“I’ve never worked with a couple who were totally on the same page,” says Kyla Bidgood, principal designer of Bidgood. She knew this Victoria home designed by D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism would be no exception—in fact, she knew the homeowners (and their contrasting tastes) very well. Shara and Rob are close friends of Bidgood’s, and the designer is a regular guest at their beloved Sunday night dinners—offering her pretty valuable insight into the needs of the couple and their two young sons.
The exterior of the home was dreamed up by architects at DAU (D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism). The western red cedar exterior siding was charred using shou sugi ban, a Japanese method of weatherproofing. All the gorgeous landscapoing—including bamboo and fern, a small herb garden maple trees at the front and back—is by Biophilia Collective. Photo by James Jones.
“One of the biggest factors was how much they love to entertain,” explains Bidgood. As those Sunday night dinners might indicate, pre- (and surely post-) pandemic, Shara and Rob's home was often filled with guests. It was clear to everyone that a functional, open and dynamic space was required. But when it came to style, there was a gap that needed bridging. “Shara loves colour and pattern—even in the way she dresses,” says Bidgood. “She always has cool shoes, or something a little sparkly or frilly, whereas Rob is very minimal. He loves clean, simple, straightforward.”
To keep the sightlines to the fireplace clear, Bidgood opted not to install a chandelier over the dining table. No suspended overhead lighting also means that there’s flexibility to move the table around for the couple’s dinner parties. Photo by James Jones.
To balance out the couple’s different ideas, the designer used bright (but not too bold) materials in more architectural, clean-lined forms. In the kitchen, cabinets were lacquered in a grey that is neutral but rich, and can appear blue or green depending on the time of day. The leather banquette in the breakfast nook provides another splash of colour, and white pendants from Vancouver’s Andlight make a playful statement over the island. “They’re a family of four, so they won’t be eating at their giant dining room table every day,” says Bidgood. The lowered pendant light and ceiling creates a cozier space for day-to-day family time. Black hardware and white oak flooring ground the space, and carry through the rest of the home.
In fact, there’s a seamless integration of practicality and personality in every corner. The same versatile blue-green that splashes the cabinets in the kitchen was used for built-ins in the den, and the colour helps to camouflage the TV. Hexagonal patterned tiles from Juju Paper compliment the all-black cabinetry in the powder room, and hand-drawn, crayon-like designs dot the walls in the children’s bathroom.
The gorgeous staircase in the centre of the home is clad in the same white oak as the floors, and the textured concrete fireplace is a humble focal point. “Sometimes double height ceilings can give a space a cold feeling,” says the designer, who in turn added warm, textured details, like the leather ochre sofa, to the living room. “We wanted to balance those really beautiful architectural features with a more family-friendly vibe.”
The beautiful architectural features are thanks to D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism, who ensured that the homeowners’ needs were met inside and out. The stunning dark wood exterior of the home was crafted using using shou sugi ban, a Japanese method of weatherproofing—locally milled red cedar was charred to make the hardy siding. It’s a material that looks sleek from afar, but is textured to the touch. Walking the tightrope between utility and beauty was a team effort.
The mashup of minimalism and whimsy was made to measure for the family—literally. Rob stands at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, and every counter and tabletop in the space was thoughtfully crafted to be comfortable for both he and Shara. As good as it looks in photos, this serene space was designed for living: cooking, entertaining, and playing. “They said from the beginning, this house isn’t going to be a showpiece,” says Bidgood. “They wanted it to be practical and functional, and for their family to live there for a very long time. This is their forever home.”
More Photos of This Gorgeous Victoria Home
James JonesJames JonesJames JonesJames JpnesJames JonesJames JonesJames JonesJames JonesJames JonesJames JonesMismatched Andlight pendants add a bit of quirk to the kitchen, and exposed wiring creates another dimension. “Because the cord is not pulled taught, it’s sculptural in itself,” says Bidgood. Photo by James Jones.James Jones