Boulevard Magazine Vancouver, 2024 ISSUE 2

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An outdoor-living mecca LUXURY BY THE BEACH PINK, PURPLE ROMANTIC & NAÏVE The style book experience BEYOND BESPOKE Fashion
for men with Jason Sarai
2024 ISSUE 2
1-888-408-9856 | CONTEMPORARY  Urban Cool What does your dream kitchen look like? TRANSITIONAL  New Age Change MODERN  Sophisticated Drama TRADITIONAL  Nostalgic Vibes
Beauty on the inside. And out. CLASSIC  Chic Casual YOUR TAILORED KITCHEN AWAITS We Have Your Style Covered

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Susan Lundy + Lia Crowe


Lia Crowe

big reveal: HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence
an outdoor living mecca with a chic, modern interior
32 BEYOND BESPOKE Fashion for men with Jason Sarai
41 PINK, PURPLE, ROMANTIC ROMANTIC & NA Ï VE The style-book experience
By Dawn Sondergaard + Don Descoteau
By Lisa Manfield
By Lia Crowe
extraordinary and everything you
it could be
Photo by Lia Crowe Jason Sarai of Sarai Bespoke.
FASHION 32 32 46 26
Makeup by Jenny McKinney
by Jason Sarai


Mario Gedicke


Susan Lundy


Lia Crowe


Don Descoteau

Laura Goldstein

Lauren Kramer

Lisa Manfield

Kaisha Scofield

Dawn Sondergaard


Lily Chan

Nel Pallay

Maria Lobanova

Tammy Robinson

Crea Zhang


Sandy Short 604-374-2236


Lia Crowe


Marilou Pasion 604-542-7411

Boulevard Magazine is published 6 times per year by Black Press Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. BOULEVARDMAGAZINES.COM DEPARTMENTS 12 EDITOR’S LETTER In and out of style By Susan Lundy 14 LIFE. STYLE. ETC. Tyson Villeneuve By Lia Crowe 16 WELL AND GOOD The jungle of gym style By Kaisha Scofield 38 14 18 IN STUDIO Action man: Mike “Mitch” Mitchell By Laura Goldstein 38 BUSINESS CLASS Feeling good from the inside out: Dr. Sharry Gill By Lauren Kramer 50 BEHIND THE STORY By Lia Crowe CONTENTS We ackn o w ledge the financial support of the Govern ment of Canada
of Elevated
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in and out of style

“How would you describe island fashion?” I asked my husband, a man who has amassed quite a collection of beautiful button-up shirts, iconic T-shirts, band shirts and annoying Toronto Maple Leafs gear, along with a closet-full of sleek suits (he and Marie Kondo have never seen eye to eye). He likes his clothes.

I was asking him about fashion on Salt Spring Island, where we have a home.

“Casual and eclectic,” he said. “Gumboots and a blazer with a Mexican shirt. Maybe a hat.”

“With a tinfoil option,” I murmured.

Indeed, Salt Spring may be an oasis of sun and sea, but it’s not a wellspring of fashion, and city people stand out, not always in a good way. For example, if you see men wandering around the main town of Ganges in nicely pressed suits, you know for sure it’s “court day.” High heels? They’re only going to lead to pothole problems. This is the land where Birkenstocks are acceptable business-meeting footwear and any number of accessories—from feathers and bells to an iguana strapped to your back—are accepted and expected.

Sometimes, you drive off the ferry and island fashion hits you so quickly, you’re certain the Chamber of Commerce has planted these “islander” attractions right in your path. Oh, look! That hitchhiker could be Gandalf from Lord of the Rings; or, “check out that woman, wearing layers of mismatched skirts and scarves in a bedazzle of not-quite-complementary colours!”

Many of my style choices have been influenced by the uber casual side of the island look. But, as you will see in this edition of Boulevard, my personal style was challenged as I undertook a session with a stylist, and discovered I should trade in my beloved black for pink (eek!) and step outside of my meldinto-the-crowd look by adding some playful clothing elements.

My younger daughter taught me a style lesson when she was in primary school. I used to shudder, sending her off to grade school wearing her “beloved but be-weird” combinations of clothing. For a period, she would wear nothing but a purple velour shirt, cut-off denim shorts with thick white tights and bright pink gumboots (very Salt Spring, now that I think of it). The lesson for me? She was so confident in her style choice that it only took a week until all the girls in her grade were wearing the same thing. If you rock what you are wearing, others will pay attention.

The creation of my personalized style book sent me down a rabbit hole of online shopping. I ordered new eyeshadow colours and a brow pencil. I researched lash extensions. I bought belts. A pair of boots. A pair of sneakers. A blouse in pink, another in baby blue. I googled “colour draping” and looked at dozens and dozens of different blazers. I peeked at a makeup tutorial.

(And all the while, I just knew that somewhere out there in the cyber world, I’d most certainly rung an algorithm bell that said, “Hey, this woman might be newly divorced, let’s send her some lawyer ads and later-in-life dating app suggestions.” And who knows where the algorithm went after I started sending everything back because, ultimately, online shopping for clothes is a tricky task.)

This issue of Boulevard is all about personal or bespoke style, and if you’re like me, it might get you thinking about your wardrobe and what your clothing choices tell the world about you. If you decide that your look needs to include bells, feathers and an iguana, hop on over to the Gulf Islands. They’ve got you covered.

Susan Lundy is a former journalist who now works as an editor, author and freelance writer. Her latest book, Home on the Strange, was published in 2021 via Heritage House Publishing. PHOTO BY LIA CROWE

We’re finding low-carbon energy in unlikely places

Like biogas captured from compost to create Renewable Natural Gas1 (RNG). It’s a low-carbon2 energy that can be used in homes and businesses across the province—and we’re adding more to our supply every year. Our gas system can provide RNG to buildings and developments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This means buildings can meet strict emissions guidelines without expensive upgrades or retrofits.

Find out more about RNG at

Connect with us @fortisbc

1Renewable Natural Gas (also called RNG or biomethane) is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It is derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. The biogas is captured and cleaned to create low-carbon Renewable Natural Gas. 2When compared to the lifecycle carbon intensity of conventional natural gas. The burner tip emission factor of FortisBC’s current Renewable Natural Gas (also called RNG or biomethane) portfolio is 0.29 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule of energy (gCO2e/MJ). FortisBC’s current RNG portfolio lifecycle emissions are -22 gCO2e/MJ. This is below B.C.’s low carbon threshold for lifecycle carbon intensity of 36.4 gCO2e/MJ as set out in the 2021 B.C. Hydrogen Strategy. FortisBC uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. (24-004.28 03/2024)


I was born in Vancouver at Grace Hospital (now known as BC Women’s Hospital) and grew up in East Van. I have lived in many pockets of the city, including Kerrisdale, South Granville, Kits, Yaletown and Port Moody, and have hosted events in many more great neighbourhoods.


I started out working in marketing and brand experience for Paramount Pictures on film festivals and hosting movie premieres, and then shifted into concerts, festivals and fashion. I also held down some amazing DJ residencies for years all over Vancouver and got some amazing opportunities to play internationally. After managing hospitality and culinary partnerships, and creative experiences and artistic collaborations for brands, including Stella Artois and Grey Goose, I decided to start my own agency.


The infinite creative problem solving and design opportunity that seems to come with each project I take on. Whether it’s for a client, brand or a signature-owned event, I endeavour to never to do the same thing twice. I like to keep things fresh by constantly exploring new narratives, themes and artistic patterns that inspire me, bringing them to the foreground in my work. My absolute favourite thing is to collaborate with other creatives and artists who inspire me. I especially appreciate the skill of talented and enthusiastic allies on a project, but I love people in general.


I’m in a fortunate position where I’m passionate about my work and building culture, but my family is my centre of being. I’m also very particular about caring for nature and creating an


elegant balance of living; I ardently believe that it is the most valuable and beautiful thing on the planet. I do a lot of landscaping with my wife and spend as much time outdoors as possible. Aside from art and history, nature inspires and relaxes me the most.


