Imagine looking up from your plush reading chair and seeing the early morning fog lifting off the Georgia Straight. As the mist floats up to the surrounding mountains, you inhale deeply and sink further into your chair, worries melting away. Now, this is relaxation.
It’s easy to destress from life’s demands when your views feel like your very own nature retreat. But what if the inside of your home was equally peaceful? What if it inspired just as much rest and rejuvenation as the great outdoors?
The project I’m sharing with you today puts this goal to the test. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and our philosophy of everyday luxury, we’ve created an experiential Lions Bay home designed for deep, lasting peace and all of the special moments that go with it.
Meet Our Nature-Loving Clients in Lions Bay
Meet John and Tyler, the couple behind this 1970s post-and-beam renovation. As soon as they stepped inside this Lions Bay home, they were smitten with the mid-century feel and the surrounding community, but they knew the property needed some help uncovering its hidden potential.
Unable to pass it up, John and Tyler purchased this gem as their forever home and committed to making it a place where they would look forward to spending downtime together or entertaining friends and family. They initially contacted us for help furnishing their main floor living spaces, but as all great projects do, it soon took on a life of its own…
When I entered the home myself, I had a reaction similar to John and Tyler’s — I saw a world of possibility. I confidently proposed the idea of a kitchen renovation, sharing the potential of a larger project, and John and Tyler eagerly agreed.
Design and Lifestyle Goals
Every design project starts with understanding our clients’ style and lifestyle goals. In other words, we have to know our destination before we can begin the journey. (While there is a time and place for adventure sans destination, we would prefer to save that for the trails, not for a significant investment in your home).
The plan of action for this home in particular was simple: to create an inviting space inspired by the calm beauty of nature and to preserve the original post-and-beam character of the home.
Let’s skip past the months of renovations, furniture backorders, and Covid delays and step inside the front door of their new, fully renovated and furnished main floor living spaces.
Design Reveal: Welcoming Entryway & Expansive Living Spaces
Ahhh… now that’s a breath of fresh air! Before, the space was dark, the ceilings felt low, and there were so many wood elements that they all blended together. Now, bright white walls and ceilings accentuate this home’s post-and-beam character, bringing out those warm wood tones and visually enlarging the space.
To the left of the front door we added a full height wall that separates the kitchen from the entrance, creating a sense of arrival. That wall is adorned with two teardrop sconces and applied wall moulding in a custom-designed geometric pattern that recalls the angles of the wood beams. It adds texture and interest, while creating unity with the new shiplap ceiling. Meanwhile, two ottomans in misty blue-grey fit snugly under the console table, offering flexible additional seating that can be pulled into the living and dining spaces as required.
On the right, we installed a built-in cabinet and bench seat in lieu of a standard closet, creating a welcoming place for guests to remove and store their shoes and coats while visiting. This abstract painting by Vancouver artist, Lisa Ochowycz, sets a mood for the home that is equal parts stormy and bright, reflecting the changing weather patterns of its coastal location.
Now let’s walk into the main living space…
Moving into the open concept living area, you can see several separate yet beautifully distinct spaces for a variety of functions… including tempting in the outdoors. By using a soft and neutral colour palette inspired by the sea, the overall interior doesn’t compete with what is beyond the windows. Instead, it feels relaxing, harmonious, and as spacious and limitless as the sky stretching over the Georgia Straight.
We also refinished the gorgeous, original oak hardwood with a custom whitewash. The visual softness ties the whole palette together seamlessly and looks much more modern. Let’s focus on the living area…
What a view. We knew this space had the potential to replace the TV room as the favorite place to unwind, so we layered in comfortable, high-quality furniture, added modern floor and table lamps for task lighting, and made sure that every seat had a view.
One of the biggest challenges in this home, and in any post and beam home, is the inability to conceal electrical wiring in the exposed wood ceilings. This can make the rooms dark, especially in relation to the brightness pouring in the South West facing windows. We made the decision to cover the original cedar tongue-in-groove ceiling with white painted shiplap, both to brighten the space and to conceal electrical wiring so we could add much-needed extra lighting throughout this space. Problem solved.
