December 14, 2012


As 2012 speeds to a close, I'm heartened to have had such a great journey this year at RBI.   We are privileged to work with such extraordinary people; our wonderful clients, industry professionals, builders, suppliers ........ the list is a long one.   It truly takes a village.
It is my pleasure to thank everyone involved in our day to day process of fashioning interior spaces, by making a donation to A Loving Spoonful, whose generous acts warm so many hearts. Wishing you the best of this season and a remarkable new year.
With peace, love + respect for all.  Robert     

December 9, 2012

Lightness Of Being

For our kitchen renovation in a mid-century west coat home, the objective was to create a bright joyful place, that is quite literally the centre of this family home.  The room is bordered on all sides by other rooms and natural light is limited.  Light reflective surfaces and an array of lighting sources  make the redesigned space fresh and a pleasure to inhabit.  
We evolved the functional layout and took the space from darkness to light.  Flooring is a large format porcelain tile from StoneTile.  Custom cabinets are high gloss white lacquer and quarter sawn natural walnut. Appliances: Ovens, hood fan and dishwasher from Miele, integrated Sub Zero and wine cooler,  island gas range top by Viking. Plumbing fittings, Dornbracht.  Surface lighting from Prandina.
Furniture: Adjustable height Miunn stools in walnut from Lapalma, Knoll Saarinen marble top dining table, Eames wire base chairs from the Herman Miller collection.
Project management Harrier Construction, Millwork 5M Enterprises.

November 26, 2012

Making It

At RBI our desire is to provide furniture that is beautifully designed and crafted, which will be admired by it's owners over a long and useful lifetime.  Holly Hunt is  the  design centric house with just such a pedigreed offering.  We used the HH Siren chair here, paired with a RBI custom designed walnut starburst dining top supported on a polished chrome drum. 
The Siren chair from Holly Hunt Studio seems to have decidedly mid-century design roots, with style and craftsmanship that transcend time.
Holly Hunt Studio, Siren Chair
Holly Hunt Studio furniture and lighting collections encompass minimalism, eclecticism, and a blend of modern with traditional references.  These distinct and time enduring designs have a strong presence.  Drawing inspiration from the old + primitive, to the new + modern, each piece is built with great attention to subtle detail and proportion.  This Holly Hunt video shows the craftsmanship that goes into the making of each Siren chair.

October 26, 2012

Pattern + Texture

Even the most homogeneous element when viewed at close proximity, has richness and surface marking that make it anything but plain.  We love the intimately revealed pattern of the simplest of materials.  Most of the work we do relies on the quiet harmony and  ornamentation of a diverse family of elements, to create visual interest.

For the bedroom pictured here, all of our choices were inspired by the natural world.  Over a rustic oak plank floor we layered a woven woollen rug, and a Glant cashmere flannel covered bed.  The Brent Comber Shattered (Douglas Fir) bench and custom walnut bedside tables add a more literal presence of nature.   The room is draped with No. 9 Thompson raw linen embroidered with a large scale paisley repeat.   We got a little louder with the bed dressing, organic chevron duvet cover from West Elm and Charlene Mullen pillows by Provide. Porta Romana  Lava lamps appear to have captured precious sunlight, in 8.5 kg of watery mouth blown glass.

October 2, 2012

Capital Investment

Great organizations know that people are their most important asset and are committed to the creation of a strong workplace culture.  Our client Deans Knight Capital, understands the importance of investing in an environment and culture that communicates their values and supports their people.  One of the great workplace amenities found in the new DKC office we designed is certainly the full service kitchen space.  The space acts much as a kitchen would in a residence.  It is the heart of the office and a gathering place for staff and clients alike. Centre of the hospitality suite the kitchen is open to reception, the staff lounge, and adjacent meeting rooms.
Finishes for the custom millwork kitchen continue the material vocabulary found throughout the office; honed marble flooring, cabinets in horizontal quarter cut walnut and back painted glass, with quartz counter tops. Appliances include,  Gaggenau integrated refrigerator/freezer, Sub-Zero integrated refrigerator drawers and wine chiller, Miele speed oven, coffee maker, and professional series dishwashers.  Plumbing fittings, Dornbracht.     

September 18, 2012

In / Out

One of the most effective ways to expand a homes living space is through the creation of outdoor rooms.  In the RBI projects shown here we've optimized living potential by taking full advantage of the adjacent outdoors.  The expansion can be as simple as a fire bowl and lounge chairs.   Or fully realized with sumptuous furnishing  in spaces that provide weather protection, temperature, lighting + A/V controls.......... and everything in between.  Resort living without ever leaving home.    
BEND Bunny Lounge Chair / SOLUS Fire Bowl
CORO Shot Table + Fellini Chairs 

September 12, 2012


In addition to the visual aesthetics we create, It occurs to me that one of the goals of interior design is unseen.  Working towards the making of a place that emits an emotion of unity, where everything is alright with the world.  Spaces that bring together past, present and room for the future, possessing a soul of their own.  A lofty goal (for sure) but one worthy of pursuing in an attempt to achieve the simple feeling, of a perfect comfort ( both mental + physical ) in one's place of shelter.  
The Interior Design Show West, takes place September 27-30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  The show highlights the latest in furniture and interior design related products.  Interior Designers of Canada is hosting the popular 'What's your design dilemma?', located at the IDC booth.  Where registered interior designers provide a free (15 min.) consultation tackling attendees design challenges.  Enjoy the show.   

