A few years ago, Martin Scaia and Pamela Lewis realized they needed a bigger home for their family. They were lucky enough to find a historic home in Victoria, British Columbia with good bones that they could restore and repair properly. It’s been almost three years, and in this home they’ve created a space that works for their family now and will live on longer into the future thanks to Martin’s handiwork. His work on their house goes beyond the regular sweat equity — they’re fortunate that it’s also Martin’s career (he owns Green Island Builders). Martin shares some of the issues the home had when they found it for sale online, “It was obvious that the house had a history of haphazard renovations, yet we knew that the bones of the house were solid. The carpets, wallpaper, light fixtures, kitchen cabinets were dated (1970s and late 1980s). The main floor had been carved up to make extra rooms. The upper and main floors were separated to create two suites. The paint was old and yellowed, grass wallpaper was on the wainscoting, the floors had old dirty carpet, the hall floor also had old vinyl tile adhered to the original wood. The dining room ceiling plaster was falling off.” Thankfully, Martin knew that would all be well worth it in the end.

As helpful as Martin’s expertise is, we can’t help but be impressed by the 15 years Pamela has worked in non-profit and healthcare. “Whether it is traveling to India to distribute the largest shipment of reproduced Tibetan texts for the exiled diaspora of Tibetan monastics or organizing ‘Papalooza,’ a space where sex trade workers can access free sexual health care on the downtown eastside in Vancouver,” Pam shares that her passions lie in community and service. Currently working as the Director of Programs and Licensed Care for Island Community Health, Pam implements programs for those needing mental health services using support, creative arts, and other therapeutic care.

Both Pam and Martin have traveled and lived around the world, but they couldn’t be happier with their life on island now. Particularly, their current neighborhood, as Pam explains, “We really like the neighborhood (Fernwood). There is so much character, so much life in this area. It’s nice living just uphill from the village; we often walk down to Stage Wine Bar on ‘Date Nights,’ the kids visit the little store in Gladstone Square and there [are] often small community events happening. It’s the kind of neighborhood where people stop and talk to you in your front yard and across fences. We both also like living close to downtown.”

Pam explains that their kids are pretty busy: “Morgan is 15 and plays violin. She just performed with Sarah Slean orchestra. Seamus is 13 and an active Minecraft aficionado. Wyatt loves baseball, soccer and math. Sawyer loves basketball and Harry Potter. Both love to throw on their wetsuits and surf.”

While the house looks wonderful as far as we can see, there are still a few more projects the family has in mind. “Our next goals are to take on the bathrooms, the basement and to build a tiny house in the backyard as a creative retreat space.” Scroll down to see how this 1911 Craftsman style home was lovingly renovated to create a welcoming retreat. —Rebekah 

Photography by Jody Beck 

Image above: Pam and Martin describe their renovation inspiration and ethos, “We also wanted to celebrate the existing architecture rather than impose something different into this space. Included in this view was the intent to preserve the patina of the house, not to mute or erase its history.”


The Lewis Scaia Family In Vancouver BC Home Tour On Design*Sponge

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Pamela and Martin explain why this house was the perfect fit, “We saw this house posted as a private sale online. It had been a family home for the past 40 years. In the 1940s it was converted to an up-down duplex. It was rough but very charming. We knew that, with some hard work and a few small structural changes, this could be a grand family home with enough space for all.”

Portrait by Kelly Brown


Victoria BC Living Room Home Tour On Design*Sponge

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“The materials’ style and function of this space were stripped down to what is essential. The space has become a reprieve from our technological world that demands us to be ‘smart’ and technologically connected. Rather, the space is simple, tactile, allowing us to connect in more durable and meaningful ways without the distraction and complexity of our technological world.”


Craftsman Style Home In Victoria BC On Design*Sponge

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“We love how the hallway connects the rest of the house with larger openings, the stark contrast of floors, dark stain and whitewash. The front vestibule, hallway, living room, dining room were to retain [the home’s] original craftsman character yet embrace its ‘worn in’ look and feel. These spaces were to be ‘perfectly imperfect’.”


