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DESIGNI NGgreen LET THERE BE AIR AND LIGHT

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arlier this year we were challenged by a family of six (four very active boys) on how to create a connected space that called the kitchen, the heart of the home. BEFORE The boys were relegated to the basement games room as it was the only space big enough to live out all the activities that pre-teen and teenaged boys have in common when the soccer pitch is not consuming their time away from home. Mom and dad felt left out, disconnected from their boys in spite of the close relationship they have. The problem: too small a kitchen, too small a dining room along with a too small a kitchen table, too small a living room and even a too small media room, all on the same floor and separated by those cage like walls typical of the 60s through 80s. This home did have some mini Westcoast features of vaulted ceilings and second storey overlooks down into the sitting room but each room was too small for any group beyond four so the family was never together at the same time. Like so many homes we see of this era, the original plan tried to pay homage to every room without creating a single room that really worked. “Do we stay or

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do we go?” On top of that, the kitchen did not have a window and the views from each of these rooms was a breathtaking scenic mountain and valley scene. The only recourse was to go outside onto the scenic deck and escape the confines of the home. Yet another disconnected space. So we really want to stay, but how? AFTER This is the challenge that really excites me. Lose the walls! Give me a view to the outside from the kitchen and create movement by adding more doors out to the deck and creating circulation. Stripping out was so easy and thank goodness for the long summer we had as the whole family moved into the garage for their temporary summer kitchen. It was really like camping out at home and we made sure enough cabinets could be spared from their old kitchen to provide the makeshift dining en plein air. Be prepared for a three month hiatus for a project this involved, but when it is complete, you will see why the wait was worth it. Also, prepare yourself for a $75K investment or more to pull this many rooms together. Not much more than the cost of buying, selling and moving,

right? All fixed, we moved Before forward to create a dream kitchen connected to every room on the main floor. Different counter levels allow the visitor or guest to be greeted by a raised bar, showing off new Removal granite bar tops but cleverly disguising the working kitchen that is always in action. The immediate mountain views are shared by all as the new window Stage 3 on center of the kitchen (and entry) is only second to the awe inspiring open concept inside. And should one want to move to the outer decks where dad is all over the barbeque, After two sets of French doors lead out on both the right and left side of kitchen, leaving one with no need to decide. That’s the key! Make it easy to move. I can almost imagine a Christmas tree set up on the deck with the festive season approaching. Viewed from all rooms, it could be large and potted and ready to replant in spring. Happy Christmas to all!

Valley Voice Magazine - Your Monthly Guide to Living in the Cowichan Valley

David Coulson is a local certified Built Green design builder. He has a staff of 25 that have built throughout the Island for over 20 years.

Cowichan Valley Voice - December 2015