Photography: Tracey Ayton | Design: Stephanie Giesbrecht
With textural touches and layers of coziness and warmth, this light and bright family home in Surrey, B.C., serves up sophisticated style.
Sometimes you discover a winning recipe but need to tweak it to make it your own. Such was the case when Amber and Matthew Stowe purchased their ’80s-built 2,900-square-foot home in Surrey, B.C. They were drawn to its Colonial-style exterior, quiet neighbourhood and big backyard. Although the space was dark and dated, Matthew, a well-known chef, especially relished the chance to put his own stamp on the large eat-in kitchen.
As soon as they moved in, the couple gave the kitchen an extensive facelift, complete with a full suite of professional-grade appliances, new cabinetry, quartz countertops and a bright and kid-friendly eat-in area for themselves and their two boys, Gavin, 7, and Benjamin, 4. Once that space was fresh and functional, “it made every other room in the house feel even older,” says Amber. “The family room was 50 shades of beige, and the brown and beige theme ran throughout the house.” Poor lighting contributed to the dark decor.
Rather than tackle the rest of the house in a piece-meal fashion, the couple hired designer Stephanie Giesbrecht of Stephanie Jean Design to overhaul it in one go. They had admired her bright, clean and classic style from afar and wanted the same look for their home. “The goal was for the whole house to be light and airy yet warm,” says Stephanie.
The biggest impact came when new wide-plank light French oak flooring was laid throughout. For furnishings, the emphasis was placed on durable finishes that would stand up to the two boys and the family’s dog. Stephanie also introduced plenty of coziness to the monochromatic scheme with texture and pattern. All of this came together to create a welcoming and stylish home where family and friends gather to share special meals. It was a winning recipe indeed.
The fireplace in the living room was rebuilt with a classic white mantel and marble mosaic tile.
The cream-toned braided rug adds texture and coziness in the family room, where soft neutrals reign. Large potted plants bring in fresh colour.
Sunlight bounces around the family room, which is now a bright and welcoming space thanks to a lick of paint, new flooring and light finishes.
A distressed dresser brings warmth to the home’s otherwise bright white entryway.
Homeowner Matthew Stowe, a winner of Top Chef Canada, loves entertaining at home in his newly appointed kitchen. White cabinetry, quartz countertops and simple white subway tiles keep the emphasis on the amazing food and company. Designer Stephanie Giesbrecht brought the wow factor to the kitchen when she found the perfect globe pendant lights for above the island.
Enlarged and framed, a recipe hand written by Matthew’s greatgrandmother has pride of place on the wall in the kitchen’s eat-in area.
“The black and white floral wallpaper brings elegance and pattern to the room, and the brass light fixture warms things up,” says Stephanie.
A custom armoire that holds entertaining essentials fits perfectly within a recessed nook in the dining room. “They wanted a space that was neutral enough to let holiday dec orations shine,” says Stephanie.