Lofty Living


By Julia Dilworth / Photos by Joshua Lawrence

Curtis Vertefeuille in his downtown Victoria condo.
The large-format windows, heritage brick walls and a bright, open modern kitchen were just a few of the features that made it love at first sight for Vertefeuille. Industrial touches like the black powder-coated light fixtures and white subway tile help tie the building’s past and recent renovation together esthetically.

Sometimes the perfect apartment finds you, and in Curtis Vertefeuille’s case, it was when he wasn’t even looking.“A friend of mine was actually coming to look at places in this building and asked me to come along,” says the local Moe’s Home Collection owner. “I opened the door, and I literally said, ‘I’m going to move here.’”

Vertefeuille was already renting a spot in Chinatown, but the two-bedroom on the west end of Fort Street was too good to pass up.“You walk in, and it has wider hallways than usual, and the three huge old windows that stare out at the street — it’s amazing.”

The whole building had been expertly restored a couple years before, so the unit has a sleek modern kitchen and new hardwood floors, yet the original heritage brick runs the entire length of the 900-square-footspace, and even extends into the bathroom’s shower.“I’ve never seen that,” says Vertefeuille, who still wakes up excited that he lives here. “When I pictured the perfect forever apartment, this is what I pictured.”

With such great bones, Vertefeuille said he didn’t have to do much to style it (“less is more in a space like this”), and even though it’s a rental, he didn’t hold back in the slightest from personalizing it.“I think you have to make your space your space, regardless,” he says. “I know people, it takes them six months to unpack, and I’m just like, ‘How are you living like this?’”Vertefeuille is already on his third living-room sofa — Moe’s Luxe in caramel leather — and he’s constantly swapping out new things until he gets them right.

“Of course, it helps when you own a furniture store,” he says, with a laugh.

Curtis Vertefeuille's living room in his downtown Victoria condo.
What you see now in Vertefuille’s living room — a camel leather sofa and marble coffee table — might not be what you see next month. The Moe’s Furniture owner is constantly trying out new arrangements, mounting new artwork, subbing in items that strike him, and moving pieces all over the apartment. While he experiments, the space isn’t cluttered or overcrowded as he subtracts and edits as he goes.


A self-described minimalist, Vertefeuille doesn’t subscribe to cluttered shelves of décor and tchotchkes. The spare accents that you do see, like Buddha heads and wall plates, are whittled down to coveted favourites. Plants from GardenWorks add some life to the industrial-modern background, a glittering gold steer head adds some sparkle and large-format abstract paintings are his artwork of choice throughout.

The open-plan kitchen was the only spot that initially gave him pause.“The kitchen was strange; there are no upper cabinets!” he says. But everything fit just fine in the lower drawers, which are topped with white quartz countertops. Charlie, his beloved Sheltie mix, has his big round dog bed at the end of the island, “right in the middle of the action, so he doesn’t miss much,” Vertefeuille says.

The kitchen’s more industrial touches, white subway tiles and black powder-coated hardware, just feel right next to a photograph of his dad’s childhood farmhouse in Saskatchewan.

While the vibe in the living room and kitchen is modern and industrial, the master bedroom is all about calm, with lots of soft textures and a palette of off-whites and light greys. In the corner sits a fluffy white chair, his favourite piece in the whole apartment.“It’s thick sheep’s wool and probably the most comfortable chair you’ll ever sit in,” he says. “It elevates your legs, it fits everybody — it’s like sitting inside an Ugg boot — it’s amazing.”A practical tufted leather bench sits in the wide hallway that reinforces the main themes: everything has a function, and comfort is king.“I think you get to a certain age where it’s got to be comfortable,” says Vertefeuille

Curtis Vertefeuille's bedroom in his downtown Victoria condo.
In the master bedroom, the modus operandi is calm. Lighter tones of grey, with touches of black and white, add interest, but don’t overwhelm. “I can’t live in clutter,” says Vertefeuille. Any rare accent in the minimalist space, like the side table’s onyx rooster, is a favourite that sparks delight.


Pre-COVID, he loved to entertain, so his new open-plan apartment is ready to host when the time comes. Day-to-day, the kitchen doesn’t see a ton of action because he has healthy meals delivered weekly by Balance Meal Prep. “It’s a husband and wife team, and it’s really good,” says Vertefeuille. “Otherwise I’d be at McDonalds every week.”

And while living above Little Jumbo can be “dangerous” at times (one phone call and he’s got dinner ready for him to pick up after work), he really appreciates his downtown location.“Honestly, I live two blocks from my work, and I don’t really leave this bubble, which is kind of nice,” he says. “You can walk everywhere. You want to go eat, you walk out your door. Everything is here, and I’m right in the heart of it.

Curtis Vertefeuille's bathroom in his downtown Victoria condo.
The bathroom is a great example of the apartment’s fantastic bones. Real heritage brick wraps around the walls, accented with note- perfect subway tile and soothing grey textiles that tie in the grey-washed wood vanity. “They really did a good job of modernizing the spaces but keeping the character,” says Vertefeuille