VICTORIAâ€™S HOME & D E S I G N MAGAZINE
OF HOME INSPIRATION 3 CUSTOM HOME BUILDS A HERITAGE RENOVATION
FALL/WINTER 2017 PM41295544
TRENDS IN DESIGN, COLOUR & FLOORING
design | build | enjoy 778 351 4088
IN THIS ISSUE
VICTORIA’S HOME & D E S I G N MAGAZINE
PAGES OF HOME INSPIRATION 3 CUSTOM HOME BUILDS
A HERITAGE +RENOVATION
TRENDS IN DESIGN, COLOUR & FLOORING
FALL/WINTER 2017 PM41295544
ON THE COVER This custom Saanich home makes a striking design statement. Page 54 Photo by Joshua Lawrence
■ HERITAGE RENOVATION
■ LUXURY BUILD
■ PASSIVE BUILD
■ MODERN BUILD
A DESIGNER’S LOOK AT A HERITAGE RENOVATION
STYLE AND STONE
LIFE OFF THE GRID
WEST COAST WITH AN EDGE
A new homeowner and a passionate design team bring a 104-year-old character home back to life. B Y LEANNE McKEACHIE
This custom-built, Craftsmen-influenced dream home celebrates the beauty of stone.
A custom-designed Salt Spring home makes self-sustained living a reality.
Reimagining regional design with bold architecture and innovative engineering.
B Y MARIANNE SCOTT
B Y DANIELLE POPE
B Y ATHENA McKENZIE
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
Spruce looks at trends in hardwood flooring to help you find the floor of your dreams. B Y DANIELLE POPE
Easily above it all. The Yates on Yates presents a rare opportunity to make your home on one of Victoria’s most diversified downtown blocks. Located midway between Blanshard and Quadra, The Yates offers broad, breathtaking vistas and sophisticated finishes in a neighbourhood rich in urban convenience. Offering a mix of two-bedroom suites steeped in Chard-built quality and refinement, The Yates on Yates invites you to live higher — and see farther. Welcome to your world above it all. You’re going to like it here.
Now Selling Two bedroom view homes priced from $789,900 For more information visit
YATESONYATES.COM Sales Centre 102 - 608 Broughton Street Victoria, BC V8W 1C7 Open Noon to 5pm Every day except Fridays 250.590.9940
This is not an offering for sale. Such offering may be made by Disclosure Statement only. Renderings are for general illustration purposes only; completed building may vary. September 2017. E.&.O.E. Chard Development Ltd.
IN THIS ISSUE
B Y KERRY SLAVENS
S PRUCE IT UP
From kitchens emboldened by black to designer shelving, we’ve got trends and tips to get you inspired for your home build or reno.
Expert advice on making whites work for your interiors as fall and winter approach. B Y BEN BRANNEN
ASK THE EXPERT
A Q&A with 519 design + build architect Christian Foyd, who brings a Scandinavian design ethic and esthetic to Victoria. B Y ATHENA McKENZIE
A common-sense guide for condo buyers, including an essential checklist.
B Y SHANNON MONEO
Spruce visits the workshop of award-winning cabinetmaker Jason Good, whose designs range from traditional to extreme modernism. B Y MARIANNE SCOTT
A categorized list of the suppliers and trades showcased within these pages.
76 Broadmead Village Shopping Centre 310-777 Royal Oak Drive 250-727-3505 | www.pharmasavebroadmead.com
V I C TO R I A’ S H O M E & D E S I G N M AG A Z I N E
PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeffrey Bosdet
PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Kühtz
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant
DEPUTY EDITOR Athena McKenzie
PROOFREADER Vivian Sinclair CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ben Brannen, Leanne McKeachie,
Shannon Moneo, Danielle Pope, Marianne Scott
PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeffrey Bosdet, Joshua Lawrence, CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES Living4Media p.16, 18, 72
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AND FURNITURE INSPIRED
ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Vicki Clark, Sharon Davies,
LUXURY WOODEN DOORS
Jo-Ann Loro, Leanna Rathkelly
BY THE WEST COAST
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COVER: This striking custom build in Saanich by Horizon Construction reimagines West Coast architecture.
Photo by Joshua Lawrence
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Make yourself at home
Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief
“Whatever good things we build, end up building us.” I’ve been thinking about this quote from entrepreneur Jim Rohn ever since the idea was born one year ago to create Spruce, our exciting new home and design magazine published right here in Greater Victoria. Rohn is right — as much as we shape our homes, they shape us. So it’s little wonder homeowners pour so much energy into finding just the right architect or designer, choosing the perfect flooring and cabinetry, or deciphering just the right white to paint the walls. Decorator’s White? Chantilly Lace? When people are passionate about their homes, these details matter — and that’s why Spruce focuses on form and function. This highly curated magazine is designed as both an inspirational read and as a practical guide to help you plan your ideal space. Not only do we tour you through the region’s most stunning homes — from custom builds to renos, and passive homes to condos — we introduce you to people and products that will stimulate ideas and show you possibilities. Created by the expert team at Page One Publishing, the people who also bring you YAM and Douglas magazines, Spruce answers the call from local readers who told us they crave a home and design magazine that focuses on local and coastal. And that’s exactly what we’ve created, because when you sit down to read your copy of Spruce, above everything else, we want you to feel right at home.
OFFERING STYLISH SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR HOME FURNISHINGS
WINDOW COVERINGS & REUPHOLSTERY
While browsing the website for the upcoming Interior Design Show (IDS 2017) in Vancouver (September 28 to October 1), I fell in love with all of the organic-influenced designs. Think honeycombs, leaf fractals and water-flow patterns to bring a nature-inspired esthetic to your interiors.
HOME ACCESSORIES & GIFTWARE
FULL SERVICE INTERIOR DESIGN & RENOVATIONS
Find Flow The DXV Trope bathroom faucet is part of the first commercial residential faucet line created with 3D printing. Its organic form references the way water divides into streams and reunites. dxv.com/product/tropebathroom-faucet
Chopsticks for Walls Recycled from the tens of thousands of restaurant chopsticks that would otherwise end up in Vancouver landfills, this bamboo ChopValue wall décor set is a catchy conversation piece for the good of the planet. chopvalue.ca
Branching Beauty With its Myco modular branching system of overhead lighting, West Coast design firm Propeller has created lighting inspired by the mycelial root structures of mushrooms. propellor.ca
SPRUCE IT UP
ALL IN THE DETAILS
GET INSPIRED FOR YOUR HOME BUILD OR RENO. FROM KITCHENS EMBOLDENED BY BLACK TO DESIGNER SHELVING THAT TAKES ITS LEAD FROM A POPULAR VIDEO GAME, THEREâ€™S NOTHING SHY ABOUT THE LATEST HOME OFFERINGS.
R COLONUD TRE
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK ... Many stainless steel appliances have black trim, making them a sylish option in an all-black kitchen.
A high-gloss black finish can show fingerprints and smudges, so for easier maintenance, consider cabinets in a flat-black finish.
Inky black granite or marble backsplashes and counters add a layer of elegance, drama and sophistication.
The new black stainless steel — recently introduced by several appliance makers — doesn’t show smudges and fingerprints like conventional stainless steel.
It’s no surprise to see blue emerging as an on-trend choice in bathroom tile. The soothing attributes of this marine tone make it perfect for creating that ideal oasis. And there’s no reason to be sparing: a wall of blue tile makes for a fabulous focal point when used to line a shower cubicle or as a statement wall behind a freestanding bath. Inject a pure wash of colour with one tone, or mix and match several for a mosaic effect. Sonoma Tilemakers Vihara tile in Onsen Iridescent (line carried at Decora Tile)
Regina Andrew Design’s Ofelia chandelier (line carried at Luxe Home Interiors); Schaub Northport appliance pull and Dornbracht Tara faucet, both available through Victoria Speciality Hardware
Available through Park Avenue Stone Panels
MAKE IT METAL Stunning kitchen appliances in copper, bronze and tones of gold are becoming more widely available — at a cost — but you can create the same luxe feeling by adding a few pops in the metal of your choice. Get that metallic hit in light fixtures, faucets, drawer pulls, planters and trays.
