interior Designer they have become an influential and award-winning online design publication (one of my favorites).

  1. Behance

Whether it is architecture, interior design, graphics, photography or renderings be prepared to lose a few hours. Launched in 2005 Behance has become the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work. The creative world updates their work in one place to broadcast it widely and efficiently. Some amazing talent in the world. A great source of inspiration.

What are your favorite websites for design inspiration? Let us know with the hashtag #area3designinspiration

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Four years and counting…….

Today marks the 4th anniversary of Area3 and we are going to have a celebration! Every year we say to each other if you could go back in time and do it all over, would you? Without hesitation, we all say a resounding yes! We must be nuts….. Funny thing about this crazy club (being an entrepreneur) is it is like no other challenge. Before you take the plunge you think how many years will it take you to figure it all out? One? Two? Three? Hmmm, Five years seems to be a milestone. I think we have realized we will never have it all figured out and that’s ok. That is part of the drive and the challenge. When you pour your heart, sweat, and tears into something you so passionately love the rewards are like no other. I often tell friends that owning your own business is like a crazy roller coaster ride. The highs are intoxicating, exhilarating and the lows, well they can leave a pit in your stomach. But, how do you appreciate hot, if you have never experienced cold? The thing about challenges and failures is that they are all just opportunities to learn and grow. It means we are not stagnant. Now that Area3 has learned to walk, maybe we will try jogging into our fifth year. We are very appreciative of all the support we have received from our friends, family, suppliers and especially clients. We are excited about all the great opportunities that are around the corner. But today is about making a toast and acknowledging our achievements to date and of course enjoying that big fat slice of cake (Kulpreet you better save a piece for me). Lisa, Brenda, Kulpreet, and Marion.

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Why Interior Design is Sexy

Interior Design is sexy – I’m sure that’s a phrase you don’t hear every day. Before we dive into why we think so, let’s preface this with an experience that we’ve all likely had. You’re sitting in a restaurant and trying to have a nice dinner. The food is great, but the ambiance is a little off and just enough for you to notice. Perhaps you and your dinner companion are having a conversation, almost to no avail as you are trying to shout over the reverberating voices of other dining guests and the music. The room is dark, but the light above your table is bright and casts a ghastly shadow on your companion’s face, and yours as well – which doesn’t sound very sexy at all. What makes Interior Design sexy then? Usually when you don’t notice it at all. It is the experiences you have inbuilt spaces that don’t make you wonder why something was done a certain way. When the invisible things such as acoustics, thermal comfort, and lighting work so well that you don’t even notice, allowing you to really notice the experience the designer was trying to create.

Sexy interior design is functional and fabulous – it works the way it was intended to and enhances the user’s everyday life. For example your kitchen! You spend hours in this space every day preparing your meals and spending time with your family. If it is planned well, using it would be a breeze! Your appliances are easily accessible and everything you need is at your fingertips. No need to crawl or climb to try and fetch items that are out of reach. In kitchen design, we use a formula called the working triangle to ensure that your stove, sink and fridge create a triangle with distances that make using your kitchen simple and easy. You don’t see this detail, but you definitely notice it when it’s not applied. For examples of the work triangle be sure to check out a few of our recent projects like Contessa or Park Station. For all those dreamers out there be sure to wander through Schiffini and Bulthaup for inspiration. Don’t blame us if you fall in love.

Like a perfect outfit, sexy interior design is all about the details. Or in this case the minimalist aesthetic. Sexy is uncluttered. Simple, streamlined, clean and serene.  Start with the basic components and layer on the right textures and finishes to create that sleek space. We believe a sexy space is an emotional response you have within a space. One that you don’t want to leave. Whether it’s a luxury spa, hotel lounge, dramatic restaurant or your own slice of heaven at home. Creating that perfect ensuite where you can escape. Bedrooms that dreams are made off or kitchen to create a masterpiece in. Strima General Contractors work on many upscale projects that echo this sentiment. Design is truly sexy for us. We enjoy knowing that we can create spaces that clients and users will enjoy now and for years to come.

