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CONTENTS 5 Modern and Contemporary 9 Getting Hooked on Gardening 12 Trends 15 The Upside to Downsizing 19Home on the Range 21 Downsize Me
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when you purchase† Duette or Silhouette Window Shadings with UltraGlide. ®
Effective September 1st until December 15th, 2014. † Purchase any combination of 4 Duette® or Silhouette® Window Shadings with UltraGlide® and receive a $200 rebate. Also, when you purchase any number of these additional shades, you’ll receive an extra $40 for each. Valid at participating retailers only. The rebate will be issued in the form of a Hunter Douglas Prepaid American Express® Gift Card. THE PROMOTION CARD is a trademark of The Hunt Group. All Rights Reserved. THE PROMOTION CARD is a Prepaid American Express® Card issued by Amex Bank of Canada. ® Used by Amex Bank of Canada under license from American Express.
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4 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
Modern and Contemporary By Matthew Stanley
A Kootenay Lake Village home embodies the community’s commitment to brave, modern design. It was a summer morning at a Kootenay Lake Village (KLV) open house; I was sampling my first cinnamon bun from the local bakery when a longtime Procter resident exclaimed to me: “He is so community minded!” The “he” being referred to was Oliver Berkeley — the pioneering developer behind one of BC’s most idyllic residential developments. The sense of community that this Procter resident was picking up on is woven into the fabric of the KLV vision. Wendy Kelly, the development’s marketer and blogger, suggests that KLV re-captures something lost in present day, ubiquitous developments. Asked about this commitment to community, Siara Berkeley (Oliver’s wife) speaks fondly of growing up in Winlaw, and of her and Oliver’s years in a small Italian village where local women still gathered in the plaza to wash clothes and gossip. Compared to the abundant history of an Italian Village, KLV is but a newborn, adapting to changing circumstances year by year. But this intangible sense of community (pot — lucks with neighbours, bonfires on the beach and a respect for privacy) remains as one of its core values. The development is distinctive too for its impressive stock of contemporary homes. Steering way clear of the cookie-cutter, the collection of homes (which includes a yurt) exhibits talent from top B.C. architects and designers. Among them are Don Gurney from Open Space Architecture, Gower Design Group, and Nelson’s David Dobie. For their own home, the community’s first, Oliver and Siara were attracted to Rocio Romero’s line of modern, prefabricated LV houses. Romero, a celebrated Chilean- American architectural designer based in Missouri, was an early pioneer to prefabricated, attractive, low-cost, modern homes. Her LV series has attracted attention from the New York Times and Dwell Magazine. She has sold more than 160 kit homes to clients in the United States, Canada and South America. Despite the international attention garnered by Romero’s LV series, it is surprisingly easy to miss Oliver and Siara’s home. At a single story, and lower than the road, one literally overlooks the house, seeing only its rooftop and trees beyond. Considerate of this view, Oliver and Siara chose pebbles from the beach as ballast for the flat roof — using local materials to treat the “fifth facade.”
Photos by Oliver Berkeley
5 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
From the road, a steel staircase negotiates a steep cut in the site, into which the house is nestled. Its exterior is clad in cedar siding and flat metal panels. Aluminum window frames carry floor-to-ceiling glass. Siara confesses to some initial hesitation about moving from a heritage home in Nelson to a sleek, modern structure. However, after exploring examples of the LV home on Romero’s website, she began to appreciate the contrast produced by modern architecture when placed in pristine nature. The Farnsworth House in Illinois — a great masterpiece of Modernism by Mies van der Rohe — is perhaps the most dramatic example of this tension between building and nature. Through its engineered rectilinear form, one is vividly aware of maple trees swaying in the wind. Its pure white exterior amplifies the changing colours of the seasons. “Nature, too, shall live its own life. We must beware not to disrupt it with the color of our houses and interior fittings. Yet we should attempt to bring nature, houses, and human beings together into a higher unity.” Mies understood that by not imitating natural forms, modern buildings and nature can enhance one another. Like the Farnsworth house, Oliver and Siara’s home has an efficient floor plan. At 1,500 square feet it is not much larger than many condos. Double wide walls and a deep roof structure provide space for ample insulation achieving high R-Values. Prefabrication reduces construction waste and site disturbance. These are just some of the sustainable features that unite building and nature. Inside, the detailed house features clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and an open concept kitchen-living-dining area. A window wall opens onto 1,000 square feet of concrete decks, a hot tub built into the rocks, 100 feet of rustic beach, and a covered BBQ where one can grill today’s catch. Landscaping skillfully overcomes the usual pitfall of prefabrication; a home built in a warehouse far away can feel disconnected from its site. However, Oliver is quick to note, “I am a firm believer in the universality of good design. You could drop an Airstream anywhere on the planet and it would look great.”