NATURAL NUANCES Looking to add the timeless qualities of marble and stone to your space? DesignerStone panels make these natural materials more versatile and easy to use. Engineered using a patented technology to create a lightweight stone-faced structure, the panels consist of a front layer of thinly cut real stone adhered to a unique backing. Available in onyx, marble, travertine and granite, panels can be used for everything from feature walls to flooring to fireplaces — and can even be backlit.
FOR BOLD, GO BLACK Like white, black goes with virtually everything, which is why it works so well as the foundation colour in your kitchen. Its monochromatic palette suits every style, from English traditional to ultra modern. Whether you just stick to black cabinetry or go for everything from flooring to sinks and hardware, consider this hue for a look that is timeless and striking.
Kootenay Bay’s Temple of Light by Patkau Architects features a rotationally symmetrical system of petals that act as structural support and allow for an abundance of light.
Vancouver-based Patkau Architects is famous for its unique sculptural buildings, from an award-winning Gulf Island home, which hangs over a cliff, to major public buildings across Canada, including Kootenay Bay’s Temple of Light. The book Patkau Architects: Material Operations explores how Patkau’s philosophy, construction materials and techniques produce expressive forms with evocative identities. Get inspired by the firm’s creative use of materials, which offers a refreshing perspective on the possibilities of design. Patkau Architects: Material Operations from Princeton Architectural Press available through Bolen Books
While looking for a unique decorative solution to a storage problem, Victoria designer Cristian Arostegui G. of Arostegui Studio was inspired by the 1980s video game Tetris. “Nine different shapes compose the Tetris collection,” he says. “The shelves can be rotated in any direction — giving a vast array of possibilities.” Perfect for entryways or any space that could use a little more organization, Ttris shelves’ modular design allows you to create your own customizable layout. Adding to the product’s local appeal, Victoria-based furniture maker Dodeka produces the aluminum shelves right here. Ttris modular shelves available at arosteguistudio.com
ON THE WALL
It’s no secret that a TV can mess with the esthetics of a stylish home — and not everyone has the space for a dedicated media room. One elegant solution is Samsung’s The Frame, which acts as a framed piece of art and a 4K television. Its library of 100-plus pieces includes nature, street scenes and modern artworks. The Frame comes in three basic wood finishes, including white, which you can customize to your décor. Samsung 55" UHD 4K The Frame; visit samsung.com/ca for local retailers
UNDER THE HOOD
While the right island hood provides crucial kitchen ventilation, it can also act as a striking focal point. The new offering from Faber — called the Vanilla — features an interesting “Up and Down” technology that allows users to lower the extraction unit toward the cooking station when needed and then raise it back under its modern fabric curtain when it’s not. This ultra-modern unit launches in North America this fall. Faber Vanilla lamp extractor hood, available through West Coast Appliance
BY BEN BRANNEN
WARM UP THE WHITES WHITE INTERIORS FEEL COOL AND REFRESHING IN THE SUMMER, BUT AS TEMPERATURES DROP AND DAYS SHORTEN, WE TEND TO CRAVE WARMTH AND COZINESS IN OUR HOMES. HERE’S HOW TO MAKE WHITES WORK FOR YOUR INTERIORS AS FALL AND WINTER APPROACH.
ith the contemporary movement to bright, airy modern interiors, and the cooler spectrum of colour in today’s homes, achieving that warm, nested feeling you crave in fall and winter can be a design conundrum. Here are a few ideas to consider if you want to warm up a white or light-grey interior and prepare your home for the cool season.
Farrow & Ball’s All White contains no pigment, creating the softest, most sympathetic colour without the cooler blue undertones of those brilliant whites.
WARMING UP TO IDEAS Paint colour preferences tend to change with the seasons. For instance, if you were to begin a decorating project during the summer, chances are you would choose a cool palette. In contrast, for a winter painting project you would probably select warmer colours. So how to do find a balance that will serve you well year round? A good colourist will help you predict your home needs for all seasons so you can avoid that feeling of loving your home only when the summer sun is shining.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT WALLS
Choose a versatile base colour.
I’m guilty of enjoying the use of Farrow & Ball’s All White as a staple base. It’s versatile, with just the right mix of fresh and neutral without being cool and blue based, so it works in any season. If you want to keep to a contemporary, cool palette for the most part while adding a bit of warmth and interest, try using Off Black for a strong contrast. And don’t be afraid of using black in a small space — it can have the effect of infinity, making a room feel larger. The important thing to remember is that dark colours are not light-reflective so you may need to compensate with additional lighting.
Off Black by Farrow & Ball is a soft, warm black that is more flattering to adjacent colours than stronger blacks with more blue.
Add a feature colour to a wall.
LUXURY IS AN EXPERIENCE,
not a price.
168 WILD DUCK ROAD
621 WOODCREEK DRIVE
3220 EXETER ROAD
$1,150,000 MLS 381061
$3,888,000 MLS 378701
250.516.4563 | email@example.com
250.508.5325 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sothebyâ€™s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal.
Farrow & Ball’s Babouche brings a cheerful brightness that intensifies when used in large areas but is never gaudy.
When thinking of ways to warm up your home, don’t forget about doors. Red is a symbolically welcoming colour for entry doors. Choose a warm red like Farrow & Ball’s Incarnadine for that pop of heat you might be craving as the temperature drops.
Add a dash of “hot” with a yellowor red-based tone. To dramatically warm up an entire room (hint: not for the faint of heart) go for the deep yellow of Farrow & Ball’s Babouche. Or try their Incarnadine as a deep orange-based red on a feature wall. Consider painting your front door in the hot colour you crave this fall. I like to do both sides of the door in the same colour to bring interest to both the exterior and interior.
MORE WAYS TO CREATE COZY Besides paint, there are many ways you can up the coziness factor of your home for the cool seasons. Here are a few great ideas: Turn up the texture to bring coziness to contemporary neutral spaces. This can be as simple as adding in a textured carpet or linen slipcovers. A smart tip is to have two sets of slipcovers made so you have seasonal versatility, plus these covers can be taken off and laundered at least twice a year. Don’t shy away from wallpaper. It’s perfect for adding in interest with pattern and visual texture — and you’ll get a tremendous amount of style. So go ahead: wallpaper a feature wall or an entire room. And since wallpaper is something you are going to want to love for a long time, consider using it in a transitional area like a hallway or stairwell instead of a room where you spend lots of time, as you may tire of the pattern. Chosen correctly, the pattern will eliminate the need for artwork as additional decoration.
Add draperies to windows to warm up your interior rooms as the temperature lowers. They can be decorative side panels or full drapes that give you more privacy during months when you spend more time indoors with the lights on. Transform with lighting. Many contemporary spaces use LED lighting, which trends to shed a cool light spectrum on a room. I prefer using a variety of lighting to get a room’s look just right. While it’s true that incandescent and halogen bulbs add warmth, there are drawbacks: incandescent bulbs are becoming obsolete, and halogen bulbs give off heat. However, there’s plenty of hope for LEDs as bulb makers add more range to their products, from very cool to warm. And, coming soon, you’ll be able to purchase LED bulbs that offer a cool spectrum when bright and a warm spectrum when dimmed.
YOUR HOME, YOUR CHOICE Whatever way you choose to warm up your space for fall and winter, have fun with it and enjoy the transformation of your home’s interior — and your mood. Your home’s interior design is not something you should only enjoy during the right months and have to “live with” during the rest. These ideas give you the power to change your home to suit your unique needs, year round. Ben Brannen is the principal designer with Bespoke Design.
3 WAYS TO WARM UP YOUR WHITE DĂ‰COR 1
WALLPAPER WARMTH This interior stairwell space stays true to a neutral grey-and-white scheme but gains warmth thanks to the use of a repetitive wallpaper pattern. Note that larger-scale wallpaper patterns will add to the contemporary styling of a white-neutral home.
DRAPED IN COZINESS This living room in cool grey and white gets its warmth from the dark-grey draperies. Simple and tailored to suit the style of the interior, they bring a cozy factor to the room.
FARROW & BALL
GET IN THE GLOW This eating area has a simple contemporary light fixture that features warm parchment shades, so no matter which type of bulb you choose for it, youâ€™ll see a warm glow through the paper.
