House Tours
Sep 29, 2015

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

By: Beth Hitchcock
House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Spacious kitchen design pairs barnboard accents with sleek Calacatta marble Author: Robin Stubbert

House Tours
Sep 29, 2015

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

By: Beth Hitchcock

Designer Lidia van Zyl may stick to a simple black and white palette, but thanks to a quirky collection of oddities, her home is far from boring.


If you were ever to drive past designer Lidia van Zyl’s house, you might be tempted to pull out a map or consult the car’s GPS. With a cedar-shake exterior and dormers peeking out from the roof, the dwelling looks like it belongs on the dunes of Cape Cod instead of a residential street near Barrie, Ont. The feeling is underscored by the four-bedroom home’s idyllic surroundings: Lake Simcoe is just across the road, and farmlands stirring with foxes and deer stretch out from the back.

Sure, it all sounds a bit too good to be true. But that’s the benefit of building your dream house – and it didn’t happen overnight. Lidia and her husband, Leendert, a family doctor, owned the property for three years before the year-long build began in 2013, so Lidia had time to consider her family’s needs, which was daunting, she admits. “This is the first time I’d ever designed a home top to bottom for myself, and it’s so different from making decisions for clients,” she says. At the top of her must-have list: a sprawling space where she, Leendert and their three children, who range in age from eight to 13, could gather as a family.

Though designing for herself and her family wasn’t easy, she has no regrets about her space-planning choices. “The whole family usually plants themselves in that great room,” says Lidia. “And I couldn’t be more pleased about it.”
 

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House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Chic centerpiece

The kitchen island is faced with reclaimed barnboard, topped with Calacatta marble and features corbels that echo the footed cabinetry. Two lantern-style pendant lights highlight the 20-foot-high cathedral ceiling, as does a tall vintage ladder.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Rustic European greeting

Fumed-oak flooring laid in a herringbone pattern introduces a European feel to the entryway, as does the wall panelling. “There’s no colour here, so the moulding adds architectural interest to the space,” says Lidia. A plaid runner, large woven basket and iron chandelier inject a few rustic notes to pare back the formality.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Eau de toilette

Lidia ordered the “eau de toilette” decal on the powder room door as an inside joke about her husband’s attempts to say “bathroom” in French.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Floating accents

A reclaimed-wood floating countertop contrasts beautifully with the hammered-nickel basin and marble wall tiles.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Underground detail

“I bought these before we even broke ground,” says Lidia of the kitchen backsplash’s matte-finish subway tiles, which pair well with the focal-point inlay of honed-marble Moroccan-style tiles.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Giving a rustic vibe

Antique wooden spools are a shapely accent.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Kick of colour

Lidia introduced a touch of blue to the tablescape.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

A mix of rustic and refined

A mix of rustic and refined elements lends the spacious kitchen its unique look.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Antique accents

This vintage camera picks up on the home’s primary accent colour.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Keeping it cool

“I find it difficult to live with colour,” says Lidia of the layered neutrals anchored by hits of black she used throughout the great room, from the living area to the dining space to the kitchen.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Drawing the eye

In the living area, the black chandelier draws the eye up to the cathedral ceiling. The armchair beside the fireplace has special meaning – it came with the property. “There was a small house on the land and we found this lovely armchair inside, so it seemed only right to refinish it and give it new life,” says Lidia.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Charming and quirky family home

Designing quirks

Homeowner and designer Lidia van Zyl and her dachshund, Sheeba.

By: Beth Hitchcock Source: Robin Stubbert; styling by Christine Hanlon Credits: Style at Home
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House tour: Charming and quirky family home