Scandinavian Sense

Written by Jeanine Matlow/ Photography by Joshua Lawrence, originally published in Home By Design

For an active family of four ready to take a step back from city living, this custom waterfront home lets them connect more deeply with nature each day. By blending modern elements with purpose and endurance, a relaxed sophistication prevails in this primary residence. Situated just outside Victoria, British Columbia, the new build with a tranquil aesthetic exudes a sense of youthfulness that promotes outdoor activities.


A casual feel permeates the home with classic selections like shiplap. Wall hooks convey that effortless grab-and-go lifestyle, while natural accents like greenery and woven baskets blur the lines between indoors and out. Throughout the house, the elegant simplicity of the interiors echoes the coveted lakefront setting. Deluxe seating encourages lounging on the patio where glass rails create unobstructed views of the water and the surrounding landscape.

“With a love for kayaking and summer dips off the dock, a Scandinavian retreat nestled right on the water’s edge was just what they were searching for,” says Jenny Martin, principal designer and owner of Jenny Martin Design who worked on the project with contractor Chris Clark from Coast Prestige Homes and millworker Thomas Philips Woodworking. “When designing this space, it was imperative to consider functionality and durability at its core, while playing with scale, balance, and materials heightened the home’s visual interest.”

The West Coast Contemporary exterior complements the picturesque property. For the interiors, natural wood finishes and a soothing neutral palette contribute to the casual coastal aesthetic. Classic details include brass fixtures that will age gracefully with patina and custom cabinetry with a bleached walnut finish.

Fusing luxury with modern living, the 3,900-square-foot home integrates high-end appliances for added convenience and strategic storage for easy access to all the gear that goes along with outdoor activities. “As a young family—with a dog—that has a passion for nature and an active and busy lifestyle, prioritizing flow and integrating innovative storage solutions was at the forefront of this design,” says Martin.

Given the exceptional location, it was also important to establish a sense of place. “When entering the house, guests are greeted by a coastal shiplap wall that effortlessly transports you to lakeside living,” she says. “Topping off the entryway with a Scandinavian-inspired bench and custom cushions, this space is the perfect introduction to the rest of the elevated interior.”

A coveted mudroom features a substantial sliding door, oversize iron hardware, and custom storage that demonstrates the quality millwork. Focusing on capacity and durability, the utilitarian space streamlines the process of coming and going for the active family, while incorporating distinctive details like the slate tile that can withstand high traffic.

There is plenty of daily traffic in the kitchen, where highlights include shaker-style cabinets, a ceramic backsplash, and quartzite countertops—all in a crisp, clean white. A feature wall filled with wood display shelves is a practical aspect and an eye-catching focal point of the eat-in kitchen. “This kitchen is an entertainer’s dream and seamlessly meets the needs of a busy and youthful family,” says Martin.

Another seamless touch is the natural transition from the indoor spaces to the scenic waterfront setting at the back of the property, where an outdoor patio offers the perfect gathering spot to soak up the sun and savor the breathtaking views. Sliding glass doors and a glass railing offer unobstructed sight lines for the family to enjoy, while they relax and unwind on cushy lounge furniture after a fun-filled day at the lake.

Capturing the essence of the quintessential location, this well-equipped home delivers comfort and ease inside and out. “When the family isn’t kayaking off their backyard, they can be found playing human-size chess and enjoying all that Vancouver Island has to offer,” she says.

Even the primary bath feels like a retreat after a busy day. A double vanity, wicker baskets, and custom cabinetry provide convenient and stylish homes for essentials. For a playful twist and fresh feel, the second bathroom boasts floating shelves for storage and display and patterned tile with personality.

Perhaps the best part about owning a waterfront home equipped with all the bells and whistles is having the perfect haven where you can enjoy the day or retreat to after time on the water. “It was designed as a retreat for lakeside living and an escape,” says Martin, “inspired by all that the outdoors has to offer.”

laid-back luxury

  • Want to imbue your own home with elements of laid-back luxury? Take a cue from this featured design. Below, how the lakeside home boasts an effortless blend of style and comfort.
  • Lighten up. Bright whites and natural woods create a seamless transition from the interiors to the back patio overlooking the lake. “To support the indoor-outdoor lifestyle, prioritizing flow between the two spaces was at the forefront of this design,” says interior designer Jenny Martin.
  • Stash your stuff. Custom cabinets throughout corral everyday items and seasonal gear for the family’s favorite activities like swimming and kayaking. “The home was designed with the goal of optimizing functionality and storage,” she adds.
  • Think ahead. Timeless features with a beachy feel ensure longevity. “Brass finishes designed to patina with time became an integral component of the interior,” says Martin, “while cabinetry completed in a beached walnut finish beautifully complemented the home’s aesthetic.”

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