Photos by Tracey Ayton

Why compete with the view, when you can embrace it? Designing her family’s own 2,700-square-foot, three-bedroom home in Vancouver Island’s Nanoose Bay, Motto Interior Design principal Lindsay Steele sought to bring in the ocean views and tree-lined landscapes to the space at every turn. With the help of architect Mark Simone from Shelter, she embraced a “more-is-more” philosophy for windows: you’ll find oversized panes (in modern black frames) on all sides of the house to maximize both nature and light. The living room’s sliding doors open up fully to further amplify the indoor-outdoor connection during warmer days.

The large windows also help the rooms feel more expansive than they are. Height restrictions in the area meant that ceilings were capped at eight feet on each of the home’s two levels—save for the double-high vaulted ceiling in the main living area that adds a serious wow-factor. And yes, that’s a skylight that lines the ridge of the arch, allowing even more sunshine to trickle in.

But of course, there’splenty to love here besides the view: a clean, contemporary home, perfect for a young family. Hitting that sweet spot between clean lines and coziness is a trick, but one Steele pulled off smoothly. “We wanted our space to feel casual, filled with things that we love, and nothing else,” says the designer.

Photos from Inside This Fresh Family Home on Vancouver Island


A Bocci 28 light hangs over the dining room table (lined with Hay seats), while a Saba Italia sofa from Brougham Interiors offers a cozy spot to snuggle up in the living room. “It’s slip-covered, so we can order a whole new cover if we ever want,” says Steele—another great toddler-proofing strategy.


Of course, you might skip the sofa once you catch sight of the built in benches that flank the fireplace. “I love built-in benches in homes,” says Steele. “They are such a great use of space, and a great cozy spot to sit near a window and read a book.” (Custom cushions are forthcoming.) The added storage these low-slung cabinets offer is endlessly handy, too. Elsewhere in the house, Ikea Pax cabinetry offers even more space to stow things out of sight. “I love that they practically look like built-ins, but are much more economical,” says Steele.

FIR SURE It took months to select the right finish for the fir paneling on the ceiling. “We wanted to ensure it wouldn’t be too pink-ish,” says Steele—but the results are perfect: slightly bleached and warm. The flooring, meanwhile, is engineered oak.


In the kitchen, white Quartz countertops and a porcelain slab backsplash are paired with white cabinetry by Mid Island Cabinets to create a bright, seamless look. Hay stools line the countertop (“They’re easy to keep clean—a high priority since we have a toddler and another baby on the way!” says Steele) and an a&tradition Copenhagen light hangs overhead.


A Vangogh Design bed is paired with a Mobital Blanch night stand.


Even the bathroom features a large window overlooking the ocean. Oak cabinetry here brings the warmth, alongside simple finishes.

Originally published April 13, 2021