Catering to the needs of a family who loves to host guests, interior designer Josie Smith creates spaces to gather.
By Claire Butwinick with Rachel Gallaher
The main dining room is anchored with a 12-foot-long white oak table from Lock & Mortice that seats up to 14 people.
What’s the point of building a home if not to share it with others?
Such was the belief of one Vancouver family when they hired Site Lines Architecture in 2014 to design a modern home to fit their social lifestyle. The clients immediately bonded with firm interior designer Josie Smith, who shared their love for modern aesthetics and dinner parties with friends, so when Smith set out on her own (founding creative design firm Studio Illa in 2015), they opted to keep her on the project to guide the completion of the personalized interior elements.
“A home is an extension of its owners,” Smith says. “It should represent them in a physical sense—their personalities, their dreams, even their desires manifested in spatial form. It’s a chance to dig into who the homeowners are and create something that they are so at home in, that it’s an expansion of themselves.”
LEFT: Next to the dining area is a compact butler’s kitchen that seamlessly connects to the main kitchen. RIGHT: Splashes of color were incorporated throughout the home as a nod to the homeowner's vibrant tie collection.
Since no entertaining space is complete without a table to gather at, Smith anchored the main dining room with a 12-foot-long white oak table from Lock & Mortice that seats up to 14 people. Next to the dining area is a compact butler’s kitchen that seamlessly connects the to the main kitchen, allowing for easy uncluttered hosting. After dinner, guests can retire to the formal living room (the open floor plan puts the two areas just feet apart) to enjoy after-dinner libations on richly worn brown leather sofas.
While much of the house traffics in neutrals, splashes of color (pink details in the formal living room’s rug, purple pillows in the casual living room, bright diamond-shaped tiles in the bathroom) were carefully chosen to reflect the husband’s vibrant tie collection.
“It was important to have nods to the [clients’] personalities through the color,” Smith explains. “Nothing is arbitrary. Everything is chosen to represent something that is meaningful to them.”
To balance the home’s playful embellishments, monolithic materials like marble and concrete were used throughout the space, and the custom wine cellar in the basement is the stuff of oenophile dreams. While these primary materials run the hazard of being dense or overwhelming, Smith says that in this case, they serve to add warmth and texture to the home. Her keen eye and attention to detail bring a sense of inviting warmth to this modern space, help to make it the ultimate place to gather with friends.