Resilience, resourcefulness and adaptability are absolutely critical characteristics in any industry these days. The world is always changing, but the exponential pace of technological development has amplified this feeling. Staying grounded with a good sense of community, family and friends is key to staying steady, but embracing the constant shifts and riding the waves is just as important. Being flexible and adaptable will help you immensely.


I’m a very patient person and I play the long game in life. I work in creative spurts on many overlapping projects, but always with a long-term vision of what I would like to personally achieve. There are always going to be distractions, entertainments, pitfalls and challenges, but staying patient, consistent and honest with yourself will lead you to where you want to be.


To me, good style is filled with thoughtful intent that represents both your true creative personality and how you would like to fashionably present yourself in social activities. Whether it’s for work, casual fun or a formal occasion, you need to be comfortable in what you’re wearing, but also in how you wear it. Never just copy what you see; always find your own twist to an outfit that makes you happy and that gives it meaning. Intent in style always shines through a crowd. I love when people express their creative energy through style.


I’m a bit of a chameleon and vary my personal style depending on the occasion, as I’m on the move a lot and frequent many events—often having to change a couple of times from day to night. No matter where I am or what the occasion, it’s always clean and with a pop of colour. Black is definitely sleek, but colour pops and patterns and meaningful accent pieces build the outfit.


Style icon: Currently, Jeff Goldblum.

Favourite fashion designer or brand: Tom Ford.

Favourite musician:

Buena Vista Social Club.

Film or TV show that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: Casablanca

Favourite cocktail or wine: Pinot Noir.

Album on current rotation: Minuit by Bon Entendeur.

Favourite flower: White lilac. One thing that consistently lifts your spirits during hard times: Music that moves me.


Uniform: Always a tailored jacket and colourpaired accessory—they go with anything. All-time favourite piece: Hooded wool maritime sweater with vintage clasps. Favourite pair of shoes: Roger Federer ONs from the Laver Cup.

Favourite day-bag: Oxford Victoria black leather bag.

Favourite work tool: MacBook Pro. Favourite jewellery piece or designer: grandfather’s gold pocket watch.

Fashion obsession: Hats and scarves. Necessary indulgence for either fashion or beauty: Quality hair product suited for your style.

Scent: Burberry.


Fave magazine: National Geographic History. Last great read: The Secret Network of Nature: The Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things by Peter Wohlleben. Book currently reading: Hayao Miyazaki by Daniel Kothenschulte, Jessica Niebel and Pete Docter.


The jungle of gym style

16 BOULEVARD well + good
Building your

There’s something magical about putting on a perfect pair of leggings. The hem hits at the perfect length, the waist is high but not too high and it has just the right amount of hold. The perfect leggings are snug to the leg without bunching around the back of the knees; they don’t fall down when you run, and they make your butt look amazing.

Leggings are the new jeans and for good reason: you can wear them for working, running, hiking, squatting and dancing! They hold you in, lift you up and wick your sweat, all at the same time. Leggings are a staple in anyone’s wardrobe and have enjoyed an evolution, alongside all athleisure wear, and this makes them ideal for almost any activity.

Until recently, sportswear was limited to saggy heat-strokeinducing terrycloth leggings that made you look like a toddler, or polyester jerseys that felt like you were wearing a plastic bag. Today, however, athletic wear comes in bold patterns, technical fabrics, breathable textures, neon colours and even faux leather. There are so many options available that even non-sporting activities are developing their own uniform.

Have you ever been in a yoga class and noticed that the entire room feels like it’s exhaling? Soft wood floors covered with muted blue and sage green yoga mats, and an instructor who seemingly floats, wearing a soft beige or terracotta Lululemon set. Yoga promotes a certain level of fluidity, softness and flow. As a response, practitioners often adopt a certain subdued wardrobe, embracing muted and soft tones. Leggings and tops are fitted to the skin, so as not to distract or obstruct movement, and feet and hands are left bare. You rarely see jewellery, baggy clothes, loud statement shirts or extra accessories. Yoga is peace and the clothing and space reflect that.

On the other side of the spectrum you have the buzz of a CrossFit or a weightlifting gym. Here, you will find almost exclusively booty shorts, oversized T-shirts and/or sports bras. These gyms are loud with the clang of barbells, music, instructors, timers and even grunts and groans. Clothing is functional and almost a nuisance, as this style of movement is big and sweaty. Each participant comes with all manner of accessories, including but not limited to a water bottle, lifting straps, a Tupperware container of chalk, a towel and often an extra pair of lifting shoes. The only uniform here is the mandatory loyalty swag representing your favourite games competitor or box gym.

Running and cycling are technical. The clothing here is gear-based and its sole purpose is to streamline the movement that’s being undertaken. Runners and cyclists take their gear very seriously, from the shirt to the shoes, the socks and water bottles. Because of the kilometric relationship to these styles of movement, efficiency is key. Even beginner runners and cyclists often invest in fancy gear hoping that it will take the

edge off an otherwise gruelling experience of learning how to run and cycle efficiently.

Whether it’s for a yoga retreat or a business retreat or, even better, a business retreat that includes yoga, choosing the perfect gear can be daunting. Finding your perfect fit is typically a matter of trial and error, while developing your chosen style tends to be a matter of preference. When building your workout look, there are a few other parameters that you may want to consider, such as sustainability, size inclusivity and brand ethics. Given the massive commerce surrounding the athleisure industry, it is important to support businesses that are aligned with your values.

Sustainability is especially important when it comes to athletic wear because there is a correlation between athletic clothing and environmental harm. The stretch and hold found in leggings and sports bras, for example, are produced using materials like acrylic, rayon, polyamide, spandex, nylon and polyester. These are plastic/synthetic materials that are manufactured in ways that produce excessive greenhouse gas, are difficult to reuse, and are non-biodegradable when thrown away. It is therefore important to support high-quality, longlasting and sustainable athletic wear.

Size inclusivity is important for all of us, even if you are a typical size. By holding companies accountable in their manufacturing and advertising portfolios, we are better able to promote fitness for all bodies. Many companies claim to represent size inclusivity but have a size range of small to extra large (00 to 14), which is problematic when the average size in Canada is large (12). Demanding a more inclusive range of sizing and inclusive advertising allows for a more diverse community within fitness and wellness spaces.

Brand ethics can be a slippery topic because unethical statements or movements can be attributed to poor decisionmaking on the part of a company’s founder, and not necessarily reflect the opinions held by the company as a whole. That being said, the adage “put your money where your mouth is” can be extra useful here. It is important to support companies that reflect your values and steer clear of companies engaging in problematic statements, business practices, labour safety issues and compromised manufacturing.

The final consideration, when purchasing athletic gear, is to consider buying used items. Many companies have pre-loved or regear programs that promote giving gently used items new life. Most consignment stores also have gently used athletics sections. This is an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact of the athleisure industry while also saving money. (Money that you can instead spend on more movement classes.)

Ultimately, many of us will continue doing yoga, lifting weights, running or bike-riding in our trusty oversized Taylor Swift T-shirt and 10-year-old Lulus. Workout gear doesn’t have to be complicated or branded, fitted or even stylish. It doesn’t matter how well-dressed we are because most forms of movement will leave us looking like a hot sweaty mess anyway. In the end, the very best workout gear is whatever gets you out the door and moving your body.



Stunt performer

18 BOULEVARD in studio
Mike “Mitch” Mitchell credits dance training as his secret weapon WORDS LAURA GOLDSTEIN X PHOTOS COURTESY MIKE MITCHELL

Pursued by an assailant, FBI agent Peter Sutherland smashes a window and steps out onto the second-storey hotel room’s glass awning, and then crashes to the cement ground below.

Gabriel Basso stars as Sutherland in Season 1 of the political thriller The Night Agent for Sony Pictures on Netflix, but it’s his stunt double, Matt Mylrea, who actually takes the fall in this scene. It’s just one of the series’ many action-packed stunts coordinated by award-winning BC stunt performer, stunt coordinator and second unit director Mike “Mitch” Mitchell of Big Surf Films.

