Inside Interior Designer Lin Heppner’s Chilliwack Home

The backdrop of a neighbouring park plays muse for interior designer Lin Heppner, who invites nature inside her home?

Credit: Roger Brooks

Interior designer Lin Heppner fuses nature and local art in her Chilliwack home

Interior designer Lin Heppner has one main rule for the design scheme of her 3,500-sq-ft Chilliwack home: simplicity

A glorious outdoor scene amplified by a sunny day is already alluring. But witness this picture-perfect setting from the inside of interior designer Lin Heppner’s nature-inspired abode and the impact is doubled.

The four-bedroom, three-level, 3,500-sq-ft home is located on an award-winning development in the heart of Chilliwack. At first glance, it is easy to see why the Heppners fell in love with the location. A quiet leafy road, homes with picturesque porches … it feels as though you are on the glamorous set of Wisteria Lane, not an ordinary B.C. suburb. 

The couple purchased the property before it was built, which meant Heppner and her husband, an architectural designer, got to add individual flourishes to the plans. Their customization included realigning walls, choosing a new paint palette and different flooring, changing countertops and adding a coffered ceiling. Heppner says they chose the latter design because it makes a ceiling an interesting feature, not just a vast plain. 

And when it comes to know-how, Heppner speaks from 30 years of experience tackling all aspects of design, including designing furniture, drapes, bedding and wallpaper.

Art Gives Context

One of the home’s striking features is the abundance of art that fills every room; many pieces are from local artists. Heppner says art is intrinsic to her design esthetic. “It gives your home and life a context.”

A painting by a local artist Gary Haggquist hangs above the living room fireplace. Featuring the natural beauty of Cultus Lake, its subject and colour palette bring the whole room together, and the painting remains a focal point in its own right.

Chairs Add Conversation

Another fascinating feature that runs throughout Heppner’s home is the astonishing array of chairs. “I have a chair thing,” Heppner admits. “I think that they always invite you to join, but you can still be individual. They allow people to break into little conversations.”

In the living room, two William Switzer chairs sit alongside a card table. At first glance, this seems to be a curious feature, since an enormous dining table beckons, only footsteps away. Yet Heppner says the formal dining table is too grand to use on a daily basis, while the smaller table is the perfect place to eat together, play cards, read books, and write, all with a striking outlook to the park.

“It’s a lovely place to watch nature,” says Heppner. “As the seasons change, there are different colours and different vibrancies.”

Heppner is so thrilled to have the park as a backdrop to her home that in the future, she plans to build a balcony extending from her master bedroom, a serene place that Heppner has filled with furniture she has acquired over time. Each piece has meaning, so it’s a room filled with memories. From the beautiful chairs Heppner prizes for their threadbare texture to the eye-catching pillows adorning her bed, every item has relevance and has been carefully selected to complement everything else in the room.

Making a Place for Everything

And that’s key to Heppner’s design sensibilities: Everything, from the choice of door handles to the flooring, is planned in tandem. “I know that sounds crazy, but that’s what good design is. It’s all linked; it should be a holistic thing.” Even novices on a tight budget can create a stunning home, Heppner adds. 

“I think that you should first draw up a good floor plan that shows where the furniture placement should be. Then you should have a good game plan that you’ll implement over a long period of time, and not compromise. If you have a budget and you know that you want a beautiful sofa, save up your money, get it and then start saving for the next item. It’s better to save and have less, than spend a lot of money on things that in the long run won’t have a good lifespan. If something is not well made, it looks shabby before its time.”

Heppner says every designer has her own approach, but “The way I start designing is I brainstorm a whole range of ideas before editing them down. I tend to push things to get an interesting and individual outcome for each of my clients. I try and push ideas really over the edge.” 

When it comes to brainstorming, Heppner has the perfect space to make her magic happen. In her office, two drawing boards are nestled under a skylight. Heppner says there’s no better place to pick the perfect colour scheme than from beneath a window with great natural light. It’s also a place to watch clouds drift by and draw on the creativity from the world at large. Nature is a big source of inspiration for Heppner, and she says she often seeks confirmation of her design ideals in the natural world.

Opting for Simplicity

But it’s simplicity that rules. For example, the bathrooms feature marble countertops and both rooms have a very similar, simple design, which Heppner did deliberately.

“I’m a designer who generally picks a very simple palette. If I pick one thing (like countertops) I take it throughout. In a small house, it works wonders, because your brain doesn’t go ‘Oh there’s another detail, there’s another idea.’ It gives you more serenity. I like that.”

Originally published in BC Home Magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.