My Digs: Sholto Scruton

Ever wonder what the home of a creative dream team looks like? This month’s My Digs checks in with furniture designer, Sholto Scruton and his graphic designer wife, as we tour their Strathcona heritage house and on-site workshop. An eclectic family home filled with a mix of sought after design treasures and the artists own pieces, this space exemplifies what a thoughtful restoration can offer.

What is it:
A 1930 brick Four Square with four bedrooms and a separate studio in back with a rich history of colourful characters including bootleggers, entrepreneurs and artists.

Furniture designer and maker Sholto Scruton of Sholto Design Studio, his wife, graphic designer and writer Berit Hansen, and their son Finn.

Major selling feature:
The neighbourhood, Strathcona, is amazing. You know your neighbours and people say hi to each other on the sidewalk. And the workshop was the icing on the cake!

First thing I changed:
Within 24 hours of taking possession I ripped down a newer wall separating the living room from the dining room to create a more open space that fit our furniture. We also had the whole place painted white, creating a clean palette to imagine what our home could be.

Feature I brag about:
Its proximity to downtown and the fact that we can both walk to pretty much anywhere we need to go.

That one conversation piece:
The upstairs bathroom reno. We did our best to replicate the original but make it suitable for 21st century living: adding a bath, shower, heated floors and more storage. With help from Richard Scott at Status Ceramics in Seattle, we replicated the 1928 tiles, and we found or designed 1930s reproduction fixtures.

The décor:
The house is pretty unique with a varied history, so we didn’t want to erode the integrity of the 1930 design. On the other hand, we also appreciate a modernist style, mixing mid-century modern with contemporary design pieces. Because the house is painted white throughout , we’ve been able to introduce spots of colour and make the place more hyggelig (A Danish word that typifies good living and is missing from English.)

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles:
Most of our furniture is from Berit’s parents, like her father’s 1965 Hans Wegner Papa Chair and mother’s Peter Wessel Norwegian lounge chair from the same period. A few of the pieces, like our credenza or the coffee table, I’ve built for our place. We learned on a visit to the Louisiana museum, outside Copenhagen, that we both loved the work of Poul Kjaerholm, particularly his PK22 chairs and bought the pair soon after we met. Most everything in our home is somehow connected to people we love or admire.

Owning a house can be a lot of work. There are still a host of things we are excited to do.

Neighbourhood haunts:
Benny’s Market for their delicious sandwiches during the work week – I recommend the grilled soppressata Calabrese which I often eat in the Strathcona community garden orchard when the weather permits. Oyster Express for amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, Harvest for their hazelnut noodle soup, Matchstick Café for coffee and an almond croissant on the weekend and Mamie Taylor’s for their namesake cocktail and fried chicken (I have a high metabolism). Oh, I almost forgot Besties – mmm.

Compared to your last place:
They are very different: Our old place was a large corner apartment on the fifth floor in the West End. We both loved it and the apartment was easy to take care of with a city view and you couldn’t have been more central. The house, on the other hand is 85 years old with lots of wrinkles and scars, as well as a ton of charm and character.

Favourite apartment/house/condo activity:
We love waking up in our home, especially when our four-year old son comes into our bed with endless questions early in the morning! It sounds lame but it’s a wonderful start to the day. Plus making waffles on Saturdays and working in my studio.

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My Digs: Alexis LaBonte


Being a designer doesn’t kill the common curiosity to see how designers really live. In fact, it might even amp up the insatiable desire to peek into the homes of other industry people and see how they are living, loving and applying all the trends and options available within décor.

This month we check in with local talent Alexis LaBonte of Design LaB. Alexis keeps things chic in her Yaletown condo, a pad she’s called home for the last eight years. The space has seen many transformations (we designers can’t help but continuously redecorate) – but I’m all over what she currently has going on.

This condo plays up West Coast warmth in a minimalistic setting, but has been styled with details to fashion a glamourous overall appeal. Clean lines in a monochromatic warm grey palette mixed with a strong art collection establish a creative yet polished space; Alexis has adorned her walls with her own art (both paintings and photography), pieces that her (artist) mother created and an eclectic mix of Etsy prints. My favourite part of this pad? The dining chairs – a Craigslist find that found new glory with a soft emerald velvet reupholstery facelift. *swoon*

What is it:
A one-bed-plus-den Yaletown condo.


Alexis LaBonte, I am the owner of DesignLaB Interiors; design geek; lover of photography, tennis and a good glass of chardonnay.