“Matt was on a deceleration cable connected to a structurally engineered truss deck on the roof of the hotel. Only after engineering-document approval and multiple simulations and rehearsals did I okay this stunt to go ahead. All told, this was two months in the planning,” explains Mitch.

When you see astonishing stunts and convincing fight scenes in action films or series, you may be surprised to learn that some stuntmen and stuntwomen have previously had extensive careers in dance and choreography.

“In the 38 years of my career, I’ve seen an evolution from the rough-and-tumble cowboy guy and dirt biker, when we were just known as stuntmen or stuntwomen, to the present, where we call ourselves stunt performers,” says Mitch, who splits his time between Tofino and his five-acre farm in South Langley.

“And we come from various backgrounds—Cirque du Soleil performers, professional athletes or—like my friend, stunt performer and coordinator Lloyd Adams—a dancer in the Canadian production of Cats.”

“When I choreograph a fight scene, for example, the memory, the timing, the coordination and all the relative action in movement with another person are just like a dance,” explains Mitch, who was formerly an apprentice in Vancouver’s Paula Ross Dance Company.

“Paula was one of my mentors, and it was a big decision for me to leave the company and move to LA years ago to pursue stunt work,” he says.

A Renaissance man when it comes to stunt skill sets, Mitch is a horseman (he owns two horses), kickboxer, karate medalist, scuba diver, surfer and motorcycle enthusiast. A pilot for over 30 years, he is currently finishing both his commercial and helicopter pilot licenses. Does the man ever sleep?

“One of the best things you can learn about our craft is to know a little about a lot,” he smiles.

Laid-back and self-effacing, Mitch is a technical tactician who emphasizes that stunt performers are not daredevils or risk-takers. On the contrary, he’s a stickler for meticulous rehearsals and adamant about safety precautions on set.

“Stunt performers are about as far away as one can get from Evel Knievel. We perform our action with deep planning, engineering and design. Only after several rehearsals do we take a stunt to set, where it must be repeatable and safe for the performer. And even if an actor has a great skill set, I don’t let them pressure me into letting them do their own stunts—the buck has to stop here,” he says.

Although stunts play such a crucial role in many films, there is, surprisingly, still no Oscar category for the genre. PRESCHOOL–GRADE 12

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“When I choreograph a fight scene, the memory, the timing, the coordination and all the relative action in movement with another person are just like a dance.”

With over 100 stunt performer, coordinator and stunt double credits for films and TV series under his belt, Mitch has worked with many stars in Hollywood’s entertainment industry. His credits include the recent multiple-EmmyAward-winning The Last of Us, the biggest series ever shot in Canada, starring Pedro Pascal; The Adam Project and Deadpool, both starring Ryan Reynolds; The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio; and Forsaken, in which he was Brian Cox’s stunt double—to name only a few.

Working with the late Robin Williams remains one of Mitch’s fondest memories.

“The first time I met Robin was on the film Jumanji in 1994. I actually heard him before I even met him,” he chuckles. “Three rows of trailers away he was imitating Ethel Merman singing!”

“One on one, he was actually an incredibly shy man,” says Mitch, who worked as Williams’ stunt double on 18 films over 20 years.

“He was a dear, sweet man. I felt like I painted with Picasso and sang with Pavarotti,” Mitch reminisces.

Will AI be taking over stunt work in the future?

“Twenty-five years ago we thought that about CGI. I hope not, and I just don’t think it’s there yet,” says Mitch. “If you want that superhero, comic-book, fast-food kind of storytelling, yes, but I don’t like it. I think sophisticated audiences in the future are going to still want to see live action. Right now it’s a trend or a fad, but it will eventually fade away. But, yeah, it’s a shadow hanging over our shoulders.”

Keeping it in the family, Mitch is married to stunt performer and martial arts expert Angela Uyeda.

“I met her on a silly, short-lived show called Secret Agent Man for which I was coordinating a fight scene. The second I saw her move, I fell in love,” Mitch admits. “That was 25 years ago. We’ve been married for 20 years, have a teenage daughter, and have worked together on several productions.”

In his down time (of which there isn’t much), Mitch says with a laugh, “I’m a handyman, and there’s always work to do on our Tofino get-away property. I’m just built that way. I’m 61 years old and I just can’t sit down.”


The big reveal


In the realm of prestigious housing accolades, none shine brighter than the esteemed HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence, presented by FortisBC with Patron Sponsor BC Housing.

Celebrating the awards’ 15th year, the HAVAN Awards finalists were unveiled on March 15 amid the ambiance of The Gallery at Also the Kent. The event, a sell-out affair, drew over 200 eager awards entrants and distinguished guests, all tantalized by the prospect of seeing their names among the illustrious 154 finalists, vying for top honours across 60 coveted categories.

From a pool of 455 entries, a recordbreaking number, the finalists emerged after rigorous evaluation by an impartial panel of industry-expert peers from across Canada. Judged against a meticulous set of criteria tailored to each category, only the top four submissions in each group earned the prestigious finalist status. Notably, the Grand HAVAN Awards incorporate additional criteria, including entrants’ business practices, weighed to ensure the utmost standards of excellence.

Representing the crème de la crème of Metro Vancouver’s home construction and design, submissions by member builders, renovators and designers embody the pinnacle of craftsmanship and innovation. Each finalist project epitomizes meticulous planning, visionary design and flawless execution, all while managing client expectations. Moreover, they set the benchmark for cutting-edge trends, incorporating the latest advancements in high-performance building solutions and industryleading technologies.

Amid high demand for housing in Metro Vancouver, these awards stand as a testament to the city’s global recognition for architectural prowess and industry-leading building science. As

Vancouver continues to position itself as a beacon of sustainable living, the finalists showcase innovative approaches to lighten the construction industry’s footprint, setting a new standard for ecoconscious design and development.

As the housing landscape evolves, so too do the awards, which this year introduced new categories such as Best Multiplex Development and Best New Small-Scale Home, reflecting emerging trends. In a nod to evolving housing policies and design paradigms, the awards continually adapt, embracing concepts such as infill development and energy-solution initiatives.

However, it is within the custom-built home categories that true luxury reigns supreme. Exemplifying the epitome of opulence, these residences boast sprawling living spaces, state-of-the-art kitchens, indulgent spas and entertainment rooms, plus outdoor retreats reminiscent of a five-star resort.

The four finalists in the category Best Custom Home: $3 Million and Over include: Luxury Farmhouse by Alair Vancouver with ZED Studio and Madeleine Design Group Inc.; Forest Courtyard by Christen Luxury Homes Ltd. with ZED Studio; California Dream by Upward Construction with Sarah Gallop Design Inc.; and Mr. Right by Homes by Valentino.

While the HAVAN Awards celebrate exceptional craftsmanship, they also serve as a beacon for those seeking to embark on their own homeownership journey. By connecting homeowners with seasoned professionals, the awards empower individuals to transform their dreams into reality, safe in the knowledge that they are partnering with experts capable of realizing their vision.

The 2024 HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence winners will be announced on May 4, 2024, at Parq Vancouver. To view the 2024 finalist homes, visit

Luxury Farmhouse: by Alair Vancouver with ZED Studio and Madeleine Design Group Inc.
California Dream: by Upward Construction with Sarah Gallop Design Inc. Mr. Right: by Homes by Valentino. Forest Courtyard: by Christen Luxury Homes Ltd. with ZED Studio.


Luxury, form & function

Success in a new luxury home build or renovation project is a result of a highly collaborative approach between the client, architects, interior designers and general contractor.

Vancouver architect John Henshaw and his six-member team at JHA© Architecture + Interior thoroughly understand the need for cohesiveness between all participants in a project.

As JHA lead interior designer Joy Chao puts it, it’s one thing to design a home or space that looks good conceptually— “on paper”—but if the building contractor isn’t on the same page as those creating the plans, the end result may not meet the client’s hopes or expectations for the project.

“When the contractor really pays attention to the details of the design, not only will the home be built to last, it will also be aesthetically pleasing and have a functionality that is exactly how they want it to be,” she says.