Photos by Oliver Berkeley
6 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
The house, originally conceived as a summer home, has become so much more. The Berkeleys have lived in it, on and off, for many summers, falls, winters, and springs. Siara refers to her neighbours as her “KLV Family” and when asked why this house is important, Oliver replies, “It was the start... the first step on a path that has lead to some great architecture in this community.”
Photos by Oliver Berkeley
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Getting Hooked on Gardening By Sam Van Schie
For three months this summer I didn’t buy lettuce, despite eating a steady supply of leafy salads. Then I stopped buying cucumbers and fresh herbs. Eventually tomatoes and celery and squash were knocked off the shopping list. There were weeks in early fall when, during trips to the grocery store, I skipped the produce aisle completely. Everything I needed for my vegetable-centric diet was already growing in my backyard garden. Before this year, I’d never successfully grown my own food. My previous attempts at gardening had always resulted in some seriously unhappy plants that either withered to death or went to seed before ever producing a harvest. But when my partner and I bought our first home last fall, the seller pointed out an overgrown area that had once been leveled for a vegetable garden. And when spring arrived, I looked at that sunny patch of land and decided I could cultivate it. My partner gamely installed a lumber frame for a basic, raised bed garden, dug out the weeds, and mixed compost and peat into the existing soil. Then, because I’m a millennial, I turned on my computer and started watching videos and reading blogs about how to make the most out of a small garden space. I discovered intensive planting methods and young people who’d grown modern-day versions of victory gardens in an effort to become more self-reliant. I got empowered, and soon I got gardening. In mid-May, I began sowing seeds for carrots, beets, radishes, spinach, and bush beans. I bought lettuce, kale, and leeks as transplants, which I hardened off and plopped in the ground.There were also some onion sets, strawberry plants, and a few edible flowers that I squeezed in, before declaring my new plot fully planted. That probably would have been all I’d have grown this summer, had a neighbour not offered me access to some of her unused garden space. With a second, larger garden bed to expand into, I planted sweet corn, squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, cabbage, edamame, and a variety of herbs. Everything grew like crazy. There were days that harvesting my garden felt like printing money; I had such an abundance of fresh, spray-free produce that I was able to avoid the grocery store at a time when droughts in California were driving up food prices. Amid my newfound gardening success, I continued to read up on different cultivation methods, like square foot gardening, and browsed seed catalogues for new plant varieties. I practiced some succession planting — replacing crops I harvested in the summer with fast growing seedlings that would produce another round of vegetables for autumn picking. I built an experimental, elevated garden bed I can cover for overwinter growing.
