by Janice Henshaw | photos by Janis Jean Photography
Aesthetic, functional, comfortable spaces with a unified flow – isn’t that what we would all like our homes to look and feel like when we come in the door? Some of us have that magical talent to make it happen, and others, well, people like me, go out and buy a piece of furniture or paint a room and then wonder: “What could I have been thinking?”
When Rob and Leanne, who built their waterfront home in Cordova Bay 10 years ago, decided it was time for a significant interior update, they wisely chose to work with a professional. They enlisted the help of interior designer Trudi Jones (Trudi Jones Interior Design). When I parked on Cordova Bay Road, I could hardly wait to see what was behind the garage and hedges that hid the 3,000-square-foot West Coast contemporary home.
One forgets all about city distractions when you enter the serenely quiet house. The stunning view of Cordova Bay and the white sandy beach is full-on amazing. There is almost a seamless transition from the inside to outside living, and light floods in from the row of skylights, large windows and huge folding patio doors. New rattan lawn furniture from Wicker Land sits invitingly on the walk-out patio. The sparkling blue sea and sandy beach beckon – how can one stay inside?
But there are rainy days! One of the main items addressed in the home design process was the polished gray concrete floor on the main level. Secondly, the furniture was to be replaced, and among other things, the glass tile backsplash in the kitchen possibly changed. Leanne said: “Ironically, we didn’t end up changing the floor or backsplash because what it came down to was making the space more aesthetically pleasing so that those things weren’t as noticeable to me.”
The concrete floor turned out to be an easy fix: it’s now almost entirely covered by two large wool carpets from Morocco, which tie everything together. The shag texture is warm and cozy, and the cream colour matches their dog’s coat which all dog lovers know is an excellent idea. Leanne had initially thought of buying some interesting and colourful rugs; however, Trudi advised her: “Less is more. You don’t want to take away from your art and everything else; you want something more neutral in the carpeting.”
By enhancing the interiors, Trudi said their goal was to “create a soft, organic, and contemporary living space that marries well with the beautiful surroundings and the west coast lifestyle.” They opted to utilize the dramatic redesign of the fireplace and dining table as focal points, surrounding each in complementary furniture, colour and texture.
The new maple wood dining room table built by Matthew Lopez contains an insert covered in glass that resembles a flowing riverbed. Leanne chose and varnished the rocks from various beaches she had visited. An exquisite art sculpture of a salmon perched on river rock was designed by glass artist Christopher Smith. Trica, a Quebec-based furniture company, manufactured the grey/charcoal faux leather dining room chairs and velvet blue low-backed stools at the kitchen island. Still to be chosen is a pendant light over the dining room, which will tie in with the blacks and golds in the foyer. “We want to find one that won’t obstruct the view,” says Leanne, “yet brings intimacy through lighting down to the table.”
At the opposite end of the open concept design is the built-in TV and gas fireplace. The tile surround is a ribbed charcoal marble with white streaks. Leanne says it is one of her favourite parts of the new design. “It extends the room out, brings the open bamboo staircase into the colouring and pulls in a little blue reflection from the sofa.” The shelves to the side have new lighting for a nighttime glow and contrast well with the tiles. Leanne’s lovely painting of the ocean and sky is mounted on the interior wall adding dynamic colour and light. “It was a bit of a stretch for me to do it on that big of a canvas!” Having your own unique work of art on display in your home makes it very special.
King Living, an Australian furniture company, designed the gray/blue sectional couch. “When we were looking for a sofa,” said Leanne, “we went through different iterations and brought home several fabric swatches, so it did take a while to narrow it down, but this just felt like what I was looking for.” The stylish bronze and blue diagonal throw pillows were made by Designers Guild from England. Two creamy Himolla Aura Recliners from Germany have integrated foot and headrests that transform them from a relaxing recliner into a club-style lounge chair. “Himolla” is the combination of three words: heavenly, cozy and pleasant. Art pieces on display – the bowl (Burt Lambier) and vase (Mary Fox) – are from The Gallery at Mattick’s Farm.
Teddy, the couple’s beloved pooch, wasn’t forgotten in the design of the home. He has a spacious grotto built under the open bamboo stairs with windows at floor level so he can check what’s going on outside. It’s an excellent place for his dog bed, toys and food dishes. Leanne has added a new rug and comfy chair and loves to curl up with Teddy and read a good book.
Trudi said the intention in the main bedroom was to “soften the overall room and bring the airy and gentle beach feel inside.” The main wall behind the headboard is a soft sea blue trimmed in white (Benjamin Moore – Solitude). St. Genève bedding from muffet & louisa in Sidney tones down the blue and brings in a little more gray, as do the two new gray lamps. It’s a gorgeous canvas of the sea and sky outside, bringing in lovely blues, purples, and gray. (Laurent bedframe by Huppé, Quebec).
Other changes include blue seagrass-like wallpaper in the main level powder room, which Trudi said should be like a “little jewel!” Contemporary recessed ceiling lights with dimmer switches have been installed throughout the home. Candlelit black and gold bowls arranged artistically add warmth to the main entry. Leanne says the new Paulig wool rug from Chester Fields reminds her of pebbles on the beach. Another vibrant art piece by Leanne adds intrigue and colour.
The new interior design work has been a terrific success! Teamwork, collaboration, expertise, and a healthy budget have created a home of beautiful spaces that reflect Rob and Leanne’s design aesthetic. And when you look at the ocean view, it’s easy to say that this home has it all!