Just beyond this living room, we have…
A Dining Room with Built-In Banquette & 180° Views
Another challenge in this home was maximising space, and this stunning custom designed built-in banquette is a perfect example of a creative design solution that goes above and beyond its function. Its sinuous shape is a work of art highlighting both the stillness of the forest and the flowing currents of the ocean..
We furnished this dining space with a round solid oak table and chairs from Once A Tree Furniture and added a modern yet minimal light fixture. The fixture’s black frame coordinates perfectly with the matte black hardware, entryway sconces, and other lighting and decor throughout the rest of the home.
It’s safe to say that this spot will invite cheerful conversation, quiet contemplation, and everything in between.
A Relaxing Kitchen with a Peaceful View
Situated conveniently within serving distance of the dining room, we have the kitchen. We wanted to make a statement in this all-important space, and in this case, colour was our answer. We proposed the idea of cabinets painted in this deep-sea teal colour, and John and Tyler loved it.
On one wall we have the sink and paneled refrigerator, and on the opposite wall we have the range and plenty of additional storage. We used shiplap on the ventilation hood for added texture.
The best part about this kitchen? If you stand near the sink and look out over the water, the blue tones of the cabinets meld right into the view outside, as if they are one and the same. That’s how you bring nature inside! Strategically placed greenery achieves the same effect with the forest, mimicking the sightline of the trees and creating a fully immersive kitchen inspired by the outdoors.
Minimal black and white accents, along with the crisp, matte white, solid surface countertops, keep things simple and tasteful. Instead of upper cabinets on this wall we added open shelving in natural wood. This gave us a chance to display decorative earthenware and other collected items.
Doing the dishes doesn’t seem nearly so arduous in a space like this, does it?
Sophisticated Library & Moody Home Theatre
If you look past the living area, you will see a stunning view of the newly designed library wall that leads into the home theatre beyond. What was originally an awkward closet is now a series of graphic bookshelves that give this wall a renewed sense of purpose.
We styled the shelves with accessories for a perfectly polished look, but between you and me, I have a feeling John and Tyler will swap out some of this decor for their own book collection — and why shouldn’t they? That’s the beauty of a home designed just for you.
Blending in with the shelves and beckoning with its enticing blue-grey glow, we spy the home theatre. Come on in…
Welcome to our clients’ luxurious home theatre. Ombre wallpaper and stormy grey furnishings set the tone for a comfortable, cosy entertainment space with an undeniable hint of mystery. We used custom pillows to bring an organic touch into this room, with accents of natural wood and matte black to make it feel cohesive with the rest of the home.
On the other side of the sofa…
…the perfect lounge area where John and Tyler can read their library selections, entertain friends after work, or enjoy an impromptu date night.
These two-toned pendants steal the show and offer functional lighting, while gorgeous artwork from Canadian artist, Lisa Ochowycz, graces the sideboard and sets the mood. To keep the home cohesive, we commissioned the same deep-sea teal (from the kitchen) for this custom sideboard designed by our talented friends at Once A Tree Furniture.
If you were wondering about the view from the lounge, it doesn’t disappoint. The custom ombre wallpaper melts seamlessly into the exterior mountain views. And while I would like to take the credit, I have to admit that it could not have worked out better if we had planned it!
Special details like these are what make this effortlessly relaxed home the perfect place to escape and recharge from the demands of everyday life.
Thoughts from John & Tyler
“We were so lucky that we found Lori and the team at Simply Home Decorating. Being the first time we ever used an interior designer, we didn’t know what to expect – we were blown away.
“We underwent a complete renovation of our main floor space, and Lori came up with such a great design… with all the details to make our home look finished and STUNNING. We loved the experience from start to finish (minus some COVID-19 challenges) and couldn’t be happier with SHD. You cannot be in this space and not smile.”
If you’re ready to start your own redesign, nature-inspired or otherwise, our team would love to help. Contact us here, and let’s get to know each other.
Until next time,
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