Kitchen And Hall Of Charming Victoria BC Home On Design*Sponge

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“We wanted the kitchen to blend into the existing structure (the rest of the house) and not stand out against it. To do this, we ran the hall wainscoting top rails into the kitchen and then returned them into the walls just inside the room. This connects the kitchen to the main hall. We also found some old window and door trim in the basement to re-trim the kitchen windows and doors back to their original style. When we ran short of material, we reproduced the profile with new wood.”


Simple Classic Kitchen And Island On Design*Sponge

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“It was important for the kitchen to be the focal point of the house so it needed to be larger. The space needed room not only for preparing food but also for eating, room for the kids to do homework/activities and a ‘chill-out’ area. Moreover, it needed to be better connected to the rest of the house so a large opening to the central hall was opened up. It needed to feel spacious, so the dropped ceiling was removed,” Pam and Martin explain.

“The wide-plank fir countertops were done partly for pragmatic reasons; the material cost is less expensive than granite or slate and it’s easier to work with. Also, we didn’t want to introduce another material. We wanted to keep things consistent and simple. The wood blends nicely into the other rustic elements and it contrasts well with the clean, modern cabinetry and leather pulls. It’s all about texture and feeling connected to the materials.”


Hand Hewn Countertops And Kitchen Island In This Vancouver BC Home On Design*Sponge

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Pam and Martin describe how they married old and new in the kitchen as well, “The kitchen cabinets are all quite modern, the light grey finish and the modern look of them contrast nicely with the rough and rustic elements. To keep things clean, simple and modern, we decided to [do without] any door and drawer hardware and opted instead for simple leather pulls for the drawers and drilled holes for the doors.”


Kitchen In Victoria BC Tour On Design*Sponge

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“The flooring comes from a small mill in cobble hill run by Jim Lambrick. I met him years ago; his family used to own Lambrick farm in Gordon head (now Lambrick park, Lambrick school and subdivisions). We liked the wide planks he had. They weren’t perfect, some had knots, each board was unique. We wanted this rough, wide plank look for the floor (a little Nordic inspiration). I didn’t want the planks to be perfectly aligned so I laid them down before they were acclimatized. We then gave them a white washed finish,” Martin explains.


A Peek Of The Charming Dining Room In This Victoria Home On Design*Sponge

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“We love how bright and spacious the vestibule is. It’s modern, but retains the craftsman elements. The old fir floor is rough and worn. It feels comfortable and relaxed.”


Wallpaper And Lots Of Natural Light Make For A Favorite Room In This Vancouver Home On Design*Sponge

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“We like to source out local materials and we like to reuse materials,” Martin and Pam share. “We like the stories that materials have and bring to the build. It adds a unique dimension to the space if the materials tell their own story and you know some of the history. It’s important to feel a connection to the work and materials.”


Modern Details Add Charm To A Classic Dining Room On Design*Sponge

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“We love the wainscoting and pineapple wallpaper from Hygge & West. [The] ceramic urn [was] found on Frank Island in Tofino. We often rent a small rustic cabin [there].”


The Newly Reopened Stairwell Of This Victoria Home Tour On Design*Sponge

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“The central staircase was hidden behind a small opening; you couldn’t really see it, yet it was a large space. It felt dark and the plaster was coming off. I remember that it had these ugly wall sconces from a big box store. [It] needed to become more visible; it needed to be better connected to the flow of the house and more grand. We love how open this landing is now; making visible some of our paintings.”


Upstairs In Restored Craftsman Home On Design*Sponge

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This view of the top of the stairwell gives a peek towards Pam and Martin’s master bedroom. “We love how spacious this stairwell is,” they share.


Pam And Martin's Simple Master Bedroom On Design*Sponge

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“Because the original walls were uneven, we decided to disguise this by applying an Italian plaster. The effect of this is a nice texture giving a further dimension to the room. It softens any stark contrast between the roughness of the old wood, the rustic and the more modern finished elements,” the couple explains.