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ASK THE EXPERT
BY ATHENA McKENZIE
Q& A WITH ARCHITECT CHRISTIAN FOYD
JEFFREY BOSDET/SPRUCE MAGAZINE
AT 519 DESIGN + BUILD, CHRISTIAN FOYD BRINGS HIS SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN ETHIC AND ESTHETIC TO VICTORIA. SPRUCE GETS THE SCOOP FROM THIS INTERNATIONALLY EXPERIENCED ARCHITECT ON FINDING THE RIGHT ARCHITECT AND WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE DESIGN PROCESS.
hen Christian Foyd moved to Victoria from Copenhagen in 2000, he sensed something was missing in local house design. “I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to do Northern European, Scandinavian modern houses, with their focus on quality and sustainability,” he says. The Canadian-educated, Danish-registered architect was working as a consultant for DISSING+WEITLING on the Dockside Green masterplan when he met architect Peter Johannknecht. Together with Geoffrey Wong, an expert in project management and communications, the three friends, recognizing their shared design sensibilities, bought some property on Transit Road to showcase what they could do. 519 design + build was born. “It really took off from there,” Wong says. “A lot of our clients come to us having seen the houses on Transit or the ones on our website and they want something similar.” While Johannknecht is now with Cascadia Architects, he is, as Foyd says, “a frequent collaborator.” To create a unique home for each client, 519 employs what Foyd describes as a “sketchintensive” process and a lot of back and forth between the client and the team.
Spruce sat down with the Foyd to learn what a client can expect when working with an architect.
Coast Capital Realty
How does one find the right architect for a project? It’s an interview. First of all, you identify something in [the architect’s] previous work that you like. That’s really important. Secondly, you sit down with them. Sometimes it won’t be a good match — and that can happen from either side. The design of a project needs to be a constant conversation.
How do you determine if it’s a good match? We ourselves have a clever technique to find out if it’s going to work or not. I draw fast, and before we sign the full deal to build a house, we go through a schematic design phase. It’s a really rapid-fire game of Ping-Pong with the client. We send them sketches and they email their thoughts back. Through that process, you start to find out really quickly, one, is this going to work, and two, is this going to be good for us all? It also leads into a conversation about relative costs, so you get a sense if it’s going to work on a budget level as well.
TRANSIT ROAD The houses at 519 Transit Road (shown here) and 521 Transit Road were 519 design + build’s first projects, and gave rise to their company name. Undertaken when Peter Johannknecht of Cascadia Architects was still a partner and co-designer, the designs of these homes exemplify 519’s contemporary Scandinavian sensibility and focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. Features include high-quality building systems such as hotwater heating, heatrecovery ventilation and solar-ready hot water storage.
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Are there other benefits to the sketches? When you meet the client, they already have an idea in their mind of what the possibilities are. The sketches show them that there are other ways to “skin the cat.” Many ways. What comes out of that tends to be a springboard. One of those sketches will grab them. They’ll say, “Wait a minute, that’s where we want to go.” It’s usually a surprise to them. It’s what sets the ball in motion.
What was the process for the Lochside project? We did several project proposals for this particular client, and then they found this beach property. We went through our typical round of intensive sketching, and they narrowed it down to one group of sketches. We did a site analysis and found out where the sun was and where the best
“THERE’S AN EXPRESSION ABOUT SCANDINAVIAN MODERN DESIGN: IT’S SO SIMPLE, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO CREATE IT BY PISSING IN A SNOWBANK. THAT’S A VERY MALE-CENTRIC VIEW OF IT.” — CHRISTIAN FOYD
Located on an acre-sized oceanside lot on the Saanich Peninsula, the Lochside project was designed to take full advantage of the site’s spectacular views. Its sketchbook — a part of every 519 design + build project which is given to the client — shows the great variety of options presented to the clients among the preliminary designs. Sketches include simpler box-like structures, as well as one that incorporates elements of bridge design, a focus of Foyd’s consultant work. The final design features a wavy, wing-like roof. The Lochside project was also done in collaboration with Peter Johannknecht, then a partner and codesigner in 519 design + build.
views were. They wanted a pool. Pools are tricky in Victoria — if you don’t site them properly and protect them from the wind, then they won’t be used very much. We isolated the southeast pocket as the best place for a water element. Early sketches explored a more linear design, but the homeowners were drawn to the sketches with the gull-wing roof element and that’s the direction we ended up going in.
What are the misconceptions around working with architects? That architects are expensive. If you look at the price of building a new home, there are the hard costs of the stuff you can see: the land, the bricks, the mortar, etc. Then you have the soft costs: things such as permits and consultants. We’re part of those consultant fees. That tends not to jump much over 10 per cent of the entire project. If someone starts out looking at the soft costs as a deal breaker, then they will be the deal breaker. Trying to save on design is a bad place to start.
Does building in the Capital Regional District have any challenges?
SOPHIA BRIGGS & NANCY STRATTON Together. Sophia Briggs and Nancy Stratton have formed an unbeatable team. Their wealth of talent, experience and passionate commitment to quality service is unsurpassed. The result is inevitable — a host of satisfied clients.
What’s unique about your designs? The key to Scandinavian modernism is having such simple design — it’s really reductionism. In fact, when a client comes to us with a list of all the things they want in their house, we try to get rid of half of it, telling them, “This is what you need to have; this is what will work for you through the ages.” Nobody will buy the house down the road and go, “This is so 2015.” There is nothing dark and diabolic about it. It’s simply asking: “Do you really need that? Is it essential?” It’s really simple when you draw it out. We can do this or we can do this. It’s black and white. We present a direction and provide the rationale.
In the interaction with the various communities, variances can be a really onerous process. In fact, it can be so onerous that we try to avoid asking any special favours from the communities. And it’s often not necessary. We try to make a match between the client’s aspirations and what the community will allow. It speeds up the process as well. You can spend months and thousands on a variance and not get it. LISTED for $3,890,000 4826 Spring Road, Saanich, BC
WAS LISTED for $1,148,000 304 - 21 Dallas Road, Victoria, BC
– 250.418.5569 NANCY – 250.857.5482
strattonandbriggs.com LOCAL EXPERTISE, GLOBAL CONNECTIONS Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E.: This information is from sources which we deem reliable, but must be verified by prospective Purchasers and may be subject to change or withdrawal. Not intended to solicit properties already under agreement.
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The Lochside is an open, airy 4,900-square-foot residence whose central area includes a two-storey atrium with windows that face the ocean. The project also involved the design of a separate guest house, a workshop, and a pool. A detailed site analysis determined the sun path and optimized placement for the pool.
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■ HERITAGE RENOVATION
A De s i g n e r’s L o o k a t a
HERITAGE RENOVATION BY LEANNE McKEACHIE
A 104-YEAR-OLD CHARACTER HOME HAD BEEN THROUGH SO MANY OWNERS AND USES, ITS ORIGINAL BEAUTY WAS ALMOST HIDDEN. BUT A NEW HOMEOWNER AND A PASSIONATE DESIGN TEAM BROUGHT ITS BEAUTY BACK TO LIFE.
to realize that we would need to expand the scope of work, which initially had been to install a shower in an existing bathroom. Instead, we agreed what was truly needed was to give the home the facelift it so badly needed.
