Zientte Interiors, Vancouver

A Gastown redesign uncovers a historic building's character with an eye on the furniture store's fashion-forward shoppers.
Posted August 22, 2012

 When Mikiko Fukamachi saw the space that was to become Zientte Interiors in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, she was taken aback. Left vacant for months, the former salon’s forgotten, 19th-Century tin ceiling was peeling and rusted, and she wasn’t sure the floor could survive another sanding. Drywall covered aging brick walls.

Fukamachi, the owner and interior designer of Lime Design Studio (Vancouver, B.C.) drew from her own experience working for a general contractor to create a new vision for this high-end furniture retailer. “We had to use our imagination to see the potential of the space,” she says.

To help Zientte keep its old world flair and still attract Gastown’s fashion-forward, high-end clients, she oversaw a careful sanding of the wood floor, and had the tin ceiling painted black, wood columns exposed and brick restored.

The resulting space has a high-end feel, with exposed brick, clean walls and wood columns that create a rhythm in the long, narrow space. A neutral palette complements the store’s ever-changing product offering, while plants, colorful décor and local art add interest to the space.

To “fuse the heritage bones of the space with Zientte’s modern furniture,” Fukamachi removed an upper mezzanine and created four ceiling drops with open centers. Suspended with cables, the units are hung as low at 8 feet at the front of the store and incrementally increase in height toward the back. “We needed to guide customers to walk to the back of the store,” Fukamachi says.

MR-16 track lights on the square drops illuminate the space, while in the front of the store, five globe lights hung at varying heights give a nod to Gastown’s well-known street lights. As a finishing touch, store owner Alejandra Moreno hung photos of the pre-renovated space in simple white frames near the entrance.

Project Source List

Retailer: Zientte Interiors, Vancouver, B.C.; Alejandra Moreno, owner
Design: Lime Design Studio Inc., Vancouver, B.C.; Mikiko Fukamachi, owner and lead interior designer; Kelly Gordon, interior designer
Ceilings: Avion Interiors, Vancouver, B.C.
Flooring: Monarch Flooring & Window Coverings, Burnaby, B.C.
Lighting: BA Robinson, JD Electrical, Vancouver, B.C.
Furniture, Signage/Graphics: Zientte, Vancouver, B.C.
Tiling: Ames Tile, Burnaby, B.C.
Millwork: Trident Millwork, Richmond, B.C.
Mechanical: Mountain View Mechanical, Coquitlam, B.C.
Plumbing Fixtures: Andrew Sheret, Vancouver, B.C.
Architect: Mark Ostry, Acton Ostry Architects Inc., Vancouver B.C.
General Contractor: Klondike Contracting, Vancouver, B.C.
Photography: Ema Peter Photography, Vancouver, B.C.