The JHA team has developed a solid reputation around Vancouver and beyond for designing stunning and energy-efficient luxury homes with an eye to form and function. They’ve also drawn on that expertise to create significant upgrades in existing homes, incorporating many modern elements for the homeowners.

John notes that his team has worked hard to create forwardthinking heating and cooling solutions in its project homes, based on the City of Vancouver’s movement toward zero emissions. A current renovation of a historic Shaughnessy property requiring a full upgrade of the heating system will allow the homeowners to reap the rewards of a far more energy-efficient home upon completion, he says.

JHA’s architectural and interior design work has received its share of the spotlight, especially when it comes to acknowledgement from its peers.

The company has been winning industry awards for its new home design and renovation projects for over 20 years.

It achieved finalist status for two such projects for 2024:

Best New Bathroom, for its collaboration with Teragon Developments & Construction Inc. on the Magnolia Residence; and Best Kitchen Renovation between $100,000 and $150,000, for its Reimagined Richmond Special, a partnership with Feature Projects Ltd.

Team members at JHA recognizes the value to the firm in highlighting their attention to detail and quality of design through the HAVAN awards.

“We put a lot of time and effort into the award applications and getting professional photography done,” John says. “It’s a big part of the promotional side of the business and we have dedicated a great deal of time and staffing to bringing it forward.”

Find examples of the company’s photos of the kitchen renovation award nominee at

604.264.1072 H J A



High quality & cost effective

When Leandross Henderlin looked at the 66-by-100-foot lot that his company purchased in Delta in September 2022, he saw huge potential to do something different.

Keenly aware of the increasing affordability crisis for single family homes on the Lower Mainland, he got to thinking: how could his Burnaby-based company, LJH Construction, help address this issue through design and a unique approach?

The solution was to create two separate primary living spaces in a non-duplex home that would enable two families or couples to share the purchase price of the home, as well as combine their incomes to more easily qualify for a mortgage.

“It helped two groups to be able to afford a home,” Leandross says of the end result, noting the home is being used as it was designed. “Affordability was the key.”

Adding to the appeal to lenders was the legal suite built into the basement-level of the larger primary space. A fifth bedroom downstairs provides an option for an older child or, say, a student rental, while a studio apartment at the back is available for visiting guests or family, or for use as a home office.

This uniquely executed plan on a project known as Econest earned LJH a pair of nominations: the 2023 BC Housing Award for Excellence in Housing Solutions, part of the annual HAVAN Awards program; and the Canadian Home Builders Association (BC) Georgie Award for Excellence in Housing Affordability.

Leandross remembers well the days after his arrival in Canada, when he did whatever it took to find his way in a new country. As such he tries to assist those in need as much as possible, “whether it is helping people find a job, helping with finances or other things.”

He and his team look at their new build or renovation projects with an eye to figuring out the best way to combine a high level of quality and cost-efficiency with the vision of the client.

“I prefer to problem solve and I think I’m very good at it,” he says. “I tend to get along better in work and life with people who also like to problem solve.”

LJH, which includes four people who primarily work in the office and four more on jobsites—Leandross calls the team his “shining stars”—takes on residential and commercial projects, at times as a general contractor.

Asked if one type of project is preferred over the other, he says each has its satisfying aspects, but special connections are more often made working with current or future homeowners on their living space.

“Money is not the most important thing in life, people are, and it’s important to always be building relationships.”

To view examples of the company’s work, visit ljhconstruction. com/portfolio. Find out what LJH is up to on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Houzz.

LJH Construction 604.449.5686


Building for generations

Multi-faceted developer Red Boutique Properties has designed and built multiple housing forms, from luxury single-family residences in some of the Lower Mainland’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, to multi-family townhome developments that create instant communities.

The developer's South Village row homes, completed in 2023 in South Surrey’s Grandview Heights neighbourhood—home to Red’s South Village townhomes—were designed specifically with the idea of providing housing options for people in all phases of life. While the absence of strata fees in this section of the South Village community was a positive selling point, versatility was a key factor that appealed to many prospective buyers.

Built with four dedicated bedrooms and a fifth potential one created as a den at the rear of the main floor, the design of these three-level homes has been roundly embraced. Parents with young or teenage children, parents with adult children, and even adults sharing the housing cost and living space with elderly parents have appreciated the multiple family configurations these row homes can accommodate.

Given the market is pricing some potential buyers out of the new-home market, it makes sense to offer people such options, says Red’s managing director Jas Johal.

“We created the South Village row homes for everyone from people who want to retire and downsize to families living with students. It’s a multi-generational community,” she says.

But it’s not simply flexibility that has attracted people to these spacious homes. The same combination of “modern farmhouse” styling and high-quality finishings that helped the nearby South Village townhomes sell out quickly is also built into the row homes, which are in essence a larger version of the design.

“For South Village we paid tribute to the heritage of South Surrey, with its equestrian background and farming traditions,” Jas says. “Plus the location is unbeatable, it’s very walkable, and these are not your typical cookie-cutter homes.”

Red’s South Village row homes have earned the company recognition from its professional peers, as a finalist for a Canadian Homebuilders Association (BC) 2024 Georgie award for Best Multi-Family Townhouse (infill) under 10 units.

An award finalist for various other projects over the years, Red’s painstaking attention to detail in one of its luxury home projects garnered another finalist berth, this time in the 2024 Homebuilders Association Vancouver (HAVAN) award category of Best New Bathroom. The buzz created around the company with nominations is “electric,” says Jas (who has herself recently been nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award). The nominations buzz builds confidence in the designers, tradespeople and office staff, as well as confidence in Red itself.

“It elevates the whole project.”

Watch out for Red's latest project, “The Madison,” an exclusive collection of spacious two- and three-bedroom boutique residences set on the magnificent Tsawwassen Peninsula. Find examples of Red Boutique Properties’ work at




Elevated function & comfort

There’s nothing like hitting it out of the park on your first attempt. Claire Wang and Tom Huang and their Richmondbased team at Tera Development experienced just that with their firm’s inaugural project, the Otto duplex townhomes in West Richmond.

Featuring a contemporary Pacific Northwest style and designed to give its residents a custom-home feel with an elevated sense of function and comfort, Otto received a pair of HAVAN award wins in 2023 before completion. The fully finished product garnered two more HAVAN nominations this year, not to mention three Georgie Award finalist honours with the Canadian Home Builders Association (BC).

While considered a relative newcomer, having opened for business in 2018, Tera nonetheless has a cohesive and clear philosophy that takes some developers time to establish.

Much of that is centred around creating functionality driven by design and a belief that home buyers are willing to pay for added quality, says Tera’s marketing lead, Alison Cowling.

Despite the market in Richmond being “quite price driven,” she says, Otto achieved one of the highest prices per square foot in the city, even compared to premium offerings from much larger competitors.

“Tom and Claire recognized there might be room for something different, so Otto came out of a belief that strong design would be marketable. There’s a growing cohort of millennials that are looking for that level of quality.”

With the success of Otto in its back pocket, Tera got busy with its next endeavour in Richmond, the more complex and ambitious Aviary. With two-, three- and four-bedroom homes available to buyers, the elegant 36-unit project is definitely a jump in size and scope from Otto.

That said, the functionality ethos central to Tera’s first project is a major component of Aviary, Alison says. In partnership with Formwerks Architectural and Studio Kardum, Aviary brings a contemporary, organic feel to the living spaces that speaks to comfort and intelligent design.

As with Otto, people embraced this investment in quality construction, and the first phase of Aviary sold out quickly.

Having enjoyed success with its initial residential projects, Tera is branching out into the condominium market with a luxury mid-rise build in Vancouver’s Cambie corridor. The company is working with top local talents from Arno Matis Architecture and Ste. Marie Studio to maintain its design-focused approach.

“It is a step towards growth for us, to take on a slightly larger project in Aviary, and definitely a further extension into our Vancouver project as well,” Alison says.

So far, Claire and Tom’s stretches toward a positive future for their young firm are paying off.

