Relaxed modern living with an integrated ability to age in place are the hallmarks of this custom-built home in Oak Bay, a collaboration between Max Huxley of Maximilian Huxley Construction, architect Carolynn Wilson, and Jodie Foster Design + Planning, who designed the interiors. At 1,700 square feet, the space-efficient layout has a balanced allocation of communal and private spaces.
“The home rests on an exposed corner in Oak Bay, so we wanted the colours and design to blend in with the landscape,” says Huxley. He chose dark-stained, custom-milled cedar siding, neutral-toned stucco, and black-vinyl windows for an unobtrusive, urban farmhouse style that fits with the neighbourhood. The symmetrical facade faces a row of stately deciduous trees, which leaf out in full summer glory and transform into a stunning show of colour in the fall.
On the north side of the house is the great room, with 13-foot vaulted ceilings and windows on three sides. A sunken patio provides private outdoor space, while the detached garage makes the best use of the compact, rectangular lot.
“The design and low-maintenance landscaping creates the privacy and luxury that a house provides, but the layout allows the homeowners to age in place without having to downsize to a condo,” says Huxley, who planned every square foot of interior space to maximize storage and livability.
Two bedrooms upstairs and one on the main floor are all essentially primary bedrooms with walk-in closets and ensuite bathrooms. Huxley tucked a petite powder room under the stairs, with a luxurious dark limestone wall and a space-saving, wall-mounted toilet. The stairs also hide drawers for storage near the front entrance and in the laundry room.
“In a small home, built-ins become really important,” says Huxley, who crafted dual cabinets on either side of the living room fireplace. For timeless appeal, the clean, contemporary cottage look is both neutral and rich. The beams, flooring, and cabinetry are all crafted from the same wire-brushed, saw-cut oak, preserved with a clear matte finish to look raw, worn, and warm.
The hardware, stair railings, light fixtures and muntin-bar windows are all black and contrast beautifully against gallery white walls throughout the house. The juxtaposition repeats in the kitchen, where white and dark grey quartz countertops receive a splash of colour from the red handles on the stainless gas range.
By choosing just one main finishing feature — the soft, golden oak floors — along with a streamlined layout and a consistently simple palette, this small-footprint home lives large in both space and design.