This Cozy, Vintage-Filled Canadian Home Has Hundreds of Books and Tons of Charm

This Cozy, Vintage-Filled Canadian Home Has Hundreds of Books and Tons of Charm

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Bedrooms
Square feet
1500
Sq ft
1500
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Name: David; Mitzi; and 11-month Portuguese Water Dog, Charly
Location: Shuswap Lake, BC, Canada
Size: 1,500 square feet
Type of Home: House
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Our home is nestled in two acres of forest on the shores of Shuswap Lake in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. It’s our favourite place to spend the summer enjoying the great Canadian outdoors, hiking, swimming, boating, kayaking, and paddle-boarding. My daily ritual includes several hours in the garden; it helps me to unwind, daydream, and meditate.  David and I are lovers of board games and most evenings after dinner we are either playing Scrabble, Banana, Quirkle, or Sequence. Often after a long day of physical activity it is wonderful to soak up some healing heat in the sauna.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Apartment Therapy Survey

My style: My style continues to evolve and is a mix of mostly vintage and a dash of mid-century. Our home is filled with things that David and I have fallen for. I usually know right away that I love something, whereas David takes time to consider whether he wants an item or not — he sometimes must be encouraged to see the beauty! The space changes frequently, as my home is also a showroom for my Etsy Store, LadyLuckDecor/ShopVintageYVR. My Etsy shop and Instagram page are shout-outs to my old hometown, Vancouver, BC, where I first discovered thrifting and developed a love of ’60s/’70s interiors. We visit Vancouver frequently to treasure hunt and eat our way around the city.

Credit: Heather Shilan

My IG page, MealswithMitzi, is where I get to share my love of food. One of my greatest pleasures is to cook for others. I grew up on a little farm in Jamaica and was the most enthusiastic helper in the kitchen and garden, helping my grandmother, Mama Joy. Those two loves have stayed with me my whole life. I have Mama Joy’s cheese dish on the dining table, and it reminds me warmly of the many hours spent by Mama Joy’s side cooking and baking. This is where my love of cooking and hosting dinner parties has come from.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Inspiration: We wanted to create a unique space that is very different from our life in the city. This home appeals to our love of nature, people, food, animals, and art. We fell in love with the property because of its location — it’s very private and forested, has a nice beach, sauna, and lake-view rooms, with a backdrop of mountains. We are lucky to have neighbours who are friends and enjoy having them over for a nice meal and games; we now have a horseshoe pitch and it’s a big hit. Shuswap Lake is widely known as a retreat and a place where Albertans and many British Columbians escape to connect with nature, explore the lake on houseboats, fish, kayak, and make memories. We are very grateful to be able to spend time here with family and friends. We love to host, as I love to cook, and David is a great bartender and we both enjoy learning about other people’s life journey, travels, and plans. Charly is very affectionate and revels in being showered with attention, and here she can roam free and swim when she wants to.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Favorite elements: All the rooms look out onto the sandy beach of Shuswap Lake and mountains beyond. Both bathrooms look out to the backyard and gardens. We are very lucky to be across from a park and so our view is unlikely to change. We live with abundance of wildlife — bears, cougars, birds, squirrels, and ferrets. From our dining room table, we enjoy watching the birds at feeders or seeing the Cedar Wax Wings swooping in to raid our huckleberry bush or watching eagles and loons fish.

Credit: Heather Shilan

David and I are both avid readers and so between us we have hundreds of books; each bedroom has bookshelves filled with books.

The kids’ bedroom is filled with toys and books for all age groups.

Credit: Heather Shilan

The wood stove is an important source of heat in the cool spring and later in fall. We love that it does double duty in heating the house and cooking our food.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Biggest challenge: Clutter. Our house doubles as a place to stage and shoot photos of the items available in my shop, and there are times when there is stuff everywhere until someone purchases it and then it’s a mad rush and a frantic search to find the item.

Credit: Heather Shilan

What friends say: Friends say it’s the perfect escape from the busyness of city living — a private oasis where the meals are gourmet, the conversations are stimulating, and the scenery is worthy of National Geographic. The pace is slow, and each day is filled with exciting opportunities to explore the outdoors.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Biggest embarrassment: The battle about paint colours; frankly even if the decision were mine alone to make, I would still have struggled. You think you know what you like and want until you are faced with too many options and suddenly you are overwhelmed. We both like the Benjamin Moore Heritage colours and so luckily we narrowed our focus to three palettes.

Credit: Heather Shilan

We inherited the ugly but super comfortable brown sofa in the living from the previous owners. We are also looking for the right piece of art to hang over the sofa.

Biggest indulgence: Rugs (that also tested our relationship, as we both had a hard time deciding on colours and size). I personally don’t like bedroom rugs to be under the bed, so instead of having one very large rug we opted to have two rugs on either side of the bed.  We are happy with the result.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Proudest DIY: I am not handy, but what I am good at is spotting a jewel amongst all ordinary things. I am not prone to fixing things, but David — who has prior experience in renovating — was keen to take on the mantel, which was red brick, and because we had chosen green as our palette, we knew we would have to paint the brick and repair the plaster, plus get a new mantel. So away he went to plaster the wall, which does require patience and skill. We found a beautiful piece of live-edge cedar, which now showcases some paintings from local artist Dave Nordstrom, which I was lucky to pick up in thrift store.

Credit: Heather Shilan

Best advice: Take your time finding pieces that you love and don’t be in a rush to complete a room — it can take a while to find complementary pieces. Your home is meant to be your happy place. Forget trends and surround yourself with things that you buy because you must have them — things that evoke a memory. Functionality is important, but so also is aesthetic. Have fun, and be willing to try something different. Your home doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s — it should be all about you. 

Resources

Credit: Heather Shilan

PAINT & COLORS

  • Walls – Benjamin Moore’s “Guilford Green, HC116”
  • Railings, fireplace, kitchen accent wall – Benjamin Moore’s Louisburg Green, HC113
  • Staircase and bedroom floors – Benjamin Moore’s “Thunder”
Credit: Heather Shilan

LIVING ROOM

  • Rug — East India Carpet
Credit: Heather Shilan

KITCHEN DINING

  • Wood stove — Made in Spain
  • Gas stove — Home Hardware
Credit: Heather Shilan

PRIMARY BEDROOM

  • Rugs — East India
  • Lamp – Maurice Chevalgniac
  • Wall hanging – Don Freedman

Thanks, Mitzi!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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