Find examples of Tera’s work at projects and more information on Aviary at

Tera Development 604.270.1395

LUXURY by the beach

This custom home with an outdoor living mecca and modern interior brings three generations together to enjoy oceanside living


For most people, a vacation home and an everyday living space are two very different entities: one for blue sky living and the other for practicality.

But for Nels and Dawna Guloien, marrying an oceanfront dream home with functional daily living spaces became a reality when they teamed up with Christen Luxury Homes and ZED Studio. Together they custom designed a home that combines modern luxury with traditional comforts, topped off with some of the best views in the neighbourhood.

The Guloiens had been living in Port Moody’s Heritage Mountain (a Vancouver suburb) but were eyeing a move that would bring them closer to the water—in this case, to Pleasantside, overlooking the Burrard Inlet.

They settled on a lot on Alderside Road, a long beachside street with an eclectic melange of original structures, contemporary oceanside villas and everything in between. There were two structures set for demolition on the lot they selected—one of the largest lots on the street—and the Guloiens envisioned building a home that could accommodate their love of outdoor entertaining, as well as their hobbies, grandkids and everyday comforts for retirement living.

Their first step: bringing in Tony Barone of Christen Luxury Homes to guide the demolition and new build.

“We got involved initially through a referral that came from a friend of the owners,” Tony says. “We met and got a feel for the site, and then I reached out to building designer Zane Erickson [of ZED Studio] to start the design process.”

The Guloiens inspired Zane as an “incredible family of high achievers,” including daughters who were Olympic athletes, a father and extended family of jazz musicians and accomplished business owners.

“They interviewed me and fell in love,” Zane says. “I design empathetically, so I ask questions, and as we talk, I start to envision the floor plan. This home turned out to be very special—5,600 square feet with five bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms.”


But for Nels and Dawna Guloien, marrying an oceanfront dream home with functional daily living spaces became a reality when they teamed up with Christen Luxury Homes and ZED Studio.

Together they custom designed a home that combines modern luxury with traditional comforts, topped off with some of the best views in the neighbourhood.



With the owners’ penchant for outdoor entertaining and the property’s south-facing backyard overlooking a long stretch of beach, the team set out to create an outdoor living environment reminiscent of a vacation resort.

“The swimming pool was a priority,” says Nels. “Dawna had one as a kid and knew that she wanted it for our grandkids.”

But with the tide literally lapping at the yard, the design team had to ensure the pool was placed far enough away from the high-water mark.

“Last winter we had a 19-foot king tide,” Nels says. “So, we also had to raise and restack the seawall with granite on top.”

They also rebuilt the 200-foot-long dock, which extends into the water as a launchpad for floaties and paddleboards and offers ample space for lounging and contemplating sea life.

A raised stretch of lawn proved the perfect space for sunseekers, while the patio surrounding the pool leaves lots of room for summer lounging. Around the corner, a shower room with outdoor access ensures wet feet don’t have to splash through the house to wash off.

But the pièce de resistance might just be the outdoor kitchens (yes, there are two). These coveted entertainment spaces come complete with barbeques, refrigeration, dining space and lounges with mounted outdoor TVs.

With 1,400 square feet of covered outdoor living space spread across the main and lower levels, the Guloiens were able to create mirrored outdoor kitchens on both levels—for both poolside and main-floor entertaining.

“It makes it easier, so we don’t have to carry things upstairs or downstairs, depending on where people are hanging out,” Dawna says.

Spot Prawns

This beautiful meal is the epitome of spring feasting. Creating this recipe has me aching for spring. Warm sun, farmers markets, and of course the long awaited spot prawn season. Use the “recipe” below as a guideline only. Go to the market and gather your favourite flavours of spring… local veggies, a loaf of sourdough do not feel you need to get these exact veggies. Then, on your way home, swing by Finest and grab your live prawns!


20 live BC Spot Prawns

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends cut off

Serves 4

1 bunch spring onions, root tips trimmed and cut lengthwise

1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed

1 bunch radishes, topped and cut lengthwise

1 cup fresh snap peas, strings removed

4 slices of sourdough bread, each slice cut into 4 pieces on an angle

Zest of 2 lemons,

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

1 tsp kosher salt (plus more for grilling)

2/3 cup olive oil (plus more for grilling)


Preheat the barbecue to high.

In a small bowl mix the lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt, olive oil and set aside.

Lay all your other ingredients out on a sheet pan and season generously with more olive oil and kosher salt.

When the grill is hot, spread your bread and veg across it in a single layer & cook until just marked by the grill. Less is more when cooking spring veggies, you want to make sure they still have a snap. When veggies are done, remove from the grill and add the live prawns. Again, these will be done in a flash. Give them a minute or two on each side. When their tails curl in tight they are ready. Toss your bounty all together and lay out on a platter. Spoon the lemon zest mixture over the top and share with the ones you love.

Check ourforwebsite more greatrecipesseafood


The inside of the home, designed collaboratively by Christen Luxury Homes and Dawna, is just as stunning as the view beyond—modern in design with traditional touches. Neutral tones keep the focus on the stunning view, which is amplified by the retractable floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors in the large open-concept great room.

At one end, a stone wall anchors the fireplace and entertainment centre; at the other, a sparkling white and black kitchen offers space for informal long-table lingering. An oversized island with black millwork contrasts white surrounding cabinets, while black and white marble countertops unify the design. A concealed prep kitchen offers additional space for large-scale cooking.

Near the front entrance, a formal dining room is set apart from the great room, adjacent to the front-yard garden.

“The family wanted a garden-inspired dining room that was separate from the main living area,” Tony says. “So, when the family comes for dinner, they can be away from distractions for that time.”

An office space and elevator round out the main floor.

Upstairs, a large master bedroom plus three guest bedrooms offer ample space for family, while downstairs, a family room and additional guest room provide cosy quarters for guests and grandkids.

“The master suite has a spectacular view down Burrard Inlet, and some of the guest rooms look out across the pool,” Zane says.


There was one additional request from the Guloiens in designing their dream home: a soundproof studio for Nels. An accomplished jazz drummer, he was looking for a separate space to keep the noise confined during rehearsals.

“Dawna felt it was important to give him an area that was private,” Tony says. “So, we suspended the garage slab in their detached garage, and built a private music room. It’s separate from the house and has its own entrance, so he can bring his band over to practice.”

The rehearsal room also serves as a musical archive for his family of jazz musicians, including famous father Paul Perry, and brother PJ Perry. It caps off a one-of-a-kind build in a truly breathtaking location.

“This home captures both a permanent residence and a vacation home all in one,” says Tony. “And it was so rewarding for us to fulfill the client’s dream.”

A playground like you’ve never imagined.

Let your sense of adventure out to play, delve into incredible cultural and culinary experiences, and explore a place that you’ll want to revisit again and again.

The Yukon is just two hours from Vancouver with Air North, Yukon’s Airline. Visit Air North Getaways now

Photo: Cathie Archbould / Government of Yukon

beyond bespoke





Join us as Boulevard delves into luxury, finery and quality of presence in the Sarai Bespoke Gastown showroom. Walking into the atelier, one immediately feels at ease. Time seems to slow down with the clink of a specialty ice cube into a rocks glass. A there is something calming about being in the proximity of a very well-dressed man, like Jason Sarai. Jason and his team of Seth Hagen and Lucija Korosec invited Boulevard to be a “fly on the wall” as they meet with client Chen-Wei Lee—the Canadian private client director of LOUIS XIII for Rémy Cointreau—for a chat, suit fitting and a beautiful glass of LOUIS XIII.


business class

Feeling good from the inside out

Dr. Sharry Gill splits her time between women’s health and aesthetics X


“Beauty truly comes from the inside out, and when you feel good inside, you inevitably feel better about yourself physically.”

if there’s one thing Dr. Sharry Gill loves about her work, it’s developing relationships with her patients. Sharry is a family practitioner in Surrey, specializing in women’s health. But she’s also immersed in the aesthetic side of medicine, assisting patients with wrinkle care, skin tightening, acne, body contouring and cellulite control.