HISTORY MEETS CONTEMPORARY Designers often joke that the most expensive words a client can utter are “While you’re here …” but in the case of this home, the expanded scope felt right. The owners decided to proceed with a full kitchen and bath reno and a refresh of the floor and wall surfaces. In considering an expanded scope, Ann and Tom asked very good questions, including, “Will this change cause increased value to the property and to the client personally?” and “Does that value warrant the cost to make the changes?” Without hesitation, their answer was always yes. And so the top floor of the home was to be transformed into a luxury rental suite, while the main floor would remain commercial offices. Tom and Ann remained skillfully involved and invested throughout the project to ensure the “bones of the structure” were reinforced and updated, including mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems. This attention to the inner workings of the house ensured it would not only look the part but also act the part — suitable to be inhabited by future tenants with modern lifestyles. What caught my eye as a designer were many of the period details of the home — the stained-glass windows, staircase railings, vintage tub and pedestal sink, tile, hardwood floors and the original brick chimney. These JO-ANN LORO/SPRUCE MAGAZINE
hen Tom and Ann McLean purchased a character home in Victoria in 1993, they knew it was in dire need of TLC. But they could see without a doubt the potential in the rundown house that had been built with great attention to detail for $7,000 in 1907 by designer/ builder David Herbert Bale as his residence and as a showcase for his work. The home had certainly been a passion for Bale — and more than a century later, it became a passion for the man who would steward its renovation. From the very beginning, Tom McLean set out to explore every nook and cranny of the house and its history. A captivating storyteller, Tom drew our design team into the home’s rich past and it soon began to take on a personality. Through the years, according to Tom, the home had been a private residence, a dance studio, a guest house, a rest home for elderly women, and it also functioned as various commercial offices. All of these shifts in use meant a lot of the home’s original character had been lost. Thankfully, the McLeans wanted to respect and honour this resilient home. In 2000, they embarked on a multi-year renovation of the “Grand Old Lady,” as Tom lovingly refers to the house. As our design team dug deeper and learned more about the home, it soon became clear a design concept with a restorative yet rejuvenating theme was necessary. As we dove into Tom and Ann’s requirements and desires for the project, we all came
formed the foundation from which the new design emerged. Most of the detailing referenced the Arts and Crafts movement but had a definitive Victorian influence. As always, I aimed to strike a fine balance between honouring the period stylings while modernizing the home’s functions and livability.
BEGINNING WITH THE BATHROOM We started by determining what had to happen to restore the existing bathroom fixtures. The cast-iron clawfoot tub, for example, came to the home from the Empress Hotel about 80 years ago. Its vintage made it impossible for us to retrofit modern plumbing fittings, plus the tub had to have its drillings patched prior to being entirely re-enamelled. Next, the tub’s claw feet had to be replated in brass, and new holes were drilled to accommodate the modern drain system. Similarly, the pedestal sink (also from the Empress) was underwhelming in its current condition — it was much too short for modern needs and the finish was worn. To resolve the height issue, our contractor, Robert Giesbrecht of RG Enterprises, built a platform to mimic the stepped detail on the existing base. The platform was adhered to the bottom of the pedestal base, and the entire fixture along with the platform was re-enameled. The result was a properly proportioned sink that looked both vintage and new.
The bathroom’s original floor tile was badly worn so we replaced it with a new look-alike floor of octagon and dot tile, which is a white octagonal tile accented by smaller black squares.
In this “before” photo, it’s apparent how the red wall dominates the sensibility of the room. Repainting the room in a neutral allowed features such as the stained-glass window to take an appropriately leading role.
THE SMALLEST DETAILS There were other issues to be solved. The stained-glass window in the bathroom was an untouched original, but it was visually overpowered by bright red walls that desperately needed to be repainted in a neutral for the glass to become a feature of the room. To achieve this, I selected Shoji White by Sherwin Williams. The lighter, refreshing backdrop allowed the stained glass to stand out as it deserved. Now, it was only fitting that the new light fixtures and custom mirror frame incorporated a fine-lined black detailing similar to the leaded detailing in the window. Brass fixtures and accents were also a must-have due to the vintage of the space and golden colour in the stained glass. The next challenge was the walk-in shower. How could we finish it to give it that classic look while modernizing its function and keeping it from visually overpowering the space? This was the perfect application for Neolith in Calacatta from Stone Age Marble & Granite. Neolith is a human-made product and the Calacatta pattern imitates true Calacatta
The cast-iron clawfoot tub, originally from the Empress Hotel, had to be entirely re-enamelled, and its beautiful claw feet replated in brass. Extensive work was also done to accommodate a modern drain system.
styles that inspire Visit our showroom to explore the Paradox collection from Riobel.
840 Cloverdale Ave. Victoria, BC V8X 2S8 250-475-1120 Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm
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LO C A L LY H A N D C R A F T E D D E S I G N E R K I TC H E N S
B U I LT F O R L I F E
marble (a classic look). Because of its solid surface properties, Neolith is less porous and less brittle than real marble. The product’s innate strength allowed us to clad the shower and pony walls with the thinnest six-millimetre product. Some of the vintage doorknobs were fully functional but needed a good cleaning. Others, like the bathroom doorknob, were beyond repair. In a situation like this, I usually suggest replacing them all or finding a different knob that complements the existing hardware. However, in a moment of happy coincidence, I came upon an Emtek doorknob with a back plate at Victoria Speciality Hardware. It was almost a replica of the existing hardware. Considering all the unexpected scenarios that can occur during a renovation, small moments like these can inspire a designer to perform a happy dance in the middle of a store.
FOCUS ON LIVABILITY There were specific requirements to be considered and inspiring character to be found at every turn, yet the process we went through is ubiquitous in any design project. Creating space that accommodates the way you want to live in a home should always be the number-one priority when considering a renovation. Some of the functional issues we
DESIGNER TIPS: CREATE A DYNAMIC ESTHETIC FOR YOUR SPACE
DREAM KITCHENS REALLY DO COME TRUE D’AMBROSIO ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM
People often ask me where I, as a designer, begin when it comes to a home renovation. Here is my process: Find the inspiration piece. Look for that fixture, finish, accessory or art piece with a look that you love. This is the starting point from which to build your design upon. Carefully choose other finishes and fixtures to complement the “inspiration” piece. You don’t want to select other finishes that will overpower your inspiration.
Custom Jason Good kitchens and bathrooms are built for inspired living. From initial sketch to final installation, we transform design dreams into functional masterpieces.
Layer your finishes, furnishings or accessories. For example, in the bathroom I began with the wall surface, added a full-height framed mirror, layered in the wall sconces and pedestal sink and then finished it off with an accessory table. Layering creates a dynamic design by adding depth and visual interest. The technique of layering works well with either a modern or traditional esthetic. Balance your colours. Add accenting finishes or colours throughout the space. If you have one shot of colour in only one spot in the room, it may look out of place or appear unbalanced. For example, in the bathroom I used a black accent throughout the space to balance the leaded stained glass and floor tile.
JOB # JGOF-15756 CLIENT: JASON GOOD CUSTOM CABINETS PUBLICATION: YAM MAGAZINE FALL/WINTER 2017 INSERTION DATE: MAY/JUNE 2014 ISSUE SIZE: 7.5" X 4.7" (HALF PAGE)
Use professional trades who specialize in working with the materials you have selected. Rely on their expertise to ensure the materials you have selected will not only look good, but will also function in the manner required.
“... IN A MOMENT OF HAPPY COINCIDENCE, I CAME UPON AN EMTEK DOORKNOB WITH A BACK PLATE ... IT WAS ALMOST A REPLICA OF THE EXISTING HARDWARE.”
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resolved in this bathroom renovation were: Lack of toiletry storage > We camouflaged a recessed medicine cabinet in the wall adjacent to the pedestal sink.
Bringing the lasting natural beauty of stone to living spaces
Limited counter space > The pedestal sink rim is generous, but for extra space I added an accessory side table that can be pulled out or tucked beside the sink, and included a glass shelf above the sink. Exposed washer/dryer > We built out the walls of a small closet to accommodate the depth of the stacking washer/dryer and camouflaged it with a door that blended with the other millwork. No linen storage > We borrowed a small amount of space from the hallway to create some recessed millwork. The design included mixed-use openand-closed storage and a pullout countertop as a perching spot for an iron or small laundry basket. No shower > We created a curbless walk-in shower, with a tiled linear drain cover. A pony wall with frameless glass was designed to hide the toilet but maintain openness. The Neolith wall cladding requires minimal maintenance and is easy to clean. Inefficient heating > We installed a heated tile floor to keep the floor dry and warm underfoot.
RETHINKING THE KITCHEN The redesign of the home’s kitchen also threw many challenges our way. Perhaps the most complex task involved combining the functions of a main entranceway, eating area, working kitchen, pantry storage and main thoroughfare into one small space less than 200 square feet in size. This kitchen — small yet mighty — features a coat closet that integrates into the built-in pantry cabinetry, an exposed and restored original brick chimney and a sunny eating nook complete with a space-saving built-in banquette. We maximized cabinet storage but used open shelving to maintain the open concept. The finishing that followed provided the character and brought the space to life.
