With a minimal color palette and custom millwork, the home is a tranquil retreat for a busy family of four.
The entryway of this residence in Richmond, British Columbia, features a minimal white oak staircase with a seating nook beneath it. Storage under the bench fulfills the homeowners' request to minimize visual clutter.
Thirty minutes. That’s all it took for a British Columbia family of four to sign the dotted line to work with Sha Wang, principal at Space 9 Interior Design, on their new home. The husband and wife—born in Hong Kong and Macao, respectively—came to Canada in their teens and are now raising a son and daughter (and a puppy) in the culturally diverse city of Richmond. After seeing the Space 9 social media account and feeling drawn to the firm’s minimal, sophisticated aesthetic, the family reached out to Wang for a consultation. Within minutes of starting the call, the clients found themselves connecting with the designer over everything from beloved furniture styles to a shared favorite vacation spot: the Aman Tokyo hotel in Japan.
“The homeowners' lifestyle, their cherished travel destinations, and even their preferred hotels align seamlessly with my preferences,” Wang says. “It feels as if we were looking into a mirror, reflecting a remarkable harmony between us. After a brief 30-minute conversation, we swiftly proceeded to sign the design proposal, solidifying our collaboration. Life is frequently marked by serendipitous occurrences as if everything has been intricately orchestrated beforehand.”
The homeowners, who worked closely with interior designer Sha Wang of Space 9 Interior Design, requested white upholstery for much of the furniture, as seen here in the Bensen sofa and Cassina armchairs. The central travertine Epic coffee table is from Gubi.
Working in finance, the couple wanted their house to be a serene retreat they could return to at the end of the day. With a two-level layout and open floorplan, the residence is a study in materiality inspired by the family’s favorite hotel in Japan.
“Both homeowners have highly refined taste,” Wang says. “Their style is characterized by clean lines, simple shapes, and attention to detail. They wanted the home to be aesthetically pleasing but functional—there was a request for a lot of storage, as they don’t like clutter.”
A trio of Torii counter stools by Bensen tuck under the marble-topped island. The Radii dining table is also by Bensen and the dining chairs are Murani's Hiroshima model.
To create a soothing backdrop for daily life, Wang chose black slate, concrete panel, and white oak—the latter acts as an aesthetic connector, appearing in the built-in cabinetry and trim—for surfaces and various architectural details. “The light palette, combined with textured concrete panels, creates a sense of warmth and a very interesting visual geometry throughout the home,” Wang says.
One of the few moments of color in the home, the Bensen My Turn armchair is upholstered in a deep, autumnal yellow fabric. The Zanotta Shiki sofa is inspired by the simplicity of the traditional Japanese futon.
The entryway, with its oak staircase and concrete wall panels, sets the tone of the home. It leads into the living room—a striking space with dramatic 16-foot-tall ceilings. A floor-to-ceiling marble fireplace anchors the room, and a color palette of black, white, and gray softens with the addition of warm-toned oak wall panels. A Bensen Endless modular sofa pairs with two Cassina Capitol Complex armchairs, and the two white Moooi Random Lights add a layer of whimsy. “White oak can be formal,” Wang says, “but we used the wood horizontally to help create symmetrical balance in the room.”
The primary suite includes a sitting area with a Bensen Loft 180 sofa.
Past the entryway are the kitchen and family room—adjacent spaces that continue the living room’s sophisticated palette but shake things up texturally. In the kitchen, which features a cantilevered marble bar with a black-stained crenulated base, the white oak cabinetry has vertical detailing, and an oak table and chairs are a cohesive addition. In the family room, where the kids can hang out while dinner is prepped, a My Turn chair by Bensen deviates from the neutral tones with its mustardy-yellow velvet upholstery.
The home features custom millwork throughout, but Wang's favorite instance of it is in the sliding screen door on the den in the second-level primary suite. One sweep of the panel and the room disappears tastefully out of sight.
Upstairs, a large primary suite—with a bedroom, bathroom, den, and sitting area—captures the serenity of a high-end hotel. Custom millwork, including the den's beautiful, slatted sliding screen (one of Wang’s favorite spaces in the home), is combined with white linens and upholstery for the ultimate luxurious feel. The clients agrees that Wang hit the project's mark, capturing the essence of their favorite Japanese retreat—so much so that they no longer need to leave home to find the tranquility of the Aman. As Wang recalls, “The day of the photo shoot, the wife walked into the house and said, ‘I don’t need to go to Tokyo anymore; now I have that same feeling in my home.’”