What We Love Most About Our Home From Victoria BC On Design*Sponge

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The family also shares, “We are thankful for how the house, the space, makes us feel and interact with each other.”


The Scaia Lewis Floor Plan On Design*Sponge

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Pam and Martin further describe inspirations towards their home and its future, “We were definitely inspired by the modern rustic movement — what is essential and durable that has longevity — we are so inundated with information and disposable culture that we wanted to have an area that was minimal and highlighted the textures and stories in the materials.”

SOURCE LIST

Vestibule
White folk staff- Leo Garcia in Abiquiú, New Mexico
Persian rug- Babaks, in Victoria
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Hallway
Persian Kilim- Babaks
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Dining Room
Wallpaper- Hygge & West, Rifle Paper Co.
Ceramic urn- found on Frank Island in Tofino
Pencil drawing- of Pam’s Great Grandmother
Original pendant light- from 1911
Chairs- Herman Miller
Sideboard- Vintage
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Living Room
Pink Resin Platter- (on the sideboard) Martha Sturdy
Art Deco Sideboard-  has been in the family
Print- Martin Chambi Il Giganti print picked up in Cusco, Peru from his granddaughter
Handmade blanket- Made by Pam using Loopy Mango wool
Handmade cedar box- from a client’s grandfather- 1932
Coffee Table- vintage handmade mid-century

Kitchen
Bowls- Yoshiko Godo
Vintage picture- Pigeonhole Home Store
Work bench- used as kitchen island, handmade
Old pine sideboard- taken from a Hutterite Colony in the prairies
Light pendants- Moe’s, in Victoria
White washed fir floors
Countertops- Hand built, fir
Spider plant and hanger- Biophillia, in Victoria
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Stairwell
Pendant lights- made from globes found at Water Glass Studio
English bowl light fixture- Water Glass Studio
Persian rug- Babaks
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Master Bedroom
Steer skull- brought from Santa Fe, New Mexico
Vintage dresser- from a client
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)
Weaving- Lucy Poskitt
Cholla Cactus- from Joshua Tree and feathers from various hikes
Chair- from my dad’s church basement
Original Calligraphy- from Thich Nhat Hahn
Sheepskin- Anthropologie

SOURCE LIST

Vestibule
White folk staff- Leo Garcia in Abiquiú, New Mexico
Persian rug- Babaks, in Victoria
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Hallway
Persian Kilim- Babaks
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Dining Room
Wallpaper- Hygge & West, Rifle Paper Co.
Ceramic urn- found on Frank Island in Tofino
Pencil drawing- of Pam’s Great Grandmother
Original pendant light- from 1911
Chairs- Herman Miller
Sideboard- Vintage
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Living Room
Pink Resin Platter- (on the sideboard) Martha Sturdy
Art Deco Sideboard-  has been in the family
Print- Martin Chambi Il Giganti print picked up in Cusco, Peru from his granddaughter
Handmade blanket- Made by Pam using Loopy Mango wool
Handmade cedar box- from a client’s grandfather- 1932
Coffee Table- vintage handmade mid-century

Kitchen
Bowls- Yoshiko Godo
Vintage picture- Pigeonhole Home Store
Work bench- used as kitchen island, handmade
Old pine sideboard- taken from a Hutterite Colony in the prairies
Light pendants- Moe’s, in Victoria
White washed fir floors
Countertops- Hand built, fir
Spider plant and hanger- Biophillia, in Victoria
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Stairwell
Pendant lights- made from globes found at Water Glass Studio
English bowl light fixture- Water Glass Studio
Persian rug- Babaks
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)

Master Bedroom
Steer skull- brought from Santa Fe, New Mexico
Vintage dresser- from a client
Paint- Farrow & Ball (All White, Dead Flat)
Weaving- Lucy Poskitt
Cholla Cactus- from Joshua Tree and feathers from various hikes
Chair- from my dad’s church basement
Original Calligraphy- from Thich Nhat Hahn
Sheepskin- Anthropologie

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