Condos Photo Credit: Tracey Ayton

Bright and Modern Mount Pleasant Condo

A savvy realtor created a gorgeous modern space—and then just had to live in it herself.

Homeowner Katie Burkard searched high and low for the right chandelier. “Aside from it catching on fire when it was first installed— my poor electrician!—it’s perfect.”
Homeowner Katie Burkard searched high and low for the right chandelier. “Aside from it catching on fire when it was first installed—my poor electrician!—it’s perfect.”

Speculating on Vancouver’s condo market isn’t for the uninitiated. Fortunes have been lost (Olympic Village) and found (Olympic Village), but for many it can be a practical way of getting a toehold in the city’s real estate market. For local realtor Katie Burkard, it was a little bit of both.

At just 24, Burkard beat a path to real estate success with her first condo purchase. Acquired just prior to the real estate boom, “it was nothing more than a vehicle to the next one,” she says, “but I couldn’t have timed it better.” She wedged her foot in the door with the perfect space, but didn’t sit and congratulate herself for longer than it took to sell it and set her eyes on another great buy. And then another. . . and another. Between 2005 and 2012, she bought and sold four properties within a four-block radius. But then came the fifth.

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DESIGN LESSON: Stay open-minded when you’re house hunting—your dream home may just surprise you.

At first, it wasn’t at all what Burkard had in mind. She’d been waiting for a loft, but was holding out for a two-level heritage brick space with an outdoor area: “A view is a necessity for me. It’s been said that once you’ve had one, you’ll never go back.” As soon as she saw the pre-sale blueprint for Collection 45, her best-laid plans went out the door. The boutique Mount Pleasant development at 8th and Main was completely different than anything she’d toured before: four of the units had a generous 1,350 square feet of space in each; plus, the area was transitioning rapidly. Suddenly, flipping it didn’t seem as appealing as living in it. “Everyone told me I was out of my mind because I couldn’t afford it, but I was so drawn to this gem,” she explains. “I just knew I had to buy it.”

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Rustic Restoration Hardware bar stools line a sleek white counter, creating  the perfect place  for friends to linger with a glass of wine while dinner prep  is under way.
Rustic Restoration Hardware bar stools line a sleek white counter, creating the perfect place for friends to linger with a glass of wine while dinner prep is under way.

DESIGN LESSON: Trade a big master bedroom for an oversized living space: it’s where you’ll be spending most of your time anyways.

It was a rare configuration for the Vancouver market. “There are a lot of chopped up layouts and wasted floor space out there,” Burkard says. “This one takes advantage of every inch.” With a spacious living and dining area, the trade-off was a smaller master bedroom, but that wasn’t a concern to the homeowner: “I don’t need to spend a lot of time in my room!” she laughs. The unit sits nestled in the northwest corner of the building, with wrap-around windows boasting stellar views. “From this perspective, you’re up on the hill: you can see Vancouver Island on a clear day, the ocean, the entire city, the mountains—it’s stunning by day and by night it’s even better.”

The condo is peppered with artwork by  Vancouverites, from the Amie Thomas painting in the bedroom to a gallery wall of Heather Ross paintings and Vairdy photographs.
The condo is peppered with artwork by Vancouverites, from the Amie Thomas painting in the bedroom to a gallery wall of Heather Ross paintings and Vairdy photographs.

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There’s no headboard in the master bedroom—rather, brushed oak floor planks create a unique feature wall behind a pile of cozy pillows from CB2 and West Elm.
There’s no headboard in the master bedroom—rather, brushed oak floor planks create a unique feature wall behind a pile of cozy pillows from CB2 and West Elm.

DESIGN LESSON: Fur pillows, tribal patterns and pretty flowers can all work together.

Burkard sought the input of designer friend Amie Thomas, of Moss and Oak Interiors, to help lay the groundwork for a casually modern yet warm interior. “I’m not looking for a super neutral look that’s sellable; I like to be bold,” she says. “I definitely don’t like everything to match.” The base white-on-white palette offered Burkard the perfect backdrop from which to achieve her design aesthetic. White walls, high-gloss white lacquer kitchen cabinets and matching Caesarstone counters look crisp and clean against eclectic elements like mismatched dining chairs, varied patterns and textures, and rustic materials. Burkard’s inherent tomboy nature woven with delicate feminine touches makes for an elegant decor mash-up of fur pillows, tribal patterns, pretty flowers and one giant focal-point cactus.

Wood elements are strategically woven throughout the space to add warmth and mood. The flooring, a wide-plank white oak, was an upgrade Burkard chose to splurge on, while the kitchen table was a gift from designer Christian Woo. In storage since her third condo (it wouldn’t fit in her previous two spaces), the table now takes centre stage in the great room with a mix of seating, including red polycarbonate chairs that pop.

While Burkard won’t deny she’s always up for a real estate adventure, this one has just begun. But is this the one? “I’m impulsive and spontaneous,” she laughs, “but, yeah, this is the one. . . for now.”

The patio features a stunning aerial view of bustling Mount Pleasant, and a mix of high and low pieces: a wicker sofa from Canadian Tire is elevated by graphic throw cushions from Livingspace.
The patio features a stunning aerial view of bustling Mount Pleasant, and a mix of high and low pieces: a wicker sofa from Canadian Tire is elevated by graphic throw cushions from Livingspace.

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