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Elegant. Interesting. Functional. Transitional design melds old-world touches with modern aesthetic

Featuring both traditional and modern elements, Oak Bay home unites the best of both worlds
Modern and traditional aspects are balanced throughout in virtually every aspect of the design. Photography Spartan Media

 Situated at the corner of Byng Street and Central Avenue, one of Oak Bay’s newest houses brings together aspects of both traditional and modern 
aesthetics in a well-crafted example of “transitional” design.

Finished with a simple black and white exterior palette and a warm, open interior stocked with natural finishes, the five-bedroom home uses a number of design techniques to meld the different styles inside and out, into what Aman Gill calls “a modern farmhouse.”

A second-generation builder and president of Patriot Homes, Aman has built more than 40 homes since expanding the business into Victoria in 2013 – many of them in Oak Bay – and this project offered an exciting first for him and his team.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this type of style,” he says, “and I think our team executed it really well.”

The striking fireplace takes centre stage. Photography Spartan Media

Modern and traditional aspects are balanced throughout in virtually every aspect of the design. The exterior is done in white stucco accented with black in the window frames, the garage door and the roof, and leans to a bright, contemporary look, while the staggered roof lines, arched front entrance and echoing arch in the front door call back to something more classic.

The team also used PVC piping to create a visual feature reminiscent of traditional siding, and it anchors the home nicely in the midst of its neighbours, as does the original mature landscaping that surrounds the corner lot.

Stepping inside through the main entrance, a striking wall of rift-cut oak slats guarding the stairs immediately commands attention, as does a unique inset ceiling feature. Made from the same rift-cut oak that flows through the whole house, the ceiling feature pulls subtle inspiration from the coffered ceilings so often found in Oak Bay and adds personality to the home.

“Those elements you’d normally find in a traditional house – wainscoting and crown moulding, for example – those custom features are what make a house stand out,” says Aman. “So we found ways to work in traditional elements.”

Modern convenience and efficiency were definitely top of mind when it came to designing the kitchen. Photography Spartan Media

The materials themselves do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to incorporating a traditional feel. Natural woods like the oak cabinetry and the fir doors bring warmth in both colour and feel. The white quartz of the kitchen island’s countertop is lightly veined with grey, injecting some visual interest, along with the brushed gold-tone hardware and light fixtures overhanging the island.

Modern convenience and efficiency were definitely top of mind when it came to designing the kitchen. The stainless steel fridge and stove are larger than usual – ideal for either a cuisine-inclined couple or a bigger family – and there’s a built-in coffee maker to free up counter space.

A walk-in pantry offers roomy shelves and a tall window that lets in a huge amount of natural light. And even the layout of the cabinets was designed to make the kitchen efficient and comfortable to use.

“Every house I’ve built, it’s not just about looks, it’s also about functionality,” says Aman.

Everything from the proximity of the sink to the stove, to the roll-out spice cabinet beside the stovetop, and the extra room around the garbage and compost cabinets in the island, was considered from a user perspective.

Moving into the living room, classic and modern aesthetics blend neatly in the background while the striking fireplace takes centre stage. Framed with black porcelain tiles shot through with gold like crackling lightning, the fireplace stretches to the ceiling and brings a boldness to the design. Low oak cabinetry on either side is topped with a flat black finish, complementing the black hardware and creating a foundation for the centrepiece.

The primary bedroom and en suite have an elegant luxury that pulls from the best of both designs. 
Photography Spartan Media

Opposite the fireplace, the built-in bar with its mini-fridge and artfully lit shelves offers the perfect place to grab a pre-movie drink, no matter the decade.

Upstairs, the primary bedroom and en suite have an elegant luxury that pulls from the best of both designs. The gridded windows and natural wood flooring balance the sleek see-through gas fireplace that leads into the en suite, where a deep soaker tub and heated towel rack promise relaxation.

Having toured the whole house, patterns emerge – like the use of geometric shapes in the smaller rooms that create a wonderful sense of personality. Another example is the grass-cloth floor tiles in the laundry and mud room, where the soft woven hexagonal pattern adds warmth and texture, particularly against the unexpected French blue of the cabinets.

Or there’s the dart-shaped tiles in the powder room by the front door, set behind a circular mirror and a double-mitred dropped countertop. Raised sinks call attention to their curves contrasted against the right angles of the cabinetry. Every light fixture – save the gold-brushed hanging lights in the kitchen – is a variation of a glass case, brushed black base and clear bulbs with exposed filaments. But each is a little different, depending on how it needs to fit into its space.

Tall, rectangular lights flank the tall, oblong mirrors in the en suite, while down the hall in the main bathroom, a set of four globe lights sits over an arched mirror that perfectly echoes the curve of the front door.

Even downstairs in the basement (or “party room,” as Aman says with a smile), the entertainment area is finished with a pentagonal walk-in bar, accented with black lines and wooden brackets beneath the overhanging counter, creating intriguing visual lines and focal points.

Beyond the visual aesthetic, a huge part of the “modern” design is behind the walls. There’s an installed generator to use as backup in the event of power outages, two heat pumps (one to separately control each floor) and sound proofing insulation throughout.

The foundation uses insulated concrete forms (or ICF), which ramp energy efficiency way up. “Every house we do, that’s our standard,” says Aman. “It’s much better performing because it’s insulated on the outside and the inside.”

The home takes the best of both worlds – from the hidden energy-efficiency features to the convenience of the layout and the comfort of being in each space – and melds old-world touches with modern design, and the result is a welcoming, interesting, elegant space.

Photography Spartan Media

Supplier List:

Architect/Design: Josh Collins of Adapt Design

Interior Design: Patriot Homes

Construction and Interior Finishing: Barnes Concrete Forming and Absolute Finishing Carpentry

Interior Drywall: Malibu Drywall

Painting: Strength of Colours

Doors: Active Doors

Windows: Plygem Windows

Cabinetry and Millwork: Excellent Ideas of Kitchens

Flooring: Hourigan’s Flooring and Showroom Designworks

Tiling: City Tile and LL Montini

Lighting: Mclaren Lighting

Plumbing Fixtures: Andrew Sheret, Splashes and Macgregor Mechanical

Countertops: Kings Granite

Appliances: Trail Appliances

Landscaping: Ardent Landscaping

Stucco: DeCicco Brothers

Home Automation: Wired Up

Heating: RedBlue Heating and Cooling

Roofing: R&D Roofing Closets,

Mirrors, Shower Doors: Maple Glass