Why do you think Interior Design is sexy? Let us know with the hashtag #area3designsexyinteriors

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2018 Design Forecast

There’s nothing more fun than forecasting for the year ahead. Like the weather, things are always changing with new trends and new products on the horizon that push innovation. In design, there are a few things we can always count on – one of them being Pantone’s Color of the Year, which is Ultra Violet for 2018 – and IKEA (we are only half joking). IKEA did in fact debut the new YPPERLIG collection designed with Danish design company HAY in the Fall, which we are more than over the moon about, but that is old news. We’ve looked into the crystal ball and rounded up a few new and noteworthy products to keep your eyes peeled for and lust after this year. Keep reading to find out

Modular Seating

The way we live and work has dramatically changed in the last few years. No longer are we confined to stationary screens and computers to do our work or enjoy entertainment. We almost demand flexibility and adaptability with our smartphones, tablets, and laptops – shouldn’t our furniture also change with us? With our ever-changing needs, modular furniture appears to be our best solution and it doesn’t have to be boxy and uncomfortable. Francesco Rota designed the PLUS system for Lapalma which is a collection of curvy, soft components, including rectangular, square and round-ended seat shapes, two sizes of backrests, an armrest and a table. Minimalist and quite fun, these pieces can be rearranged to your preference whether that be a classic sofa or floating seats in a large living room. You can even have the side tables outfitted with a power supply so your gadgets are never out of juice.

Surface Charging

Speaking of the power supply, have you noticed that power outlets are in hot demand? They are hotspots when you go to the airport or the mall – we constantly need to recharge our smartphones. The day when you can wirelessly charge your phone from almost any surface is not too distant. The Blend Into Space everyday objects by design studio PESI is sure to be on your radar for 2018. It is a conceptual collection of furnishings and homewares with wireless-charging technology integrated below every surface designed as a part of Samsung’s startup incubation program, Creative Square. There is no doubt that these products will fly off the shelves.

Smart and Wearables

While we are still on the topic of smart technology, we cannot forget about the smartwatch. Although it has not been adopted into our everyday lives as readily as our smartphones, they are still evolving to meet our needs – and more importantly our design tastes. Skagen Denmark just released their new Falster Smartwatch and it is the perfect cross between your classic watch with the technology of a smartwatch. It looks classy with a minimalist LCD touchscreen face and runs Android Wear so you can tap and swipe your way through messages, music, and activity tracking data. Watch out Apple!

Minimalist Gadgets

For something a little more low-tech and practical, we have this beautifully designed PlusMinus [http://selek.design/11-plusminus.html] minimalist screwdriver from  Selek Design. Can we take a moment to admire how sleek it is? We would probably try to find reasons to take it out for a spin as often as possible. It is also so compact that you can do without the bulky toolbox and just stash it in a drawer. Now if only there was tape measure on the market that is just as gorgeous to match!

Grids

A trend we’ve been starting to see is the use of grids – simple lines intersecting and joined together. It’s a great pattern and is fairly timeless in our opinion. Kallista has taken this idea even further by creating their new faucet named Grid. Using cutting-edge technology, innovation, and design, the faucet is 3D printed. The faucet celebrates the beauty of geometrical minimalism and coupled with a matte black finish, it is simply stunning. We are amazed by its outline form which hides discrete interior waterways. It is sure to be a show stopper once installed in a bathroom!

What are you forecasting for design in 2018? Let us know with the hashtag #area3forecast2018

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5 Must-Visit Vancouver Restaurants

Happy new year! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season filled with quality time with friends and family. Now that it is January and you have had your fair share of turkey, it’s time to create a new list – one filled with restaurants you must visit this year (sans turkey)! Vancouver is filled to the brim with many unique places to dine out at. No matter what your preferred cuisine is, there is something out there for you and your budget. Of course, we like to consider design alongside a fantastic food and drink menu, so we have put together a list of our top picks for you! If a scrumptious meal in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere sounds delightful, read on!

