Tour this Vancouver home's modern eclectic look.
This Vancouver home's modern eclectic look is a testament to the power of a sister act.
Now that the dust has settled on their massive whole-house renovation, homeowners Anna Wright and Alistair Sale – both busy professionals and parents of Lewis, 10, Freddie, 8, and George, 6 – each have their favourite features of the new interior. For Alistair, the cook of the family, the open kitchen is the (long-awaited) best part. Anna is most excited about the master ensuite bathroom she doesn’t have to share with the kids. And for the boys, it’s their bigger playroom in the finished basement.
The Vancouver family lived in the 3,700-square-foot 1920s home for five years before embarking on the huge overhaul. “I’m so glad we lived in the house for a while first and figured out what we wanted,” says Anna. “If we’d done the renovation right away, we would have done things very differently, and those decisions probably wouldn’t work for us now.”
The crisp white brick fireplace surround, built-ins and original wood panelling set off the dark grey on the upper walls of the den. Leaded glass cabinetry doors are another original feature. The antique chandelier was picked up at a London flea market.
A contemporary pale orange sofa pops against the white panelling and dark grey walls. The Mid-Century Modern desk was a lucky find at an antiques store a few years back, as was the Tolix chair.
Going vintage is often a more economical decorating idea than buying brand new, says Sophie.
The birdcage pendant light adds another unexpected dose of colour and whimsy.
In the dining area, an antique zinc-topped table from a French flea market pairs well with mismatched colourful Eames dining chairs. “We thought the different hues of the dining chairs would be quirky and fun,” says homeowner Anna Wright.
The designer pendant light was a pricey find from London, England.
Expanding the existing skylight and adding more windows above the sink brought loads of natural light into the white painted kitchen. Homeowner Alistair Sale greatly appreciates the bigger sink, but extra kitchen counter space, double wall ovens and a gas cooktop were at the top of his must-have list.
French doors lead out to a newly enlarged wraparound deck off the open kitchen/dining area, making the backyard much more accessible. The kitchen peninsula is perfect for casual breakfasts and homework time.
The zinc top on the antique dining table can take plenty of wear and tear from everyday family meals; the stark white modern dishware strikes a pleasing contrast against the patinated surface.
A desk area in the kitchen serves as the family workspace and offers plenty of storage space for the kids’ paperwork and school supplies. Inspirational photos and small pieces of art bring personality to the nook.
The new master ensuite bathroom is Anna’s retreat from hectic work and family life.
The matching gold mirrors in the master ensuite are a glitzy big-box score.
Grey and white cement floor tiles provide ornate pattern in the otherwise serene white room.
The bathroom floor tiles themselves weren't very expensive, but shipping the from California was.
Enjoy this tasty beverage on those cold winter days.
London fogs are the perfect comforting, warm drink for blustery winter days.
1 Place the water and oats in a blender and let sit for 10 minutes so the oats can soften
2 Blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl to remove any remaining lumps.
3 Return the oat mixture to the blender along with the agave nectar and the vanilla extract and blend until thoroughly combined.
4 The mixture will be thick; if you prefer it thinner, add another ¼ cup of water and blend again.
5 Pour into hot mugs of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea and enjoy!
Makes 2 cups.
Image by: Tracey Ayton
A romantic retreat isn’t as far away as you may think. A few easy additions to your home can turn your space into the perfect escape made just for two.
No matter what your living situation is, it’s important to have a space in your home where you and your special someone can retreat to and reconnect. Whether it’s a nook, a favourite spot on the sofa, or the bed itself, create an area that’s comfortable, cozy and made for both of you.
From lighting to memorabilia, there are a number of easy and thoughtful ways to instantly turn your bedroom into a romantic escape. So put away the passports and get comfy because you two are staying in tonight.
Image by: Stacey Brandford
There’s something comforting and intimate about the tactility of textures. The indescribable softness of a knit throw blanket, the luxuriousness of a faux fur rug, or the delicateness of a lace appliqué. By incorporating these textural elements into your space, you can instantly incite that sense of touch and instill a feeling of romance.
Image by: Janis Nicolay
Creating a place in your home that you actually want to spend time in means it has to be comfortable and cozy. So, it’s time to layer up your space. Throw blankets and toss cushions are an effortless way to inject colour and texture into any room, and there’s no beating the satisfaction of nestling into a soft little nook with your love.
Image by: Ashley Capp
There’s nothing romantic about harsh, bright white lights, so unless you have a thing for sterile hospital waiting rooms, be considerate of your bedroom lighting. The essential here is keeping your lighting options low and warm. A beautiful chandelier on a dimmer switch, for instance, can add instant drama and ambiance, while vintage sconces can create a pleasant soothing glow. Not able to install either? You can never go wrong with candlelight.
Image by: Janis Nicolay
Do you ever notice you’re more drawn to rooms decorated with plants? Fresh florals have always made fabulous decor accents, but they’re also known for improving your home’s air quality, as well as being mood boosters. By adding plant life to your bedroom, you’ll find it becomes a more livable place that you’ll both want to spend more time in, too.
Image by: Tracey Ayton
While it may not be ideal to eat three meals a day in bed, having a breakfast-in-bed for two every now and then is one of life’s simple luxuries. In fact, breaking the usual morning routine and enjoying a cozy meal first thing is a great way to spend a little extra time together and reconnect.