Photos by Sam Van Schie
9 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
Now that I’ve tasted the bounty a novice garden can bare, I’m completely hooked. I’ve picked the next section of my yard I want to convert to raised beds and plan to spend the winter reading gardening books and planning out my 2015 crop rotation. I’ve already got next summer’s garlic and onions in the ground, which will survive under the snow and burst into growth when spring arrives. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it took me so long to get serious about gardening, but I’m sure glad I finally did. Six productive crops anyone can grow 1. Kale: These hardy greens keep on giving. Once you have an established kale plant you can pick leaves from the bottom up, and it just keeps on producing new growth all season long. Favourite variety: Improved Siberian; a flat leaf kale perfect for making kale chips. 2. Bush beans: When these babies poke out of the ground they’re already twice the size of other seedlings. They grow quick and will produce a sizable crop about two months after planting. Favourite variety: Royal Burgundy, which are dark purple when you pick them, but turn green when cooked. 3. Radish: Ready to pick 30 days after planting, this is the closest thing to an instant gratification crop. Favourite variety: French Breakfast, a long skinny, heirloom variety that grows well in both spring and summer. 4. Zucchini: If you want to have produce to give away, zucchini is the crop for you. One healthy zucchini plant is all you need to keep you picking all season long. Plant two or three and you might find you’ll be handing it out to anyone who will take it. Favourite variety: Gold Rush, a yellow-skin variety that will add colour to your summer stir fries. 5. Lettuce: If you grow only one edible crop, make it lettuce. Plant it in a container or choose a colourful variety to sow amid your flowers. Home-grown lettuce tastes so good, you’ll want to grow it year round. Favourite variety: Red Sails, a red-tinted loose leaf lettuce that looks beautiful in the garden and on your plate. 6. Basil : Expensive at the grocery store but easy to grow at home, basil plants will keep growing and producing as long as you harvest them right. When you cut basil, look for the tiny pairs of leaves at the base of each stem and snip directly above them. The tiny leaves will then grow into new branches. How cool is that! Favourite variety: Genovese, a traditional, strong-flavoured Italian basil and a robust plant that can grow to be two feet tall.
Photos by Sam Van Schie
10 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
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TRENDS Kitchen cabinets are looking more like fine furniture and counters, and islands are becoming more like dining tables as people are congregating in the kitchen for more than food. Texture has also become a HUGE trend into the kitchens and bathrooms as the choices for cabinets, hardware, and other accessories have been expanded to meet the needs of accommodating style with functionality. Specialty work stations are also showing up as people trade off features. Will it be a professional range or Cambria countertops? Will it be a farmhouse sink or a big island? By choosing to splurge on one item versus another consumers are sticking to their budgets and many of them are looking to companies offering Loyalty Reward Programs to help them out with it.
Wendy Burgess, WLD-synz
Many clients are opting for a more versatile, neutral base with the use of big impact accents to easily change their decor. Pillows and throws are a great, inexpensive way to inject color, contrast, and texture into a monochromatic or colourless design. Try faux fur, bright hues or chunky knits to stay trend savvy.
Lissa Knox, Maison
There are many ways to creatively utilize “waste” products in interior projects. I recently discovered a line of area carpets made from remnants of sari silk. WOW! The colours are stunning and the patterns range from the more traditional overall patterns to the current style of asymmetrical patterning. Another brilliant re-use of old materials: take those pennies still hanging out in your piggy bank and install them as flooring!
Lara Ellenwood, Ellenwood Homes
2015 will see trending towards cleaner lines in our exterior home and interior, varied textures with similar colours and creating focal points throughout the home with clean lines so focus is directed to items you want to show case. The cleaner lines are primarily influenced by European styles, or Ikea, and are prevalent in our kitchens. Flat panels cabinets or straight edged cabinet doors move away from the rounding or rounded over cabinet doors. Granite, still my clients’ favorite pick, has a close second with the silestone that can offer a more monotone countertop; regardless, the hard surface counter top is still the number one pick for consumers. With cabinet pulls we are seeing a clean, tucked away handle or an overly large handle with straight lines. Back splashes in glass are still popular, with new styles and products, natural stone/glass or porcelain/glass.
Deb Weiland, Weiland Construction
12 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
From fuchsia to bubblegum, to blush to mauve, pink is one of the key colour trends for fall/winter 2015. Adding hues of pink to your wardrobe and décor this winter will keep you in the fashion forefront as well as brighten a dreary day. I love shades of pink injected into my life and so will you; just make sure the undertones are pleasing and complimentary. “Pink is the new Black.”
Laurel T. Colins
The junkin’ and thrifting trend are still on the rise and show no signs of stopping or slowing down anytime soon. Aside from it being a great way to recycle and save money, it’s just plain fun with a bit of thrill added. Successful treasure hunting has people wanting to learn how to refurbish, revamp, and custom finish their newfound pieces. With the many environmentally safe products now available, such as Country Chic chalk and mineral paints and Miss Mustard Seed Milk paint, just about anyone can do it themselves. While shades of white and grey have been the most common choice of colour for furniture refinishing, there has been a more recent shift to hues of blue, green, and teal. Whether blending in with your decor or making it pop out as a focal piece, the ideas are as endless as the fun.
