Inside An Exotic 1920s Bungalow In British Columbia
Designed by a California architect, this sprawling 1920s bungalow in Victoria, British Columbia, looks like it could have been plucked from the Hollywood Hills. “Its Moorish influence is pretty unique in Victoria,” says homeowner Tamara Napoleon. She and husband Merle Alexander, both Indigenous lawyers specializing in Indigenous business and resource law, fell in love with house’s beguiling arches, spacious great room and exotic character. Take a peek inside the 4,400-square-foot home where you can practically feel the California sunshine streaming in.
Here is Tamara, Merle and their 3 1⁄2-year-old son, Elijah, in the home’s 16-foot-high foyer. The arches in the roomy entryway were originally white, so they blended in with the walls. “We painted them black to create visual impact,” notes interior designer Kyla Bidgood, who spearheaded the reno.
Filigree Moooi pendant lights are so airy they don’t compete with the striking cement floor tile. A vintage wardrobe acts as a family closet, and its warm wood grain tempers the black and white scheme.
Patterned cement tile on the fireplace and repeated arches (seen here in symmetrical mirrors) underscore the home’s Spanish flavor. Uplights embedded in the beams give the room a dramatic glow at night.
The kitchen was opened up and tripled in size, but there was a desire to maintain its original vintage charm by cladding the more than 15′-long wall in subway tile — it even meanders over the range hood. “We felt it was best to keep the tile consistent for a clean look,” says Kyla. Simple Shaker cabinets conceal the fridge, dishwasher and pantry.
A diner-like tufted banquette in durable cognac vinyl (good for Elijah’s spills) maxes out seating around a custom-made table, fabricated from reclaimed hemlock and an old crank base.
Kyla outfitted the den with a family-sized sectional and easy-on-the-eyes tile on the fireplace surround. “It’s a traditional herringbone pattern, but reads contemporary because it’s thinner and has black grout,” she explains.
A built-in shelving unit in the den hides messy cords and TV components.
The designers carried the home’s brass, black and white motif into the principal bedroom, which has serene sea views. Brass nailhead detailing on the upholstered headboard is echoed by metallic accents on the campaign-style side table and task lamp.
In the principal ensuite, a monochromatic palette is a gentle reprieve from the home’s more dramatic moments. A mix of white penny rounds and honeycomb wall tile is interesting yet liveable.