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HO M E S Custom Homes • Renovations

Custom Homes • Renovations

Call us today for a no obligation, no cost home building or renovation quotation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Victoria 250.382.5400 Nanaimo 250.754.5500 Comox/Courtenay 250.338.5600

WINTER 2011

HO M E S

Alair Custom Homes and Renovations is a new home builder and renovator proudly serving Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay/Comox. From modest to mansion Alair Homes builds homes and renovates to suit any budget and style. Our business operates on a 100% transparency system which puts our clients in complete control while utilizing Alair's impressive buying power to leave more money in your pocket. Track your project online in real time with our user friendly client log in portal which provides clients with selections, budgets, schedule and even real time site monitoring. Visit our website today to see why Alair Homes and Renovations is Vancouver Islands preferred Custom Home and Renovation contractor.

info@alairhomes.com • alairrenovations.com alairhomes.com

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Completed Renovation Photography by Alberto & Mia Dominguez - Artez Photography Corp.

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View

Renovation with a

By Ben Vorst

Working hand in glove with your contractor is essential when taking on a major renovation; when your goal is a home that blends seamlessly with its beautiful natural setting, it takes on the status of an ethos.

That’s why the relationship between Alair Homes and the Philippson family, forged during the transformation of an awkward dwelling into a dazzling yet unobtrusive waterfront sanctuary, was key during the process. The result of the strong bond is a stunning single-level home with a spectacular view, and the fulfillment of a long-time dream.

WINTER 2011

Alair Homes bridges family, location and elegant home functionality

H&L’s Feature Renovation |

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“Communication was good, very good,” notes homeowner Jay Philippson, a native of the area, on the basis of the effective working relationship he and wife, Ana, were able to develop with the team at Alair. “Our first meeting with David [Babakaiff, Project Manager] was exceptional.” The match was a good one, not in small part because of Babakaiff ’s experience with previous renovations: knowing some of the pitfalls of renovating a house to which several add-ons have been made, as well as having the ability to encourage clients to think ahead when planning what (in this case) is a long-term residence. “A cornerstone of Alair’s philosophy is to provide the talent and take the time at the beginning of every project to understand the homeowner’s values, budget, preferences, and goals,” remarks the affable Babakaiff. “Many times, by asking the right questions, we discover customers’ deep felt dreams of the perfect home (which they thought they could not have, so they don’t express it right away) and often those dreams can in fact be realized.” In this case, the dream entailed building a home for Jay & Ana Philippson that achieved two main goals: to provide a comfortable space that they would cherish spending time in while maintaining capacity for visitors (like their two grown children and one close to flying the coop); and to create a home that embraced the natural surroundings and provided an adequate staging ground for the breathtaking view (of the Chemainus River estuary and Salt Spring Island). Building, or in this case renovating, in a relatively intact coastal forest area can be tricky, but it can be easier with foresight. Nobody wants to cut down trees, but everybody wants lots of natural light and an inspirational vista outside their windows. The Philippsons were able to strike a balance that allowed them to achieve their design goals while retaining the integrity of the project. “The old house was overpowered by large fir trees that were over 2 feet across and 90 feet tall,” notes Babakaiff. “The owner opened up the building space, letting sunshine in, by selectively cutting down some of these large trees, then having the logs custom milled and dried for re-use in the new renovation.”

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Working hand in glove with your contractor is essential when taking on a major renovation

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The selective cull of firs and cedar was a necessary step for the project, as the original home (built in the 1950s) was in complete shadow from the surrounding foliage. “[The removal of trees] opened it up tremendously,” says Jay Philippson, who is returning to the area after years in Edmonton, the mainland, and Duncan. “It was a dark, almost gloomy place in the house.” The resulting openness and brightness have made the home both more energy efficient and much more comfortable. Nothing was wasted, either: the logs were custom milled and dried for re-use in the new renovation. The harvest from the trees is on full display in the beautiful post and beams for the front entry, cross beams with king posts doweled together in the large vaulted main room, a solid custom fireplace hearth, and trim for windows and doors.


HO M E S Custom Homes • Renovations

Custom Homes • Renovations

Call us today for a no obligation, no cost home building or renovation quotation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Victoria 250.382.5400 Nanaimo 250.754.5500 Comox/Courtenay 250.338.5600

WINTER 2011

HO M E S

Alair Custom Homes and Renovations is a new home builder and renovator proudly serving Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay/Comox. From modest to mansion Alair Homes builds homes and renovates to suit any budget and style. Our business operates on a 100% transparency system which puts our clients in complete control while utilizing Alair's impressive buying power to leave more money in your pocket. Track your project online in real time with our user friendly client log in portal which provides clients with selections, budgets, schedule and even real time site monitoring. Visit our website today to see why Alair Homes and Renovations is Vancouver Islands preferred Custom Home and Renovation contractor.

info@alairhomes.com • alairrenovations.com alairhomes.com

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| H&L’s Feature Renovation

This process was all part of the Philippsons’ vision of creating a seamless transition from outdoors to indoors and back again. The home (which includes a large double garage, with future living space above, attached but separated by an open-air breezeway) has an exterior that incorporates Whistler-style elements, including gables, cedar shingles and natural tones (siding by Sheck Construction). The approach to the home goes past the open breezeway, effecting an enticing snapshot of the view of on full display from the wrap-around deck on the east side of the house. A covered entryway, attractively accentuated by the fir posts and beams, frames a beautiful entry door, with pebbled glass and symmetrical black steel design (all doors by Windsor Plywood, Nanaimo). The first steps inside the home exudes the philosophy of airiness and natural light – ceilings soar up, chalet style, above a broad combination of kitchen and living room, culminating in lofty cross beams. The prominent windows (by Coastal Windows, Nanaimo) and deck doors emphasize that while the house is a home for the family, it is just as much a viewing platform for the majestic panorama – one gets the feeling that the home is built specifically to complement the scenery.

