With a majestic double staircase, high ceilings, and a grand old church doorway, the home is the perfect setting for ceremonial wreaths and hall wreaths.
This house is made for Christmas.
With its classic Italian lines, grand double staircases, high ceilings, tall pointed arches, and massive old church door, it’s a wonderfully romantic sight and an ideal setting for festive wreaths and garlands in the aisles.
“It’s a perfect home for Christmas — or really for any special occasion,” said Carol Navicas, adding that the previous owners were inspired to create the unusual double-curved staircase after seeing one like this in an old Cary Grant movie filmed in the villa. . fairy wedding.
“Maybe we’ll have a wedding here one day,” Carol said with a chuckle.
She and her husband, Ed, bought the house in 2016, and after extensive renovations, came the long way from Calgary, moving into the house on the first day of summer a year later. The global pandemic as well as family challenges have kept them from their homes, but this Christmas carol gets into the holiday spirit with heartfelt irreverence.
She also decided that her decoration should match the size of the house: “It’s one of those places you have to come or go home.”
The 3,800-square-foot home is a showcase of Tuscan architecture, with balanced proportions, symmetrical lines, mirrored trim, beautiful antique lighting, and double doors that open onto a Mediterranean-inspired garden.
The exterior stucco finish adds even more to the spirit of Christmas with its unusual yet eye-catching lily-coloured, dull and faded tone that gives the building an old-world look and character.
The Calgary couple had been planning for several years to move to Victoria after they retired in 2013.
“We did reconnaissance trips for two years,” she explained, adding that her geologist husband was visiting this town on his own when he saw this unique house for sale.
The Italian villa instantly captured his imagination as he and his wife, a retired business school teacher, traveled the country extensively. He knew his wife would be surprised and told her he was “a magician”.
He took some pictures and sent them to Carol, but things got complicated because they were leaving the next day for a month’s stay in Europe. They quickly put on a show and then got on the plane.
The deal was struck when they were both out, and it had its own challenges: “We were just running around [the hotel] with our iPads trying to catch a Wi-Fi signal,” and then, though it was the end of the night, they looked for bubbles to roast.
Weeks later, they come to Victoria for the “big reveal” and just as Carol walks in, she’s smitten.
They sold their home in Calgary and a vacation home in Montana, and “everything fell into place in Victoria” because they love year-round golf, weather, culture, community, and the ability to walk everywhere. “I have to make an effort to drive,” she said.
They immediately made new friends and met so many old Calgary friends that they joked, “Did we leave anyone behind when we moved here?”
They didn’t miss the space they had left in Alberta in their much larger old home with a huge wine cellar, billiards room, and more.
One of the things Carol appreciates most is the ample amount of light inside her new home in Oak Bay, which was designed and built by Don McCarty of Good Manors Development.
Even on dull, cloudy days, the interior spaces have a light and airy feel, thanks to 80 huge windows and skylights above the double staircases. “Whichever window you look at, you see the garden and the greenery, and it’s amazing.”
The house appears much larger than it is, thanks to two-story ceilings in some rooms, an open balcony upstairs, and symmetrical classical architecture that offers tall views through multiple doorways.
Before moving in, they did extensive renovations while living in Calgary, moved around the city as much as possible, and kept in touch online and on FaceTime with Penni Courtnall of Penelope Good Interior Design & Construction.
The interior designer helped them choose high-quality white oak to replace the old “slightly buff” wood floors and they replicated it throughout the house for a cohesive look. They used the same approach with their color palette, choosing low-odor, water-based Farrow & Ball paint in various shades of creamy white, including White Tie and New White, on all the walls.
“I always recommend getting the same color throughout the house,” Courtnall explained, adding that she had known this home for a long time and was delighted when she was asked to help remodel and brighten up the interiors.
“We left the bones largely intact, but remade new cabinets in the Harbor City kitchens, along with all new trim, baseboards, and crown molding.”
The kitchen and bathrooms were stripped down and remodeled with new cabinetry and colonial quartz countertops. All plumbing, appliances, and light fixtures have been replaced, as have all sash windows. Each of the five fireplaces has been updated and new balusters and handrails have been built to match the new Island Flooring.
While the floor and wall colors are all muted and consistent from room to room, Carol wanted to have fun with distinctive knobs and doorknobs, so now they’re like the focal points of the jewelry in each piece, starting with oil-rubbed silver. Rubbed bronze. They were also chosen to accent and accentuate the finishes of the lamps and wall sconces.
The result is an elegant, Armani-style interior that combines luxury, comfort and modernity with a sense of calm and balanced symmetry.
Juliet balconies in the master bedroom and guest suite were made changes, and custom black awnings were added on the French doors, by Associated Sheet Metal.
The owners reported a slight void above the patio doors when they purchased the home, as if there were always awnings. So, while creating an interesting accent at the front, the awnings helped protect the doors from the southeast rain.
The old garden was lovely at first, Carol points out, but she and Ed wanted a more formal Italianate look to match the house, so they enlisted the help of landscaper Twyla Rusnak and her husband, sculptor Illarion Gallant. They reinvented the space and heightened the overall drama with some of their large metal panels, including the one used as an entryway.
The landscape is attractive and interesting now with layers of interest and discovery around every corner. This includes an expanded outside entertainment area in the rear garden with a newly paved driveway that replicates the patio deck – creating a flexible venue for dancing or partying when the cars are in the garage. Everything works beautifully with collections of new planters, well-curated artwork, and lights tucked away here and there.
Courtnall said Ed and Carol were a breeze to work with.
“I’ve done a few jobs in other cities with clients far away, but Navickas has been the best I’ve ever worked with. Carol is very determined and European…they both want to do it right.”
“I brought three or four samples and they always found something they liked. The project was very interesting and there was a lot of detail, a lot of back and forth, but it was a pleasure to work with them, and they were really good at making their own decisions.”