Vancouver Sun

This is Pacific Northwest Style

The Vancouver Sun

October, 2003

“We’re more outdoorsy, less fussy than Easterners and it shows in our choice of interior decor”
Most people can easily identify French country, traditional British, Santa Fe and Scandinavian design. But did you know the Pacific Northwest also has its own distinctive style? It started with a preference for wood, huge stone fireplaces and entire walls of windows. Today, home could just as well be a chic downtown condominium as a house nestled in the mountains. Yet, the environment continues to direct and define us. Perhaps more than anymore people who live in B.C., Washington and Oregon love the outdoors. Our cities are younger than in Eastern Canada and the U.S. And we, as a result, are less traditional. “We definitely are different,” says Garret Cord Werner who two years ago opened a satellite office in Seattle for Ledingham Design Inc. of Vancouver. “We’re a little more casual and our colors are definitely not as bright. There are more earth tones.” Pacific Northwest style also has a hint of Asian influence and a strong native Indian flavor. Overall, there’s a level of sophistication that comes from using a quieter palette and less fussy decorating. “Our designs are fairly clean lined and refined,” says Werner who decorated a dining room in Pacific North-west style for a design show last fall.
The room featured a floor made from honed black slate, an area carpet with a bird and leaf motif in natural shades of red, green and soft yellows, and Asian-inspired mahogany furniture with an ebony finish. Instead of being one solid surface of wood, the dining table was planked, to give the piece some “raw character”- something people seem to need, Werner says, in the wake of the September 11th terrorist’s attacks in the U.S. “People are wanting to be closer to home and they are choosing materials that are closer to home as well.” Northwest woods such as birch and cedar are in favor. And natural stone is being used on floors, only with a matte finish rather than a shiny polished look. In fabrics, the Pacific Northwest style leans to softer colors and less dramatic textures. “If we do patterns, they are more muted. The textiles would be a lot quieter:” Werner says. The plush feel of chenille seems too fussy for most people now, he adds. We want to be sophisticated, but not pretentious By Susan Balcom