 

Hawksworth Restaurant

Hawksworth restaurant is hands-down one of the best restaurants in Vancouver and is on the top of our list for a very good reason. Situated in the historic Rosewood Hotel Georgia, it is definitely one of the higher-end restaurants in the city. The restaurant opened in 2011 and was designed by the highly acclaimed Alessandro Munge. The design is sophisticated and elegant without being over the top and is the perfect backdrop for the carefully created menu by chef David Hawksworth. If dinner at Hawksworth restaurant is out of your budget, we suggest splurging on their brunch! It is equally as delicious and the service is always top notch. We highly recommend trying the steak and eggs!

Botanist

One of the newest additions to the Vancouver food scene is the Botanist. It is tucked away on the second floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim and is a hidden gem you must discover. The restaurant is divided into different areas, each with its own cocktail menu, so if you come back more than once you will have a unique experience each time. The atmosphere is chic and inspired by the principles of botany with jewel-toned velvets on a backdrop of white and hints of wood designed by Ste Marie Design and Glasfurd & Walker. The plating of the food makes it look like a piece of art – almost to perfect to eat! The house-made fougasse bread with European whipped butter is absolutely delectable. You can also order some to take home with you!

The Victor

If you haven’t visited the new Parq, going for dinner at The Victor is your perfect excuse! This restaurant not even open a month yet – is sure to become one of the city’s favorites.  It’s hard to miss the U-shaped copper façade of this brand-new building when driving into Vancouver on the Cambie Street bridge. Go up to the 6th floor through the tranquil rooftop urban park and there you will find The Victor. Moody with a hint of eclecticism, The Victor has an upbeat vibe that hints at the beginning of an eventful night at the Parq. The restaurant is a steakhouse with an offering of Japanese cuisine – we would suggest sticking with the steaks though. Choose the cut of your choice and pair it with a couple sides! We can’t wait for the nice weather, so we can enjoy a cocktail outside on the well-landscaped rooftop. Since you are already at the Parq, hop over to the D/6 Lounge afterward for a nightcap next to their steam fireplace!

Mott 32

Vancouver has no shortage of Chinese restaurants, but Mott 32 is not your typical one. Nested in the iconic Trump Tower designed by the late Arthur Erickson, Mott 32 takes Chinese food to the next level in a contemporary setting. It is a celebrates the culture and cuisine of Hong Kong with a menu of principally Cantonese dishes. You have to try their made-to-order Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumplings and Hong Kong Iced Tea! The retro-meets modern design and presentation of not only the interiors but also each dish are what makes Mott 32 truly unique. Peek into the private dining rooms to see how each one has its own character!

Minami

Minami is a Yaletown favorite and top player in Vancouver’s thriving sushi scene. The trendy restaurant is designed with a welcoming, bright and modern Japanese palette. It is the sister restaurant to Miku in Coal Harbour and also offers the flame seared Aburi style sushi. It is very easy to enjoy an entire night filled with good conversation in this lively restaurant. The cuisine is as fresh as the interiors with Ocean Wise seafood options and regional ingredients. Make sure to try the Aburi Beef Carpaccio, Salmon Oshi Sushi and Sashimi Platter with sake!

 

Which restaurant will you visit first? Let us know if the hashtag #area3restaurants

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Holiday Style

The lights are strung, mistletoe is hung and the background music consists of familar Christmas tunes. Hopefully your shopping is complete thanks to a little help from our Area3 2017 Christmas Gift Guide.  With a bit of luck all those presents are wrapped and safely under the tree! Without a doubt the season festivities have already begun! From staff Christmas parties to gatherings with family and friends, the nightly events are endless. For those of us who have completely forgotten about the amount dinners we will need to attend (and possibly host), or simply don’t want pictures wearing the same outfit twice – read on! Time to give your go-to little black dress a rest and amp up your holiday style!

