Have you ever stepped into a space and felt an immediate sense of well-being? You may have even taken a deep breath, let out a sigh and immersed all of your senses to take in your physical surrounding. Your eyes widen, your jaw relaxed, and you feel happy. The link between aesthetically pleasing spaces and healthy living is well documented, and this philosophy drove a fundamental part in the design and construction of Noorish House.
This idea of design and wellness correlates with ancient principles of feng shui as well as Scandinavian design theories on our mood and health. Feng Shui is all about creating a flow of Chi, or your life force, so that it can freely move about the home. A home free of clutter and with smartly designed pathways encourages this movement. Minimalistic but not barren. It’s as if the Chi moves as freely as the ocean tides, pouring in and out in a rhythmic and cleansing manner.
High ceilings give us a sense of freedom. Cool colours such as soft blues and greens evoke feelings of calm and serenity while warmer tones can create feelings of excitement, mystery or intimacy. Natural textures such as wood, leather, granite and wool encourages the human touch. And elements such as gold and brass accents, concrete, and glass add sophistication and balance the warm materials with the cool.
When I designed Noorish House, I wanted to create a place that could evoke certain moods and feelings but also be highly functional. My vision was to create a space of great comfort and relaxation with special touches that made the house feel like a home. I employed minimalist lines inspired by Scandinavian design for the structure, but also incorporated different textures and materials throughout for a variety in sensory experience. The exterior aimed to fit in harmony with its surroundings of tall cedar trees. We worked with a terrific pre-fab architectural and design firm named Purcell Timberframe Homes to create our dream, single-story cottage by the sea. We fell in love with the timber frame look which is quintessentially Westcoast, and we kept the shape as a simple rectangle as an ode to the traditional First Nations Longhouse. The dark stain on the exterior siding is a nod to the old style Japanese method of Shou Sugi Ban which preserves wood through fire and creates a dramatic blackened and textured wood. The result is Scandinavian Hygge meets Westcoast Chill meets Asian Zen.
I’m a lover of natural light so large windows and sliding doors were a must to brighten up the home and to invite the feeling of being outside in. The cathedral clapboard ceilings were washed with a diluted white paint to maximize their impact and to reflect the most light possible. The walls are mostly painted in a classic soft white, Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls, a shade that is neither too blue or too yellow, to create the seaside cottage mood.
The centrepiece of the home is a grounding element that reaches up high into the ceiling: a matte black and four sided glass surround fire stove which not only warms the cottage on those damp Tofino nights but provides an essential life force, fire, in the heart of the home. The fire stove sits in the intersection between Noorish House's main living space of media area, kitchen, dining space and a conversation and reading area.
I wanted to display objects that carried special meaning to me so when a guest puts her eyes on it, she too, could wonder about the story behind the item and perhaps bring about a conversation. Being a big fan of local surf and wedding photographer Bryanna Bradley, I couldn’t resist bringing in her fantastic prints which really highlight the strength of the female surfing sisterhood in Tofino.
It’s no wonder that we often feel more relaxed and happy when we are staying in a spacious and well organized home.
A big thank you to my wonderful builder Donny in Tofino who has been incredibly patient and understands my vision.