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Designer Ami McKay of Pure Design keeps it casual-cool for the holidays, part of the 2020 Kids Help Phone for the Holidays virtual tour.
There’s not a speck of red or green to be found in this West Vancouver home—not a jingle bell in sight. In fact, the main decor elements are coral-hued tropical blossoms. And yet this Ami McKay-designed space feels effortlessly festive.
The principal of Pure Design credits the garland. “Over the fireplace, over the kitchen window, it makes everything feel Christmassy,” she says. “You don’t need to have everything be on-the-nose.” A vase of cedar boughs and a few other seasonal greens carry the theme through, says McKay, and create a baseline for her to think outside the box.
McKay decorated the home as part of last year’s Kids Help Phone Homes for the Holidays tour. The homeowner’s coral napkins got the (colour) wheels turning for the designer, who stocked up on peachy-pink blossoms and plenty of pepper berries from florist Hilary Miles. “The house itself is kind of beachy, so we followed that vibe,” says McKay. She should know: she renovated this same home a few years back, creating a casual coastal space that balances refined, clean lines with a relaxed, beach-house feel.
For the table decor, McKay kept things simple, with a sprinkling of nosegays. A couple of cake stands instantly add some dimension and levels atop the tablescape. “It’s imperfectly perfect, deconstructed and natural,” she says.
Unsurprisingly, the holiday decor follows suit. Here, textiles are favoured over plastic baubles: wool and stone are key ingredients. Presents are wrapped in linens and towels, or tossed into woven baskets. (And a few are enveloped in wallpaper left over from McKay’s other projects.)
The original river rock fireplace stayed during the renovation, but McKay added a clean new mantel and a built-in bookshelf (which also provides a space to stow spare firewood).
During the design process, McKay knocked out a wall into a formerly underused storage area and installed a sliding wood door (custom from Millhouse Industries) instead. Now, the space is used as a family room (above), and connects right to the main living area so Mom and Dad can make dinner while the kids play within earshot.
It’s in line with the home’s usual material palette, which features rugs from Salari and furniture from Inform in pale blues and oatmeal. The outdoor spaces here are special, too—so much so that they deserved their own festive treatment. (“The backyard is literally a mountain,” says McKay.)
The designer tapped Stoops, a West Vancouver-based company that creates seasonal planters for homeowners, to help tackle the exterior design: a wreath hangs over the outdoor fireplace, while simple wood-and-glass candle lanterns nestle into more greenery on the ledge. Even in the bedrooms, the holidays are sprinkled in.
“I think It’s fun to make the kids feel special with a little Christmas in their rooms,” says McKay. Each little one gets their own tree, and a basket spilling over with wool garlands. In the parents’ room, more minimalist greenery makes an appearance over the headboard. “It’s fun to do something fresh, and not just sparkle.”
From the kids’ bedrooms to the backyard, you’ll find a sprinkling of warm, natural holiday touches, whether that’s a tiny fir tree in a woven basket or a loose cluster of greenery at the base of an outdoor fireplace.
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