If there’s one time of year where a little glitz and glam is acceptable, it is definitely the holidays. Before you go out and find a number that covers you from head to toe, remember that a little goes a long way! Some people might argue that jumpsuits are a bit too casual, but we think that they are a perfect alternative to a dress. They are so easy to wear and a favorite here. We like the simple cut and nice texture of this belted velvet jumpsuit from COS which can be dressed up or down. Dynamite also has an affordably priced belted jumpsuit in burgundy with slit sleeves that would pair nicely a statement bag. For a dress that has some shine, but isn’t glittery, this printed silk slip dress from Little Moon, available at Aritza is a great way to go. No outfit is complete without a great pair of heels! Whether you want a classic pump or something a little more daring, the options are endless. We love the simplicity and gold detail of this Acedda pump from Aldo . If you have decided to go with a simple dress or jumpsuit, turn heads with this lace-up chunky heel from RAYE . Finally, top off your outfit with a bag or clutch that holds all your evening essentials! Your phone and lipstick need to go somewhere, right? The box clutch is hot this season and a few stores like Zara and Nine West have some great options. Ever New also has a chic box clutch in a timeless black faux leather with gold hardware. Do you have many holiday parties to attend? Transform any outfit with a quick switch of footwear, jewelry and a bag. You’re good to go!

What is your holiday style? Let us know with the hashtag #Area3holidaystyle

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Area3 2017 Christmas Gift Guide

The lights are up and the halls are decked – the holiday season is upon us! With less than a month before Christmas, we are sure there are many things on your radar – including finding gifts for everyone on your list. We know that this time of year can be quite stressful, so we have compiled a gift guide that will help you spend less time scrambling through the busy shopping malls and more time doing fun festive things and spending quality time with friends and family. From the Homebody to the Outdoor Adventurer, we have covered many of the personalities that are sure to be on your list. Read on for our picks!

Food & Drink Connoisseur

We all have the one person on our list who is a complete foodie. They simply have the best taste in all things food and drink and let’s face it – are very hard to please when choosing a restaurant. If this person likes to not only eat, but also prepare meals, why not gift them a class? Ai and Om Knives’  has a sake and sushi workshop that will introduce them to Japanese cuisine and knife work – from knife selection to butchery – while getting to do tastings! A gift that is sure to keep giving. Got a coffee lover on your list too? There’s no going wrong with a Nespresso Maker. The Nespresso Pixie is the perfect size for any countertop – at home or at work! For that sweet and spicy tea lover on your list be sure to head over to Food 52 and check out their Chai Tea & Turmeric Concentrate. For a unique gift we love The Raw Spice Bar which ships you directly 6 freshly ground, seasonal spices & blends, quarterly, along with global recipe ideas for all diets. Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie, Tandori Chicken or Chikpea Veggie Burger anyone? Lastly for the baker on your list how about one of the retro and colorful Smeg Stand Mixers?

Health Guru

The health guru in your life probably totes around a bottle of water or kombucha (or both) with them every day. Kombucha can be expensive, so you can help your health guru brew their own with this Kombucha Home Brew Kit. It contains everything they will need to brew quality kombucha in their own kitchen packed with probiotics and health benefits. Why not bottle it in something beautiful as well? S’well has fun and functional bottles that will keep their essential drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. The Soma Water Filtration Pitcher is so beautiful you will have no problem consuming the recommended eight glasses a day. FastCompany called it “The world’s most beautiful water filter”. They also give back and believe clean drinking is a basic human right. Every time you make a purchase they donate to a charity which supports this belief. Limited editions offer even larger incentives. Tired of that boring old lunch bag?  How about adding a little bit of fun? Part bento box, part TV tray The Planetbox is an all in one solution to packing a healthy portion controlled meal.

The Techie

This person seems to always be on top of the latest and greatest piece of tech on the market. The Amazon Echo Spot is perfect for everyday use as it uses the widely popular Alexa platform, but also features a screen. The display transforms between a clock, news story or video calls and is sure to become a nightstand staple. Got a gamer in your life? They will love the Oculus Rift and Touch Virtual Reality System. It is the best VR headset on the market and the included hand controllers makes interacting with the virtual world feel close to real. It also includes 6 free games! For the person who just can’t put down their phone, even on a cold winter day – how about the Touch Gloves available in multiple lengths and styles.

