Fans of Railtown’s defunct Suquet Interiors will be pleased to know that the company is in its second coming, this time at the hands of founders Ramon Masana and Georgina Tapia’ son—who is also named Ramon. But Suquet 2.0, now located in Yaletown, is not merely a regurgitation of its former self. Instead, Ramon partnered with Rick Bohonis, co-founder of Urban Barn, to reinvent the concept.
The original Suquet had a showroom in Railtown, in the Settlement Building now occupied by Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver Urban Winery, and Postmark Brewing. It began with Ramon Masana the 4th, a jeweller and goldsmith who grew up in Catalan, Spain. Along with his wife, Marta Suquet (who had one of the oldest last names in Catalonia), Ramon fled the country for Mexico City in 1953. The couple gave birth to Ramon the 5th in Mexico, and he became an architect and then met his wife, fellow architect Georgina Tapia. On a trip to Vancouver they fell in love with the city, sold everything, and moved here, and in 1985 they created Suquet Interiors, responsible for beautiful Shaughnessy homes and even the façade of South Granville’s stunning Boboli boutique. The business was built on columns and fireplaces, and in fact, Ramon the 5th and Georgina went back to Mexico following an earthquake and saved the face of an 18th-century building from seeing its full demise, instead shipping it home in 32 containers and creating a mould so that its beauty could be formed again and again.
Ramon the 5th died in 2009, but now, in honour of his late father and still-working mother, Ramon the 6th has resurrected the family business. “She loves it,” Ramon the 6th says of Georgina. “It’s much more what she wanted to do.” Because while she always wanted to weave the contemporary in with the rustic, Ramon the 5th wanted only the traditional. “I wonder what my dad would say,” Ramon the 6th muses, holding a celebratory glass of red. “On the one hand he would be so proud. But at the same time, he would probably say, ‘What’s going on here?’”
But that is the way of reinvention: taking the old and mixing it with the new. Thus Suquet the 2nd has leather goods from the United States and sofas from Italy next to the company’s classic fireplaces, completely customizable and crafted in Kelowna. And while the vision for the new showroom belongs to Ramon the 6th, his mother does still consult, and as he talks, she walks up and hands him a stack of hardcover books before scooting away again. A few moments of conversation pass, and then Ramon holds up the pile. “I’ve got to go disperse these coffee table books around the room now,” he says with a smile. That’s a good son.