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.
Learn to make your own acai bowl at home.
Use acai berries to make this delicious and wholesome breakfast bowl.
When acai berries burst onto the scene years ago, the berry from Brazil was often touted (by varying sources) as the newest superfood that would do everything from slow down signs of aging, bring about weight loss and fight cancer. While none of these claims have proven to be true (acai berries are not known to have greater health benefits than similar fruits), they are still high in antioxidants and are part of a healthy diet. That means they’re a delicious and wholesome addition to any breakfast, especially when served as an acai bowl.
The best part about an acai bowl? Despite its high health quotient, it kind of, sort of tastes like dessert so it’s really a win-win. Ready to make one? Here’s what you’ll need:
1 Run one package of frozen acai berries under warm water to thaw them slightly. Pour softened berries into a blender and combine with apple juice and one chopped banana. Blend just until all ingredients are combined. Mixture should be thick, not runny.
2 Pour berry mixture into a bowl and sprinkle granola on top.
3 Top with additional garnishes like a sliced banana, strawberries and blueberries.
A fresh seaside-chic lake house
This cozy lake house in Port Carling, Ont., boasts a fresh seaside-chic vibe while paying homage to old-school Muskoka.
Nestled on the south shore of Lake Rosseau in Port Carlin, Ont., this 6,800-square-foot six-bedroom house is decorated the way one would dress when visiting: in a crisp Polo Ralph Lauren Oxford shirt and comfortable, well-worn chinos paired with Sperry Top-Siders. It's a timeless look that's coastal, casual and effortlessly chic with a neutral palette at its core.
"The homeowners wanted to capture that warm, windswept lake house aesthetic but with a relaxed, cozy Muskoka feel for their young family of four," says Cory DeFrancisco of Mukoka Living Interiors, who designed and built the home from scratch, finishing in 2013.
Like a friendly smile and a firm handshake, the entryway makes a confident and inviting introduction to the home.
"A lot of old cottages have those tunnelling hallways in their guest cottage or service quarters, and this beadboard wall treatment references that," says builder and designer Cory DeFrancisco.
This small boathouse sunroom is literally right on Ontario's Lake Rosseau: On windy days, you can feel waves crashing up through the floorboards.
"We took up 90 percent of the wall with windows," says Cory of the gorgeous great room, where the ceiling's oak beams guide your eye directly to the view. "The overstuffed sofas are insanely comfortable," he adds. "They're slipcovered in high-quality Belgian linen that gets softer with each wash.
Though the spacious kitchen is crisp, white and polished, simple details, such as the grain of the reclaimed-oak floors and the texture of the brush strokes on the hand-painted cabinetry, keep it humble and homey. "It's a new take on a traditional cottage kitchen, with all the modern amenities," says Cory.
A big weathered farmhouse table paired with slipcovered seating and sophisticated lighting that doesn't block the view equals a dining room with easy elegance. But the best feature of this space is that, with the doors open, you really feel like you're eating alfresco.
Even though this home is grand, the family who lives here wanted an overall feeling of togetherness, so Cory kept it largely open concept.
The west-facing Muskoka room, with wall-to-wall windows, is so bright that it can pull off the charcoal walls. "The darkness acts as an anchor, while the light that shines in highlights the furnishings," explains Cory. The modular sectional is meant for the outdoors (so go ahead, get it wet) and can be reconfigured when company comes to create multiple sitting areas.
The whole master bedroom is very generous, but its sleeping area is quite small. In it, you'll find only an upholstered bed, two small side tables and a 180-degree view of the water.
The large window behidn the free-standing bathtub overlooks a garden and granite. "It's hard to make boulders sound nice," says Cory with a laugh, "but it's a beautiful view."
"All of those elements are, I think, what makes it feel authentic to Muskoka. There's nothing ornate in the whole place," says Cory. And just 35 feet away, in the boathouse, the look is much the same. The palette is almost all white and the dress code is bathing suits - after all, the lake's right there. Take one step out the door, and jump right in. The water's perfect.
10 temporary decorating ideas for renters
Check out 10 ways to decorate in a temporary rental space.
Moving into a rental space has its advantages and disadvantages. A new home is always fun and exciting but when you’re renting, you’ll likely find that you’re limited in terms of updates you want to make to your home. But plenty of decorating-to-go ideas abound! If you want to give your rental home a fabulous facelift, we’ve got 10 temporary tactics that will help you personalize your space. You can either take them with you or easily remove them when it’s time to move!
Many a rental space comes complete with vertical blinds that, let’s be honest, are less than stylish. By removing them and replacing them with curtains, you can add instant style to your space. But don’t forget to safely store the blinds after you’ve removed them. You’ll likely have to put them back up when you move out. But you can take the curtains with you when you go! Moorish Tile Curtains, Pier 1, starting at $44.95.
A cocktail cart is a simple way to create a chic entertaining space when you don’t have a lot of room to spare. It’ll add a touch of glamour to your space (especially one in gold) and of course, this one will roll right out the door with you to your new home. Gluckstein Home Trolley Styled Bar Cart, Hudson’s Bay, $299.
Nothing changes the look of a space faster than wallpaper. This gorgeous wallpaper pattern actually comes in 24x32-inch tiles that are easily removable, making them perfect for rental units. They have a low-tack adhesive backing and are washable, too! Diamante (Turquoise) Tile, Hygge & West, $33.
Those builder-grade light fixtures that you find in many apartments are, let’s face it, a total eye sore. A simple swap for something more you, will help to add personality to your space and give you and your guests something pretty to look at. This gorgeous chandelier comes in an antique metal-finished frame and is a beautiful combo of industrial and modern style. Marney Glass Chandelier, West Elm, $479.
Area rugs are great but rug tiles are even better because of their versatility. Each square measures approximately 20” x 20” and you can easily assemble them in any room in your home for added warmth and comfort underfoot. And if you move into a larger space down the road, you can buy more tiles to enlarge the size of the rug. Coming Along Tiles, Flor, prices vary.
Nothing dates a kitchen quicker than those circa-1970 ceramic tiles in hideous colours. Worse yet, tiles that have potatoes, lobsters or baskets of fruit. Yikes! There’s no need to rip out your existing tile to give your backsplash a makeover. Simply apply these waterproof tile decals to add a fresh and modern look to your kitchen. Optic Stripe Tile Decals, Stick Pretty, starting at $18.
An alternative to blinds, adhesive window film will give you total privacy while still allowing sunlight to flow into your space. This gorgeous design looks like etched glass and is a pretty and practical way to add style to your space. Best of all, it’s easy to remove when the time comes. Emma Jeffs Pearl Adhesive Film, Design Public, $86.
These etched blossom knobs are just gorgeous and are a perfect way toupdate a kitchenor bathroom cabinets. Simply swap out the existing ones for something prettier like these but don’t forget to hang on to the old ones so you can replace them before you move out. Etched Blossom Knobs, Anthropologie, $12.
Illuminate a small space with floor lamps that are striking and make a style statement all on their own. This one has a rustic brass finish and will look right at home in your rental and in your new space when you move on. Interlaced Gold Chain Floor Lamp, Pottery Barn, $360.
Of all these ideas, this is the most inexpensive and can pack the biggest punch. Fresh flowers from a local farmer’s market, grocery store or even your own garden will add colour and life to any room in your home. So transform your space with fragrant fresh blooms each week – they’re guaranteed to bring a smile to your face every time you pass by them.