Stand outside Carrera, Polygon Homes' newest pre-sale development in the centre of Richmond, and feel the city hum. The Richmond Centre mall is across the street on the east side of Minoru Boulevard. Brighouse SkyTrain station stands beside it and 65 acres of greenery and sports and cultural facilities are directly behind the site.

Buyers of suites at Carrera will no doubt be attracted to the stimuli of an ever-expanding city and a neighbourhood with more than enough options for shopping, sports and recreation.

All the more reason for Celia Dawson to infuse some serenity into Carrera's display suites.

Indoors, the cumulative effect of simple furnishings, an abundance of natural sunlight, and clean, uninterrupted lines in a white kitchen adds to Carrera's "hotel-chic contemporary lounge" ideal, according to the senior vice-president of Polygon Homes' Interior Design.

And yes, location matters, but not only in the serenity of the decor, Dawson says. She and her team fashioned the space around the personalities and needs of potential buyers who cherish the lifestyle that the surroundings offer. They need transit, recreation and consider shopping a viable pastime.

"This is an urban person living in Richmond. Location to shopping and Canada Line is of utmost importance.

"This person profile is a shopper, and access to easy travel to Vancouver is such a draw."

In the living room, a low-slung soft grey sectional sofa and grey plank floors complement steel-legged coffee table and side table. Gold and aquamarine blue accents on the pillows add spark to the main neutral pieces.

The kitchen is pure white, stream-lined, with hardly a fixture or handle to interrupt its clean, uncluttered lines. The refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher are integrated into the cabinetry.

In the office nook, a surprise: Dawson installed soft grey millwork that bucks convention, with shelving that's interrupted by a diagonal piece. Once again, the yin of stimulus demands a yang of visual peace.

"The millwork was a good starting point," she says. "With so much character and presence, the rest of the furnishings and accessories had to marry well and not compete."

That sense of peace is heightened even more by the view of garden foliage through floor-to-ceiling windows gracing one wall.

"With so much light it is important to make sure furnishings ground you somewhat," Dawson says.

It also informed the placement of all-important artwork. Anyone with even a slight knowledge of Greater Vancouver culture might well assume that great advantage of working at Polygon Homes might be that the big boss, Polygon chairman Michael Audain, happens to be one of Vancouver's foremost philanthropists and art collectors.

That said, access to tasteful works of art would be no problem for Celia Dawson.

But she's quick to caution homeowners who want to marry the two.

"I think what really matters most when faced with so much natural light is the selection of artwork. Original art cannot have direct sunlight. Print art or framed drawings are a good choice if you (are) faced with lots of uncontrolled sunlight."

Source: The Province