Robin Gallant, Birch n’ Burlap Different is the new normal in the world of light fixtures. Unusual pieces are everywhere. They combine traditional materials such as crystal, or tiffany glass, used in an untraditional way. Lighting continues to embrace natural fibres too. We are seeing lots of metalwork, jute, wood, and stone. Blues and turquoises are the colour for accents in table lamps and pendants, Brass is back as well. Not your Gramma’s shiny polished brass, but a softer, matte gold. Certainly LED technology continues to shine brightly. Say goodbye to your fluorescents. LEDs have come down in price dramatically over the last few years and the colour temperatures, dimmability, and lumen output have improved. I have seen a huge jump in fixtures incorporating LEDs directly into them. LED wall sconces, flush mounts, and chandeliers are all on offer. Ultimately though, listen to the trends but embrace what “speaks to you.” That’s really what makes a show home a true home. Let your own personality shine through — it’s the on-going trend!
Carol Pears, Mountain High Lighting
13 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
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The Upside of Downsizing By Sam Van Schie
When Joan Ralston and Tobias Jenny traded their 1 700 square foot family home in Nelson’s Uphill neighbourhod for an ultra-compact, 300 square foot house around the corner, there were more than a few people who thought they might be crazy. “People said to us, ‘this is really going to test your marriage,’” quips Jenny, 64, chuckling at the FOUR UNITS notion. “We were already used to being around each other all the time. So this isn’t anything new for us.” STILL For more than a decade, the self-employed pair shared a home studio in their converted garage, AVAILABLE where he ran a bread baking business, Uphill Bakery, and she met students for academic tutoring. Plus they had creative pursuits—Jenny’s music and Ralston’s fiber arts—that they practiced at home. But after Jenny retired and Ralston, 63, started working less, their economic circumstances demanded a simpler way of life. And when they looked at what they could live without, the house and nearly everything in it hit the chopping block.
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The upside of downsizing Though a desire to be more economically responsible drove Jenny and Ralston’s decision to The Buildings: downsize, the couple have noticed other benefits to living in a smaller home. They no longer have The Kootenay Place Complex includes both a four-unit and living space (everything in the house has a purpose and a place) and a full clutter crowding their three-unit townhouse complex house design cleaning can be done in a matter of minutes. Energy efficient contemporary The Suites: No maintenance landscaping APPLIANCE 2 and 3 BedroomRalston units available says.“We can go places and do things we never used “We have so much more freedom,” Low strata fees PACKAGES High end finishing Easy accessibilityto have time AVAILABLE for because we aren’t spending Private garage, decks and BBQ area all our energy maintaining a big house that we no longer need.” To view call 250-365-9423 to book your appointment today! Right in the Centre of Downtown Castlegar Easy walk to schools, parks, hospital, shopping, dental and medical clinics, restaurants, nightlife & much, much more!
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Right in the Centre of Downtown Castlegar Easy walk to schools, parks, hospital, shopping, dental and medical clinics, restaurants, nightlife & much, much more!