Major selling feature:
After hunting through every one-bedroom in Vancouver at the time, I walked into perfection. Office space with large windows, a west facing balcony that you could put a barbecue and two chairs on, floor plan that has entertainment on one side, privacy for bed/bath on the other, they do exist! Being steps from the seawall and a couple blocks from Yaletown’s core is very convenient.

First thing I changed:
I attacked the “builder’s beige” with more accent walls and added new lighting. The colours have changed a few times since I moved in, wallpapers gone up, come down…you get where I’m going.  I love a good house project.

Feature I brag about:
My view and balcony are worthy of bragging rights. I can see the trusses under the Granville Bridge, False Creek and the sunset. Get your camera ready.

That one conversation piece:
My dining room chairs, my best craigslist find to date. They were Canadian-made, likely from the ’40s/’50s, which I re-upholstered. They ended up being a bit of a splurge, but I love them. They are the punch of colour in the space.

The décor:
The revolving door that is an interior designer’s décor, of course! I have pretty contemporary neutral pieces that create a fresh yet comfortable vibe. I love a soft palette with accessory pieces that give it a bit of personality.

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles:
I have surrounded myself with accessories pieces from my grandparents and artwork from my Mom, most things I have come with a story. Other art pieces I’ve painted myself as well as photographs I’ve taken in my travels. I’m constantly moving, adding and subtracting things; it’s become sort of a joke amongst my friends.

It’s rare to find a Car2Go in my area, otherwise I really have no complaints!

Neighbourhood haunts:
Tartine Bread & Pies is a neighborhood favorite, I go home just to get lunch there. I’m really looking forward to the Vancouver House development to bring in more food and beverage options. It’s still the quiet end of False Creek where I am.

Compared to your last place:
I was living in a rental building in Toronto… I’ll leave it at that.

Favourite apartment/house/condo activity:

Hanging out having a glass of wine or cooking/baking, but doing both is preferred.

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My Digs: Christina Richards

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I love when I walk into someone’s home and it is an immediate reflection of their personality.

Quite honestly, that’s how design should always be, but more often than not it doesn’t turn out that way. I was super impressed when I entered the home of Christina Richards, who had worked with a close friend of mine – Rachel Harrison (a designer as well) – to style the space when she and her family moved in.

Perfectly suited to the individuals within the home, the design exudes classic elegance, feminine overtones and a formal eclecticism. With thoughtful design decisions, Christina and Rachel created an ultimately chic and reflective space for the Richards to call home.

What is it:

A three bedroom corner townhouse at The Brownstone in Fairview.


I work in promotions and marketing management for one of the world’s leading travel companies. I’m also the mother of two amazing children that bring me so much joy.

Major selling feature:

Location! We’re walking distance to Cambie Village, Main Street, South Granville, and Granville Island. The area is also a wonderful family oriented community with several parks and community centres nearby. Another selling feature is the abundance of light in this home. For a townhouse, it has a ton of windows and always feels light and open, even on gloomy and dark Vancouver days.

First thing I changed:

When we first moved in, we didn’t change much except for paint in the bedrooms. This year, we added a cozy custom bay window bench area with storage. It’s now our favourite place to snuggle with our kids and read books. We also added custom open shelves in the kitchen to house all of our antique china, glassware and shiny things.

Feature I brag about:

Our master bedroom with its massive curved windows and vaulted ceilings. It’s my favourite space in the house. My dear good friend, Rachel Harrison of RoomCraft Design + Renovations, in collaboration with Kaili Zevenbergen, designed this room a couple of years ago. It’s all white, bright, yet cozy, and feels ultra-glamourous with the large tufted linen custom headboard, crystal chandeliers, and special hand-picked antique pieces. I have a hard time getting up in the morning.

That one conversation piece:

Our Zöe Pawlak painting that hangs above our sofa. It really is the centerpiece of the home. When my husband and I first saw it, we instantly fell head over heels. I love the bright fuchsia in the painting and every time I look at it, it just makes me feel good. It’s something we will love forever.

The decor: 

Our décor is a bit of contemporary paired with some soft and traditional elegance that connects well with the classic European features of the townhouse. The colour palette is a lot of white with greys, some soft blues, and metallics, as well as touches of marble, glass, and crystal. I love all things shiny, pretty, and light.

