Image: Janis Nicolay | Designer: India Daykin
A once-blah apartment gets a beauty-inspired makeover that leaves its resident sitting pretty.
"As foundation is to a face, paint is to a space.” This is the kind of wonderful proclamation Vancouver-based makeup artist India Daykin likes to make, and with good reason. The 22-year-old, who owns beauty specialty store in the city’s MacKenzie Heights neighbourhood, expertly applied this analysis to her South Granville area apartment. “This is my first true grown-up space and a big change from the place I lived in before graduating last year,” she says.
While India admits that even her student digs were stylish – thanks to some cool cast-offs from her parents’ basement and help from her mom, interior designer-turned-bakery owner Rosie Daykin – she wanted the look of this apartment to be all hers. Coincidentally, India’s parents had briefly lived in the building when they were first married, so when a unit became available it seemed like fate – yet the family ties that led India here made her even more determined to create her own aesthetic. “I didn’t want to rely on my mom to decorate,” she says. “Of course she helped me, but I wanted to make my own mark.”
To remedy the 1,000-square-foot rental’s colour scheme – bright turquoise in the dining room and dingy yellow everywhere else – paint was the first tool of choice in India’s transformation kit. “I’ve always admired chic Parisian apartments and wanted to capture that vibe, but I had to be realistic,” she says. “Since this is a rental, I couldn’t redo the walls with plaster wainscotting, but I could paint them.” Her beauty aesthetic formed the makeover game plan. “When it comes to makeup, I’m drawn to interesting flourishes like winged eyeliner, but I like to keep the skin fresh and clean. I decided to take the same approach in my apartment,” explains India.
For the walls, she spun the colour wheel to pale and pretty pastels: robin’s egg blue in the dining room, soft grey in the living room and creamy white in the bedroom. “It’s a feminine palette, but I was conscious of not making everything too girly – though I’m grateful my mom reminded me to have fun with it, because it might be the last space I live in that is truly my own,” says India. For the furnishings, she relied on a mix of old and new pieces to create the laissez-faire feel of a Left Bank apartment. Gilt mirrors, chandeliers from Paris flea markets and a vintage cane-backed settee share the space with casual leather pouffes, a Lucite bar cart and pops of modern art. The overall effect combines serious 7th-Arrondissement style with youthful appeal. “My apartment has become a meeting place for all my friends,” says India. “I think my neighbours have met them more than they’ve met me! Plain and simple, this is a place where people want to be.” And for anyone, makeup artist or not, that’s a thing of beauty.
“The dining room in particular was inspired by Parisian interiors,” says homeowner India Daykin. “I love combining old pieces like the vintage settee, pendant light and dresser with the modern table and artwork.” The honey hues of the original white oak floors are a warm counterpoint to the pale blue walls.
India exercised her design rules in the living room. “I used contrasting styles to make the space lively,” she says. “I also didn’t overdo it with the furnishings – when in doubt, keep it simple.” The apartment building where India lives is named Queen Elizabeth, and the artwork, which once belonged to India’s mom, is a play on that.
Though the living room’s fireplace isn’t functional, it beckons, thanks to India’s artful styling. “I wanted this to be an interesting focal point,” she says. “I staggered items at different heights and added some pops of gold, which I love.”
Pink accents, from the pouffe and drapes to the toss cushions and throw, create a feminine feel in the bedroom. “My childhood bed was updated with tufted upholstery, and I chose a dresser for my nightstand since it offers more storage,” says India.
The dressing room contains transformative elements – faux-silk drapery, a vintage crystal chandelier and framed prints – that India can easily take with her when she moves. The glamorous mirrored vanity is a favourite. “I love sitting here to do my makeup, while my friends hang out on the pouffe or in the armchair,” she says.