October 16th, and a beautiful Spring day here on Gabriola..
After much thought and referring to the wisdom of my style icon Kathryn Ireland, designer, author and all round creator of all things beautiful, I have decided to call our main floor the "great room".
After all it is not just a big room, it is the room where everything happens. In the morning we start out the day with coffee, magazines, papers and crossword puzzles and at the end of the day we come together for a glass of wine or gin and tonic and review the day before starting dinner.
At one of the room is our sitting area which snuggles up around the wood burning stove. This is definitely my favorite area of our house, as it is light and bright and cozy and open all at once. At the other end of the room is the kitchen and dining area, although I have serious problems with the expression dining room, we don't dine, we eat here!
Because there are so many windows in the space and it is south facing there is lots and lots of light; which when you live in the middle of a forest in the northern hemisphere is a good thing. We are actually surrounded by other properties but because there are so many trees and you would never know it. That being said, it is lovely to live in a quiet, secluded neighborhood with the beach and fields with horses and cows just down the road, knowing that our neighbors and friends are not far away for impromptu cocktails and games of street hockey.
|Sitting area of the "great room" with the fire blazing..|
|Eating area of the "great room"|
|Kitchen and dining area of the "great room"|
As you can probably see this house is a "timber frame" house made with fir grown and milled right on this island. It sits on a cement slab which has thermal floor heating, and that with the wood stove makes it lovely and warm in the winter and lovely and cool in the summer. We bought the house when it was only a year old, and still sitting in the building site surrounded by blackberries, weeds and wild brambles. The floor hadn't been finished, and I had a picture in my head from an Australian design magazine of a deep, ocean blue which would ground this huge, two story room. Fortunately we did the floor in the middle of a beautiful July summer and could put everything in the house in the front yard including the tub, fridge, stove etc while the very labor intensive, time consuming and stinky process took place. A week later we were able to move everything back in just in time for my mum to visit from Australia.
The woman who built the house had a very spare, chiaroscuro esthetic which I admired a lot, but I just cannot resist colour for very long, especially red. Eventually the whole look came together, calm white walls, dark blue/black floor with a motley blend of comfortable furniture, artwork, salvaged treasures and my beloved blue and white collection of pottery and china. The red antique dresser filled with our everyday china was from a farm in Saskatchewan by way of Fort Langley.
The side table beside the white, slip covered (with painters drop cloth) sofa is a vintage Singer sewing machine base with my husband's teenage skim board screwed to the top. It just is one of those things that you carry around for years, because it is so pretty and he made it himself, and all of a sudden you think of the perfect way to use it.
|Saskatchewan dresser with 7 coats of red paint|
|Sewing machine base with skim board top|
|Blue and white and red, what can I say...|
|That ice cream sign is a real, honest to goodness beach find|