Funky and Welcoming Guest House
A Point Grey guest cottage that holds its own.
Designer Angela Robinson was working on a spacious West Coast modern home, perched on the waterfront in Vancouver’s tony Point Grey neighbourhood, when the clients—a young couple with three young kids and a golden Lab—asked her to take on a slightly humbler project, too. They were building a 1,000-square-foot guest cottage with the help of residential designer Tanya Schoenroth for visiting family and, since nobody would be making it a permanent residence, Robinson had full permission to experiment with the finishes.
“We went very ‘boutique hotel’ with this one,” says Robinson. “The look and feel would be distinct: the main home is quite monochromatic and neutral—lots of grasscloth and linen and wood. But here we could get funkier, especially with the accent pieces.”
For example: in the loft-like bedroom upstairs, a wallpaper of abstract blue sky was fixed to the sloped walls and to the ceiling itself, changing a room that might have felt cave-like into a dreamy space for retiring. A reindeer rug beneath bare feet doesn’t hurt, nor does the vintage caramel leather Eames recliner in the corner or the constellation of wall dots by Muuto for hanging clothes at the end of the day.
“Because this is a guest suite, we wanted to create a special and emphatic experience,” says Robinson. That much is evidenced by the bathrobes monogrammed with a W for the family name and throw pillows hand-embroidered with street scenes from London (the couple’s favourite city). And, yes, like any boutique hotel worth its salt, the bathroom is fully stocked with extra toothbrushes and Q-tips.
Come morning, guests descend the open staircase, past framed bulletin boards covered in Polaroids of all the previous visitors. (The Polaroid camera sits handily on its own pedestal.) The living area’s generous 12-foot-high ceiling is highlighted by a dramatic chandelier made of whitewashed beechwood shaped like candlesticks and held on tender arms of curved iron.
Like the chandelier, most of this main space is white—though pops of strong colour, like a cluster of colourful vases from Bacci’s, do caffeinate things. Storage, always a quandary in guest suites, is provided by three “hive units” of cubbies from CB2, screwed together by a millworker and topped with a pseudo-mantel of wood. The impressive honeycomb feature rests on matching wooden feet for a functional centrepiece where odds and ends can be tucked away.
A custom-made pullout sofa for extra guests is upholstered in royal blue to recall the upstairs wallpaper. Acrylic coffee tables were specially chosen for their lightweight quality so they could be easily swept aside when the sofa needs to become a bed. (They even have handles.) And the sofa’s strong colour and silhouette also serve as a divider between living room and kitchen in this open-concept layout.
The kitchen nods to that wallpaper’s blue again in its kettle and planting pot, but is mostly a clean white expanse of fully stocked cabinets, plus a closet stacked with a washer and dryer. Those might be points one simply notes before jogging across the lawn to the main house for waffles—but it’s nice, all the same, to know that everything is taken care of.