Interior designer Susan Bilbey first saw Dinesen flooring in an art gallery in Europe and knew she had to have it for her own house back home. “I fell in love with the warmth and serenity their long planks afforded—like bringing the forest into the house.”
Bilbey worked closely with custom home designer Alex Glegg and Meister Construction to build a four-bed, four-bath home for her young family and made sure to order extra Dinesen fir flooring to create a series of feature walls: one in the master bedroom, another in the powder room and the third belongs in a seating nook next to the living room fireplace. “Using the same distinct material throughout the house acts as an anchor and ties the spaces together,” she says.
The Vancouver home’s palette is very West Coast with mist-like tones of white and grey, but Bilbey wasn’t afraid to inject some bold colour. In the dining room, Bilbey selected a large green and blue piece in polymer resin, "Achilles Bank and Parsinana" by Tom Burrows. “The depth of colour in these pieces is amazing,” says Bilbey. “I often think: water and mountains.”
The chairs are Maruni Hiroshima. The table, a RIVA 1920, isn’t sealed but has an oiled finish, explains the designer. The surface can be sanded down to remove any stains (“or, marks made by say, a seven-year-old”) and then the oak can be re-oiled. “We’ve had the table and chairs now for seven years and they look as good now as the day we got them.”
In the playful and bright kids’ rooms, the mounted artwork are either originals or hand-selected picks from son Charlie and daughter Eva.
One of Bilbey’s favourite parts of her home is that the living room doesn’t have a TV. “The living room is for games, entertaining, conversation and reading,” she says. “It feels unplugged.”
The living room art is a chromogenic print from Michael Wolf called "Paris Rooftops" and it’s such a conversation starter: there is one animal and one person in it, so it acts like a Magic Eye meets Where’s Waldo.
“I’m not a huge fan of ornamentation for the sake of filling space on shelves, I’d rather those pieces be useful and purposeful. If I place a vase in a space, it’s because I use it for flowers. If there are extra pillows, it’s because they are used for extra seating.”