From the moment you enter Kelowna’s Lakestone community, it is apparent that the development is a work-in-progress, but for the families that have taken up residence amidst the construction, life is good. In the Benchlands section, award-winning interior designer France Lefebvre is busy finalizing little décor touches that turn a house into a home.
For France, the decision to build in Lakestone was an easy one. She and her husband wanted to fulfill their longstanding dream of building their dream home close to nature. “This house was designed with the intent of being the house where we would spend our golden years,” she says.
“We wanted a relaxed lifestyle with lots of outdoor possibilities.” The property has no shortage this, with unobstructed views of Lake Okanagan to the south and west, easily accessible hiking trails, golfing, wineries, and restaurants.
Lefebvre is a Montreal native and has spent ample time living and traveling across North America and beyond.
Her over 15 years of experience as a residential interior designer reflects this, and she brings perspectives from different cultures and design styles when she works.
After 21 years of living in the United States with her husband Bob, spending time in Memphis, TN and Lake Bluff, IL, they decided to relocate back to Canada in 2018.
The interior design choices are directly attributed to the vibrant blues of the Okanagan’s water, and the famously clear skies of the region. A matte dove white finish on almost every wall allowed for Lefevbre to play with accent colours throughout, and to offer breaks in the pattern of white with warm and organic textures like tile and shiplap.
According to Lefebvre, although the oversized island (featuring a stunning Caesarstone countertop) anchors the kitchen, everything is built around her collection of cookbooks. Her collection of books numbers around 300, and it is essential that the kitchen be large enough to display them properly. Each book finds its home under the island, or above the refrigerator where they are backlit for a pleasant effect in the nighttime. “I plan to continue to buy books that I am passionate about,” she says, clearly not one to rely too much on old recipes.
Off the kitchen is a wall of windows that lead to a large patio, from which the Okanagan landscape provides a spectacular panorama. It is a perfect place to start or end the day, with incredible sunrises and views of lights on the lake at night. The space feels like one big living room, as the open design and flow has the living room, kitchen, dining room, all blending together.
Caesarstone countertops are used at several points throughout the home, in both the kitchens, mudroom, and bathrooms. The polished Statuario Maximus 5031 is warm with marbling which complements the white oak flooring and cabinets fittingly. For Lefebvre, the benefits of the product come as much with function as with form. “The beauty of this product is in the proximity to real marble, that it offers at a better cost and [required] maintenance,” she remarks.
Much of her design choices are defined by how she envisions herself using and living in the space, which is why the house feels so homey and lived in, even though they have only been living there for a little over three months.
The remainder of the house is full of thoughtful design forms. Corrugated metal covers the wall behind the lower floor bar area, with inset lights that showcase a collection of Quebec Inuit sculptures, making use of an inexpensive material to showcase treasured art. The master bedroom, which she refers to as “modern mountain style” is a wide space with soft and peaceful colours.
Storage is a priority, and Madeli Italian drawer vanities and Robern mirror inserted wall cabinets are in the intersection between function and elegance. “This home truly reflects how we want to live close to nature and family, and it fulfills all our expectations of beauty, functionality and West Coast living,” Lefebvre remarks.
Although the home is built with entertaining in mind, some of her best memories have been quiet, solitary moments where the passing weather and landscape are the focus. But this is not a homecoming for the wandering couple who have found their inspiration through traveling and experience design. Kelowna is not a place to come back to, rather a new chapter in life where memories with family and friends will be made, and a career’s worth of thoughtful design can find a creative new application.
Lefebvre’s recent days at home have been full of beautiful moments. On the day of our interview, she remembers going to bed the night before looking out over the shoreline that was dappled with lights from the west bank of the lake. “When you see the full moon reflecting on the lake, you know that you live in a very special place. The best place in the world,” she says.
Poetic moments like these come often in Lake Country, and especially in a home like this.
All photographs courtesy Lake Effects Interiors by Dean Cebuliak Photography
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