Featured in VITA Magazine

What does it take to design the interior of a luxe residential development? We chatted with interior designer Scott Trepp, whose work on Qualex-Landmark’s five-storey Legacy—a beautiful collection of 48 homes in the classic westside neighbourhood of Dunbar—about how he achieved a timeless appeal in these gorgeous new two- and three-bedroom homes. —Vita Daily

Hi Scott! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.

Hi! Trepp Design Inc. is a boutique interior design firm based in Vancouver. Our work focuses on relationships with the developer community and is primarily rooted as specialists in Interior Design for multi-family planning. We’ve been building these relationships and expanding our practice for 15 years and we are excited by all things design. Personally I’ve been active in the Vancouver design community for over 20 years and consider my aesthetic preferences as “modernist” but I do appreciate all realms and styles of creative thinking related to art and the built environment … if those end up being Dutch in origin, I’m even more sold.

Your latest project, Legacy on Dunbar by Qualex-Landmark, is a gem! How did you become aligned/involved with this stunning new Vancouver development?

Legacy on Dunbar is the latest in a long and successful history of collaboration with Qualex-Landmark. Over the last decade we have been fortunate to work closely with their team in creating a series of exciting and successful interiors in both Vancouver and Calgary. Mohammed Esfahani and Roger Navabi reached out to us back in 2010 and we’ve been in collaboration ever since.

On your end, what went into the interior design for this project? What was your inspiration, your vision, and how did you execute?

Our early conceptual work on Legacy on Dunbar began with the neighbourhood and the Architect’s vision for the building. In our process it was imperative to consider the history and evolution of the Dunbar community while also responding to Legacy’s architectural expression. The result of that initial thinking was a desire to provide a level of detail and quality typically reserved for single-family homes typical of the area in combination with design that is clean-lined and classically modern.  

Getting into the details, tell us about some of the unique finishes, millwork, lighting, etc., incorporated into these elegant homes.

The interiors at Legacy on Dunbar combine luxurious materials with detailed execution and strategic lighting to create an impression that we hope homeowners find both sumptuous and suited to their specific lifestyle. As an example, the kitchen islands in the homes feature dramatic and expansive marble slab countertops with a waterfall edge on one end and an open wood feature shelving area on the other. The unique movement and figure of each individual stone slab gives a singular fingerprint to each of the homes and this uniqueness will be further defined by how individual residents choose to dress the open shelving elements. Each of these aspects of the design is also highlighted with a specific and strategic lighting approach – kitchen islands are illuminated with direct and punchy spotlighting and the open shelving fitted with continuous linear lights that provide a soft glow and amplify the warmth of the natural wood. Master Ensuites similarly feature stone slab but in this case as a backdrop for a freestanding and sculptural bathtub. Again the natural stone feature here (in most layouts a central element that deliberately conceals the spacious walk-in shower and separate toilet enclosure) is played up with direct lighting. The surrounding vanity and shower elements are, in contrast, lit with an atmospheric glow. Homeowners will have the option to personalize the ensuite with their own feature light pendant that is as individual as the stone slabs beyond. The ultimate goal for us here at Trepp Design Inc. was to create interiors with a specific and sophisticated identity but flexible enough to suit the unique needs and tastes of a variety of homeowners. 

Besides being beautiful, we love how modern these homes are. Can you tell us more about the technology incorporated into each unit?

We believe each home should serve the families and individuals that live within it. Integrating tech is our attempt to offer modern conveniences that elevates the in-home living experience for each homeowner. Legacy homes are equipped with many progressive technological details such as SmartThermostat controls, motorized blinds, in-floor heating and lighting control. The kitchens feature motorized upper cabinetry doors, motion-sensor activated in-drawer lighting and top of the line performance appliances. Ensuites are fitted with elegant tapware from Dornbracht, global experts in fixture design, performance and sophistication.

How about some of the incredible features, for example, balcony fireplaces?!

The inclusion of outdoor fireplaces in most homes was an early-established element from Qualex-Landmark and the architect. Including these creates not only a more atmospheric patio but also allows these spaces to be extensions of the interior living space. In climates like ours in Vancouver, these spaces will be highly used for the bulk of the year. The fireplaces themselves also extend the interior theme of luxurious materials while providing privacy from a neighbouring balcony. 

Will buyers have any choices when it comes to the interior design of their unit?

Homeowners at Legacy on Dunbar will have a choice between two carefully-curated color palettes: Collingwood & Highbury. Each combines singular stone and tailored wood with more understated solid-color lacquers and quartz. The best assortment of choice for those looking to live at Legacy, however, is the wide array of different suite layouts. Homeowners will have 25-plus different configurations to consider. Each of these plans has its own character and strengths, whether those be the view offered, the exposure to natural light, or the specific suite configuration itself.

The rooftop lounge and public plaza sound like two really unique features of this building; can you tell us about the design of these spaces?

The real amenity for Legacy isn’t an interior space. Although there are considered provisions such fitness, infra-red sauna and indoor lounge amenities within the building, the highlight, in our opinion, is the rooftop garden & lounge. Augmented by a chic and understated interior space the focus here is on enjoying the views, landscaping and thoughtfully-appointed outdoor entertainment area. The public plaza will also feature a seating sculpture by local artist Marie Khouri which will serve as a space for residents in the building and neighbourhood to connect. 

Design wise, how do you feel the Legacy on Dunbar fits into the surrounding neighbourhood?

Like most neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Dunbar is in transition – new businesses are emerging next to long-standing establishments. Still the area retains its residential quality and, to our thinking, Legacy on Dunbar is sensitively responsive. Similar to how the architectural expression of the building itself fits with the existing community, it is our goal that the interiors also be sophisticatedly understated but still have something significant to say. To us this is one of the hallmarks of the Dunbar area – refined and layered individuality.

Having presumably spent some time in the area, what are some of your favourite features of and businesses on Dunbar, that future Legacy residents can look forward to enjoying?

To me the exciting element of the Dunbar area is the combination of the longstanding establishments, the merchants and services yet to come and the fact that all of this is nestled in a community that is still strongly rooted in its residential history. Factor in proximity to one of Vancouver’s greatest natural assets, Pacific Spirit Park and the UBC Endowment Lands, and there’s not much to not like. I have an insatiable sweet tooth so Butter Bakery & Café is a solid go-to for a chocolate coconut brownie. For a savoury hit Moon Sushi does the trick.