Name: Linda Levy
Title: Owner and Interior Designer
Organization/Business: L’atelier Home
What do you do and how did you get here?
I’m the owner of L’atelier Home – a furniture, home and gift store on West Cordova. I have always been passionate about furniture and interior design, and it was this passion that inspired me to open the shop. Long before L’atelier Home, I had been helping friends and family with interior design, creating beautiful spaces, and restoring furniture. Even as a child, I remember moving furniture around, forever changing the layout in our home and in my room. After returning home to Vancouver from living overseas, I decided to open my own shop and furniture restoration service, and I knew that it had to be in Gastown. That was 6 years ago and I couldn’t be happier with how it has all worked out. Our service is somewhat different from contemporary home décor stores where we have a large collection of items for sale, with only a fraction of these products on our retail floor. Many clients are overwhelmed with the thought of where to begin when it comes to designing or redesigning interior home spaces, and their budgets don’t include the higher cost of an interior designer. I love working closely with my clients to ensure that their vision of a beautiful home comes to life, and most importantly, that it falls within their budget.
How did the name come about?
L’atelier is the French word for workshop or creative space. When I first opened, about 90% of our services involved custom vintage furniture. For example, we would take an old French style chair or sofa, rip it apart, and then restore the piece with new fabric and paint. We still up cycle furniture for customers but our focus now is mainly on home decor and new furniture.
If you only had 15 minutes in Gastown, how would you spend it?
It’s hard to decide! I love going to The Diamond for a cocktail, and I have a few favourite shops that I often go to including Old Faithful, and Community Thrift & Vintage. I am a hardcore coffee addict and Gastown is the best place in town to satisfy my habit. Depending on my mood, I’ll either hit Revolver or Buro. Sometimes, I might just stroll the streets, checking out the stores and sipping coffee. I also often go to ZenDen to chill out. There’s always plenty to do and see in Gastown.
What do you like about Gastown?
What I love about Gastown is that everyone is doing their own thing. Many independently minded people are fulfilling their passion of what they want to do, and you see that expressed in our neighbourhood shops, restaurants and businesses. I love that the neighbourhood is a mixture of everything – from great shops and restaurants, to highly creative tech firms and film production companies – all of it seems to co-exist harmoniously. Look at my life – I redecorate furniture and own a home décor store and a block away, my husband works in tech at Global Relay. People are friendly here, willing to mix and mingle with each other and are genuinely authentic. We have a real community and that’s what makes Gastown such a great place to be.
Can you recall a particularly happy moment or cool experience here in Gastown?
It is definitely hard to decide as I have had many happy moments connecting with all the different people that have walked into the store over the years. I have had countless great conversations, and made many friendships along the way. If I had to pick one moment, it would be when I first got the key to my own shop.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Balance. I know it might sound vague and a bit clichéd, but it’s so important. I’m certainly not perfect at always finding it myself, but I’ve seen others, especially entrepreneurs, obsessively wrapped up in working, forever being busy. I don’t believe one has to be busy all the time in order to succeed. Figure out what you enjoy, what you like, what sets your heart on fire and just do it. Just make sure you spend time appreciating loved ones and the simple things in life.