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The kitchen-come-dining room flows uninterrupted to the living room; something that Ana Philippson remarks has practical benefits. “I come from a background of a big family,” she notes, “and the kitchen is a big thing: everybody always ends up in the kitchen. I never wanted this segregation where you’re stuck in the kitchen and everybody’s being entertained somewhere else. Here, wherever you are, you can still converse with others.”

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The kitchen itself is a beautiful combination of maple cabinetry with chrome hardware (cabinetry by Studio Kitchens, Nanaimo), verde perla granite countertops, and a low-maintenance granite double-sink. Appliances, like the wall oven and microwave, and the ceramic cooktop, continue the recent trend for space awareness, tucked away inside the cabinetry. A large island, topped with a single 10’ slab of the verde perla granite (granite by Matrix Marble), doubles as a food preparation site and an informal dining area, also functioning as a locus for gathering family and friends in the unstructured space. The kitchen floor is a continuation of the entryway design, laid with subtle and classy Brazilian slate tile.

The home exudes a philosophy of airiness and natural light


H&L’s Feature Renovation |

The transition to the dining area is marked by a boundary of fir wood floors, with wide planks of the reclaimed wood (hardwood by Canadian Heritage Lumber Co., Chilliwack) providing a softer presence than the resilient stone of the kitchen. From there, an invisible shift to the living room is affected only by furnishings and a low pony wall, retaining the free flowing nature of the space. A sublime stone fireplace anchors the main room on one end; the air-tight design, connected to the air handler, improves heating efficiency in the house. Other environmentally-friendly features of the home include energy-efficient windows, solid wood doors throughout, new insulation to R40, in-floor heating, and Energy Star appliances.

“I come from a background of a big family and the kitchen is a big thing”

The focus of the main area, however, is still the tremendous view: the east side of the house is completely devoted to a connection with Stuart Channel less than 100 metres away. Most impressively, the Philippsons had the foresight to install Nana Wall doors: a 10-foot span of folding (glass-panelled, fully-insulated) doors that can be opened up onto the deck, eliminating the barrier between indoors and outdoors during the gorgeous West Coast summers. The effect is remarkable, ensuring the fluidity of movement at the heart of the project.

pacificcoastfloors.ca

#100-2374 Millstream Road | Victoria, BC | PH: 250.474.0411

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| H&L’s Feature Renovation

The wraparound deck – bordered by a railing of 4x4 cedar and glass panels – connects to the breezeway and entry path, creating yet another journey. To create the desired effect of the treated lumber deck reaching past the bedrock, Alair had to install special footings and a complex system of supports; nonetheless, bedrock has been incorporated into the design of the exterior of the home, continuing the natural theme. Jay Philippson notes his pleasure at the “organic” appearance of the finished project; the house seems to have grown out of the ground itself. The deck also provides a second access to the master bedroom, abutting the living space, a haven of comfort that faces the same sunrise view. In lush carpet and neutral tones it is, again, merely an accent to the deep greens and greys of the outlook, and is itself equipped with a smaller set of fold-away doors.

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The bedroom is complemented by a spacious walk-in closet, as well as a luxurious en-suite bathroom. Equipped with a deep tub (with Jacuzzi capability) and a capacious deluxe shower (complete with jumbo rain shower head and deep enough to eliminate the need for a shower door), the entire bathroom is done in travertine tile, an attractive option, especially with in-floor heating. The exquisite vanity is done in the same, with the same maple cabinetry found throughout the home.

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They had a vision of creating a seamless transition from outdoors to indoors and back again

The north side of the house contains several guest bedrooms, one with en-suite (in Brazilian slate) and two more serviced by another stylish guest bathroom, this one using honed travertine. There is also a den featuring a desk hand-built by Jay Philippson out of lumber salvaged from the original home. Throughout the cosier end of the house, solid core wood doors and light tunnels channelling sunlight help carry the natural theme to the less-windowed areas. There is also a well-thought-out media room, adequately dark and secluded, perfect for family movie nights and serviced by a tiled bar. The media room has been soundproofed, using extra insulation, and despite its proximity to the brilliantly lit main room is as dark as any theatre.

The foresight and planning were helped throughout the project by Alair’s web-based Co-Construct system, whereby homeowners are disclosed every accepted quote, cost, and finish selection to help them maintain a real time budget and make fully informed decisions about design and expansion (in this case, from 2900 to nearly 5000 square feet). The transparent nature of the system is a key component of Alair’s approach to building projects, one which stresses clear lines of communication with homeowners and an open door to contribution from them.

The deck provides a haven of comfort that faces the same sunrise view

All in all, this Vancouver Island jewel is a testament to the success that homeowners and builders can achieve when working together, openly and honestly; it is also a powerful symbol of Alair Homes’ ability to minimize the impact on the land without sacrificing the homeowners’ vision of a dream house.

Renovation in Victoria BC  

Alair Renovations feature story in Homes & Living Magazine.

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