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READY FOR A NEW GENERATION As I sit here and think back on this home, I know it was indeed a very special project, not only because of the home’s heritage, but because its new owners felt such passion for the home that being part of its renovation was a pleasure. Along with our work on the bathroom and kitchen, the exterior was restored with such attention to detail that it was the recipient of both Hallmark Heritage Society and Heritage BC awards. This was truly a house with a story to tell, and now, having been through a century of revolving ownership and changing needs, its beauty is restored and the Grand Old Lady will be home to a new generation of stories.
Leanne McKeachie is the owner of Leanne McKeachie Design in Victoria. Leanne has earned accolades for her work at Vancouver Island’s CARE Awards.
â– LUXURY BUILD
STYLE & STONE WHEN TARA AND LIBRAL FURTADO DECIDED TO CUSTOM-BUILD THEIR OWN CRAFTSMEN-INFLUENCED DREAM HOME, IT WAS A GIVEN THAT, AS THE OWNERS OF VICTORIA STONESCAPE, THEIR HOME WOULD CELEBRATE THE BEAUTY OF STONE.
BY MARIANNE SCOTT PHOTOS BY JOSHUA LAWRENCE
ara and Libral Furtado lived in a tiny 1910 farmhouse for nearly five years while the family home they’d dreamed about was being built next door on a three-and-ahalf acre lot. “It took all that time because we wanted to do it right and fund it as we went along,” says Tara. Victoria Design’s Wil Peereboom designed the two-storey, 7,100-square-foot house with its fivecar garage, an unfinished basement and another two-car garage underneath the home, created to store “fun” cars not in daily use. Besides the great room and dining room, the house includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms, laundry room, playroom, office and granny suite. While many Islanders covet ocean views, this family happily looks out over Blenkinsop Lake and tranquil scenes of fields and grasslands. “We wanted the house to be timeless, traditional and suited to our country-like neighbourhood,” says Tara. With multiple peaked gables, a porte cochère, a mix of stonework and grey-painted cedar shingles, the home’s exterior evokes the Craftsman-era style, with a splash of West Coast. Libral, who owns Victoria Stonescape, installed the exterior stonework. “When Toyota moved its showroom, they had to blast the new property’s rock,” he says. “The salt-and-pepper rock is beautiful. I brought 150 tons of it here.” After breaking the rock into smaller pieces, Libral covered the lower four feet of the home’s exterior walls with hand-chiselled stone, using a tight-joint mortarless technique. The same stonework supports a massive chimney and the coach gate, as well as several walls as landscaping features. All the stonework, which took a year to install, resembles an interlocking puzzle. Double insulation Pella windows and doors, and two heat-pump systems make the house energy efficient.
AN ENDURING ESTHETIC The Furtados were adamant the style of their home, both inside and out, should withstand changing design trends. Seeking elegance, tradition, hominess and durability, they chose to be their own interior designers.
Previous page and above: The kitchen, located at the north end of the open-concept great room, features double everything — two premium Bosch dishwashers, two sinks and double ovens in the eight-burner Wolf stove. An oversized fridge is Sub-Zero. The crystal chandeliers above the island and informal dining area, as well as the crystal door and drawer pulls, are a design element replicated throughout the home.
The wet bar adjacent to the kitchen/dining area contains a wine cooler and space for glassware behind leaded-glass cabinet doors. A marble mosaic set into the backsplash above the sink forms a focal point.
“If it’s too modern or hip, it dates,” says Tara. “We don’t want to renovate, ever.” The house also needed to be hard-wearing to accommodate the three Furtado children, ages 12, nine and six. The main floor features a sunlit, 1,100-square-foot great room. It begins with the large kitchen with its eight-burner stove and an array of white, beadedface-frame, Shaker-style cabinets with applied panel mouldings by Jason Good Custom Cabinets. Storage aplenty. Cabinets with leaded-glass fronts flank a custom hood fan with large corbels. The rest of the vast room, with its white coffered ceilings and gentle arches delineating each area, includes a family dining area with a rustic “can-withstand-any-spills” table, a central space with chocolate-leather living-room chairs and a family room with a floor-to-ceiling grey-granite fireplace and flat-screen television. A playroom filled with toys and books sits next to the kitchen. The couple placed it there because the children like being nearby during meal preparation, and the parents like monitoring what’s going on. A step away from the kitchen, a small bar with a wine cooler leads to a roomy pantry.
ELEGANCE AND HARMONY Design elements are repeated throughout the house to provide unity and harmony. A warm light-grey paint (Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist) covers every
Above: At the south end of the 1,100-squarefoot great room, the wall features built-in cabinets providing storage and hiding the electronics powering the television attached to the grey-granite fireplace front. The owners dislike exposed wires, so these are concealed behind the bookcases. Propane fuels the fireplace, which acts as a heat source when the family gathers to watch their favourite shows. Right: Libral Furtado’s home office features a hand-built grey-granite, wood-burning fireplace. An Oriental carpet adds a colourful touch and built-in shelving displays collectibles while the cabinets store files and supplies.
Designed for Luxury, Built for Life.
Welcome to Eaglehurst! This community of freehold, Built GreenTM homes is situated perfectly on the border of Sidney and North Saanich. All of our homes feature premium quality finishings and fixtures including stainless steel kitchen appliances with a natural gas range, gas fireplaces and BBQ hook-ups. Relax in the spacious bedrooms and master suites with radiant in-floor heating in the ensuites. The homes at Eaglehurst are surrounded by beautifully landscaped streets with sidewalks down both sides. Our neighbourhood features a community garden with a gazebo, and is steps away from the trails that connect you to the amenities of the Saanich Peninsula. Eaglehurst is a community connected to nature and connected to life.
wall. The same white baseboards and oversize crown mouldings are installed throughout. Simply White polished quartzite covers every countertop. Its pearly hues are marbled with subtle charcoal streaks. Except for the entry, bathrooms, mudroom and laundry room, all floors and staircases are covered by engineered, wide-plank oak with a matte finish. The floors in the bathrooms, mudroom and laundry room, however, are paved with Aria Deluxe twofoot-square glossy tiles. Their veined white or dark lava colour blends beautifully with the countertops. Hourigan’s Flooring supplied all floor coverings throughout the house.
GRAND TOUCHES The entry is grand with its high, peaked windows. It’s the only area with Gregorio Marmoreal marble flooring. Tara likes the rich, polished look of it. “But it’s so vulnerable and scratches so easily, we end up reserving the entry for guests. The family usually enters the house from the garage into the mudroom.” The 291-square-foot laundry room deserves special mention and may well prompt envy. Rather than the jammed space often allotted to laundry rooms, this is a place you’d like to hang out in. It features two sinks, two washer-dryer sets, massive built-in storage and a substantial island for folding. It even boasts a three-globe crystal chandelier. “I had such a cramped laundry in the farmhouse, I guess I went a bit overboard on this one,” says Tara. Crystal is one design feature prevalent throughout the home. One day, when shopping for kitchen and bathroom taps at Splashes Bath and Kitchen, a crystal ball atop a sink pop-up stopper caught Tara’s eye. “I knew at once I wanted these everywhere,” she says. “So all of our knobs, on every drawer and cabinet, are crystal balls. And carrying on this theme, all our chandeliers and sconces are crystal too. I love the way they catch the light and scatter shapes on the ceiling.” Two staircases, at each end of the house, provide access to the upstairs. “We have two for convenience, privacy and for safety, in case of fire,” says Tara. The master bedroom looks out over the fields; the bathroom features a marblelined shower and a clawfoot tub. A lengthy walkin closet stores extensive wardrobes, and another washer-dryer set makes sheet and towel washing a snap. The children each have their own rooms; two of the rooms have chandeliers and one features a whimsical antique automobile fixture. A guest room awaits visitors. The Furtados are delighted with their spacious home. “We changed the design four times,” says Tara. “For example, we took the office out of the great room, installed arches and added a cathedral ceiling to the master bedroom. “We took nearly five years to complete it, but it was the right thing. This house will serve us for the rest of our lives.”
