A well designed space has the power to evoke emotion, forge connection and transform your psychological well being. So when Vancouverite Else Yamaoka first stumbled upon Camp Lifestyle & Coffee shop in Whistler’s Function Junction, she immediately felt transported—back home.
“I was looking at the items they sell and instantly felt connected to the store,” she says. “The tables where you can sit with your computer or read a book in a serene space is exactly how we interact as a family—I felt so at ease, grounded and happy!” Elsa promptly returned her little log cabin nearby and, with a quick Google search, discovered that Camp’s owner, Lynn Gentile of Cabin Fever Interiors, was also its interior designer.
A small exterior porch hived off from the kitchen was appropriated to expand the kitchen without requiring a larger footprint. Natural light floods the expanded galley kitchen with a floor-to-ceiling window. “It’s like the enchanted forest,” says designer Lynn Gentile. “You can now see the trees and all the beautiful light.”
“I called Lynn and told her I was looking for a great space exactly like Camp that could bring us all together,” says Elsa. Since 2008, she and her husband Scott along with their three children, Anna, Zach and Misa (they refer to themselves as the "Yam family") enjoyed weekends at their circa 1979 Whistler cabin, but its footprint and tiny kitchen hampered their enjoyment somewhat. She yearned for spaces where they could all chat and collaborate together, but spaces, too, that allowed them to spread out books or read quietly in a corner alone.
The team at Cabin Fever wanted the millwork cabinetry to match the log walls. “I don’t like lots of different wood finishes,” explains Lynn. “We definitely want that continuum of materials throughout the house.”
She sought a blended mountain modern palette that respected the heritage of her 1,600 square foot abode, but a revamped kitchen as all three kids, now young adults, are “incredible chefs and can throw a 15-course meal together,” she says. “A proper place where we can honour our food—it’s not just about eating, but thinking about what we eat and where it comes from as well as sharing recipes together.”
A white oak Kate Duncan-designed dining table features benches with white painted legs. “It’s a cedar log house, but we introduced all new white oak because it holds colour better,” says Lynn.
That sense of togetherness is what first drew Gentile to the project. “This is the freakin’ cutest family of all time!” she says of Elsa, “a ball of fire” and her clan. Although Gentile’s career began the design of high-profile commercial spaces in Toronto with the likes of Yabu Pushelberg, her last 25 years in Whistler trafficking in residential interiors have offered her the opportunity to connect more directly with the people who live in them like Elsa. “You get to connect with your clients more when you do their personal spaces than when you do their store or their office,” she says. “There’s a real personal connection that you get that’s gratifying.”
Although he’s a Whistler mountain biker, Lynn met Michael Thomas Host of mth woodworks at IDS. “He salvages wood and will even dredge stuff up from the bottom of lakes, clean it out and fill with [eco-friendly, non-toxic] resin,” says Lynn.
The project also offered her a chance to honour one of Whistler’s old cabins. “Log cabins are now being replaced by big boxes in concrete without a stitch of wood,” she says. “But you still want to feel like you’re in the mountains!” Without losing any of its charm, she set about updating the Yam family space—a warm and “chunky” west coast modern vibe.
A grey Bertoia chair from Livingspace flanked by an mth woodworks side table invites quiet, contemplative reading.
With the salvaged exterior logs (removed to make way for the galley kitchen window), Brent Comber crafted a coffee table for the family called “The Yam Table.” A small, integrated ledge was built behind the light grey Togo sofa for Elsa to be able to display small pieces. A wool carpet from Salari and a 100-year-old blanket from a mill in P.E.I. (and sold at Camp) adds texture and warmth. “We try to source everything sustainably made in Canada or North America,” says Lynn.
The “Camp Cot” designed by Cabin Fever Interiors (sold at Camp) sits in the loft offering a quiet corner. “Basically it’s a big pillow in either kid-size or adult-size named after local mountains and made in wool and nylon,” explains the designer.
A newly bumped-out space over the front door creates an outdoor living room with fire pit, heat lamps and basalt floor edged with a concrete bench.
Sofa/sectional : MDF Italia – Mate sofa
Side chair and ottoman: Bertoia
Coffee and end tables: MTH Woodworks salvaged cedar logs with resin
Table and benches: custom by Kate Duncan
Chair: MDF Italia- Flow
Bar stools: MDF Italia- Flow
Light: Brendan Ravenhill – Drum with wood grain interior
Art work: Jimmy Wright Polar Bears
All custom cabinetry and millwork in Oak and paint grade with custom integrated pulls
Hood fan – custom metal
Stove: Fulgor Milano with custom front plate denoting ”the Yam Fam”
Subzero panelled Fridge/freezer, wine fridge and bar fridge
Lights: Brendan Ravenhill- Drum
Sofa/sectional: Lignet Roset- Togo
Wool Blanket: Camp Lifestyle and Coffee Co
Coffee table: Log Jam by Brent Comber( Made from left over logs from reno)
Wall sconces: Marset, Tam Tam
End tables: MTH Woodworks salvaged cedar with resin
Floor Pillow: Camp Cot by Camp Lifestyle and Coffee Co
Mountain pillow: Whistler Blackcomb, Camp Lifestyle and Coffee Co
Outdoor Living Room
Firepit/coffee table: Stix and Stones
Concrete/wood bench: custom by Stix and Stones
Ceiling Light: Finch light