Bao Bei Brasserie. Kissa Tanto. St. Lawrence. Botanist Dining.
The common thread between some of the most sought-after restaurants in Vancouver? Local design studio Ste. Marie. (You just didn’t know it.)
The resume of this award-winning interior design practice feels like some sort of conspiracy theory coming to life—a chaotic yet clear collection of red strings attaching all of your favourite restaurants and retail spaces back to this one firm.
Unsurprisingly, Principal & Creative Director Craig Stanghetta has roots in the world of theatre and stagecraft. Now with a sizeable team of nearly 30 designers, stylists, project managers, and technicians working alongside him, Ste. Marie has been diligently working away at elevating the city’s entire culinary scene one gorgeous restaurant at a time.
After studying some of their most intriguing projects for a somewhat ridiculous amount of time (what can I say—their portfolio is like a new Netflix show I needed to binge), I’ve learned that there are plenty of ways to incorporate their design practices into your own home.
So, without further ADO, here are the top five design tips I’m taking away from Ste. Marie’s genius.
1. Go for monochromatic nooks to spotlight antique decor
2. Don’t feel like you need to choose one statement light. Let them act as art.
3. Square tile backsplashes make a kitchen feel so fresh (especially when paired with an optional row of cute tomatoes)
4. Accentuate your art with unexpected light arrangements
5. Don’t stop collecting those fun trinkets from the thrift store
A roundup of Ste. Marie-inspired spaces
Stepping into a space designed by Ste. Marie is like slipping through the back curtain of a movie set. Immersive, unexpected, dreamy. Every detail is a carefully studied decision based on the client’s story and vision. Each project—whether a restaurant, bakery, makeup studio, you name it—feels so different from the last that you’d be hard-pressed to put your finger on who the design studio could be.
So, yes, the food is stupid incredible at Kissa Tanto, but the sumptuous fabrics, moody lighting, and eccentric decor are an integral component of what takes it from just another expensive Vancouver restaurant to an experience you’ll be talking about for months.
How to really inject a sense of Ste. Marie into your home then? Lead with details that make you look twice, follow with rich, warm textures, and always think about what story you want to tell.
Last but not least, gotta leave you with some music that, as the top comment says, didn’t pass the vibe check. They are the vibe check.