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my favourite room

Sandra Smith a British Columbia artist sits in her favourite room in West Kelowna, B.C.Jeff Bassett/The Globe and Mail

Shandra Smith's log house in Kelowna, B.C., is big on purpose. Years living in cramped quarters in England had made her desirous of the luxury of open spaces, which only a third-acre lot on the shores of Okanagan Lake could satisfy. Accompanied by her British husband, Fergus, Smith had first spied the property during a visit to the land of her birth. The couple had been contemplating relocating to Canada but did not know where. "Then we saw the land for sale," Smith says, "and our minds were made up." The lot would be big enough, they reckoned, to build a 3,500-square-foot home for their young family of two school-age children. Northern Log and Timber was hired to do the job, and the home took a year to complete, with construction ending in 2002. The family did the interior themselves, decorating it with items borrowed from North American pop culture and other pieces created by Smith. A surface designer, her line of graphic home accessories adds to the colours brightening up the naturally vibrant living room. "It's got a lot of light, and high ceilings measuring 22 feet," the former resident of Saskatchewan says of her favourite room. "Through the windows you can see the trees. You feel like you're in nature."

The sign

"My husband got it at a local auction. We understand it's from a convenience store in Kelowna. It sat on our porch for five years until he finally convinced me to hang it smack dab in the middle of the living room. I really like it now; we all do. It's different. People think you have to have something conventional on the wall. But you make your own art, right? My husband is especially drawn to it because he likes all the iconic U.S. brands and Coca-Cola is one of the biggest."

The fireplace

"Because of the scale of the room – about 700 square feet – we wanted something large. The whole stainless-steel surround was an idea I found in a design magazine back in 2002. We took the image to a local industrial steel manufacturer and asked him to make it for us."

The paint colour

"At first we had tan and sage green – neutral colours – on the walls, but after five years we said this isn't really us. Let's go for something bright and beautiful. This colour, Blue Chasm by Sico, is what we chose."

The candy machines

"These are old-fashioned candy dispensers, a gift for my husband from his brother. Any kids who visit love them, of course. Put in a quarter and out comes some M&M's. We try to keep them stocked."

The cushions

"These are my designs. I sell them through my Etsy shop. It's digital art and mixed media. I take photographs of bright colourful things in my house and put them on my computer where I play with the designs to get lots of layers. I then put these designs on pillowcases, tote bags, lampshades and other surfaces. I have some headboards I am making next."

The red couch

"That's from Sears Home Store. We like the pop of colour. It's a couch that's big enough for the whole family to sit on. On top of that, its wipeable surface makes it easy to clean."

The Purple Chair

"It's also from Sears. We bought it at the same time as the couch, intending them to be a pair. The saleslady didn't think so. But we liked the red and purple together. I also like that the chair swivels. I have neck problems so it helps me to talk to people when they are in the room."

The jukebox

"My husband bought this in Spokane, Wash. He likes the old-fashioned look of it. It actually did play music until quite recently – old stuff like The Beatles, John Denver, Fleetwood Mac and Kenny Rogers. It brings back memories for me of being a kid. My husband, who didn't grow up here, says it reminds him of Hollywood movies he has seen."

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