Extensive renovations to this late 1940s Oak Bay bungalow resulted in a supremely functional living space for a creative couple who needed to slow down.

The appreciation for fine art and artisan craftsmanship is evident throughout the home of Paul Lalonde and his wife, who not only collect the works of talented artists and artisans, but also create their own special pieces.

Lalonde, who works in computer graphics, is an accomplished carpenter and has recently taken up blacksmithing. While his wife, a semi-retired nurse, is an excellent weaver, who devotes herself to the art of metal. (She asked that her name not be used in the article.)

The couple recently completed extensive renovations to their 1948 bungalow in Oak Bay near Bowker Creek Park, resulting in a stylish yet extremely functional living space. But above all, their house has created the perfect canvas for their creations and those of other artists.

“I love design and the creative process. Arts and crafts are really interesting for both of us. We both needed to slow down, breathe and do those things we love,” she says of their antidote to their busy professional lives.

Although retired, the owner returned to part-time nursing and volunteered in an international program bringing medical supplies to war-torn Ukraine.

In their spare time, they like to do their hobbies, play music and have family and friends over to share a meal.

Their home has a downstairs music room adjacent to a large loom and they built a separate garage in the back yard so Lalonde, who has been woodworking as a hobby since his college days, has the space it needs.

Lalonde specifically started making Mission-style furniture after the couple bought an arts and crafts home in 2003, also in Oak Bay, which they sold in 2015 before moving to eastern Canada. .

Between that home and their new Oak Bay home, which they purchased in the fall of 2019, they spent time in Richmond, Kitchener, and Southern California, where they learned to appreciate the style of indoor/outdoor living. The Californian lifestyle prompted them to spend more time outdoors. So they removed the dining room window and replaced it with patio doors leading out to a large back patio.

Their backyard offers plenty of space to hang out with friends and family, from the living room to a BBQ/dining area. The rear garden has raised beds for growing vegetables as well as a mature rhododendron, they were able to save despite building a new garage and hard landscaping.

Throughout their moves, many Mission style furniture from Lalonde accompanied them. These pieces include a dining room side table, two lounge chairs with dark leather cushions, a four-shelf bookcase, and a small side table at their front entry. All of the pieces appear to be antiques from the Arts and Crafts era, and also complement their modern, mostly Danish furnishings.

Lalonde’s hall table holds one of the new metal art pieces created by his wife – a metal flower that’s held in a handcrafted vase featuring geese and willows. Nearby is another handcrafted piece – a natural woolen plaid with three different shades of wool by another weaver.

Owner’s weaves are found throughout the home but particularly stand out in the music room. Here, a rug depicting a sunrise sits under the wooden coffee table alongside another rug woven in a graphic Aztec pattern.

The most striking artwork in the house is an oil painting titled Blue Spruce by artist and Kitchener friend, Melissa Doherty. This room occupies a feature wall in the living room and was where a huge brick fireplace once stood.

The artwork, which is so realistic it looks like a photograph, is why they chose a soft sage green paint color for the wall behind the fireplace and in the dining room. The painting of a tree also echoes the real outdoor trees that can be seen from the entrance, thanks to the new line of the site from there outwards.

When they first purchased the 2,000-square-foot split-level home, it was “in pretty run-down condition” and the fireplace was invading the space. And like many homes of that era, there were too many small rooms and hallways – a far cry from the bright, open house it is today.

Unsurprisingly, this creative couple designed the interior of the home themselves and came up with many innovative ideas that work for them today and will continue to prove beneficial as they age in place.

“We first looked at the flow of the house,” says Lalonde, who was able to put his craft as a graphic designer to good use by creating architectural visualizations with 3D design software.

“My field is computer graphics so that doesn’t scare me. I was able to design this house and see how the whole house would come out,” he says.

They hired an architect for the official drawings and to submit their plans for the city’s approval.

Lalonde adds that one of his goals was to create a sense of openness as soon as you enter the house, so the small entrance hallway had to disappear, along with the fireplace occupying valuable real estate in the center of the room. home.

“Moving the fireplace changed everything. That’s what really opened up the space,” he says.

They now have a modern three-sided fireplace along the wall between the living room and the open concept dining room.

The couple aren’t TV buffs, so instead of a TV above the fireplace, typically seen in many homes, an original mixed media artwork by Richelle Osborne hangs above of the fireplace.

A rustic twist on the modern fireplace and artwork was added by Lalonde by creating a floating live edge shelf adjacent to the fireplace. This piece of wood has been preserved for 10 years after being cut and then stored on a friend’s rural property.

His wife adds that since they both enjoy many hobbies, it was important that they now had space to store their hobby materials and in the process keep things tidy. .

“We had to think about having a place for everything,” she says.

That’s why the washer and dryer are located in a large master bathroom, close to their closets.

The kitchen has also been carefully designed by the couple to make cooking and cleaning as easy as possible. For example, the dishwasher is located near the cupboards where the plates and cups are stored.

Their main upstairs living space is for entertaining and the kitchen is central to that purpose.

The couple can easily converse with guests and enjoy quiet, thoughtful moments while home alone admiring some of their favorite handcrafted pieces that are displayed throughout the room.

A glass coffee table was specially chosen for displaying their Inuit soapstone and caribou bone carvings. As a nurse, the owner spent time living and working in the Eastern Arctic, which allowed her to purchase unique pieces.

“This house thought a lot about how we wanted to live,” he says.

“We were very lucky to have this house and turn it into something that works for both of us.”

His wife adds: “This house is much more than a house. It makes a story and I love that we designed it together.

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