Kim's Absolutely Inviting Lake House

Kim's Absolutely Inviting Lake House

Janel Laban
Aug 29, 2011

Name: Kim
Location: Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia

For years I've been unconsciously collecting stuff like an old cast iron sink and an antique wood door with stained glass not knowing if I would ever have a home where they would fit. But when I came across this lakefront home at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island I knew this was the place where my ever expanding home collection would find a permanent home.

I bought the house three years ago, with the plan to set it up as a vacation rental for now and one day retire here (I'm a journalist with the Vancouver Sun).

In the first six months of home ownership I decided to renovate the garage since it never made sense for me when cars get the best view. I put in a suite downstairs and was able to use the antique door as well as a modern vanity I had in storage in my basement for two years (Homesense sale for that item!) The suite is a mix of contemporary and old, like the modern frosted glass "barn-style" doors I have between the bedroom and living space and keeping the brick exposed are just two examples of this mix in style.

Upstairs I revamped the main floor, such using the classic 1950s birch tree wallpaper along the hallway, which fits right in since the windows there look out to birch, alder and cypress trees. (The house is on a forested one acre lot.) The previous owners were antique dealers so I benefited from some of their finds like the wooden carved fireplace mantle which I updated with marble surround and laid a darker porcelain flooring in front instead of the light green tiles. The antique kitchen island also had an update removing the laminate and putting in a wood top. I also extended this surface area and had the carpenter put in brackets to make it look seamless.

When it came to furnishing the house my years of visiting Value Village and antique malls paid off that and spending six months prior to the move-in date scouring Craigslist for some of the main pieces like the large sofa couch and 1960s circular outdoor furniture. Everything was uniformed by having the sofa and chair cushions upholstered with the same denim fabric and painting some of the furniture white. Artwork has also come from family friends, like the installation over the dining room which was my ex-husband's extra photos from his graduation project from Emily Carr College of Art and Design. Author Iain Lawrence also doodled local scenes I had framed and his partner quilter Kristen Miller had spearheaded a community quilting project to help support the Dogwood Initiative (to stop oil tankers on B.C.'s coast). I purchased two quilts from that fund-raising venture for the house - both fit in perfectly. One of the quilts even hangs from a fishing rod, which makes sense since this is a lake house.

The lighting was updated by using Ikea overhead lampshades which go well with the modern lampstands from one of my favourite splurge stores in Vancouver called The Cross. Since deer often visit the property the main house pays tribute to them with various deer artwork, again Value Village finds.

In total it took nine months between the renovation and new suite build but now that it's completed I've been pleased that guests who have stayed at the lake house have commented on its comfortable appeal. That's what it's all about - having an inviting vacation home. I can hardly wait to retire now!

Thanks, Kim!

For more info on Kim's vacation home, visit her site: Shawnigan Lake House

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