‘Retro-modern’ at home in Oak Bay

This weekend’s Young Life Home Tour showcases exceptional renovations

  • Apr. 27, 2016 1:00 p.m.
This Oak Bay kitchen was inspired by the former family Studebaker

This Oak Bay kitchen was inspired by the former family Studebaker

Louise and Frank Quinby have proven that good things come to those who wait.

The couple had a vision for their 1947 half split-level home, a vision made a reality – beautifully – by contractor John Kennedy of Space Setters Construction.

Starting with just 1,200 square feet, the thoughtful renovation added another 2,000, finding room downstairs for an artist’s studio, building out and up for a master suite and den, and pushing into the backyard to allow for a main-floor great room, where the kitchen is the star of the show.

“The kitchen was inspired by my mom’s sky blue Studebaker,” says Louise, who with Frank enjoys attending many of the city’s summer car shows.

In addition to the striking cabinet colour, reflective too of the home’s proximity to the ocean, polished chrome hardware recalls the prolific chrome detailing of the mid-century cars.

The cabinets, by Roy Buchanan of Onsite Cabinets, are accented by a Brazilian walnut counter on the expansive island and matching dining table – hand-crafted by Frank from wood leftover from his boat-building days.

“I’ve been packing this wood around since the ‘70s and finally found a place to use it,” Frank says.

The south Oak Bay home is one of 12 on this year’s self-guided Young Life Home Design & Renovation Tour, featuring complete home renovations from around the region.

“The tour provides an opportunity to witness firsthand the fine workmanship offered by some of Victoria’s most reputable designers and builders,” says organizer Bill Okell. “The tour features two waterfront properties and three other homes with some spectacular views of the city. We have several new builds with very modern lines plus some specially redesigned kitchens and family rooms.”

The Quinbys had lived in their home for 15 years before renovating, “so we knew it well,” Louise says.

The key was waiting not only to know what they wanted, but also to find the right person to make it happen. Part of the challenge was waiting for the design world to catch up to what Louise – an artist – had in mind for her home, such as the beachy-feel, engineered hardwood floors.

“You couldn’t find that 15 years ago,” she says. “We wanted it to be fun rather than formal or ultra-chic. I call it retro-modern.”

They had also looked at the possibility of moving, but couldn’t find another home that offered all they were looking for, Frank adds.

“We couldn’t find what we wanted, so finally we said, OK, we’re renovating.”

Meeting with Kennedy, showing him their home and discussing their wants and needs, the contractor was back in two days with drawings. “It was amazing to me,” Frank says.

Not only has the renovation given them more space, but the design works beautifully. “I like the flow a lot,” Frank says, noting the project really was a collaboration between the homeowners and contractors. The home now offers four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths over five levels. While little remains of the original home, they did manage to keep some of its character, Kennedy says.

“It flows incredibly well – one of the best homes I’ve seen in terms of the design,” he says.

Proceeds from the home tour support Young Life Victoria’s Christian-based youth programs and camps, celebrating 52 years of leadership here in Victoria.

Learn more at younglife.ca/victoriahometour.

When & Where

The 26th annual Young Life Home Design and Renovation Tour runs this Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1. Passport-style tickets for the self-guided tour are $25, available from the Young Life office (778-977-3551) or locally from Dig This Oak Bay, Ross Bay Home Hardware (Fairfield), Lumberworld, Cloverdale Paint, Capital Iron and others.

For more information visit younglife.ca/victoriahometour.