Outdoor Adventurer

Their weekends are usually packed with hikes, camping or even some extreme sports. Help them capture those moments on mountains with the GoPro HERO5 Black . It captures 4K video and bursts of 12MP images. Not only is it sleek, compact and easy to control, but it can also go up to 33 feet underwater without a housing. Are they more of a practical person? A Swiss Army knife is always handy to have when you have an unexpected problem to solve outdoors. This Swiss Army MiniChamp Alox has 15 tools packed into its classic design inan elegant silver. They will never leave home without it! For the camper on your list we recommend the Tradional Shake and Pop Popcorn Maker. What’s better than making popcorn the old school way over a campfire?

Travel Junkie

Always on the go, the travel junkie is constantly looking for a new place to explore. Make sure they look stylish with the Away Carry-On which comes in a variety of colors. It’s hard shell is unbreakable and 4-wheel design make zipping through the airport a breeze. Our favorite feature is the built-in battery that can charge any USB device, so their phones will always have juice to check maps, emails and Airbnb! For the days the travel junkie is at home, they will enjoy documenting their last destination on this Scratch Map from Luckies.  It’s affordable and thoughtful and will keep them dreaming of their next adventure! The Ostrich Pillow Go is a MoMA exclusive .Thanks to hidden magnetic buttons and three choices of position, this travel pillow fits easily around the neck and adapts to every one’s proportions

Homebody

Home is where the heart is and the Homebody probably has that quote framed on their wall. Make sure they curl up with one of these Super Chunky Knit Blankets (available in many great neutral colors). Once under the cover and the fire is set all you need is a great book. How about Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader? It has a sharp display with adjustable lighting, lightweight body, Wi-Fi connectivity and a battery that can last for weeks on a single charge. Don’t forget your cozy wool slippers from Glerups.  To set the final touch why not add a great luxury scented candle from Jo Malone. So many amazing scents and the luxury size burns for 230 hours.

The Fashionista

Even grocery shopping girl needs to look good – right? How about The Unstructured Shopper Bag from one of our favorite stores COS! While you are there might as well pick up the Chunky Necklace too? Please be sure to ask Santa to drop both off at my house……………… Last on our gift guide this year is the Fleece Hooded Scarf by Design House Stockholm which doubles as a hat and scarf. Keeping you both warm and stylish. What did you get the people on your gift list? Let us know with the hashtag #area3giftguide

 

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Winter Staycations

We all know someone who has already started to count down the number of days until Christmas. For the rest of us, our dreams may consist of just a few relaxing vacation days without the holiday season stress. Before you deep dive into the season’s festivities, why not consider a little staycation right here in BC’s backyard? Just a weekend will do the trick and we have just the places for you! Keep reading for three winter staycations on our bucket list.

Penticton Lakeside Resort

The Okanagan is ever popular in the summer, but it is also a fantastic getaway destination in the winter! Penticton is a short four hour drive from Vancouver and is not only a beautiful getaway, but also a lot of fun! Whether you are an adventure seeker and want to try a snowshoeing adventure [http://www.hoodooadventures.ca/snowshoeing/], cross-country skiing, or prefer to do something more laid back, there’s something for everyone. The quintessential wine tasting is still an option in the winter and some fresh picks can also be found at the Penticton Winter Farmer’s Market. Make sure to stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort [https://www.pentictonlakesideresort.com/] which is situated right on the lake. Every year, the hotel gets into the holiday spirit with a fully decorated lobby and they also convert their private beach into an outdoor ice-rink! The resort is also home to Penticton’s only casino and the Hooded Marganser restaurant which has stunning lake views and delicious food.

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort

Getting up early, bundling up and hitting the slopes isn’t your winter style? If dipping your toes into warm natural mineral waters of lounging pools sounds like heaven, then Ainsworth Hot Springs [http://www.ainsworthhotsprings.com/] in BC’s Kootenay region is for you. The Ktunaxa First Nations peoples were the first to visit these soothing, warm waters for their restorative properties after a long day of hunting, gathering and fishing. You can explore the unique horseshoe-shaped hot spring cave with its stalactites and stalagmites – the hottest pool on site – soaking in the mineral waters. Once you are in need of some cooling, jump into the stream-fed cold plunge. In need of some further relaxation? Visit the Spirit Water Spa for a massage or body wrap. Later on in the day, take a serene and scenic hike through surrounding forest trails and come back to a scrumptious dinner at the Ktunaxa Grill. A perfect getaway to restore your mind, body and spirit if you ask us!