A walking advertisement for her aesthetic work, Sharry is a 40-year-old mother who could easily pass for 25. With glowing skin, flowing black hair and a gorgeous complexion, her appearance speaks volumes for the aesthetic work she loves.

Sharry grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Four years of medical school followed at the University of Antigua, including 18 months in the Caribbean, an intense period that was also full of fun.

“Being at school in the Caribbean was amazing,” she recalled. “Any spare time we had, we spent at the beach.”

After that came rotations in Miami, Chicago, New York and Michigan. With rotations done, Sharry completed a residency in family medicine at the University of Calgary before moving to BC, where she worked between her thriving family practice in Surrey and a walk-in clinic in Yaletown.

“These days I split my time between practicing women’s health, including prenatal and postpartum care and contraceptive care, and what I call the ‘lumps and bumps clinic,’ which involves removing suspicious lumps and skin lesions for medical or cosmetic purposes,” she said.

When she witnessed the demand for medical aesthetics, Sharry began doing Botox and fillers and working with various aesthetic devices. Today she offers Potenza, a radio frequency microneedling device that helps smooth texture and acne scars and tighten wrinkled or loose skin. She also uses Tempsure, a device for face and body tightening, lifting, body contouring and cellulite. And she offers Vitalia for women’s wellness to help with urinary incontinence and postpartum changes.

“It uses radio frequency to help replenish and tighten internal and external tissues, improving changes that many women experience after having children and after going through menopause. It also improves the cosmetic appearance of intimate areas,” she said.

Sharry said she is still focused on her family practice and will continue to practice primary care. But she also wants to continue to fulfill her passion for procedures and aesthetics.

“Some of the results you get with these devices and services are instantaneous, and it’s great to be able to provide patients with instant gratification,” she said.

“For some patients, for example those with acne scars, you can notice a significant difference after just one treatment. It truly affects their self-confidence.”

Although she loves being a family doctor and appreciates the relationships she has with her patients, it can be challenging at times.

“As the ‘gatekeepers of medicine,’ family doctors see a lot,” she said. “I’ve had to be the first physician to tell patients and family members about their new diagnosis of cancer, deal with acute, severe mental-health crises, such as suicidal patients and psychosis, various significant traumas to patients, and quarterbacking the care of extremely complex medical patients in the heart of the rapidly growing and under-resourced city of Surrey.

She added, “By doing both family practice and aesthetic services, I’m able to balance my job and avoid getting overwhelmed.”

Sharry’s goal in her aesthetic treatments is to achieve naturallooking results.

“I want my patients to look like themselves, just rejuvenated,” she explained. “I want my patients to feel good from the inside out.”

One of her favourite treatments, which she has tried herself, is the “fusion facial” by Potenza. This allows deeper penetration of topical agents such as fillers, neuromodulators and hyaluronic acids to plump up the skin, delivering a healthy, natural glow, she added.

As a new mother, Sharry said, her efficiency has increased tenfold as she’s learned to do more in less time.

“Nowadays there’s no opportunity to waste time because every minute is so precious,” she reflected. “Most of my free time is spent with my family.”

Despite her busy schedule, Sharry has big plans for the future. One of those is to start a support group for women suffering from depression, postpartum depression and anxiety.

“Where I work, we have a large South Asian population, and mental health is one of the most frequent concerns I see on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

In this community in particular, there remains a significant stigma associated with depression and anxiety, and it’s something with which Sharry has had first-hand experience.

“I experienced physical and emotional postpartum hardships myself, and as a result I’m more equipped to empathize with my female patients, and I’m passionate about helping them,” she said. “Women need to know it’s okay to feel the way they do and that they’re not alone…I feel like I know how to help them, whether it’s just listening and providing resources or medical interventions, or whether it’s taking away a few wrinkles to give them a quick confidence boost that brightens their day.”

She added: “Beauty truly comes from the inside out, and when you feel good inside, you inevitably feel better about yourself physically.”

The style-book experience
Pink, purple, romantic & naïve
lifestyles BOULEVARD 41
Maria Lobanova and Susan Lundy. On Susan: Pink cashmere sweater by Cashmere Clouds ($195) and cashmere scarf, both from Bagheera Boutique.

But when I saw Lia’s style book, a multi-page wonder of personalized style information, I thought to myself, well, why not? Maybe I am a bit curious.

On Susan Lundy: Paisley blazer by Circolo 1901 ($545), white jeans by Raffaello Rossi ($345) from Bagheera Boutique. On Lia Cowe: Dress by Circolo 1901 ($425) from Bagheera Boutique. 100% silk scarf by Maria de Lamar ($325) from Bagheera Boutique or PHOTOGRAPHED AT BAGHEERA BOUTIQUE VICTORIA. STYLE:

Complicated colour combinations: Lilac with mint Lilac with gold Turquoise and lilac Pink with lilac Purple with green Warm with cold Complex transitions "Degrade" effect COLOUR COMBINATIONS STYLE: ROMANTIC DESCRIPTION: COLOUR COMBINATIONS STYLE: NAIVE DESCRIPTION: contrast color combinations: are neither too similar nor too terms of brightness. and Yellow and Coral and Turquoise Green and Orange
NAIVE DESCRIPTION: Medium contrast colour combinations: colours that are neither too similar nor too different in terms of brightness. Examples: • Blue and Yellow • Teal and Coral • Red and Turquoise • Green and Orange COLOUR COMBINATIONS STYLE: ROMANTIC DESCRIPTION: Complicated colour combinations: Examples: • Lilac with mint • Lilac with gold Turquoise and lilac • Pink with lilac • Purple with green • Warm with cold • Complex transitions • “Degrade” effect COLOUR COMBINATIONS 42 BOULEVARD


I probably snorted when Maria Lobanova offered to create personalized style books for me and my colleague, Lia Crowe. I am a jeans-boots-and-black-sweater gal; my colours are black, black and black, and my go-to wardrobe is easy, comfortable and “quiet.” I am not your dance-on-the-tables type, and my clothing says that.

Lia, on the other hand, is an ex-fashion model who has met and walked on the runway for iconic fashion designer Alexander McQueen. She directs and shoots Boulevard’s fashion stories, and always seems to be wearing exactly the right outfit for the occasion.

“Lia is your woman,” I said to Maria. “I have no style sense, whatsoever.”

But when I saw Lia’s style book, a multi-page wonder of personalized style information, I thought to myself, well, why not? Maybe I am a bit curious.

Supplying Maria with the necessary photos and documents took a bit of time and thought. She needed photos of my face with my hair back, full-body shots from different angles, and a selection of other images, some that seemed random, liked photos that showed interior design and architecture preferences. It was an interesting exercise.

Maria usually conducts an in-person meeting with her clients; however, I was away at the time. So, she relied on my photos to figure out my body shape, as well as my “DNA,” which would determine my overall look. Would my DNA be classic, romantic, naïve, folk or dramatic?

The style book Maria created was hugely detailed. The 70-plus pages that I received, along with a 90-minute Zoom presentation, really covered spectrum of personal style. My DNA, Maria determined, is a mix of naïve (ha ha, so appropriate) and folk, and the book started out with a description of these style categories, focusing mostly on naïve. It also identified my body shape and suggested complementary clothing silhouettes in everything from jackets to dresses and pants.

The book gave a colour palette for the naïve DNA, along with ideas for colour combinations. In the ‘80s, I was “colour draped” by season, a method made popular back in the day by the Carole Jackson book Color Me Beautiful. Ever since, I’ve gravitated to “fall” colours. So, I was surprised to see beautiful pastels, rich blues and greens and pinks in my colour palette. Black is also there (phew) but Maria recommended against wearing it in the “portrait zone.” (There goes half my wardrobe.) But I do love the naïve colour palette; it is heavy on pinks, which I rarely wear, but to which I’m definitely drawn.

Next came fabric recommendations; for me, rough textures like tweeds and linens. This prompted me to pull out a textured coat that sat forgotten in a back closet. I love this coat! Why was it hidden away? It even fits my body-shape silhouette recommendations.

