A globe-trotting Mexican family fashions their ideal retreat in B.C.'s ski mecca.

Gabrielle Weber was born in Zurich and spent much of her childhood skiing the Swiss Alps, but when she and her husband, film producer and photographer Iván Echeverría, went searching for a mountain retreat of their own, they decided on a more accessible locale: a 3,800-square-foot cabin in Whistler. “It’s too far to go to Switzerland every time I want to ski,” deadpans Weber.

Weber met the Mexico City-native Echeverría during a black-and-white photography exhibit in his home city, and the two quickly became an item. Weber moved to the coastal Mexican community of San Pancho, Nayarit, an hour north of Puerto Vallarta—where Echeverría had a home—and, in 1998, the couple opened La Patrona Polo and Equestrian Club. They still run the acclaimed club (it’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal) and spend most of the high season there. But when the heat soars and rains come, the couple takes to the road.

piano room western living

During a family ski vacation to Whistler almost four years ago, the pair found a European-style cabin in the secluded Bayshores neighbourhood—though it needed some work. A realtor connected them with Lynn Gentile, principal of Cabin Fever Interiors, to help the couple update the mid-’90s interiors.

“The great thing about Gaby is that she is very open and very appreciative of the design industry,” says Gentile, who moved to Whistler in 1996 after working for Yabu Pushelberg in Toronto. “They  let us do our thing. We morphed the spaces and made it into more of a family home.”

Click below to launch a photo gallery of this modern Whistler cabin

Though it was in need of an update, the cabin had its moments. €œThere are several skylights that bring in natural light throughout the day,€ explains Gentile. €œThe floor-to-ceiling glass in the main living space is fantastic, and the open-tread stairs€”they were ahead of their time.€

The family wanted to better use the four-storey space and create distinct retreats for Weber, Echeverría and their two children. (Their son, Alex, is 20, and daughter, Tamara, is 18.)

Throughout the cabin, rooms have been given a contemporary update. The mud room was redrawn to accommodate both laundry and storage for skis and outdoor clothing.

First and foremost was a rethink of the master suite on the top floor€”an awkward space of pitched ceilings and angular nooks. The previous owner, who had a map-making company, had underutilized the entryway off the bedroom, hiding a draft board under the eaves in what was his makeshift office.

€œThey wanted us to make it into something that was cozy yet functional,€ says Gentile, who brought in a striking green low-profile Togo sofa to fit under the eaves, adding display niches and built-in storage, and a backlit glass shelf tucked behind the sofa. Plush white wall-to-wall wool carpets by Burritt Bros. now line the master suite (as well as the living room and kids€™ rooms)€”and, in a final stroke of €œcozy-fication,€ Gentile added a Sub-Zero wine fridge and storage for glasses. €œIt's a little adult getaway,€ she says.

The creative minds behind Rollout’s wallpaper designs bring a stylized mix of foliage and floral motifs to the Indoor Garden patterns ($10 per square foot).

But perhaps the most transformative effort was on the cabin's lower level, which was a self-contained suite for the previous owner's mother. Weber and Echeverría wanted to turn the space into their cinema room.

€œI remember walking through the house with Iván,€ says Gentile with a chuckle. €œHe said, €˜I want the TV on this side and the theatre on that side. And I want a big bed because we€™re Mexicans and we€™re very affectionate!€™€

Working with Livingspace in Vancouver, she was able to custom-build a Moroccan-style Paola Lenti sofa for the room, which the family uses as a stretch-out space for movie watching (along with the colourful Mah Jong modular sofa), and as a bed for visiting guests.

In the kitchen, stacks of plates from potter Janaki Larsen are too pretty to hide away.

And everywhere, white dominates: on the walls, staircase trim€”even the baby grand in the living room. €œWe€™ve had so much wood up here over the years,€ says Gentile. €œIt's such a breath of fresh air to do more West Coast modern.€

Scarf season is upon us. Show off your gauzy wraps and chunky neck warmers with this geometric hanger ($18) from designer Laura Carwardine. And it just so happens to look amazing even when it's empty. Vancouver Special, Vancouver, vanspecial.com; Urban Barn, Victoria and Calgary, urbanbarn.com