The Wickaninnish Inn

Looking for some island time? Tofino is not only fantastic for surfing in the summer, but is also great for a weekend of rest and relaxation at the Wickaninnish Inn [https://www.wickinn.com/]. Start your day here by taking in the majestic Vancouver Island coastline from your room then head over to the Rainforest Haven studio for a rejuvinating yoga class. Continue the day with some treatments and packages at the Ancient Cedars Spa and top it off with a farm-fresh meal from The Pointe Restaurant. The perk to the Wickaninnish Inn is their pet-friendly rooms and dog sitting, so your fur babies don’t need to be left at home. Children are also welcome and can be taken care of by babysitters when the time comes for your well-deserved massage and glass of wine!

Where will you go for your winter staycation? Let us know with the hashtag #area3staycation

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Around Town

It’s been awhile since we have talked about the neighborhoods in our beautiful city of Vancouver. The last one was “3 Must-see Design Districts in Vancouver.” This time, we are featuring neighborhoods around our downtown core – Railtown, Chinatown and Yaletown. They are jam packed with great finds and will leave you wanting to come back for more! As a designer we always appreciate an inspiring space whether thats a coffee shop, retail space or beautiful building! We suggest you take your time walking each street and popping into unexpected shops and cafes. Keep reading for a few our favorites!

Railtown

Chances are, you have never been to Railtown or have not even heard of it before. It is just East of the always busy and tourist filled Gastown. It is definitely a bit more quiet and industrial, but if you venture out this way, you are sure to come across some gems. Looking for a place to grab brunch this weekend? Ask for Luigi is just the place if you fancy a fresh hand-made pasta in a casual yet intimate setting. Be sure to arrive early as there are no reservations! Another good place to pop-by for a good evening is The Belgard Kitchen and Postmark Brewing. You won’t miss it when you drive by because of its enormous wood doors. Inside, you can choose to taste some of Postmark’s beer brewed on location before grabbing a seat and enjoying some modern tapas. Finally, if you’re looking for something very unique and custom for your home, you should definitely head over to Alexander Centre (611 Alexander St.). This is where you will find the showrooms of companies such as Crown Wallpaper and Fabrics, AnneStarr and Jan Kath. You have been warned, you will get lost in the land of wallpaper, fabrics and rugs! Heads up though, not all of these designer showrooms are open to the public so be sure to call first.

Chinatown

Did you know that Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in North America? No wonder it is a tourist destination! Other than the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens – which everyone should visit at least once – Chinatown is packed with many great places to shop and eat. Looking for some new cookware? Ming Wo  is filled with great finds, whether it is some new cutlery, dishware or a new kitchen gadget. For those who are into street-style fashion, be sure to wander into El Kartel. Although it may look insignificant from the street, the store is quite large on the inside and has something for both males and females. Looking for a quick snack? Pop into New Town Bakery & Restaurant  and pick up a couple of fresh Chinese buns and be sure to get a Hong-Kong style milk tea while you’re at it! Finally, if you find yourself in Chinatown on an evening, take a seat at Juniper and enjoy one of their charcuterie boards with a glass of wine. It’s a great place to catch up with a few friends!

Yaletown

Hip and always happening, Yaletown doesn’t ever seem to sleep. In the summer, the restaurant patios are always packed and there is constant buzz on Mainland and Hamilton Streets. It is very easy to do some shopping absolutely anything in this neighborhood. Start the day off with a pastry and coffee at the ever-popular Small Victory Bread & Coffee. Looking for something for your home? Be sure to check out The Cross Décor & Design. For those of you who like to spoil your furry friends, Barking Babies is the place for you! Got a sweet tooth? Karameller Candy Shop is your next stop for some irresistible Swedish candies. Of course, Yaletown has plenty of places to grab a bit to eat. The Banter Room  has an eclectic interior that’s perfect for lunch whereas a whimsical night sipping wine in the courtyard of Brix and Mortar is an absolute must.

Which neighborhood will you check out first? Let us know with the hashtag #area3aroundtown

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