The book also included naïve-oriented fabric prints, as well as shades and styles of jewellery, shoes and bags, makeup and nails.

The remainder of the book included pages and pages of my head photoshopped onto the bodies of models wearing naïve styles, ranging from casual wear to evening wear and sportswear, romantic looks, even nighttime outfits. Although Maria mostly included naïve styles in the book, she also added several from the folk DNA, using the naïve colour palette.

The whole idea around the naïve DNA is wearing clothes that are girlish, playful and fun. After much consideration, I realized that while I like to add some playful elements to my looks, layers of fun clothes with bows and polka dots, as shown in some of the style-book images, are not really my vibe. However, I loved the

more boho-style direction of the folk looks that Maria offered, and when we met later at Bagheera Boutique, I was really keen on the naïve-style clothes she pulled for me.

Ultimately, the entire experience really got me thinking about style and fashion and personal expression, even self-artistry.

Lia said she loves fashion “because it tells the world about you.” And this is the crux of it, really, because when you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, you feel comfortable in yourself.

The style-book experience has given me permission to explore different colours and silhouettes. A lot of my current wardrobe does not fit into the style-book suggestions, but this doesn’t mean I’m going to dump everything and start again. But I will definitely add some crucial pieces to my wardrobe, explore more playful elements and embrace new colours. Goodbye black. Hello pink!


If I’m being totally honest, even though I “should” know how to style myself and do my own makeup by now, I actually get it wrong a lot of the time. I know that I still have room for improvement and could be dressing way more feminine.

One thing I learned from my time as a model was to trust the professionals but also to interpret their advice for my lifestyle (which is obviously no longer walking the street of Paris or Milan) and still incorporate my quirky self in there somewhere.

I also see that people can sometimes get stuck in a “look” that no longer serves them; they don’t evolve as they age and so that is in my mind a lot. How do I evolve and honour this stage of life, stay somewhat current, look the best I can with what I naturally have, and still have fun with it?

The style book Maria created was both affirming and surprising. According to her formula, I am “classic” (always my go-to) but she also labeled me as primarily “romantic.” This is true of how I like to see the world—imagine a lavishly draped Italian Renaissance painting—but it is certainly not how I have been dressing. And my colours, according to Maria, should be heavy in purples and teals! My style book was full of colours I never wear, dusty pinks and shades of violet and lilac in rich velvet, silk and brocade. I was shocked. Could this be right? But as I flipped through the many pages of runway looks, where Maria had photoshopped my head on to the model’s body, I had to admit that the romantic vibe looked pretty good.

I wanted to honour the work Maria had done, so I thought I would dip my toe into this “fairy queen” aesthetic and see what would happen. An easy place to start was with a manicure because, as most women know, choosing a nail colour is one of the most challenging decisions in life (wink, wink). That moment, when they hand you the carousel of 10,000 different colours and ask you to choose one, gives me a deer-in-the-headlights feeling every time, and I inevitably choose the wrong colour. This time I walked into the nail salon, showed them the manicure photo from my “style book” and pointed to a deep plummy-burgundy colour.

The result? I’ve never in my life had so many compliments on a nail colour, and every time I looked down at my hands it was very pleasing.

It’s funny, I can usually see on other people when their personal style really isn’t serving them well, but it’s really hard to see it on yourself! This whole experience was a bit of a wakeup call to put some attention towards my outward presentation, and I’m reminded that it is something that needs periodic revisiting (especially in middle age). It also reminded me what a huge method of self-care it is and that I can do better than I have been, even if it’s purely for my own delight.



Maria Lobanova creates comprehensive personalized style guides

Maria Lobanova has combined a personal-style service with scarf creation and works under the brand Maria DeLamar. Originally from Moscow, Russia, Maria and her husband have lived in Victoria for the past two decades. Her drive to work in the creative realm has led to a career in graphic design, in addition to her role as a personal stylist.

“For as long as I can remember, creativity has been woven into the fabric of my identity,” she says. “Whether it’s sewing, knitting, drawing or painting, artistic expression has always brought me immense joy. While I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my interest in style began, I do recall making clothing for myself in secondary school.”

Eventually, Maria discovered a series of courses called “Fashion Formula for Stylists” by Alexandre Vassiliev, a Russian fashion historian, collector, TV host and author of bestselling books.

conceived the notion of designing scarves and establishing my own brand around this concept. Enrolling in the course filled me with immense inspiration and motivation. It provided me with ideas for scarf designs, and also ignited a passion to become a personal stylist.”

In her role as a personal stylist, Maria creates style books for her clients. These are comprehensive, multi-page guides, offering insights on how people can transform their appearance through colour palette and colour combinations, clothing silhouettes that are based on body type, fabric and print choices, and shoes and accessories, including jewellery and handbags. The style books also offer recommendations on makeup and hairstyling tailored to individual personalities.

“At that point,” Maria says, “I had already

“Nature bestows upon us unique features,” Maria says, “and when we honour our inherent qualities, we exude confidence and comfort. As we embrace this joy, we naturally radiate it to those in our midst. My goal is to


instill confidence in women regarding their appearance, enabling them to find happiness within themselves and share that uplifting energy with others in their lives.”

Boulevard caught up with Maria and asked a bit more about her services.


Maria Lobanova: Each woman holds her own unique features. However, not every woman understands how to accentuate these features—which colours and styles suit her best—and how to make herself feel happy and confident with her style choices.

Women will learn what clothing silhouettes accentuate their bodyshape strengths and minimize areas they may want to downplay. Selecting the appropriate clothing silhouettes is crucial for enhancing overall style and ensuring a flattering and well-balanced look. Ultimately, the style book guides women in discovering and embracing a personal style that highlights their unique features.


ML: The first step in compiling the style book lies in discerning the right type of personality, or “DNA,” which includes five types—classic, romantic, naïve, folk and drama—and body type. This is assessed via various photos and in-person meetings. Some individuals exhibit distinct and evident facial features, allowing for easy categorization and selection of suitable clothing and accessories. However, many people possess a blend of various DNA characteristics, making it challenging to identify their specific traits. In such instances, extensive testing, comparison and thoughtful analysis are necessary.


ML: The idea of designing scarves, especially silk ones, captivated me during occasional purchases from a local boutique. Leveraging my graphic design skills, I found that I could autonomously craft my own design. As I experimented with designs and enjoyed the process, I recognized the need for deeper knowledge in different styles to refine my creations.

All my designs showcase intricate ornaments arranged in various geometric shapes, such as circles, squares, hexagons and octagons. I’ve chosen to explore a wide range of colour combinations, from the classic (blue and beige) to the rich and dramatic (gold and black), as well as the romantic (dusty lilac and sage green).

My scarves are crafted from 100 per cent silk and printed in the oldest manufacturer in Italy.


ML: The luxurious texture and sheen of silk add an element of elegance to any ensemble. They elevate the overall look and feel of an outfit, making it appear more refined and sophisticated. A silk scarf can serve as a statement accessory, adding a pop of colour or a unique pattern to an otherwise understated outfit. It can be the focal point that ties the entire look together. They can be worn around the neck, tied on handbags, used as headbands, or even fashioned into belts.

Overall, silk scarves are not only practical accessories but also integral elements of fashion that contribute to one’s personal style and aesthetic expression.

Visit Maria's website at

Come for a tee time, stay for a lifetime. CUSTOM HOMES & RENOVATIONS 250-703-5057 | CROWN ISLE RESORT & GOLF COMMUNITY


Exceptional, extraordinary and everything you dreamed it could be

When the opportunity to spend 72 hours in Dubai arose on a chilly autumn day, I was struck by a sense of adventure and I saw myself standing in the Arabian desert at dusk, a warm wind caressing my skin and the mixed smell of camel and jasmine filling the air.

Truth be told, I’d never considered visiting Dubai. I knew little about it other than its rough geographical location and some notions that I had gathered, mostly from movies and stories. But as I started to discuss the upcoming trip with others, a couple of themes emerged. Most referred to it as a bucket-list destination and every “boy”, from age seven to 77, knew about the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) and could rattle off some of its stats.