This bathroom connects the daughters’ bedrooms and features the same quartzite countertops used throughout the house. The twin sinks and elegant round mirrors, combined with the sparkling lighting, add a feminine touch.
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Left: Doing laundry is actually a joy in this oversize laundry room featuring an island for folding, plenty of hanging space and storage and two sets of washers and dryers. Ample daylight is supplemented by pot lighting, and a chandelier adds an elegant touch.
RESOURCES HOME DESIGNER:
Wil Peereboom, Victoria Design
Right: The mudroom, connecting to the garage, allows the family to hang up coats and remove shoes when arriving. Built-in benches and storage for hats and scarves keep everything tidy.
FLOORING: Hourigan’s Flooring CABINETRY AND MILLWORK:
Jason Good Cabinets
STONEWORK AND MASONRY:
Splashes Bath and Kitchen
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â– PASSIVE BUILD
LIFE OFF THE GRID A CUSTOM-DESIGNED SALT SPRING HOME MAKES SELF-SUSTAINED LIVING A REALITY. BY DANIELLE POPE PHOTOS BY LEANNA RATHKELLY
hen Jayson Biggins and Natalie Foley decided to build their dream home, they knew it would look a little different than the mansions they saw in glossy magazines. The two had just purchased 50 acres of forest and bare land on the south end of Salt Spring Island, and they wanted their lifestyle block (a New Zealand term for hobby farm) to be focused on passive energy use, permaculture, sustainable living — and their dogs. “Believe it or not, the dogs were a big factor in us starting this project and getting the property,” says Biggins. “We wanted space for them to run, rather than living in an area where we’d always have to take them for walks.” Their seven rescue dogs were also the instigators for the home’s design, which the couple wanted to be as indestructible to dozens of paws as it was sustainable. The family got their wish, in the form of a revolutionary passive-inspired house, created by Victoria’s NZ Builders, that pairs off-the-grid living with a sturdy, modern approach to design. Passive-inspired homes, like the one Biggins and Foley now have, utilize entirely sustainable materials, like concrete, while absorbing and producing all the energy, water and heat needed for the inhabitants. It’s a tall order, but one that Damon Gray, general manager of NZ Builders, is comfortable providing. Gray, originally from New Zealand, has been bringing his alternative designs
to the West Coast for the last 20 years. “Passive-inspired houses are about as energy efficient and low maintenance as you can get,” says Gray. “You live in a healthy, resilient and durable home, and for a wet climate like B.C.’s, it’s the ultimate way to go. When people ask me how long these homes last, I tell them to just look at the masonry of pubs and castles built in the U.K. — 500 years ago. These buildings are here to stay.” While rammed-earth houses and eco cottages have earned some popularity in the last decade, their labour and material costs make them prohibitive for many. This home took a different approach, using concrete-insulated panels that are common in New Zealand real estate but remain relatively rare on Canada’s West Coast. The home was built in just four months, and the protective exterior not only acts as a natural insulator against temperature changes, but also prevents mould and decay, can be tinted in an array of natural colours and is impenetrable against little paws. Thanks to strategic location planning, the house operates independently of the energy grid, using active and passive solar energy. It also collects water from the roof with rainwater catchment technology. Wood-burning fireplaces and a robust generator system produce enough heat to warm the 1,800-square-foot home. The design also utilizes a metal snap-lock roof and fibreglass windows for added insulation, along with reclaimed wood and clay walls to build in the continuity of sustainable materials — an element that makes Biggins especially proud.
Above: Though this may look like a typical Gulf Island home, everything about the house and its property is passive-inspired. The home includes a 6kW solar photovoltaics (PV) system, created by Victoria company HES PV, which allows for energy harvesting. The metal snap-lock roof and an R40 roof assembly (for thermal resistance) protect the home from losing heat. A rainwater catchment system also allows for water to be collected directly from the roof. The landscaping, by homeowner Jayson Biggins, utilizes permaculture practices like rotational vegetable gardens, an orchard and back-up ponds to ensure this home can be entirely self-sufficient. Left: NZ Builders made use of Monolith Systems for the castin-place (CIP) building system that created the cement walls of this home with concreteinsulated panels. R32 wall assembly ensures heat stays in the home, while American clay walls maintain the sustainable and natural look. Fibreglass windows add resistance to heat loss. The home’s air-filtration system ensures one full air change per hour.
“We wanted to go with a completely offgrid build, so the entire construction team was able to run 12- and 14-hour days on solar power alone,” says Biggins. “I thought, if this is feasible, we can go even further.”
HIDDEN BENEFITS Though the house is entirely self-sustaining, visitors wouldn’t know that just by looking at it. Everything operates as a “normal” home, from water and electricity to propane and even Internet access — provided, unexpectedly in this rural area, from a tower on top of Mount Bruce. The home’s open-concept great room showcases elegant wood beams and generous lighting, paired with the warm tones of lime clay that won’t ever need a repaint. The kitchen features ocean-coloured backsplash tiling against modern white cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. Down the hall, the master bedroom and ensuite maintain a simple reclaimed wood and concrete motif, while the textured stone wall in the bath and a pebble sink backsplash add a fanciful organic touch to this stone house. Natural-edge wood counters and Japanesethemed sliding doors keep a bright continuity with contemporary style. Beyond the master, a guest room and office complete the first level, along with a laundry room and special dog shower for the four-legged residents. The mezzanine, at half the size of the main level, grants the house an additional guest room and yoga studio, and the exterior two-car garage adds a top-level art studio, with cold storage below. While typical homes of this size may spend a few hundred dollars monthly in hydro and utilities, this home marks about $200 per year in active energy consumption. Gray says it’s important people consider how sustainable they need their house to be before embarking on a passive journey — chasing the final 20 per cent will often cost as much as the first 80 per cent.
Exposed beams and other wood elements in the home were built from reclaimed wood. The backsplash in the kitchen is cut from Peacock Topaz glass tile, sourced through Calgary designer Jane Swinton with Empire Custom Homes.
Water is life.
and our greatest cities are designed around it. So it’s no wonder that life is better the closer we get to it. One soothing, blue hour spent in Westbay Quay proves the positively life-enhancing effect of Victoria’s landmark new neighbourhood—a stunning collection of 85 homes found at the foot of a dynamic marina community fully outfitted for the best in life. o u r b o d i e s r e ly o n i t
Victoria’s ocEaNsiDE NEighbourhooD
westbayquay.com This is not an offering for sale. Such an offering must be accompanied by a Disclosure Statement. The Developer reserves the right to make changes and modifications to the information contained herein without prior notice. Specifications, sizes, layouts, availability and pricing are subject to change. Renderings, maps and photographs are representational only and may not be accurate. E. & O.E. Tenfold Projects Inc.
“You need to know your priorities when you build a home like this,” says Gray. “The reality is that a home is one of the most polluted places we can be, if we don’t pick the right materials. But if we do, we can create a highperformance structure that’s as beautiful as it is healthy.”
NATURAL INSPIRATION Part of the inspiration for this house came from a Salt Spring eco-tour Biggins and Foley attended a year previous, which showcased everything from straw-bale and “hempcrete” structures to earth ships (houses made from tires and rammed earth) and a variety of other sustainable-themed homes. With his background in environmental studies and philosophy, Biggins had always taken an interest in alternative building modalities, but it wasn’t until he and Foley began researching their own home that he saw the potential. “I’ve never actually done anything like this before, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to see what was possible — and the more I started to understand how these natural systems work,” says Biggins. Biggins, who works as a paragliding instructor, decided to take a six-week permaculture course to learn more about living entirely self-sufficiently. The result would allow him to take their property to the next level in off-the-grid practices, adding in landscaping
elements that would help them operate unaided by the outer world. The property has since become one long-term experiment in using resources wisely. “We try to keep everything functioning without needing external inputs,” says Biggins. “It’s different when you live like this, because you start realizing how much waste happens every day, and how many opportunities there are to save.” As long-time vegans, the couple carved out space on their property for gardens, fruit trees, mushrooms, a pond, a backup well and six potbellied pigs (for fertilizing). Everything from compost to waste is used in the process, and Biggins says they’ve learned about permaculture cycles through first-hand experience, from avoiding monocrops to fallowing growing spaces to making use of natural lighting. Even their interactions with their house have started to shift with the seasons. “This experience has given me a lot of perspective on time and change, on the seasons and life and death,” he says. “You realize how nature has its own timeline. Winter, for example, is the earth’s rest period. Everything slows down. Now, instead of trying to stay up late with the lights on, working long hours, I read and learn and rest myself. It’s amazing to see how this all connects in real life.”
