A LOOK INSIDE AN URBAN RETREAT

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Talk to anyone associated with creating Margaret Halabura’s light-infused urban retreat in Fairfield and they’ll immediately start raving about the work of the other collaborators involved and the easy flow of ideas. From Halabura to architect Peter de Hoog to contractor Stewart Story, and interior designer Sandy Nygaard, the design execution was so seamless the house appears to be the creation of a single visionary.

Halabura put her complete trust in the expertise of her team. Her wish list was simple: privacy, lots of natural light, and volumes of concrete. The finished house is a stunning monument to the cooperation involved. “I keep clamouring on about it,” she says. “I feel fortunate to have had the privilege of working with the best of the best here in Victoria.”

Outside, an inviting curved stairway leads visitors to the main door. Towering exterior stone walls echo the stonework of the dramatic floating fireplace found inside. Panels in the wood-framed front windows give the illusion of a single large window but hide the divide between the floors.

Throughout the house, three main colours are repeated in the tones of the materials and décor: the warmth of the maple, the muted grey of the concrete and stone, and the soft white of the walls. The flow of these elements in every part of the home, and the simple way they complement each other, adds to the minimalist appeal of the space.

A unique architectural feature is found in the raised windows that wrap the perimeter of many of the rooms. A nod to original modern design of the 1930s, they ensure plenty of privacy, while giving a sense of openness and allowing lots of natural light to flood in.

High ceilings, simple lines, and great light make the house a perfect showroom for Halabura’s extensive art collection, giving the space a gallery-like vibe.

“I’m drawn to art pieces that have colours that appeal to me or invoke a particular feeling or memory,” she says. “… I don’t worry too much if a particular piece will fit in with the décor or not.“ And that’s the beauty of a home like this: its lines are so simple, its bones so strong, that it acts as the ideal setting for art, never overwhelming the pieces and never detracting from the most important art of all — the art of living beautifully.

The home’s simple palette and Halabura’s extensive art collection gives it a gallery-like character. Artist Caroline James’s painting “Song Sparrow Receiving” adds an eye-catching pop of teal to the living room. The concrete surrounding the doorway is part of a concrete spine that runs through the centre of the house as a dramatic structural element.

The home’s simple palette and Halabura’s extensive art collection gives it a gallery-like character. Artist Caroline James’s painting “Song Sparrow Receiving” adds an eye-catching pop of teal to the living room. The concrete surrounding the doorway is part of a concrete spine that runs through the centre of the house as a dramatic structural element.

The stone around the floating fireplace acts as the focal point for the house, and pulls in the warm tones from the maple and the concrete. It also hides the neighbouring house, while the windows around the perimeter offer a soothing view of the trees and let in plenty of natural light.

The stone around the floating fireplace acts as the focal point for the house, and pulls in the warm tones from the maple and the concrete. It also hides the neighbouring house, while the windows around the perimeter offer a soothing view of the trees and let in plenty of natural light.

The kitchen is done entirely in maple, a blonde wood chosen for its warm tones and lack of distracting grain. White bar stools from Parc Modern, Corian counters, and stainless steel appliances from Viking (fridge and stove) and Fisher & Paykel (dishwasher) maintain the home’s serene palette.

The kitchen is done entirely in maple, a blonde wood chosen for its warm tones and lack of distracting grain. White bar stools from Parc Modern, Corian counters, and stainless steel appliances from Viking (fridge and stove) and Fisher & Paykel (dishwasher) maintain the home’s serene palette.

The pantry, with its sliding doors, serves as a room divider between the dining room and kitchen. Its textured Adzed panel by Jim Barker brings in an element of contrast. A simple Hubbardon & Forge light fixture hangs above the table, which was designed by Nygaard and built by Cowichan Valley Millworks. Throughout the house, the unique recessed baseboards with an etched shadow line add to the clean aesthetic.

The pantry, with its sliding doors, serves as a room divider between the dining room and kitchen. Its textured Adzed panel by Jim Barker brings in an element of contrast. A simple Hubbardon & Forge light fixture hangs above the table, which was designed by Nygaard and built by Cowichan Valley Millworks. Throughout the house, the unique recessed baseboards with an etched shadow line add to the clean aesthetic.

The concrete walls were refinished to give a smooth, leather-like feel. The floating stairs with their tempered glass panels maintain the clean lines of the rest of the home and don’t distract from vivid art pieces like David Alexander’s colourful “Evening with Morris.”

The concrete walls were refinished to give a smooth, leather-like feel. The floating stairs with their tempered glass panels maintain the clean lines of the rest of the home and don’t distract from vivid art pieces like David Alexander’s colourful “Evening with Morris.”

The bedroom maintains the same architectural language as the rest of the house, with the floating bed acting as a focal point in the centre of the surrounding windows. The simple lines of the built-in maple furniture tie in with the minimalist approach.  Art, like R.F.M. McInnis’ “Prairie, February” adds to the oasis-like sensibility of the space.

The bedroom maintains the same architectural language as the rest of the house, with the floating bed acting as a focal point in the centre of the surrounding windows. The simple lines of the built-in maple furniture tie in with the minimalist approach. Art, like R.F.M. McInnis’ “Prairie, February” adds to the oasis-like sensibility of the space.

Design details, such as the solid maple built-ins and the etched shadow line above the recessed baseboards, extend into Halabura’s sizable walk-in closet. Natural light fills the space from the window and skylight. A pocket door allows privacy from the en suite bathroom.

Design details, such as the solid maple built-ins and the etched shadow line above the recessed baseboards, extend into Halabura’s sizable walk-in closet. Natural light fills the space from the window and skylight. A pocket door allows privacy from the en suite bathroom.

A fine eye for detail is evident in the bathroom, where etched lines in the maple panels align with the edges of the tile. The maple floating double vanity adds warmth to the space and complements the quiet luxury of the soft grey tiles. Recessed towel bars  in the vanity preserve the clean lines of the built-in.

A fine eye for detail is evident in the bathroom, where etched lines in the maple panels align with the edges of the tile. The maple floating double vanity adds warmth to the space and complements the quiet luxury of the soft grey tiles. Recessed towel bars in the vanity preserve the clean lines of the built-in.

 

 

Design Specialist: Iván Meade
Photographed by Cathie Ferguson

 

Sources
Architecture: de Hoog and Kierulf Architects/ Peter De Hoog, Charles Kierulf, Selena Kwok, James Irwin, and Gigi An
Interior Design: Sandy Nygaard Interiors
Contractor: Story Construction/Stewart Story
Structural Engineering: Steve Hoel at JSH Engineering Ltd.
Millwork: Glasgow Precision Woodworks
Bathroom Fixtures: Victoria Specialty Hardware & Plumbing Ltd.
Plumbing: Specialized Plumbing & Gas Works
Painting: Cantex Painting
Windows: Dynamic Windows & Doors
Flooring: Island Floor Centre
Masonry: Pacheco Landscaping & Stonework
Concrete: CDN Forming