Glen and Ann Sather lead very busy lives. As general manager of the New York Rangers, he spends a lot of time traveling. However, when the former hockey player and his wife want to wind down and spend time with their children and grandchildren, they often head to their home in Banff, Canada.
“They wanted this home to be a special retreat,” says Gina McGuire, CID, NCIDQ certified and owner of Design & Wine in Palm Desert, CA. “Whenever there is a holiday or special event, everyone gathers in Banff.”
The property is located within national park boundaries, which provides a peaceful riverbank setting and stunning views of the mountains, as well as special challenges. “There are many restrictions as to what you can and cannot do,” she says, adding one of which was the ability to build in the first place. Because the couple met the criteria, they were granted permission, ultimately donating the original home to a local arts foundation.
Starting with a clean slate, McGuire worked with Bill Weber, owner of Artwood Design in Victoria, to create a home that reflects a modern mountain design, with Arts and Crafts influences and a touch of Zen. “Bill made it all happen,” she notes. “Whatever Ann and I could dream up, Bill would create.”
One of those creations is a 30-ft. water feature in the front entrance that stretches from the master suite on the upper level, through the front entrance to the wine room in the lower level. Another special feature is the rolling pantry that can slide into the office to make room for the expandable maple-slab dining room table that can seat up to 20 people.
Weber is also responsible for the millwork throughout the home, much of the furniture and all of the cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms. In the kitchen, McGuire chose bamboo with a horizontal grain and a color palette that melds beautifully with the hickory floor and Cambria Canterbury quartz countertops. However, the shining star is the cobalt blue AGA gas oven. “It came from the original home,” she says. It’s 20 years old, but they wanted to keep it. Everything in the kitchen revolves around that oven.”
It is accented with a reverse painted glass backsplash in a natural, earthy shade. “Ann loves the look of the glass, and she wanted to incorporate it somewhere,” she says. “Because the oven is such a focal point, we decided the backsplash was the perfect place.”
McGuire likes to use reverse painted glass whenever possible. “It has the reflective quality of clear glass,” she says. “But it doesn’t show fingerprints so it’s a great choice for countertops, too. As the backsplash in this home it offers a clean look that doesn’t add any busyness to the space. It gives depth and is a nice complement to the countertops.”
Function in a Small Footprint
One major challenge when designing the kitchen was the lack of wall space, combined with a relatively small footprint. “The space is nestled between the great room and the porch – which serves as a special retreat for a morning cup of coffee,” she explains. “We have very few walls, but we managed to include everything she needed to make it a functional kitchen.
“Thanks goodness for the large island,” she continues. It provides plenty of storage, along with eat-in-kitchen seating and a Sub-Zero undercounter beverage center conveniently located for quick access to cool drinks. Rollout drawers and customized organizer systems readily accommodate kitchen supplies. A Wolf gas cooktop with Wolf downdraft is lowered 3 inches for ease of cooking while a Dornbracht pot filler simplifies water access. “Ann is petite,” says McGuire. “Dropping the cooktop gives her a more comfortable workspace, especially when using large pots. She can easily transition from the countertop to the stovetop.”
Additional appliances include a 48-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator with glass doors, a Miele Nespresso coffee system and cup warmer, two Miele dishwashers (a Slimline version as well as full-size model), a Miele steam oven and speed oven and a ?? microwave.
McGuire was also challenged by the relatively low ceiling height of the kitchen when compared to the great room. “The great room has such voluminous ceilings,” she says. “We didn’t want the kitchen to look too compacted because of all the appliances we included. The key was to keep the space open and airy.”
To help accomplish that, the designer opted for a single flush-mount, drum-type light for the island, rather than multiple pendants.
For added ambiance, McGuire eliminated upper cabinetry next to the AGA oven so she could add an EcoSmart fireplace, which is shared with the porch. “The porch is very cozy and with a NanaWall, it can be opened up in the summer,” she says. “They wanted to have a full indoor/outdoor living space.”
A full-on indoor/outdoor experience was a leading design theme throughout the house. “The focal point of the entire home is the views, and how the exterior ties into the interior environments,” she says.
For example, the master bath features special touches of nature, including the 5-foot round travertine tub, which was lowered into the space with a crane, with the roof being added afterwards. It features a rustic, chiseled edge with pebbles surrounding its curved lower profile. “The bath was designed around that tub,” she says.
Chiseled edging is also added to the Cambria Lincolnshire countertops and pebbles are carried into the steam shower. A ‘sculpture’ of Cambria Dover quartz lines one wall. “We chose to use blocks of quartz with staggered depths,” McGuire explains. “There is so much movement in this house with all the different textures so we wanted to add movement to the bath, too. This wall gives more interest than a solid-colored slab. It creates a bit of an art feature as well.
“There are so many great materials used throughout the entire home,” She continues, “especially natural materials that keep it organic.”
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Captions for bath photos: gina-mcguire-dover-shower_11436571.tif and gina-mcguire-lincolnshire-bath_11436649.tif
The focal point of the entire home is the views and “how the exterior ties into the interior environments,” says Gina McGuire. In the master bath this travertine tub, with chiseled edging, is a perfect example. The organic feel is carried over to the quartz countertop, which also features a chiseled edge.
In the master shower, a wall of varied depth quartz creates interest and adds movement to the bath. “There is so much movement in this house with all the different textures so we wanted to add movement to the bath, too,” says McGuire. “This wall gives more interest than a solid-colored slab. It creates a bit of an art feature as well.”
Pebbles on the shower floor and around the base of the touch add a touch of Zen and were a ‘must have’ element for the designer.
Caption for kitchen image: gina-mcguire-canterbury-kitche_11436440.psd
One major challenge when designing the kitchen was the lack of wall space, combined with a relatively small footprint. “We have very few walls, but we managed to include everything she needed to make it a functional kitchen," says McGuire.
“Thanks goodness for the large island,” she continues. It provides plenty of storage, along with eat-in-kitchen seating. The gas cooktop is lowered 3 inches for ease of cooking. “Ann is petite,” says McGuire. “Dropping the cooktop gives her a more comfortable workspace.”
For added ambiance, McGuire eliminated upper cabinetry next to the oven so she could add a fireplace, which is shared with the porch. “The porch is very cozy and with a NanaWall, it can be opened up in the summer,” she says. “They wanted to have a full indoor/outdoor living space.”