TheBuildings: Buildings: The Right in the Centre of Downtown Castlegar The KootenayPlace PlaceComplex Complexincludes includesboth botha afour-unit four-unitand and The Kootenay The EasyLocation: walk to schools, parks, hospital, shopping, dental and The Buildings: The Location: The Kootenay Place Complex includes both a four-unit and three-unit townhouse complex a three-unit townhouse complex medical clinics, restaurants, nightlife & much, much more! Right in the Centre of Downtown Castlegar in the Centre of Downtown three-unit townhouseCastlegar complex Right in theRight Centre of Downtown Castlegar Energy efficient contemporary design Energy efficient contemporary design Energy efficient contemporary design dental Easy walk to schools, parks, hospital, shopping, and Easy walk to schools, parks, hospital, shopping, dental and TheSuites Suit The Suites: The Easy walk to schools, parks,No hospital, dental and No restaurants, maintenance landscaping medical clinics, nightlife & much,shopping, muchAPPLIANCE more! No maintenance landscaping maintenance landscaping 2 and 3APPLIANCE Bedroom units available clinics, restaurants, nightlife & much, much more! Low strata fees The medical Buildings: APPLIANCE 2 and 2 and 3 3B PACKAGES finishing medical clinics, restaurants, Low nightlife & much, much more!High endPACKAGES stratafees fees strata PACKAGES AVAILABLE The Kootenay Place Complex includes both a four-unit and Easy accessibilityLow The Buildings: Highend en Private garage, decks and BBQ area High Easyaccessibility accessibility AVAILABLE The Kootenay Place ComplexEasy includes both a four-unit and three-unit townhouse complex AVAILABLE The Buildings: Private Private g view call 250-365-9423 to book your appointment today! three-unit townhouseTo complex The Location: Energy efficient contemporary The Kootenay Place Complexdesign includes a four-unit and contemporary Theboth Buildings: Energy efficient Thedesign Suites: The Suites: Nothree-unit maintenance landscaping No maintenance landscaping townhouse complex Right in the Centre of Downtown Castlegar APPLIANCE 3 Bedroom units available TheAPPLIANCE Kootenay Place Complex includes both a four-unit and 2 and 3 Bedroom units available2 and Low strata fees PACKAGES Low strataefficient fees Energy designparks, High end finishing PACKAGES Easycontemporary walk to schools, hospital, shopping, dental and Easy accessibility HighSuites: end finishing The three-unit townhouse complex AVAILABLE Private garage, decks and BBQ area Easy accessibility landscaping No maintenance AVAILABLE 555 555 5555 APPLIANCE Tel:Tel: 555 555 5555 medical clinics, restaurants, nightlife contemporary & much, much more! Private garage, decksunits andavailable BBQ area 2design and 3 Bedroom Energy efficient Low strata fees to book your appointment today! PACKAGESTo view call 250-365-9423 The Suites: High end finishing Suites: maintenance landscaping Easy accessibility Jaylo The Land Developments Ltd. is a locally owned andNo operated Builder of new Custom Homes in the West APPLIANCE Kootenay region of British Columbia, with an office AVAILABLE Private garage, decks and BBQ area
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Choosing the simple life Six years before the couple took the plunge into compact living, they took a different, though perhaps equally radical, step towards a simpler life: they got rid of their car. “That was really what put us onto a path of thinking about the cost-benefit of everything we had in our life,” Jenny explains. “After we got rid of the car, we knew how much money we could save by giving up common luxuries.” After returning the car to the dealer, he took the money he’d been spending to lease it and added it to his mortgage payment. In just five years, he’d completely paid off his 15-year mortgage. “When you think of it this way—to save ten minutes getting somewhere [by car], I’m going to have to work 10 extra years to pay my mortgage—it doesn’t make sense anymore,” Jenny says. “The same goes for a big house.You have to work many hours to pay all the bills, or you live somewhere small and then it’s your choice if you work or not.” Going for small Unless you want to live in a condo or build from scratch, finding a small home in the Kootenays can be a challenge. Land isn’t at a premium here the way it is in larger cities, and most of the once-small, century-old houses have long since been built out by generations of homeowners seeking to expand their living space. So when Jenny and Ralston saw a “Private Sale” sign in front of what is now their home, they immediately called the owner and within two hours had worked out a deal to buy it. Initially, they planned to turn it into a rental property but soon decided to move into it themselves and rent out their larger house instead. “I always imagined my ideal way to live would be in a little cabin with a hearth, a bed, a table and a chair, and a hook on the wall for a change of clothes,” Jenny says.“This is about as close to that as I can get, while still living in the city.” Before moving in, the couple hired a contractor to completely remodel the house for them; he installed a new kitchen, complete with a terracotta tile floor, added a garden window in the living room, and created a beautiful stone-tiled shower in the bathroom. “When you only have a small space, everything in it can be high-end and luxurious,” Ralston says, noting that she’d always wanted terracotta in her kitchen. They bought matching leather chairs with ottomans for their living room, and a simple two-person dining table. They store their clothes together in one closet and a single chest of drawers. And each has a wood bookshelf on which to store their few precious belongings. What happened to everything else they collected over the years in their previous home? Most of it, they simply got rid of.
