Wiles Case Study: Scandinavian Modern Makeover
In 2010, Sandra Wiles moved back home to Victoria’s Cadboro Bay to take care of her father after her mom passed away. Her parents had purchased an unassuming two-level home built in 1983, and had made only a few updates to what she calls the previous owner’s “Whitehouse” style.
“Everything was white. From the siding to kitchen cabinets to the wall-to-wall carpet. It was not me at all,” says the former librarian.
While browsing through a local magazine, Sandra saw an ad from MAC. She immediately connected with the style of the bathroom photos in the ad. She combined this with her growing ideabook on Houzz, which she later shared with her MAC designer. The Scandinavian modern style was what she had grown up and fallen in love with because of its subdued, simple aesthetic.
“I prefer to let the artwork be the focal point, rather than the finishings. I had lived in Arizona for years, and was bombarded with over-the-top home decor. There, you don’t just buy a chair, you purchase a throne.”
Mac’s first project for the Wiles was an update to the ground floor office and laundry rooms. New environmentally-friendly bamboo flooring was added throughout, as were new shelves to display Sandra’s large collection of books. In the laundry area, an old closet housing the washer and dryer was moved to the outside wall, and built-in shelves and drawers were added to store Sandra’s prints and artwork. The space gives Sandra plenty of room to do her art, which ranges from gallery-quality paintings to pottery to wood crafts.
For the second project, MAC replaced the stairs in the front foyer. The bamboo flooring was carried from the entrance way up the stairs, replacing wall-to-wall white carpet. The previously non-compliant railings were brought up-to-height with some handsome metal balusters topped by an oak handrail. Today the lower and upper floors tie together seamlessly, and the entrance feels warm, airy and light, more in tune with Sandra’s tastes.
After living in the space for a few years, Sandra finally felt ready to tackle the biggest project of all — the kitchen. “You have to understand that prior to the other renos, I was a first-timer at this renovation thing,” she says. She had some trepidation, because it was a much bigger project than the last two. “But with MAC I felt confident once we talked it through. I asked a million questions, and Blaise, Jennifer and Ed all came out to visit me at different times. It was wonderful to know I was in good hands.”
“One of the things I love most about MAC was they didn’t try to change my mind as much as tell me what would work and what would not, what was safe, and what was not safe. Jennifer saved me so much time. I told her the look I wanted and she brought three samples back to me, and we made the decision right there. It was easy.”
She was relieved by the highly organized nature of the renovation. “The first day of the project you get to meet everyone who is going to be working on your job (including subcontractors) and they get an introduction to the house and all the emergency shutoffs for water, gas, etc. You may not see that person again for 8 weeks, but at least you have met them so there are no surprises.”
I appreciate that I can call one person at MAC, and have any questions answered. Of course Blaise and Jennifer, my designer, is dropping by all the time to check up on everybody. You also see the MAC project manager everyday.
The kitchen layout remained essentially the same, but the doors were widened and some poorly supported walls were shored up. The old white melamine cabinets were replaced by new maple ones and extended to the to the ceiling. Built-in seating was added to the corner to take advantage of some bright windows, and a new white enamel fridge, custom-ordered from Europe, was added to match the existing appliances.
A focal point in the space is the quartz-like countertop. It’s made from Environite, a resin-based material interspersed with tiny specks of recycled glass. The company that makes it is locally based, and so “The glass is probably from our own recycle bin,” says Sandra, smiling. New large-scale natural tile replaced the old pinky white trivet-sized tiles, giving the room a unifying look and feel.