Right: The layout of this home is important to its passive-inspired nature. As heat is captured and relayed through the solar panels, an air-filtration system helps to move currents of heat from the upper mezzanine to the entire house. The concrete panels in the walls also work to draw heat down into the full space. Far Right: The interior walls of the home were created in partnership with Salt Spring’s Mudgirls Natural Building Collective and are finished with lime-plaster adobe, which gives the home its earthy feel.
“... WE CAN CREATE A HIGHPERFORMANCE STRUCTURE THAT’S AS BEAUTIFUL AS IT IS HEALTHY.”
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The master bedroom features broad windows offering forest views. Complete with in-floor heating, the ensuite bathroom includes Asianinspired transparent sliding doors. The pebble backsplash around the tub was created from stones collected by the homeowners during hiking trips to Yeo Point Beach.
CONSTRUCTION: NZ Builders INSULATION: Alpine Insulation CONCRETE: Gulf Coast Concrete and National Concrete Accessories DRYWALL: Malibu Drywall FLOORING: Pacific Rim Flooring FLOOR PROTECTION SYSTEM: Skudo LUMBER: Lumberworld and Slegg Building Materials WINDOWS AND PLUMBING FIXTURES:
Slegg Building Materials
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WEST COAST WITH AN EDGE
THIS STRIKING FAMILY HOME IN SAANICH IS A BOLD CELEBRATION OF ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING INNOVATION BY ATHENA McKENZIE PHOTOS BY JOSHUA LAWRENCE
ith its atrium of polished concrete floors, rich walnut millwork and antiqued steel beams, this Saanich home reimagines the elements and traditions of West Coast architecture. And don’t be fooled by its minimalist structure and the simplicity of its materials: the large open spaces and deep overhangs required advanced structural engineering and specialized construction methods. In fact, looking at the process of building this home is an excellent lesson in how homeowners can achieve their goals on a custom project. “On a unique build like this, it’s really about building a quorum of consultants, along with the homeowners, who are going to act as a team on the project,” says builder Tim Agar of Horizon Pacific Contracting. When the homeowners — a couple with five children and a vision for a light-filled, open-concept home — approached Agar, the fruitful collaboration was sparked. “When the owners spoke with me early in the process, they were looking for recommendations for architects and designers,” Agar says. “We try to fit people with respect to the clients’ esthetic vision and an architect’s background — many consumers don’t know what genre each architect works within — and architects definitely have specializations.”
REGIONAL ARCHITECTURE Agar introduced the couple to Pamela Ubeda of Coast + Beam Architecture, whose style he describes as fresh West Coast Contemporary. For Ubeda, this is not just an esthetic or style: it’s an approach. “It’s about climate, it’s about light, and it’s a very site-specific architecture,” Ubeda says. “Three main elements are the flat rooflines — because we don’t have to worry about snow load — clerestory windows and skylights to maximize the light, as we don’t have those bright winter days — and the materiality — such as timber frame and the use of a lot of wood that separates it from other regional architecture.”
Wire-brushed oak flooring is durable and emphasizes the grain of the wood. The steelfronted K2 Stone fireplace includes a poured and polished concrete hearth that runs the length of the walnut wood-slat built-ins on either side.
The two exposed antiqued-steel beams provide structural support, so there is no need for columns in the large open space. The staircase is enclosed by dramatic floor-to-ceiling steel-and-walnut slats. The polished concrete floors, which run from the main entrance to the patio door, have a striking texture and can stand up to the wear and tear of five children. Right: The kitchen contains the largest island that Horizon Pacific Contracting has ever installed and features a seamless counter of Caeserstone, as well as two dishwashers and lots of integrated storage.
While this house contains some departures from conventional West Coast contemporary, including the exposed steel beams, polished concrete floors and board-formed concrete foundation — its roofline, windows and skylights are just a few of the elements that embody the esthetic. The homeowners worked with Ubeda over several months to develop the plans, doing a lot of early-concept schematic design work to see how different forms worked on the property and related to the site. Agar was also involved in this process. “Something we always try to do is shepherd the costing process along with the design process, so people don’t lose sight of where the financial targets are with a project,” Agar says. “Planning and understanding the costs of that planning are what give homeowners the security to proceed forward.” According to Ubeda, this also allows the team to value engineer each component of the project and choose their priorities. “Setting up a team very early in the process, with the contractor, interior designer, architect, landscape architect and clients, and as many people as you can get on as early as possible, it just makes for a better project,” Ubeda says. “A client is then able to make decisions, like if the concrete is more important than that other element, if you have to offset the budget with certain things — because nobody can have it all in a project.”
STYLE AND STRUCTURE The homeowners wanted a high level of seismic upgrading with no posts to impede circulation, making the home quite complicated structurally. Kevin Pickwick, a structural engineer from the firm RJC, joined the team to find a solution that wouldn’t disrupt the esthetics. The answer? Two steel beams that flare out from the main entrance to the back of the house. “We talked about doing those in wood, but they would have been two and a half feet deep, so we decided to move to steel, expose them and show that work being done,” Ubeda says. “The other opportunity that afforded was the skylights centred in those beams. The skylight was something that came in the conceptual design quite early. That’s where budget and team comes in: how can we keep the idea, but make it affordable? We ended up panelling it into four different skylights.” The steel beams also allowed for the deep overhangs — other hidden beams cantilever off those exposed beams, providing support for the 13-foot overhangs, a key element of West Coast architecture, and forming the family-friendly outdoor living area.
CREATING CUSTOM Another essential team member was interior designer Sandy Nygaard, who was brought on as soon as Ubeda had finalized her design.
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The walnut wood-slat millwork is an element found throughout the main level, including the closet, credenza and bench seat in the grand entryway. Art from The Avenue Gallery, including Keep Staying by Bi Yuan Cheng in the entry and Tangle Falls by Lorna Dockstader at the base of the stairs, complement the edgy West Coast esthetic.
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“When you bring a designer in at an early stage, you get to feel the interior space,” Nygaard says. “The architecture starts the conversation and the designer just finishes it. They can start laying out your kitchen and bathroom, and placing your furniture. It’s factchecking the space. Your interior designer might find you need to move a wall a foot or two, but in this case I did not.” Nygaard did add a couple of changes to the foyer, removing a framed-in closet with double doors and replacing it with the custom millwork closet and bench seat. Agar credits the early collaboration and constant dialogue on budget for the ultimate success of this custom home whose construction costs were close to those of an on-spec house. “This home is a non-traditional home in every way, and has features upon features that aren’t typical, but we were still able to bring this home in at around $300 a square foot in terms of overall construction cost,” Agar says. “This is over the $240 average of a traditional home but far less than $600 a square foot, which is what we often see people run to on custom homes due to lack of planning and collaboration.” The final result? A functional and inviting family home that suits the needs of a large family while standing as a testament to the potential of modern residential construction. “It’s contemporary and it’s elegant but also warm and relaxed,” Nygaard says. “It’s West Coast with an edge.”
RESOURCES ARCHITECT: Coast + Beam Architecture CONSTRUCTION MANAGER:
Horizon Pacific Contracting
INTERIOR DESIGN: Nygaard Interior Design PLUMBER: Rapid Plumbing & Heating ELECTRICIAN: Patriot Electric DOORS: Westeck Windows & Doors HARDWARE: Victoria Speciality Hardware WINDOWS: Westech Windows & Doors SKYLIGHT: Redline Glass ROOFING: Top Line Roofing DRYWALL: Swiftsure Drywall Interiors TILE SUPPLIER: Nygaard Interior Design PAINTING: Empress Painting KITCHEN/BATHROOM AND CUSTOM MILLWORK:
COUNTERTOPS: Colonial Countertops FINISHING CARPENTRY AND FLOORING:
Horizon Pacific Contracting
LANDSCAPE: LADR Landscape Architects and Mammoth Landscaping & Masonry PAVING: Victoria Perma Seal GEO ENGINEERS: Ryzuk Geotechnical STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: RJC Engineers
A major consideration for the design was the approach to the house. The main entrance is at the side, and the garage and parking are hidden at the back. The home’s large overhangs, flat roofline and clerestory windows are key elements to its distinctive West Coast contemporary architecture.