16 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
Photos by Sam Van Schie
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KASLO BC 250.353.2257 WILLOWHOMEGALLEY.COM 18 WEST KOOTENAY FALL HOUSE AND HOME 2014
104 Silica Street | 877-399-4415 | 250-352-2001
Home on the Range By Eli Geddis
Photos by Eli Geddis
Homes—like wine, cheese, and country songs—get better with age. Just ask longtime Kootenay residents Jake and Carol Conkin, whose new home, despite being built less than a year ago, is adorned and furnished with a lifetime’s worth of passion, memorabilia, heirlooms, and aesthetics. It’s a fascinating mix of the new and old, and because of this, it feels timeless. Nestled in a quiet corner of Ootischenia, their house is a tribute to the working cowboy and everything—from the wagon wheels and fruit trees outside, to the timber frames and hickory cabinets inside—reflects their passion for this life. It all began when Jake Conkin—one time Winlaw school principal, entertainer, cowboy poet, and children’s author—noticed an empty plot of land below a forested hill while he was out biking one day.Though there wasn’t any “For Sale” sign on the property, Conkin knew the land would make for a perfect, quiet place to build a new home. In no time, Jake and Carol had acquired the property, sold their existing home, and raced to build a new one. For most couples, building a home from the ground up can be a harrowing, relationship-risking endeavour. But this isn’t Jake and Carol’s first barn dance.The couple are an impressive team; they have built three homes over the last fourteen years.“And we’re at an age now,” Jake quips,“when everybody just shakes their head at us. But we’ve still got our health and vitality, so why not enjoy it? This is our dream home. It’s an evolution.” Squared timber framing, with elegantly-moulded beams and rafters support the spacious living room, and large east-facing windows open the space to the forest outside. “It was our intent to really let mother nature into the house,” explains Jake.“We’re both outdoors people, and that’s very important to us.” The walls are dotted with cowboy-themed watercolours and landscapes. A framed pencil sketch of a younger Jake Conkin, fully clad in his riding garb, sits above the staircase. There are bronzed statuettes of wranglers and outlaws, a miniature likeness of Little Jake—the central character of Conkin’s trilogy of children’s books—and a gorgeous iron tableau of stampeding horses inset on the fireplace’s mantle.
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Photos by Eli Geddis
And everywhere, there is wood.“We’ve always loved the warmth of wood,” explains Carol,“and at first we wanted a full engineered timber frame.” However, when they discovered the price it would cost just to have the plans drawn up, the Conkins decided to emulate a standard building structure but incorporate additional timber supports to add to the house’s aesthetic and to allow the rooms their spaciousness. As with everything else in their home, it’s a perfect hybrid between the old and the new. “When we first drew up the plans we had a contractor come take a look, never heard from him again!” Jake laughs.The two ended up working with Kim Perepolkin of Carpenter’s Creations, a talented carpenter and woodworker who was more than willing to embrace their creative, ambitious vision, and make it come to life. He did the timber moulding, the custom beams, the mantlepiece, and more. After the year that it took to build the house, the Conkins christened the home with the name Trail’s End; it’s an homage to an image in a First Nations tale they recall, in which a young warrior reaches the end of the trail, his head hung low, home at last. Jake carved the words into a wooden sign himself that greets visitors as they enter the property. But this is hardly the end of the trail, neither for the Conkins nor for the artifacts of their life together. If their home is anything, it’s an ongoing celebration of history and how items and symbols can bring meaning to both the past and the present. Jake’s grandfather’s plow, the one that he learned to use as a child, sits underneath a shady tree. An eighty-year-old wagon wheel from the Slocan Valley is now a repurposed lawn ornament. Even the new fence is hardly new.The rails of wood were felled and hand-split by Jake in his young years; “I found some cedar snags out in the woods,” he explains, “and split them with a sledgehammer, by myself, three wedges to every split. Close to ten pick-up loads.” And after the labouriously-harvested rails passed through a number of different properties, he found himself having to buy them back from their new owner. “That was an ironic thing that happened,” Jake says. It’s an image that would fit perfectly in a country song. And it’s an image that fits perfectly in the house they’ve built together. Everything is meticulous, everything is purposeful. And everything is a callback to a very specific place in time, from the structure to the decor, from the bones of the home to its heart. “Well, you never actually get a perfect house,” Carol is quick to admit. “But you get closer. And that’s half the fun, isn’t it?”
