Designers Get Creative With Their Island Getaway

Facing down mold and nicotine, two industrious Canadian designers transform an uninhabitable wreck into an artful getaway



 

Heather Merenda, original photo on Houzz

 

Who lives here: Designers Ian McLeod and Kerry Johnson

Location: Mayne Island, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Size: 1,400 square feet (130 square meters); three bedrooms, two bathrooms

Designers: Kerry Johnson and Ian McLeod of Johnson McLeod Design Consultants

See Houzz's First Visit to This Island Getaway

 

Since our last visit, the couple has added a new wraparound deck with stout cedar posts and unpainted natural aluminum railings. “This material will dull down to resemble the back of tinfoil,” McLeod says. “It takes on the color of the sky, from gold in the morning to cobalt in the evening.”

They painted the house a black semigloss that they call “Superman’s hair,” as it can take on a blue sheen from the sky. “It relates to the interiors, it’s good for harsh weather, and you can just hose it off,” McLeod says. “There’s a growing fashion on Mayne Island for black houses now.”

“We kept the deck relatively narrow to preserve the views of the water from inside the house,” McLeod says. “With views like that, we can enjoy them just as much from inside.” The house overlooks the Georgia Strait and Mount Baker in Washington state, which appears to float on the horizon from the house.

A new coat rack outfitted with cheery orange umbrellas welcomes inside the main entrance. This foreshadows colorful graphic touches that await inside.

One of the major changes in the kitchen was the new 16-foot-long panoramic window, something they had wanted to do from the beginning but didn’t want to order until they had the money. The square on the right end of the photo is a mirror.

Another new addition is the cabinet hardware. “It’s very plain so that we won’t get sick of it, and each handle is attached with two very sturdy screws. We have very wide drawers, and we need to be able to whale on it,” McLeod says.

Another big change in the kitchen is the new island, designed by Johnson, put together by local welder Peter Larsen and painted by McLeod with old-fashioned-looking green enamel. Before, they had a blocky permanent island. “We’re finding we are steering clear of big bulky islands for our clients lately, and we like the idea of making them removable,” McLeod says. They can move it away when they need to and lock the casters when they want it to stay in place. “It’s so leggy and shows a lot of the floor underneath it. It’s got a sort-of farmhouse tool room look.”

 

Heather Merenda, original photo on Houzz

 

The overall aesthetic of the kitchen represents the couple very well. McLeod works on his paintings in a studio downstairs while Johnson is working on building a serious workshop. The look of both are present via the workbench-like new island, the plywood cabinets and the industrial-style lamps.

Johnson cut out a perfect circle in the new island to fit their favorite stainless steel bowl — they can pull it out to clean it or drain it. They can use it for discards when chopping and peeling, or to chill a bottle of wine on ice. They scooped up the made-on-Mayne Island steampunk lamp at a local fair for $80.

Choose Traditional Cabinet and Drawer Pulls

 

Heather Merenda, original photo on Houzz

 

A dining table and smaller game table occupy the area between the kitchen and living room in the wide open space. The large “opening” you see to the right is actually a very large mirror. “We placed it there to double the view, so everyone at the dining table can enjoy it,” McLeod says.

A large part of this renovation phase was replacing all of the main-level flooring. “Before, they were harvest gold and hot-dog rust,” McLeod says. Instead, they chose a soapstone-like 12-by-24-inch porcelain tile that’s a deep charcoal gray, with very thin matching grout lines between them. They were inspired by the soapstone Inuit carvings that McLeod collects.

This was no easy feat for the tiler as they wanted to level the floor and eliminate all thresholds to make it one continuous surface. “It was worth it — the new floor underpins and contemporizes the whole thing with charcoal gray, and our little hits of color look fantastic against it,” McLeod says.

 

Heather Merenda, original photo on Houzz

 

The couple’s master bedroom remains on the main floor. The soapstone-like tile flooring and window are new additions. The 7-by-7-foot picture window makes the most of the sunny side of the house. “The sun really heats up the floor, which retains that heat,” McLeod says.

 

Heather Merenda, original photo on Houzz

 

The former guest room is a comfortable private lounge that looks out at the sunny backyard and deer-facing side. The couple refers to this as the “Deerquarium” because the new 7-by-7-foot triple-glazed picture window looks out at an area where the deer play and sleep. Note how the white walls, graphic black trim and charcoal flooring put the focus out the window.

“It’s nice to retreat to a small room, away from the thundering sea, to do work and read,” McLeod says. “It also eliminated the problem of too many guests coming,” he says with a laugh.

“The downstairs is becoming beautiful,” McLeod says. A guest room was the only room they’d completed the last time we saw their home. But now the space provides a private apartment-like space for guests because of the addition of this living room and a smaller morning kitchen area.

The chimney is made of a natural stone from the island, but unfortunately, years of former residents smoking had coated it in nicotine and changed the color to orange. McLeod primed it thoroughly and added several coats of paint, being sure to really jam the brush into the grout. He then added a retail store-style security mirror that he found online.

 

Heather Merenda, original photo on Houzz

 

The original windows remain. “In spite of all the renovations, what we’ve always loved about this house is its late midcentury modern bones and long, low lines,” McLeod says.

A sectional matches the color of the sandstone outside and is comfy enough for long naps. The couple had side tables like the ones you see here in their home in Vancouver — vintage tables they had found in Palm Springs. They photographed them and measured them, then sent the information to local Mayne Island craftsperson Bob Baldwin, who made beautiful copies in white oak. The wide drawers are large enough to house board games. “It’s so wonderful to be able to hire local people, and we try to do that whenever we can,” McLeod says.

The couple picks up burlap lampshades at yard sales and flea markets whenever they spy them and use them throughout the house. “They give off a really warm amber light at night. These kinds of things really make it a home,” McLeod says.

Revamp Vintage Lamps With New Shades

 

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