Bakery owner and cookbook author Rosie Daykin exudes style and sophistication. Clad in a signature crisp striped shirt teamed with sharply tailored trousers, she ushers me into her elegant west side home. Like Daykin herself, her home is beautifully curated, in that effortless and uncontrived way that only the truly stylish manage to achieve. But this should come as no surprise to those who frequent Butter, her delightful west side bakery, which is as famous for its pretty pistachio-and-pink interior as it is for the delicious baked goods she serves. Many of them are captured in Daykin’s three cookbooks, including her latest, Let Me Feed You (Appetite by Random House), a collection of the go-to recipes she regularly serves to friends and family at her beautifully renovated home.
Situated on a quiet cul-de-sac, the contemporary rancher Daykin has shared with her husband Paul for over a decade blends seamlessly into the old-growth firs that surround it. It’s only when you glance over the low concrete wall that separates it from the street and peek in the ceiling-to-floor windows that you realize this is a one-of-a-kind home. Considering Daykin started her career as a sought-after interior designer whose projects were featured in design magazines around the globe, anything less would have been a disappointment.
Daykin is followed everywhere by Pickle, her 12-year-old rescue Chihuahua, while Brian, the stray cat who adopted them when they moved in, is fast asleep downstairs. “It’s important to give older animals a home,” she says. “They often get overlooked.” I follow Pickle and Rosie across a veined travertine floor into the kitchen area of the open-plan contemporary home.
Warm grey custom cabinetry with brass hardware pairs perfectly with endless marble counters. This elegant millwork continues into the dining area, which features a simple wooden table surrounded by mid-century modern chairs. Beautiful blooms placed among personal artifacts create a warm and inviting atmosphere. I instantly recognize the space from the pages of Let Me Feed You, where it is used as the perfect backdrop to showcase the recipes featured on its pages.
“The dishes are all simple, staple meals that I make all the time,” she says. “Photographing them here felt completely natural as each recipe has been made in this kitchen and served at this table.”
It’s easy to imagine friends and family gathering around this table to sample the dishes from Let Me Feed You, or out on the adjoining patio where Daykin serves meals throughout the summer months. “I didn’t deliberately reconfigure this house to entertain,” she explains. “But after our daughter India left home, we decided we wanted an open space that could extend into the garden.” Glass doors unify the indoor and outdoor spaces, with a large wooden table doubling her dining capacity when the weather allows. Privacy is provided by evergreens and shrubs, with a horizontal fountain providing a contemporary focal point. “We are out here from spring to fall,” says Daykin. “It’s like another room.”
Rosie and Paul moved here a decade ago after downsizing from a large old Shaughnessy home with lots of rooms, some of which were barely used. “I always had somewhere to put a beautiful chair or a piece of art, but so much of the space was wasted,” she explains. “I knew when we moved that I wanted a more open usable space that would work when we had friends over, but would work equally when it was just us at home.” She changed the home’s original layout, removing all non-essential walls on the main floor to create a huge all-inclusive room.
The kitchen and dining area lead seamlessly into a sophisticated living area that features an elegant marble fireplace that mirrors the marble kitchen counter and unifies the space.
A spectacular Fred Herzog photo of Vancouver hangs above it and soft pink velvet sofas designed by Daykin and accessorized with dusky Hermès blankets flank either side. An assortment of striped fabrics picked up on her travels cover antique chairs and soft cushions. “I love stripes,” she says. “They work with everything.”
Classic antique pieces sit cheek by jowl with contemporary furniture, creating a personal and layered look. “I like to mix different design styles,” Daykin explains. “I also have pieces that I designed years ago that I’ve reupholstered and repurposed because they go with everything.” Her “Rosie” armchairs are a case in point. A design staple for many stylish Vancouver homes, these classic chairs are the perfect companion pieces for a streamlined desk that Daykin had custom made for the space.
The master bedroom is tucked away at the back of the house, away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the home. A large window looks out onto a forest of old-growth trees and ivy-clad undergrowth, creating a sanctuary from city life. “It’s so quiet and restful to wake up to,” Daykin says. Gravel paths meander through the trees to a small secluded patio area. “When it’s hot, we sit outside and enjoy the coolness of the shade.”
The bed is covered in striped linens and benches at its foot are upholstered in soft pink fabric similar in tone to the sofas in the living room. The adjoining bathroom features a mosaic of marble that wouldn’t look out of place in her kitchen. “I use a limited palette of materials and colours and repeat them throughout my home,” Daykin says. “It keeps everything cohesive and calm. I like continuity.”
Just like her cookbooks, Daykin’s home is stylish, easy to navigate and a delight to the senses. She can feed us anytime.
The following recipe is excerpted from Let Me Feed You: Everyday Recipes Offering the Comfort of Home by Rosie Daykin. Copyright © 2019 Rosie Daykin. Photography by Rosie Daykin and Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
If Summer Were a Salad
Close your eyes and imagine the juice of a ripe nectarine dribbling down your chin, the faint smell of warm earth on tomatoes, the easygoing effort of shelling peas, and the lingering perfume of fresh mint on your hands. Summer tastes good.
Makes 6 servings
In a large serving bowl, combine the nectarine slices, peas, tomatoes, radishes, mint, and basil. Toss gently.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Dress the salad and gently toss again. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Top the salad with a big handful of pea shoots and serve.
This salad is best served the same day, but stored, covered, in the refrigerator, it’s still pretty yummy the next day (if you don’t mind the pea shoots being a little limp).