Fresh Per­spec­tive

With this award-win­ning in­te­rior de­sign in West Van­cou­ver, de­signer Robert Bai­ley of­fers a for­mal ap­proach to coastal liv­ing.

Western Living - - CONTENTS -

De­signed by Robert Bai­ley, this 8,200square-foot house of­fers an el­e­gant re­treat that qui­etly chal­lenges pre­con­ceived no­tions of coastal mod­ernist liv­ing.

From the out­side, the house fol­lows the sto­ry­line of oth­ers in the Whyte­cliff Park area of West Van­cou­ver: post-and-beam architecture rest­ing on land that tum­bles down to­ward the grey-blue wa­ter be­low. Yet in­side, the nar­ra­tive shifts slightly. In­stead of be­ing im­me­di­ately drawn to the views be­yond, one is drawn in­ward, lured by walls of vibrant art­work and metic­u­lously sourced lay­ers of cus­tom fur­ni­ture, tex­tiles and im­ported stone.

De­signed by Robert Bai­ley and fea­tur­ing more than 8,200 square feet of in­te­rior space set over four lev­els, the house of­fers an el­e­gant re­treat for a multi­gen­er­a­tional fam­ily that qui­etly chal­lenges pre­con­ceived no­tions of coastal mod­ernist liv­ing. Stream­lined and well con­nected to the out­doors, cer­tainly; ca­sual, it is not.

“The for­mal­ity is dif­fer­ent from what most peo­ple seek in Van­cou­ver, in a mod­ern way—it’s not try­ing to be a chateau,” says Bai­ley. “Rather, it’s an ex­pres­sion of what a more for­mal con­tem­po­rary life could look like.”

Bai­ley is a reg­is­tered in­te­rior de­signer and not one to shy away from a tra­di­tional, for­mal aes­thetic: a dis­tinc­tive, worldly glam­our is ev­i­dent through­out his projects, be they in Ran­cho Mi­rage, Beverly Hills, Whistler or the Okana­gan. Here, that ap­proach aligned with the home­own­ers’ de­sire to rec­on­cile the struc­ture’s con­tem­po­rary form ( by Robert Cic­cozzi of Van­cou­ver-based Cic­cozzi Architecture) with a per­sonal col­lec­tion of an­tique fur­nish­ings and art­work that in­cludes pieces by Andy Warhol and Joan Miró.

The sloped half-acre site, which de­scends from street level down

to the shore­line, was also a con­sid­er­a­tion. As a re­sult, the pri­vate ar­eas of the house—four bed­rooms and a study—are lo­cated on the split-level en­try floor, while the pub­lic liv­ing spa­ces are lo­cated down­stairs, al­low­ing for a di­rect con­nec­tion to the out­door liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas in the back­yard over­look­ing Howe Sound. Deeper still into the house is an en­tire floor de­voted to health and well­ness, com­plete with a gym, a mas­sage room and a bath­room fit­ted with a tra­di­tional sauna in white cedar—all well po­si­tioned to serve the out­door pool set out on the low­est part of the prop­erty. (Though it is com­mon to place a pool near a house’s main liv­ing or en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas, here it is set at the water­front to forge a con­nec­tion to the rocky beach be­low and to keep noise to a min­i­mum.) “There’s an east-meets-west, Zen-like feel­ing here,” of­fers Bai­ley. “It is meant to be a very peace­ful house: quiet and re­flec­tive.”

With some in­te­rior de­sign projects, there is a point of in­flec­tion, that mo­ment where the con­cept crys­tal­lizes, set­ting the process on a for­ward tra­jec­tory. In this case, it was the shell of the struc­ture it­self— with its crisp white walls, glu­lam Douglas fir beams and sec­tions of smooth-fin­ished ar­chi­tec­tural con­crete—that set the course. The kitchen mill­work, for ex­am­ple, was matched in colour and style to the con­crete as a way to help it re­cede into the back­ground and call at­ten­tion to other care­fully lay­ered el­e­ments, like the large-scale paint­ing by Span­ish artist Juan Gen­ovés, the David Weeks chan­de­lier and the ta­ble and chairs from B&B Italia. “Be­cause the kitchen is in an open

en­vi­ron­ment, we wanted it not to be a ‘wow,’” says Bai­ley. “It’s very much an un­der­state­ment.”

In the ad­join­ing liv­ing and din­ing room, Bai­ley makes a con­vinc­ing case for mix­ing styles and pe­ri­ods. Andy Warhol’s Flow­ers se­ries of silkscreen prints, produced in 1970, is in­stalled on two walls, sup­ply­ing a Day- Glo coun­ter­point to the grand pi­ano, a fire­place man­tel in bronze Ar­mani mar­ble and the home­own­ers’ cher­ished pair of Wil­liam Switzer arm­chairs, which were re-cov­ered in an Ital­ian jacquard fab­ric sourced through Donghia to fit the scheme. The shades of lilac, laven­der and egg­plant seen in this room re­peat through­out the home’s other mostly neu­tral rooms, part of a strat­egy to im­part a feel­ing of for­mal lux­ury and to soften crisp lines. “Be­cause the house is quite mas­cu­line, we tried to add some fem­i­nin­ity,” says Bai­ley. “There are a lot of plush vel­vets, cash­mere, wools and beau­ti­ful bro­cades that maybe bridge time a bit—they are not as specif­i­cally lo­cated in now. We like the projects to look like they evolved over time or were part of a life story.”

Cre­at­ing that story, that worldly glam­our, that metic­u­lous lay­er­ing, is the re­sult of a long, wind­ing process. Eight years in the mak­ing, from con­struc­tion to these pages, the com­pleted de­sign was re­cently rec­og­nized with an award of merit by the In­te­rior De­sign­ers Institute of B.C. at their an­nual Shine Awards. It is de­signed to with­stand the test of time, or per­haps for just whiling away time, watch­ing the pass­ing ferry boats.

Sea­side Re­treat In the fam­ily room, a man­tel in bronze Ar­mani mar­ble (matched to the one in the liv­ing/din­ing room) lends con­trast to the ar­chi­tec­tural con­crete. An area rug by Zoë Luyendijk, whose stu­dio is based on Mayne Is­land, “ref­er­ences place and con­text,” says Bai­ley.

Rock of Ages The pow­der room is de­signed to con­jure up the mood of a lux­ury ho­tel. The deep grey wall­cov­er­ing is Puntina by Sahco, the onyx coun­ter­top is from Bordignon, the onyx ves­sel sink is from Stone For­est, and the wall sconces are from Ur­ban Elec­tric.

Serene View A va­ri­ety of fab­rics add soft­ness and help dampen sound in the master bed­room. Among them: a wall of up­hol­stered pan­elling (Ravenna in traver­tine through Glant Tex­tiles), drapes lined in black­out fab­ric, and a tiered For­tuny chan­de­lier in Ital­ian silk. The case goods in the room, in­clud­ing the night ta­bles and foot­board shown, are cus­tom de­signs by Robert Bai­ley In­te­ri­ors.

Class Act In the master bath­room, quartzite stone is used on the walls and coun­ter­top for a calm, seam­less look; stri­ated dolomite mar­ble floor­ing adds to the white-on-white scheme. The lights are Glacier pen­dants from L.A.-based David Wise­man; the stool is by Warren Plat­ner for Knoll.

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