August 18, 2012


My fascination with books started as a young child.  They have fostered my desire and my ability to form a way of seeing.   Throughout the years I have continually collected books in an effort to better understand the world, and experience the way others see it. Although devises like the iPad are changing the way we think about books, my delight is still found in turning pages and pondering both image and text.    Via Amazon I've enjoyed creating a personal book shop, including many of the titles I own and many more to be acquired + pored over.  Knowledge and beauty there can never be enough.  RBI Book Stack, here.

August 7, 2012

Fun Places

For me the bottom line in hospitality design is to create a welcoming place for guests to enjoy themselves.  Simply said, places to have fun in! Interior architecture and decor can help facilitate a positive guest experience and one that inspires an encore of that experience, again + again.  The current issue of Gray magazine features KOKO restaurant and bara project of ours that I believe fulfills that mandate.   Much appreciation to Gray Magazine and  Angela Cabotaje, for her concise text.

July 17, 2012


When I began this on-line journal, my intention was to write about the firms activity, our processes and our results.  To add more meaning to the images on our web site.  It's proven to be quite an education. Words are not my natural method of communicating design thoughts. I'm much more comfortable using images. That's why drawing has been my premier tool when working with clients to construct the visual direction of their projects.  This is especially true during our schematic design phase, it's a time of free associations, and rarely linear or methodical.
For the renovation of a ski resort property our design development presentation (sketches and collages) , starts to identify a point of view.  We wanted to stray from the predictable alpine cliches, and grow our own concept of 'ski lodge'. Taking cues from diverse places and building in parts,  to form a whole. This schematic direction can now be applied throughout our process and adopted into all our aesthetic decisions.     
Noting this is my one hundredth blog entry, I look to the future + working to better articulate what we do, are doing, have done..... with visual assistance, of course!

July 1, 2012

Canada Day / Contemporist Apartment

We're celebrating Canada Day with the inclusion of our Silver Sea Project, featured on the Contemporist today.  A big Canadian thank you to the team at the Contemporist.  Photographs are by Josh Dunford.   Bedside table, Ceccotti Collection, Storica-international.  Baccarat Abysse Lamp.      

June 29, 2012

Work Life

The office (for many of us) is the centre of our work lives and we likely spend more of our waking hours there, than we do in our homes. Contemporary research and thinking have shifted the way we experience the work place of today, both in terms of productivity and worker happiness.   When we were asked to design new offices for Deans Knight Capital Management, we set out to create a place that not only supported work task, but also work life. The dematerialized office place (taking down walls) facilitates better communications and collaboration, but requires greater emphasis on the quality of the space for all (equality).  To balance the open plan we designed community hospitality spaces that enable privacy, conferencing or just a tête-à-tête over coffee at the island bar. 
Visually we were inspired by the classic mid-century offices, created by the likes of Florence Knoll and SOM.  Expropriating a confident material palette and modesty of form, reinterpreted in spaces that promote the work style of our time.  These preview shots were taken on move day, more of the project to follow both here and on our web site soon.

June 18, 2012

Condo Remix

The Spring/Summer issue of Western Living Condo, remixes a project feature from last falls Dream Home edition.  Many thanks to Michael Harris (Editor) + his publication team, for the  appreciable coverage and on going attention to our work, in the pages of their magazines. 

June 5, 2012


Savage Beauty
By happy coincidence, when I was in New York last month (to begin a new project), my client asked if I'd like to accompany her to an Alexander McQueen fall preview luncheon.  I've been an admirer of McQueen from his early (rather dark) break out days, and Savage Beauty has topped my coffee table since the Met exhibition (2011)Sarah Burton who now leads the house of McQueen hosted the event, in the SOHO showroom of BDDW.  It was an extraordinary pairing of visual uniqueness.  In addition to the beautiful feathery garments on mannequins we were treated to the an inspiring runway presentation.  The innovative BDDW showroom was the perfect foil, for these fluid silhouettes.  As an interior designer every visual experience is stored in our collected memory, playing a role to fashion our own aesthetic perspective.  This one rocked.
Fall 2012 Alexander McQueen 

May 26, 2012

Pas de Deux

There are a multitude of design decisions required in the forming of a great bathroom.  Perhaps it is the scale of this room which demands such a heightened process and attention to detail, constituting one of my favourite design exercises.  In this shared master bath we strove to achieve a harmony in performance.  Balancing material, form and appliance, to create a functional space for two, that is also a beautiful retreat.  The bathroom is part of an extensive (gut) renovation to a heritage home, where we created new classic spaces to demonstrate a notion about time-honored quality and style.
The large format limestone tile anchors and bookends all white fixtures and cabinets, imparting warmth to the minimalist geometry.  A series of Vistosi spun glass wall fixtures add beauty light, and a glamourous gesture.
'The basic rules of proportion and scale are unchanging.  They are reinterpreted according to the needs of the time.  I like simplicity and I believe in restraint.  Above all, there should be harmony-of proportion, line, colour, and feeling.  The most important element in decorating is the relationship between objects-in size, form, texture, colour and meaning.  None of these is in good taste in itself but only in relationship to where it has been placed and what purpose it is to serve.'  Eleanor McMillen Brown.  The legendary interior designer's contribution is documented in the book Sixty years of interior design; the world of McMillen.
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