Other than one’s nightstand, the kitchen can tell a lot about a woman. One can imagine who frequents it, what meals are made, the conversations that are shared, and even the traces of disasters that might have occurred in effort of it all. Cozy or open, bright or moody, outdated or trendy: a kitchen is its own Pandora’s box, full of organization tips and secret sauces. Kitchens with equal parts unfussy design and smart functionality and thoughtful character gets our hearts beating like no other part of a home can.
While thumbing through our #TALifewithEase feed, Jasmen Christoph‘s photos and overall lifestyle stopped us dead in our tracks. We knew our community led vastly interesting lives, but this woman’s feed was a breath of fresh air. A few direct messages in and we were enamored with Jasmen’s eye for design, her growing family, and her quiet, peaceful life in Vancouver City, Canada. What better place to get to know the woman behind it all than her stunning kitchen? Fortunately, she invited us in for some coffee and we left with a few nuggets of wisdom and a whole lot of inspiration.
How long have you and your husband been working together?
I’ve been working on builds and flips for almost 10 years. This home we are in now (completed last spring) is the first home Jakob’s even owned, let alone built! He has a lot of hobbies and was more of a wanderer, but for me, this is my creative outlet and it brings me the most joy and pride. I’m addicted to the process of building something beautiful and concrete with an important purpose. He values that more now after being a part of the process and we have plans for more build-to-sell’s in the near future (though I do like to move every couple of years…).
Tell us about your stunning kitchen!
My architect did a basic foot print of the cabinets, island and wrap around pantry, then we had an interior designer finesse the cabinet functions and locations. As far as design, that was me Pinning up a storm for a year.
Typically, I’m fairly traditional in my home style. I wouldn’t say I strayed from that in this room. The exterior of the home is a bit ‘elegant country,’ and we’ve used white & natural wood throughout. My least favourite part of designing kitchens has always been committing to a backsplash, so this time I just said, “use the Quartz!” I also hate flooring transitions, so I was sure to carry the hardwood throughout. I don’t like stark contrasts in general, so the cabinets were painted the same colour as the walls. I pictured the kitchen as the back drop of my life – where so many of our memories (and our children’s) would be built. So, I aimed for a timeless look and somewhere I felt at peace.
What’s your usual approach when having a company over? Is it usually crazy with a baby? What do you prepare (if any)? With the nature of my career, my social visits were almost always squeezed in in between appointments in town or after dinner with a couple bottles of wine. My life pace has done a complete 180 in the past year – I became a mom and I moved out ‘to the country.’ I’m home way more often (partially because I’m a captive to a nap schedule, but I’ve also become a homebody), so I entertain my girlfriends here a lot more often. I’ve always been a dinner party girl, but the casual drop-by coffee has become my favourite. Lou is a very social, and independent, baby. I prefer having company when she’s awake. She enjoys the stimulation, and so do I! So, she’ll usually be running around the living room or reading her books while we cozy up on the sectional with a warm drink or a cheese platter.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? How has that influenced your lifestyle today?
I’m a 30 year old wife, mother, Realtor, home-maker, home-builder, big dreamer & perennial planner (spreadsheets are my BFF). I grew up in a few Canadian cities and had a brief childhood stint in Germany during one of my dad’s postings. The great majority of my life has been spent on Vancouver Island in a small community. I have always loved the close sense of community offered here, the constantly changing seasons marking the passage of time and the nearness of my family and friends. It was a gift to see a great deal of the world from a young age because I was absolutely certain this was the spot for me. Those roots and sense of security in my home-base made it much easier to flourish. I am still a deeply rooted person with a great love and respect of where I live.
Where do you live now? Describe your town. What do you love most or least about living there?
The community that I live in on Vancouver Island is a vibrant one – entrepreneurship, arts, music, tourism, outdoor sporting, natural splendour, food & beverage culture. It is very hard to ever be bored here. We are surrounded by mountains and ocean and enjoy a very mild climate. I wish the connection to Vancouver was shorter, affordable and more convenient for when I need my city-fix. But I really have no complaints about this spot!
What do you do for a living? What about your job best reflects your best asset? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? If you didn’t have to work, what would you be doing?
I have worked in the real estate industry since 2004 (licensed Realtor since 2008). I can’t imagine any field that is more suited to me, my interest or my strengths. This career opened doors to me at a very young age for home ownership, renovations/house flips of my own and building new construction homes.
You made some coffee for us today. Is the Chemex part of your normal morning routine? How do you take your coffee?
Chemex coffee every morning. I could live with out it – I’m not dependent on it like I am other vices – but I prefer to start my day with a warm cup. At home I add frothed milk and brown sugar. When I’m out, I order a cappuccino (decaf these days).
Tell us about your (growing) family! How are you two feeling about the newest addition. Any major adjustments around the home?
Jakob and I have been together 7 years, owned and operated our business together for 4 years and have been married for coming on 3 years. Louella just turned 1 and we have another baby coming this May. It was a huge change for us. I have taken maternity leave. We were accustomed to spending all of our time together both in business and at home. With me on a break from work, it means we’ve lost about 8 hours a day together that we were used to (especially since he picks up the slack at work for me). We’ve prioritized more family vacations and quiet time just the two of us after Louella goes to bed at 7:30pm.
Any frozen food hacks or essential ingredients you always leave in your fridge? And why? I’m not great with frozen foods because I forget that they’re there. But I always have garlic, cheese, and butter. They make everything better. Oh and a variety of seasonal fruits & veg… naturally.
What is your secret weapon in the kitchen? A genuine love of flavour and gathering.