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The lower-level family room is designed for relaxation, with a cozy wood-beamed ceiling and a cool suspended daybed. “I love the play of different textures and materials, then adding a bit of color,” says Ali, who will be hosting a design series on HGTV Canada later this year. “And adding interest to the ceilings is a great way to infuse character.”
Positioned on the crest of a hill, the lakehouse gets the best sunsets Ruby has seen anywhere in the world — high praise from a woman who’s travelled the globe many times over. “Walking in, I get a feeling of awe,” she says. “It’s light, bright and fresh, which gives me a beautiful sense of peacefulness.” Her bedroom is designed to be “serene, but with a pop,” says Ali.
Before this project, Ruby didn’t consider herself “a wallpaper person.” But, true to her word, she trusted Ali. Christian Lacroix’s Prête-Moi Ta Plume wallpaper — now adorning the walls of her powder room — is a favorite moment. “I love all the pattern in this house,” says Ruby. “It’s not in your face; it’s just a lovely, soothing blend.”
Every home needs a good dose of pattern, according to designer Ali Budd. Her lakehouse project in Ontario’s Algonquin Highlands illustrates this sentiment — without it feeling overwhelming. “The key to designing with pattern is looking at how everything works together, playing with scale and choosing your moments,” says Ali.
“It was important to us to be near the river valley,” says Sophia of their three-year search for something bigger. “Peter bikes or runs to work and we only have one vehicle, so we also wanted to stay close to downtown.” When a tiny house in the Glenora neighborhood came up in 2019, they jumped. It was near the city core and sat on a private, pie-shaped lot flanked by two lanes; here, they could build a home from the ground up.
The designers leaned on an earthy, neutral palette, white oak, textural finishes and warm grey tones to achieve a mix of new and old. The mudroom is a stylish prep station. “With three kids in the family, it had to be practical but also beautiful,” says Katie. The family now plans to stay — until the end of time.
Big windows, natural light and a large, welcoming entry were key. “We wanted space to entertain, and we needed a sanctuary for family time, too,” says Sophia. “We designed the home to honor Gino’s conceptual sketches,” says Christopher Lemke of Alloy Homes. The spacious entry is airy and welcoming with antique elements, terracotta and wood that create a lived-in vibe. The armchair, side table and built-in styled with modern vessels create an elegant vignette in the living room.
“My father always said, ‘You build a house on what a lot offers, not what you want the house to be,’” says Sophia. The couple turned to Gino, Sophia’s 87-year-old, now retired father to design the house. To realize his vision, they hired Calgary’s Alloy Homes for the build. When the envelope was nearly complete, Alykhan Velji Designs stepped in to tackle the interiors.
While growing up in Yellowknife, Sophia Dobrowolski lived in a large open-plan house, thanks to her modernist architect father, Gino Pin. Her home with her husband, Peter Dobrowolski, was a little different. In 2010, they bought a two-bedroom condo in downtown Edmonton where they lived for more than a decade. But now, with three small children, the family was ready to move.
The kitchen’s flat-panel cabinets nod to the house’s modern lines while a plaster vent hood, farmhouse sink and brass lighting bring old world charm. A pantry tucked behind the vent hood wall means any mess stays out of sight. “The kids make their breakfast back there and there’s a second dishwasher, so all the clutter is hidden,” she adds.