by Nessa Pullman / Photos by Jody Beck
Two interior designers transform the underused bedrooms in their home into a welcoming private guest suite.
Tucked away in the corner of a waterfront home in View Royal lived two underused bedrooms in isolation from the restof this Craftsman house. Before COVID, when local designer JC Scott of eco Design Associates and his partner, Anita Rydygier, wanted to create a self-contained space to house out-of-town guests, they decided to ditch the bedrooms and make better use of the space.
“We wanted to give our guests a space of their own,” says Scott, “to provide them with the same feeling as if they were staying in a hotel.”
When it came to planning the space, Scott had only one vision in mind: complete livability. Having only two bedrooms as a footprint meant that Scott and Rydygier had to get creative in their arrangement.“
The challenge was designing a space with 320 square feet when I usually have a minimum of 500,” says Scott. His experience with hotel design allowed them to map out the basics, while Rydygier’s experience renovating small spaces while managing properties in London gave them an informed approach to using the limited space.“
Merging our two unique experiences into this project was the only way we were going to make this work,” says Scott.
To achieve the requirements of a fully liveable, self-contained suite, there was an extensive list of items to account for.
“When we were planning, we asked ourselves, ‘What would we want if we were guests?’” says Rydygier. “It was like a big jigsaw puzzle.”
With this in mind, they knew it needed a full kitchen, full bath, washer, dining space and sleeping area. To keep the suite from looking too congested, they separated the bathroom into a stand-alone shower and water closet. A galley kitchen divides the bedroom area from the main home.
“Every square inch needs to be beautifully decorated when you’re in a small space,” says Rydygier. “Because the eye will see it.”
Rydygier added thoughtful accents throughout, such as marble steps, sliding barn doors and custom millwork sourced from Vancouver Island.
To achieve the beach boutique-hotel feel, they kept the esthetic light and natural with grey-green paint, warm woods and classic wainscoting. They installed a glass sliding door to open up the space and provide access to a separate entrance. A private patio was built in the front garden for visitors to BBQ and soak up the sun.
“We wanted our guests to have a safe space of their own to resort to while they were staying with us,” says Rydygier. “Whether that was to wash clothes or watch TV — we didn’t want them to ask permission to do as they wished.”
Scott’s biggest advice to a DIYer planning a small space is to pre-buy each item and bring it onto the site, then go in with tape and mark all the items to make sure everything will fit prior to beginning construction.
“After it was all complete,” says Scott, “Anita and I gathered all of our belongings and moved in to test the space out.”
What was intended to be a short stint evolved into an entire summer: “To our surprise we actually enjoyed spending time in there,” says Rydygier. “And we have a large waterfront property!”