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles:

I love our vintage Belgium bedside tables that Rachel Harrison found for us at an antique market. The tops were replaced with beautiful white marble – making it feel new and glamourous. I love collecting antique tea cups and chinaware. They are so pretty to display. I have a beautiful set passed down to me by my grandmother that I bring out when hosting special dinners. Besides our Zöe Pawlak piece, my other favourite art comes from my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. She loves art and every scribble is like a masterpiece to me.


Although we love townhouse living and enjoy the large courtyard where all of the community kids can play safety, our own backyard would be amazing.

Neighbourhood haunts:

I’m in love with The Birds Nest and Heirloom on South Granville. As a family, we really enjoy Biercraft on Cambie and Rocky Mountain Flatbread on Main. Both are great for brunch and very kid friendly. Main Street is also fantastic for little coffee nooks and shopping.

Compared to your last place:

Our previous place was a large condo in Yaletown. We were newlyweds and at the time, the space was perfect for us. It had floor to ceiling windows everywhere that let in the most beautiful light.

Favourite apartment/house/condo activity:

Just hanging out and spending time with my husband and two children.

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My Digs: Jamie Mann

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As a designer, and notably nosey chick, I love touring homes. I enjoy seeing how people live and showcase their unique interests through dwelling spaces. My Digs offers all of us a chance to do the same – glimpse the way our fellow city-goers style up their spaces – and provides a straight line of inspiration.

This week we’re checking in to the ultra chic live/ work pad of the fabulous fashion photographer, Jamie Mann.

When he’s not touring the world capturing stunning images, he spends his days in a hip loft in Railtown. I’m loving the way he’s been able to capture the tricky balance of a place to be inspired for creative projects, while also creating an inviting and polished place to call home.

First thing I changed:

The wall colors! Since my home/studio is one large rectangle, I wanted to visually break the space up with different color tones. I introduced a cyan tone for the kitchen & sitting area, white for the studio space and “Dior” grey for the gallery wall and front entrance.

Feature I brag about:

The rooftop. Rain or shine, it is the one place I can always get away to.

That one conversation piece:

The fact that I sleep in the closet (the walk-in closet that is). Everyone finds this quite interesting, as this is the most commonly asked question by first time visitors’. The closet features a queen bed and is extremely cozy, especially in the winter months.

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles:

The art collection that continuously rotates throughout my space has been in the works for the last couple of years. Jonah Samson, Jessica Bell, Zoe Pawlak, Jenny Shipper, The Dark, and other artists are some of my favorite pieces – so far.


The trains in the summer when the windows are open can be very loud at times. Some days not at all, others at 3am…however I am used to it by now. After living here for four years, I find it somewhat relaxing.

Compared to your last place:

My last place was a basic two bedroom on 49th and Victoria, while I was studying photography at Langara College. The cool factor has been most certainly amplified with this space, as well as providing an opportunity to create a professional studio.

Favorite activity at home:

Organizing the studio, clothing, and props for a shoot, while listening to some great music… as well as doing the actual photo-shoot itself. There is nothing better then working with a great team where we are all in our element creating beautiful images together. I love that my “digs” are the hub of all this.

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My Digs: Angela Robinson

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This week I took a look at the home of residential interior designer, Angela Robinson. 

Describe your home:

I live a corner unit on the main floor of a heritage apartment building in the West End of Vancouver.

Major selling feature:

The natural lighting of a corner unit was a major selling point. The refinished original hardwood and built in character of the building is what I fell in love with! Overall, the place had good energy.

First thing I changed:

I richened up the paint colours in my living room. I also painted black accents throughout to give the neutral palette more depth.

Feature I brag about:

My wooden Frigidaire ice box, the original hardwood flooring, and the beautiful hot water radiators.

That one conversation piece:

The ice box, believe it or not!

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles:

The oil painting in my bathroom is by my great-grandfather. It was brought over from Norway when my mom immigrated. The floral porcelain candle holder on displayed with my perfume bottles was a gift from my godmother for my 30th birthday. Her godmother gifted it to her on her 30th birthday.

My dad has been digging up and collecting bottles since he was five years old. He gifted all his bottles to me, as my mom wouldn’t allow him to display them in their home. Most of them are from Nanaimo. My fibreglass dining chairs were from Diefenbaker’s secret bunker on Vancouver Island. As a child, my family had the opportunity to tour the bunker and take what we wanted before it was sealed up. We took four chairs, blackboards, and a metal staircase!


Living on the ground floor in a city, noise can be an issue. I personally like the energy and sounds. I like waving and saying hello to the people walking by! The biggest downside is the smell of skunks!

