Project description by Leah Rourke. Photos by Dasha Armstrong.
Q̓ᵂalayu House is a 10-bedroom home built for the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island as a “Home Away from Home” for expectant mothers and families from the North Island and surrounding communities while receiving health care in Campbell River. Relish Interiors worked with the Foundation for nearly 2 years to design, decorate and furnish the 11,000 square foot home in time to welcome Island families in August of this year. Q̓ᵂalayu House is the second project of this kind that the Foundation has opened on Vancouver island so far, the first being Jeneece Place in Victoria. Both buildings were designed by Architect Alan Lowe.
A lot of research was done with regards to the needs and desires of the client, and ultimately the end users, during the programming and planning stages of the design process. Taking into consideration the information gathered from functional planning, and feedback from the steering & building committees, we started to narrow down the elements for each area of the home. We came up with a cohesive design that we feel will appeal to everyone who visits the house. It is a West Coast contemporary paired with classic elements to create an enduring design both aesthetically and functionally. Warm wood tones, light wall colours, textured features and rich accents with pops of copper set the tone for the home through the great room, kitchen & dining area. We wanted it feel modern but not cold, rich without being opulent, whimsical instead of juvenile, and stylish – but not at all pretentious. It appeals to children by incorporating splashes of colour which also reflect our local indigenous cultures by merging them with tones derived from nature. We stayed away from very primary colours and leaned into more earthy versions of them. Materials that are sourced locally such as cedar and arbutus fieldstone provide a grounding affect, while accents of geometric patterns add a playful touch. In rooms that traditionally feel utilitarian such as bathrooms and laundry areas , we incorporated calming and soothing materials. And in the spaces that will be most often utilized by little ones, there are fun features, colours and materials that promote learning and play.
The house features 10 guest suites each with its own bathroom, a large kitchen with 3 work stations to accommodate several families and indoor & outdoor dining. The foyer leads into a vaulted great room with exposed glulam beams and a linear fireplace surrounded by local stone. A the far end of the hall a special sitting room is tucked away as a cozy place to relax while maintaining a clear view of the Campbell River Hospital. A large multipurpose room that was designed especially for little ones is stocked with comfy furniture, plenty toys, games & books and features a mural commissioned by local artist, Nick Hutton-Jay. Two additional multipurpose rooms provide more space for everything from practicing wellness & spirituality to education sessions and meetings. The light and bright guest laundry room – which is available 24/7 – is simple, functional and anything but utilitarian.