New Zealander Dianne Armstrong moved to Canada in 1988 and has never looked back. After stints in Whitehorse and then Yellowknife (where she met husband and fellow Kiwi Roger Armstrong), Dianne left the coldest capital in Canada for milder Victoria in 2013. Here, their kids would have more options for school and the weather would remind her of New Zealand. Between them, Dianne and Roger have four children. After the three older kids moved out on their own, the couple commissioned local company Aryze to build them a custom home. The builder partnered with architect Chris Foyd of BoForm and design firm Bidgood for the interiors. In late 2019, the team got to work.
The 3,500-square-foot, three-level house would need to be equal parts light and contemporary, with a footprint that would comfortably fit the whole family when they visited. But Dianne still wanted it to feel cozy when Roger was away in Yellowknife working at his dentistry practice and it was just her, their son, 15-year-old Kaleb, and their two Australian shepherds. “They live in two places, so she was really creating anchor points,” says lead designer Christi Rivard of Bidgood. “Dianne wanted a landing pad for the family, so they’d all want to come to the Victoria house, celebrate holidays together and be here with their spouses.”
Chris’s modern riff on a classic West Coast farmhouse yielded the perfect envelope for the brief. The pandemic threw up a few roadblocks, but because the team had the approved plans and design locked, their delays were short- lived — especially when construction was deemed an essential service. The project was finished in 2021. For the decorating, Dianne envisioned a minimalist aesthetic, without it feeling cold. “She wanted warm, inviting and timeless,” says Christi. The design team opted for a subdued overall color palette that favored texture, warmth and softness, with bolder hits coming from mid-tone furniture, colorful abstract rugs, ochre accents and locally commissioned art.