Summer Style Tips from Johnson McLeod
Want a hit of summer, all year long? Find inspiration in this airy space in a West Vancouver home, where sunshine yellow rules.
“We refer to this as a callback,” says Ian McLeod, who runs Vancouver design duo Johnson and McLeod Design Consultants with his partner, Kerry Johnson. The pair first worked with the homeowners ten years ago, bringing cool blue seaside accents and warm family living to the West Vancouver home. But when the family wanted a little more elbow room, they brought back Johnson and McLeod—this time to build from the ground up. The former site of the two-car garage became a three-level extension to the home, topped with what McLeod describes as “the birdhouse.” The room is intended as a grown-up escape: a simple office space for her, a reading lounge and games table for both of them.
PATTERN | Limit vibrant patterns to just one accent piece and a few throw pillows. “Patterns and colour combinations are very of-the-moment, like fashion,” notes designer Ian McLeod. By keeping the predominant palette neutral and timeless, he says, and adding just a few notes of a striking pattern—like this ikat-covered occasional chair—those fashionable elements can be easily swapped out in the future for the next of-the-moment trend.
TEXTURE | Play up texture when working with a neutral palette. Yellow is the statement colour here, but it works because the rest of the room is in sandy neutrals. “I prefer texture over colour,” says McLeod. “When I do use colour, I like small hits of it that sit comfortably in the room.” That neutral palette is given interest with velvet and tweed, a lush silk carpet and polished chrome and glass—everything from the most reflective surfaces to the softest, wooliest fabrics.
LIGHT | Keep lighting simple when you’re playing up the view. Uncomplicated, elegant lighting like these schoolhouse pendants from Restoration Hardware—paired with the polished nickel sconces that line the windows—are charmingly vintage in a space that evokes an old meeting hall.
STORY | Create a sense of history through careful selection of materials. While this space is new, the design team wanted it to feel like it had always been a part of the home. To echo the character of an old industrial building—the unusually angled ceiling also creates a historic feel—each end of the room is lined in quarter-inch-thick pieces of brick veneer, handset by a tiler. Johnson and McLeod had the bricks painted the same shade as the rest of the room: Benjamin Moore Ultra White.
FEATURE | Contrast an angular design with one curvy element. The oversize circular window at the end of the space quickly earned the room its nickname: the Birdhouse. In a space filled with square edges and angles, the round design offers a welcome contrast, as well as the most intimate view. The other windows look to the waterfront on three sides, where this side frames the nearby forested mountainside, adding a bright green splash of colour to the white wall.
COLOUR | Find your colour inspiration in artwork. This piece by Briana Sophia Horne was discovered at Vancouver’s Brougham Interiors by McLeod, who “became obsessed with it as a starting point.” The egg-yolk yellow butterflies were the inspiration for those gorgeous custom-made chairs from Livingspace in Vancouver, along with a piece painted by McLeod himself. wl
Designer, Johnson McLeod Design Consultants, Vancouver, 604-733-6523, johnsonmcleod.com. White lounge chairs, Livingspace, Vancouver, 604-683-1116, livingspace.com. Gold coffee table, Peking Lounge, Vancouver, 604-844-1559, pekinglounge.com. Carpet, Burritt Brothers, Vancouver, 604-879-8432, burrittcarpets.com. Glass and metal coffee table, sofa, printed chair, armchairs, glass and metal side table,Brougham Interiors, Vancouver, 604-736-8822, broughaminteriors.com. Painting by Ian McLeod, custom window bench, Johnson and McLeod Design Consultants, Vancouver, 604-733-6523, johnsonmcleod.com. Window bench cushions, sofa cushions, armchair cushions, Provide, Vancouver, 604-669-8021, providehome.com; Mint Interiors, Vancouver, 604-568-3430, mintinteriors.ca. White vase, Casa Home Décor, Vancouver, 604-263-8525, casahomedecor.ca. Scale, metal tree ornament, Nest Interiors (closed). School house lamps, Metal Jacks, Wall sconce Restoration Hardware, Vancouver, 604-731-3918; Edmonton, 780-435-050; Calgary, 403-271-2122; restorationahardware.com. Custom white bookcase, Johnson and McLeod Design Consultants, Vancouver, 604-733-6523, johnsonmcleod.com. Fish sculpture, Circle Craft, Vancouver, 604-669-8021, circlecraft.net. Saikai Cast Iron ornaments, purple basket, Provide, Vancouver, 604-632-0095, providehome.com. Blue coral, petrified wood, Nest Interiors (closed). Yellow chairs, computer chair, Livingspace, Vancouver, 604-683-1116, livingspace.com. Glass and wood table, Casa Home Décor, Vancouver, casahomedecor.ca. Custom carpet, Burritt Brothers, Vancouver, 604-879-8432, burrittcarpets.com. Butterfly shadow box, Brougham Interiors, Vancouver, 604-736-8822, broughaminteriors.com. Computer desk, The Cross Décor and Design, Vancouver, 604-689-2900, thecrossdesign.com. Apple computer, Future Shop, across the West, futureshop.ca.