So, as I settled in to my seat on Air Canada’s newly launched 15-hour direct flight from Vancouver to Dubai, I had some time to do a little research.

I quickly learned that Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. The city went from a small fishing village in the early 1800s to an international trading hub in the early 20th century, but changed its focus to luxury tourism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. As of 2018, the number of citizens of the UAE sat at around 11.5 per cent of the population; the remaining 88.5 per cent was made up of expatriate workers.

I watched a jaw-dropping time-lapse video showing the extraordinary growth of the city between 2000 and 2020, and then watched an Instagram video of people doing a challenge in Dubai, where they would show how clean the streets are by walking them in white socks.

I suddenly realized I was headed somewhere quite different from anywhere I had ever before experienced. Many hours later, the car from the airport pulled up to The Dubai EDITION luxury hotel. I stepped into an im-

46 BOULEVARD travel

pressive entranceway, lined by lush gardens, planted with what looked like large versions of my house plants. My whole body relaxed as the warm night air—as well as the hotel’s signature scent—enveloped me. I had arrived somewhere special, a place where luxury is at the forefront and in every detail. And so began a tour of the extraordinary.

Day one started with a trip to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)—an excellent place to start any visit to Dubai. The motto here is “open doors, open minds,” and all questions—no matter how sensitive—are welcome and answered.

Located in a beautifully restored windtower house in Dubai’s historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood, tourists are welcome to sit around the centre courtyard on Bedouin-style carpets and pillows to enjoy a traditional lunch, hosted by a local Emirati woman, who presents a cultural talk followed by a Q&A. This cultural education continued where my research left off, as the woman delved into details about the daily life of the Emirati people. She spoke about the traditional dress which most Emirati still wear: the women are mostly all covered in black or dark colours. The men’s “business suit” is all white with a black cord called an agal, worn around the head, holding on the white headdress. Traditionally, she said, the agal was used to bind camel legs together so they couldn’t wander away.

For our traditional lunch, we feasted on a selection of mouthwatering meat and vegetable birianis, followed by sweet tea and luqaimat, which are fried pastry balls drizzled in syrup.

Now, with a deeper understanding of the culture, and a desire to know more, we crossed the Dubai Creek on a traditional wooden boat to Old Dubai for a tour of the spice, gold, perfume and textile souks (markets).

Our tour guide instructed us to barter with the merchants, saying, “Do not pay more than half of the price that you are originally told!”

We wandered through narrow, covered passageways lined by shops that had baskets piled high with spices in every colour of the rainbow. Some I recognized—like turmeric—but most I did not. I bought some huge dates and a few perfumes in little gold bottles, and when questioned by our guide as to what I paid, I sheepishly admitted that I tried to barter.

“But I’m Canadian,” I said, laughing. “And it felt rude!”

I wandered for a while longer and devoured some delicious date-flavoured camelmilk gelato, while ogling the shop windows in the gold souk.

I suddenly realized I was headed somewhere quite different from anywhere I had ever before experienced.

On day two, I awoke and headed down to breakfast in the hotel, wearing a longsleeved, high-necked, full-length silk dress (We had been advised to wear modest clothing and I always love dressing the part!) The hotel lobby was chic, with high ceilings and a spiral staircase, all covered in white plaster. I was escorted to a gorgeous terrace, where huge planters of olive trees and bougainvillea divided the tables.

As I enjoyed a cappuccino, I noticed that to my left was a full view of the Burj Khalifa. It was shiny and impressive, but I couldn’t quite register the immensity of its scale.

We spent the morning exploring Alserkal Avenue, an industrial space that has been turned into a carefully crafted cultural district. The series of warehouse-style spaces included galleries, cafes, a record


store, artsy bookshops, an art movie theatre and a music venue—testament to how well the arts here are supported and encouraged.

That afternoon we set off on a one-hour drive, heading out of the city towards what future-me will refer to as “my favourite part” of my 72 hours in Dubai—the Arabian Desert for the Platinum Heritage Dubai Desert Safari Experience.

As I watched the Dubai skyline disappear behind me, the Burj Khalifa finally registered its impressive height, standing at least double the height of any other building. Ahead, the golden rolling sands of my pre-trip fantasy awaited, and as we arrived, the Platinum Heritage team took over.

Wearing provided head scarves expertly tied in place, we loaded on to museumquality 1950s Land Rovers, and motored into the desert. Our guide pointed out some wildlife, including white oryx with long horns, sweet little gazelles, and sand fish, shiny lizards that dove into the sand like it was water as soon as we got too close. As the sun began to set, the sky turning dusty blue against the golden land, we rounded a corner to an area set with blankets, cushions and a sweet mint-tea service.

We were here for a falcon demonstration, and discovered that the Bedouins traditionally used falcons for hunting. They’d catch, train and hunt with them, before releasing them back into the wild for their annual migration—and then repeating the process the following year. As we watched, a trainer let “Pegasus” loose and we tried to keep our eyes on the “fastest animal on earth,” which swooped like a speeding bullet with laser precision towards the trainer’s lure.

As the heat of the day subsided, we arrived at a huge Bedouin camp enclosed in a stone wall with palms lining the entranceway. Greeted with a half-full cup of black cardamom Arabica coffee and a date, the camp opened up to reveal a huge sitting area, set with Persian carpets on the

sand surrounded by cooking fires and low tables. We ate a delicious meal of hummus, baba ghanoush, Fattoush salad, lamb and camel stews and rice, followed by dessert of luqaimat and sweet camel-milk tea.

Now free to wander the camp, I watched a show of traditional music and dance, had my hands tattooed with henna and then squealed like a child as I rode a camel outside the camp walls.

I finally settled down in the centre carpet area, propped up by firm pillows, and a host brought me a shisha (a huge decorative water pipe) to smoke. I laid back and puffed on the pipe, the Milky Way stretching like a swath of paint across the black open sky above me, and thought, “This, right now, is a perfect moment that I will never forget.”

The last day was a continuation of experiencing “the over-the-top exceptional.” A

must-do tour is the Burj Al Arab, dubbed the world’s first seven-star hotel. It is an icon of Dubai that redefines modern Arabian luxury. To say it was opulent would be an understatement. The walls were covered in gold and so was my cappuccino in the cafe.

If that wasn’t luxury enough, I was soon in my bikini floating in the AURA Skypool (the world’s highest 360-degree infinity pool), which overlooks the Dubai skyline on one side and the Palm Jumeirah (an artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree) on the other.

Would I recommend travelling to Dubai? The question would be, do you like the best of the best the world can offer?

All the food I ate was excellent, every experience was over-the-top exceptional… whether you’re a multimillionaire or not, you will feel like one in Dubai.


behind the story

The team behind this edition of Boulevard’s fashion story, Sarai Bespoke, is a boutique lifestyle brand that creates custom luxury garments for a global clientele. The company’s sartorial vision combines oldworld craftsmanship with a modern sensibility to produce refined clothing that stands the test of time.

Founded in 2014 by creative director Jason Sarai, Sarai Bespoke works with only the world’s finest fabric producers, such as Italy’s Loro Piana and Fox Brothers, the storied English mill.

The company is based in Vancouver but serves clients across Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Sarai Bespoke is also active in the entertainment and lifestyle spaces, working with acclaimed artists such as Michael Buble, as well as renowned brand partners like Omega, Aston Martin, Porsche, Lamborghini, Rémy Martin, Louis XIII and Cartier to complement its clients’ experience.

The company’s consulting arm, Style by Sarai, consults on a wide range of lifestyle and fashion projects, including personal styling, editorial direction and luxury hospitality garment design.


Seen here Sarai Bespoke: Jason Sarai, founder and creative director; Lucija Korosec, stylist and design consultant; and Seth Hagen, stylist. Making your home comfortable and stylish, since 1994.


LANGLEY (35,000 sq ft Showroom) 20359 Langley Bypass

ABBOTSFORD (30,000 sq ft Showroom) 32009 South Fraser Way

NEW: COQUITLAM (28,000 sq ft Showroom) 1555 United Boulevard


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