The end of the year is a natural time to look back, but when you work in the magazine business, “self-reflection” doesn’t just mean reminiscing about your favourite stories (although, to be fair, we do that too): our annual retrospective involves nerding out over a spreadsheet of web stats. It means poring over your website traffic to see just what made your readers happy this year.

And so, please join us in a little trip down very-recent-memory lane, as we share the 10 most popular stories from the past 12 months. If you had a fave story that didn’t make the cut, we want to hear from you. Post your throwbacks on Instagram and tag @westernliving. Here’s to another wonderful year of sharing beautiful homes and beautiful people with our beautiful readers.

Photo: Jon Adrian.

10. This Stunning Home on a Kelowna Apple Orchard Has Separate Wings for Living and Sleeping

You can’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, and this home designed by architect Randy Bens prioritizes that all-important downtime. In fact, there’s a whole wing of the house dedicated to it. The Kelowna house, which backs on to a gorgeous apple orchard, has a “living” wing and a “sleeping” wing that connect only via a five-foot-wide, gallery-like hallway. 

Photo: Sama Jim Canzian

9. This Modern Lakeside Home Captures Gorgeous Views Inside and Out

Lakeside homes are inevitably geared toward that ultimate money view: the lake itself. But this modern home above Lake Kalamalka in Vernon, designed by  Nigel Parish of Vancouver’s Splyce, offered an embarrassment of riches when it came to views: yes, you’d see the lake to the north east and south, but to the west are gorgeous rolling hills and grasslands that were also worthy of capturing in the design of the space. 

Photo: Ema Peter

8. Inside Former NHL Player Dan Hamhuis’s Stunning Modern Home in Northern B.C.

When former NHL star Dan Hamhuis approached Vancouver-based design firm Falken Reynolds with what he humbly describes as “simple thoughts of how we wanted the house to be”—a home that was part mountain cabin, part lakefront house—principals Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds took the mash-up concept and happily ran with it. The result is a 4,100-square-foot modern home, warm and bright, that celebrates the landscape and the active family’s outdoor lifestyle. 

7. 15 Best Hidden-Gem Restaurants in Southern Alberta

Road trips are always more interesting when you head off the beaten path, but there’s no reason you should have to resort to gas station snacks or drive-thrus when your stomach starts to groan from hours on the road. In fact, sometimes a restaurant (or pub, or farmers’ market, or brewery) becomes the destination—and one well worth the journey, at that. Here, food writer Julie Van Rosendaal maps out the Alberta spots worth seeking out when you have a day, weekend or just an afternoon to get outta dodge.

Designers of the Year 2022 Winners

6. Meet the 2022 Designers of the Year Winners

From striking architecture to inspiring interior design to incredible handmade wares, the portfolios of these designers are truly spectacular. Experts from around the world had the (very difficult) task of selecting the best of the best for our 2022 awards. Thank you to our judges, our finalists and to all who entered—through mindful, inventive, and beautiful design, you’re making the West a better place to be.

5. Where to Purchase Orange Shirts for Canada Day

Since the discovery of the 215 Indigenous children’s bodies in the mass grave at Kamloops Residential School in 2021— a number that keeps climbing as truth is uncovered at more schools — flags across the country have been flown at half-mast and people have been wearing orange shirts to show their solidarity and commitment to reconciliation. This year, we spotlighted seven designs by local organizations or creators and where the proceeds will be donated to Indigenous causes that will help advance reconciliation and keep these conversations going.

4. We’re Loving This Flat-Pack Cabin Design from Leckie Studio

The Back Country Hut Company is here to satisfy design lovers with no patience: the company, founded by Wilson Edgar and former Designer of the Year winner Michael Leckie in 2015, sells modular flat-pack cabins: literally a house-in-a-box that ships right to the build site.

3. Western Living‘s Foodies of the Year 2022

While we usually aim to highlight Western Canada’s top 10 most impactful foodies, this year, we had to celebrate 13—there are a lot of awesome duos in this industry, what can we say? Check out our roster of  40+ finalists and ead on to learn more about the folks who are changing the way we grow, cook and eat food—for the better.

2. A Gift Guide for the Yellowstone Fan in Your Family

With Season 5 in full swing it’s abundantly clear that Yellowstone ain’t Succession. The writing is a bit more leaden, the characters more stock, the (melo)drama even more unrealistic. But you can’t beat Yellowstone‘s gear. The rough hewn clothes, the rugged stuff that makes even the most city slicker amongst us long to summon their inner cowboy.

1. The Top 5 Finalists for Home of the Year 2022

It all started with 15 incredible homes, and then thousands of votes later, we narrowed it down to five worthy finalists. Looks back to see who made it to the end of this gruelling competition, and then celebrate this year’s Home of the Year winner.