Image by: Michael Graydon
Even a simple nook can be turned into an enchanting retreat. Find a corner to fit a love seat or dress up a small alcove by the window — when there’s just enough room for two, it’s the perfect excuse for an extra cuddle.
Image by: Christy Wright
Create a space that’s for both of you, where you can both feel at-home and relaxed. Take each other’s styles and comforts into consideration, or add some photos or keepsakes to conjure cherished memories, and you’ll have a cozy spot where you both feel welcome.
Michael Buble's holiday home
Canadian icon Michael Bublé invites us into his Vancouver home as he gets ready to celebrate the season in style.
If it were up to Michael Buble’s mom, her son’s music – and only her son’s music – would accompany their family Christmases. But since the Juno and Grammy award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter does, indeed, get a say, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley are afforded lots of airtime, too. “We listen to everything from Mariah Carey to Boney M,” says Michael, explaining the obvious: Music plays a huge part in his holidays.
Once a year, this fabulous foursome – Christmas, music, family and food – comes together in a Buble bash that lasts a couple of days and sees a flood of loved ones visiting from all over the world, including South Africa, Argentina, London and L.A. Upstairs, his music room plays host to a sweet piano-accompanied singalong. And downstairs? “Our basement turns into a sort of salsa club,” says Michael. They move aside the arcade basketball, dome hockey and foosball games (“It’s my 12-year-old-boy-style man cave,” he says with a laugh) to accommodate the DJ and dance floor. “We eat too much, we drink too much – it’s like an old-school Hollywood party.”
Although he admits it may sound cliche, Michael likes giving more than he does getting. “Whether it’s compliments or gifts, receiving them can make me feel a bit embarrassed and shy,” he says. So, in terms of showering his wife with presents, he’s a pro romantic. “But I have a poor sense of occasion. I don’t save gifts for Christmas or Valentine’s Day,” he explains. Case in point: When he’s going to be out of town for a while, Michael will hide little notes around the house, tucking them in shoes, toiletries, drawers, even the diaper bag – “I want to remind her that I’m thinking of her,” he says.
The house’s elegant black, white and gold palette has a sophisticated charm that suits this debonair songster’s vocal style. Above the tray table in the hallway is another piece from Michael’s collection of artwork – a beautiful collage of broken records created by his brother-in-law.
You’d be surprised to know that singer-songwriter Michael Buble has only one of his awards on display at his house – and even that’s a fluke. He brought it home from the office to show a friend and has yet to return it. What he takes more pride in is his meaningful collection of artwork, which includes a cartoon by Jann Arden and a painting by Tony Bennett. But one of his favourite pieces is a photograph of Chet Baker (hanging above the fireplace in his living room) by the great William Claxton, who shot the cover for one of Michael’s albums.
A voluminous cedar garland is filled out with eucalyptus leaves and geometric silver ornaments.
Layers of neutrals are grounded with graphic hits of black and punched up with fresh greenery in the living room.
A simple mirror stylishly frames a leafy green wreath.
Presents are personalized with a band of sheet music secured with a delicate satin bow. Then the presents are nestled in a bowl of ball ornaments for the perfect way to add some flair under the tree.
The couple, who has a two-year-old son named Noah, announced earlier this year that they’re expecting another child, and Michael can’t wait to share the holiday traditions that he enjoyed when he was young. “My dad and I would get the lights out of the attic and string them up outside, while my mom and sisters would decorate the inside. Then we’d gather around the Christmas tree and put the star topper on together: very Norman Rockwell,” he says. “Of course that’s the way I remember it – I’m sure I’ve forgotten the fighting and hair-pulling with my sisters.”
With bold black and white striped gift wrap, sometimes a touch of cedar is all you need as a topper.
The party is set to sound even better this holiday, thanks to last year’s gift from Michael’s wife, actor Luisana Lopilato: “When it was time to open my present, I could hear her telling me that she loved me very much, adored having a child with me and was thrilled to be spending another Christmas with me...but I didn’t understand why her voice was audible throughout the whole house,” he says. “She’d had a Sonos sound system installed – and I had no idea. It was really special.”
And then there’s the food. Michael has an Italian extended family and an Argentinian wife, so the smorgasbord often stretches from the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes to risotto and empanadas. “The whole house smells amazing,” says Michael, who’s always thrilled to host his family and friends under his Vancouver roof.
Delicate white peonies arranged in a dome shape look like a bowl of little white snowballs.
Black table linens paired with gold-toned flatware and subtly gold-edged dishware, topped with a simple handwritten place card and sprig of eucalyptus.
Black and white sugar cookies echo the graphic palette throughout the house, becoming the most stylish (and delicious) desserts around.
Bow-tied gingerbread Bubles by Butter Baked Goods are a classy take on the traditional cookies
Icing sugar-dusted chocolate cookies served up on a white star plate are festive yet understated, while underscoring the black and white scheme.
Instead of some classic jingle bells on display, you’ll find pieces like this harmonica from Michael’s music room, where he spends lots of time jamming with friends and writing songs.
While on set, Michael was singing classic Christmas carols and keeping spirits bright for our team. And what winter wonderland Christmas shoot would be complete without his signature bowties?