Compared to your last place:

Honestly, this is the first place that’s felt like home since my childhood house. After moving around a lot, I finally gave myself permission to settle into this apartment, hang my art and invest in small home luxuries. I’m now surrounded by things that are meaningful and important to me; things that bring back memories and remind me of the people and places that I love.

Favourite activity at home:

Entertaining! I love to host my friends and family.

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My Digs: Wes Purdie

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Describe your home: A 1,200 square foot, two-bedroom Yaletown condo, with a large warm living space overlooking David Lam Park and False Creek. 

Occupant: Wes Purdie, professional working downtown, married with a new baby girl. 

Major selling feature: The view of the harbour is open and unobstructed, with lots of green space and water. The space has many large windows, which makes the view visible from almost anywhere and makes the rooms feel bigger.

First thing I changed: I had the interior carpet replaced with hard wood flooring, [always a drastic improvement] and I removed the interior solarium to gain extra floorspace.

Feature I brag about: The view! It’s pretty unbeatable for an urban setting.

That one conversation piece: The views of Mt.  Baker on a clear day, and the cool refurbished coffee table.

The décor: It is a strong mix of items I already owned from my previous home, family heirlooms and new, fun pieces chosen to suit this condo. There are a lot of vintage and found items that we brought in to create some personality and warmth. Working with a designer definitely helped pull the whole look together, but still allowed for a clean, minimalist appeal.

The story behind the art/antiques/collectibles: I had a few heirloom pieces of art and furnishings that I wanted to not only use, but highlight. The dining room showcases an antique hutch and a few art pieces, so the rest of the pieces in the room were kept fairly streamlined.

Downsides: What downsides?

Neighbourhood haunts: Sciué Italian restaurant, Provence, Rodney’s Oyster Bar, and Starbucks. 

Compared to your last place: My previous place was at the Shangri-la, where it felt much more sterile and cold. This condo allowed for some warmth and a better sense of “home” for me.

Favourite apartment/house/condo activity:  Entertaining friends!  

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My Digs: Paul Heisler


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Describe your home:
A condo in Olympic Village.

Paul Heisler, employment lawyer, outdoor enthusiast, and foodie, who came west from Montreal about a decade ago.

Major selling feature:
Definitely its location; my place is located within a few hundred feet of the seawall, a grocery store, transit, the recreation centre, the best liquor store in the city (Legacy Liquor), and several great restaurants.

First thing you changed:
I love the original layout so have not changed anything structural, but I did create a pretty distinctive feature wall with wallpaper sourced for me by Jenn Scott of A Good Chick to Know.

Feature you brag about:
The underground passageway to Urban Fare next door; it’s especially handy when it’s rainy in the winter and you want to pick up food for dinner without getting wet.

That one conversation piece:
A good friend of mine is an emerging star on the local art scene, so I commissioned a painting from him of one of my favourite spots in British Columbia: Tofino. He produced an amazing and unique piece made up of four different canvases that come together to show the Tofino that I love in four different lights. Check out his work at

The décor:
I turned to A Good Chick to Know to help me put together a décor that added some industrial and vintage elements to the contemporary design typically found in new condos in Vancouver. The result is a comfortable and modern space with a bit of the grit you might find in a New York loft.

The story behind the art:
In addition to the piece by Charlie Easton, the artwork in my place is a fairly eclectic mix of original art I’ve picked up over the years and reclaimed pieces such as light fixtures made from old brass horns in my living room.  The most meaningful antique is a large wood window pane mirror in my bedroom that used to hang on a wall in a cottage in Quebec built by my late grandparents in the 1940s. It doesn’t really fit in with anything else but it has sentimental value.

It will end one day but for now there is still an incredible amount of construction in the neighborhood with new buildings going up every year.

Neighbourhood haunts:
Tap & Barrel, Craft Beer Market, and especially Argo Café on Ontario and 2nd; it’s a hidden gem of a diner that’s easy to miss but has incredible food and real character.

Compared to your last place: 
I lived on the 29th floor of a waterfront tower in Yaletown before moving to the Olympic Village. I enjoyed that space too, but I prefer the location on this side of False Creek because of its proximity to both East Vancouver and Kitsilano.

Favourite activity:
Playing volleyball at the Creekside Recreation Centre next door; it’s only a couple of hundred feet from my front door and shares a building with a pub with the best patio in the city.

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