Photography, Carolina Andrade.
The owners’ love of their new home’s location by an apple orchard led the way in the design of the interiors.
For Natalie Owens, founder of the Halifax design firm Stil James, it was close to a dream assignment: longtime friends had just built a custom home in Wolfville, N.S., and needed help transforming it from builder basic to something more personal and exciting. Recent med school graduates, the couple had both landed jobs in the picture-perfect town in the heart of Annapolis Valley apple country. It was natural that they should turn to their friend Natalie to help them transform the new house into a home that better reflected their lifestyle. They also had two important priorities. “One of the property’s greatest assets was the view,” says Natalie. “Especially of the water in the distance and a big apple orchard that bordered the property. As much as possible, they wanted to be able to see the orchard from every vantage point in the home.” The second priority was strictly practical: with a dog, a cat, and their first baby on the way, they needed a design that could stand up to kids and pets. But those were hardly restraints. Natalie knew it could be all that and beautiful, too. For her, helping her friends finish their first family home in such idyllic surroundings was all about taking the long view.
DESIGN, Natalie Owens, Stil James. Dockyard custom SOFA; VASE; ACCESSORIES (in bookcase); CANDLESTICKS; Thornbloom. PILLOWS, striped THROW, RUG, Bellissimo. COFFEE TABLE, Four Hands. ARMCHAIRS, Crate and Barrel. Wicker OCCASIONAL TABLE, STOOL, SMALL TABLE (by window), HomeSense. Checked THROW, Attica. PENDANT LIGHT, Light House Co. PAINT (throughout house, except where noted), Seapearl OC-19, Benjamin Moore.
Functionality, durability and a design that embraces the home’s wonderful views were as important as aesthetics to its young homeowners. In the living room, which is open to the kitchen, designer Natalie Owens responded by combining hard-wearing fabrics in creamy neutrals with durable wood and wicker furniture. Spice-toned accents add colour while mixed metals provide contrasting texture.
Caneback CHAIRS, CB2. RUG, Loloi Rugs. WALLPAPER, Farrow & Ball. CHANDELIER, Visual Comfort.
At first, the dining room was finished in all creams – the better to show off the family heirloom dining table. “But after it was done, we realized it was kind of bland!” Natalie laughs. The solution: Farrow & Ball’s classic Hornbeam wallpaper in a teal colourway, which brings the needed zing, as well as subtly references the real apple trees just outside.
Four Hands STOOLS, Hammock. PENDANT LIGHTS, Hudson Valley Lighting Group. CABINETRY HARDWARE, RH. DISHWARE (on shelves), Fable.
Convenience and comfort, even if it costs a little more, was the priority in the kitchen. Splurges, such as the island’s custom butcher-block countertop and the shimmering tiles of the backsplash, will provide hardwearing beauty for years to come. Small touches like the wood trim on the range hood, the brass drawer pulls and the bell-jar-shaped pendants over the island add polish.
Gleeze BACKSPLASH TILES (kitchen and pantry), Centura.
The walk-through pantry is a transition area bridging the dining room and the kitchen. Open wood shelving and a custom wine rack (a gift from the builder who made the house) look jaunty against the turquoise glazed tile, which not only picks up the tones of the dining room wallpaper but also conjures imaginings of the sea, just down the road.
“Sightlines were very important. From every window, you look out on the orchard and the water in the distance.”
BED, PILLOWS, THROW, RUG, SIDE TABLES, LAMPS, ARMCHAIR, Attica. BED LINENS, Parachute. STOOLS, HomeSense. WINDOW TREATMENT, McEvoy Custom Blinds. FLUSHMOUNT LIGHT, Visual Comfort. ARTWORK, Leilany Garron and Office Interiors.
It really started with the bed, which the owners had chosen early on, says Natalie. A mix of saves and splurges – the stools are from HomeSense, the lamps and tomato red armchair from high-end Halifax shop Attica – lends an air of sophistication without breaking the bank. Dark and light toned woods keep the room from looking matchy-matchy. The artwork by Leilany Garron was found at an Office Interiors store.
WALL AND FLOOR TILES, Centura. SHOWER AND TUB FIXTURES, Kohler. WINDOW TREATMENTS, McEvoy Custom Blinds. PAINT, Dove White OC-17, Benjamin Moore.
The ensuite features a mix of subtle contrasts that add interest without distracting from the tranquil scenery. Matte-finish flooring tiles laid in a herringbone pattern contrast the artisanal look of the creamy square shower tiles. The light fixture, with its oil-rubbed bronze base, adds a more subtle contrast with the gold fixtures and faucets.
Step inside this Scandi-Chic holiday home