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Downsize Me By Laurel Colins
The Supersize Era is Dead There was a time not so long ago that we could not get enough stuff. Children grow, styles change, activities change, and the world of sports equipment advances as fast as iPhones. Good money invested in this range of high quality goods makes it hard to part with. Surely we can pass them on to our kids, friends, relatives, grandkids, and the list goes on. Understandably we just want to pass them along to someone who will appreciate their value, but until then we must endure massive accumulations in our basements, closets, and storage facilities. This all is a source or stress, regret, and sadness, not to mention storage facility costs can add up fast. Now we have entered a new era of higher consciousness. A much greater awareness about our retail consumption is sweeping the country. Whether it be food, clothes, equipment or home goods, we are becoming ever more conscious of the footprint we leave here on this planet. Decisions for our home environments require careful consideration and thoughtfulness. With this in mind, the five bedroom house that so wonderfully supported three children and their parents is too much space for the empty nester. Maintaining this massive home and the kids’ rooms in case of a homecoming is taking up valuable time and money you could be spending on recreation travelling and other pastimes. The bins of clothes stacked in the attic need to be purged and you may need to re-think the snowmobile and surfboard you haven’t used in 10 years. Will you ever surf again? Perhaps you will, now that you are about to downsize, but these are the things you really need to take into deep consideration. Downsizing is something most all of us do for many reasons, including the fact that it is very stressful to live in homes that are overflowing with items that, to our subconscious, just feel and look like work. We all do enough work so let’s simplify our home lives with some simple steps. 1. Assessment time: Do you really need it? Seriously take a good look around at everything, and I mean everything. Begin in one area of your living space and go through each and every drawer, cupboard and closet. You probably have old bubble bath bottles and perfume samples in your vanity, old shoes for specific sports, coats and dishes, and on and on. Determine what you really need to keep. There are many rules of thumb for this so now it is time to implement them. But start small, even 20 minutes a day will be adequate and won’t be overwhelming. 2. Size Matters: If you are re-locating to a smaller home you need to consider the shapes and sizes of the pieces you bring or purchase. If your new, diminutive home has a small dining nook with a small kitchen counter/bar between nook and kitchen prep area, consider using a counter height table and counter height chairs; this way you can easily move the seating from counter to table comfortably. Now you have bar seats and dining seats all in one. It is easy to access these smaller sizes now. Get a good furniture consultant and they will find it for you. Think about your living room; the huge, deep, roll arm sofa or sectional may not be a good choice for maximizing space. Look for trimmer lines in furniture and really look at the length and depth of a piece.This is often a crucial factor, especially if you have small stairwells and doorframes. I have had to return sofas that could not fit through my door. Not fun. 3. Storage: Oh glorious storage, if only it were that simple. Just put everything in a cupboard and forget about it. No, we must only store what is essential and purge the rest. If you are downsizing with an actual new home, ensure there is adequate storage available for all the items you have deemed essential during your assessment process. Here in the Kootenays, most of us need to have space for our skis and bikes. Don’t sign the deal on the place unless you know you can comfortably house yourself and your accoutrements!
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4. Organize:Take what is left and organize.There are stores and websites that carry nothing but storage containers with options that are beautiful and creative.This makes storing items you need to keep at the ready, such as for your home office, part of your decor. It is much more pleasurable to organize with the right tools, so take some time to find inspiring storage solutions. We are fortunate to have several professional organizers in our area, so if this task is overwhelming for you, hire a pro. 5. Purge and Sell: There are loads of people waiting for your cast-offs. Re-purposing, recycling, re-gifting and re-selling are all very popular. If you are not inclined to spend time with online sites to sell your items, then just load them up and donate them. 6. Enjoy: The freedom you will feel once you have completed this job will be so worth it. Not to mention you may even have a nice chunk of money. Clutter clearing, organizing, and living with only what you love and functions well for you shouldnâ€™t be underestimated. It is said if you want to change your life, you need to change things in your life and since all life is motion then letâ€™s keep it moving. So go ahead and downsize; it is the right thing to do!
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