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LAYING THE GROUNDWORK Spruce looks at trends in hardwood flooring to help you find the floor of your dreams. BY DANIELLE POPE
This Ávila Hickory flooring from Antique Impressions features a neutral, clean look with minimal colour variation. Available at Hourigan’s Flooring.
hoosing the right hardwood flooring is one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your home. According to many interior designers, it’s also the most disruptive element to change, so it’s little wonder the task sparks a mix of excitement and anxiety. Whether you’re creating a custom build, undergoing a complete renovation or refurbishing the vibrancy of a character home, in today’s world of wood options, there are as many combinations as there are people to think them up. But that doesn’t mean you have to conform to classic standards when it comes to finding the perfect flooring. Fortunately, Spruce has done the digging to guide you through the latest trends in hardwood flooring — plus a few creative options — to help you discover exactly the right formula for your home’s ground cover.
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FINDING THE RIGHT FIT Stefanie Watchman is a big believer that choosing hardwood flooring is something you only want to do once. “Your floors are your home’s biggest investment, and it’s where you want to spend your attention,” says Watchman, interior designer and project manager for Island Floor Centre. “A good hardwood floor is meant to last a lifetime, so you want to get it right.” When it comes to choosing flooring, Watchman says it’s important to pay attention to what your eye prefers, but you also need to consider durability and price point. It’s little surprise that one of the most popular hardwoods Watchman has seen this year combines all three factors into a perfect trio: wire-brushed white oak, in shades of whitewash or taupe-grey. The oak’s durability and brushed texture makes it resistant to scratches and dents, while its colour masks the appearance of scuffs or dirt — design catalogs are even toting this as the “new black” of hardwood flooring. Though you won’t have to worry about quality when it comes to oak, the price
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point of this hardwood remains modest. Softer woods, like pine or fir, offer dynamic yellow and red tones and warm acoustics, but come at the price of easy wear. Darker woods, like walnut and cherry, offer more durability and rich colour, but covering a space with such distinct tones won’t work with every motif. Engineered wood is another consideration; with its compressed grains, it works particularly well on concrete bases, but it can only be refinished once or twice compared to hardwood, which can be refinished multiple times. Watchman’s advice? “Invest in your first choice rather than settling for your second, and you’ll always come out happier.” Plank size is another factor in designing the overall look of your floor. Sizes change in popularity by the decade, from the two-inch strips of turn-of-the-century flooring to the stylized 12-inch planks of modern open-concept layouts. Yet Watchman says five- to seven-inch planks are still the trendiest matches. These widths allow the boards to show off the beauty of their grains without turning the floor visually “uneven” when cut broadly. One
new trend popping up around the Island is a mixed-plank look. With strips cut dynamically in multiple widths and lengths, these floors have a mismatched, artistic or casual appearance. Pricing can range from $5 to $9 per square foot for quality hardwoods to $14 and above per square foot for highly processed, refurbished materials or some engineered woods. Watchman cautions clients not to cut corners that, at the time, seem to add up to big savings. “The floor is where your build starts — even if the rest of your home is complete,” she says. “This is where your feet will be stepping every day, where your pets will run, where your kids will play. You want this to feel right.”
WHEN SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS If an individualized look is what you’re after — and one that’s also environmentally stable — recycled lumber may be the way to go. Refurbished wood flooring is gaining in popularity and has boosted the work of companies like Victoria’s Urban Timber, which specializes in reclaimed, heritage-cut hardwood flooring for those looking for a rustic and storied finish.
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This reclaimed floor from the Antique Impressions collection at Hourigan’s Flooring is made from genuine, centuryold reclaimed heart pine lumber. The slow growth and natural aging of the wood creates beautiful golden auburn hues. Authentic features include nail holes, wood plugs, chiselled bevels and a pronounced grain pattern.
Flooring with a History With reclaimed flooring from suppliers like Urban Timber, your floor will have a unique story to tell. Top: mixed species Colonial Plank, available in random or set widths and 2' to 10' lengths. Bottom: Dewdney Maple, recovered from factories across North America, available in 2 1/2" widths and in “dirty” or select finishes.
Urban Timber’s shop on Government Street creates custom pieces from original materials, ranging from the reclaimed pine of Midwest tobacco barns to the hickory flooring from horse stalls, cherry doors from old schoolhouses, cargo flooring from tractor-trailers or great oak beams from warehouses. Every project comes infused with history and creates an unrepeatable look. “People are less interested in that machinemilled and polished look, and they’re feeling a call-back to more textured times,” says Jude Barkley, Urban Timber showroom manager and interior designer. “Our clients are looking for something that will stand out — as a work of art, and as a floor that looks unlike any other.” With a strong resurgence for heritage living and the ever-palpable cry for sustainable resources, reclaimed woods have hit the trend button, especially in West Coast homes. A striking element of this movement is also the use of organic treatments, such as finishes made from natural oils and waxes, to make these reclaimed products even more sustainable. Sidney’s West Wind Hardwood custom mills its products entirely from scratch, and has also seen the rise in popularity for reclaimed materials. The company reuses timber from all over the Island, increasing the chances that your new floors could be created from your old
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schoolhouse. “There’s something remarkable about reusing material in this way,” says West Wind flooring manager Joel Radford. “It served its life as a building, and you can be part of its history by extending its purpose.” Customized orders often add in textures, from creating additional hit-skip (when a hacksaw grinds horizontally over the grain) to sanding out or leaving in raw knots, nail holes, blackened fastener punches or other distresses in the wood. These creative textures also lend themselves to abnormal patterns in the plank layout, from herringbone to diagonal or even checkerboard designs. Occasionally, people reclaim timber from buildings of significance, like a previous house, as a way to bring history back home. “When you can choose the heritage of the floor of your home, that’s really special,” says Barkley. “You give the materials a second life, and you create a surface you’ll never see anywhere else.”
THE WEIRD, WILD AND WONDERFUL Traditional hardwood isn’t the only way to craft beautiful flooring. West Wind bases its business on special orders — whether milling for a specific grain or pattern, or incorporating reclaimed wood into a product. From creating the soft, unfinished yellow cedar of an acoustic concert hall to the blackwalnut herringbone flooring of a great room, Radford has seen it all. Because homeowners’ needs are so different, his goal is to help people find a way to make their preferences work for their home.
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When you want a look that is unique to your home, custom milling is a great option. This recycled Douglas fir flooring was custom milled at West Wind Hardwood in Sidney.
TOP 5 CHOICES FOR HARDWOOD IN 2017/2018 HERE’S A RUNDOWN OF THE FIVE MOST POPULAR CHOICES FOR HARDWOOD THIS YEAR AND NEXT, ACCORDING TO OUR EXPERTS.
Wire-brushed in whitewash or grey, this sturdy, affordable and popular shade is a win every time.
With a mix of heritage hardwoods, this sustainable material gives old wood a new life and creates an unbeatable rustic look.
As popular today as it was at the turn of the century, this wood brings warmth to character rebuilds or modern homes.
The deep dark tones of this wood create a lustrous finish and offer rich contrast for any house.
Chosen for strength, durability and longevity, engineered hardwood remains a popular choice and sidesteps some of hardwood’s usual challenges.
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“We’ve had clients come to us because they want to create depth or character in their homes, or they want to find an interesting grain, or an intricate pattern in the planks,” says Radford. “There’s a lot we can do, whether you want to use new products or make old materials look new.” Some trends popping up for 2017/2018 reach even further out of the hardwood sphere to include new textures and even mixed materials. Components of cork and bamboo have seen a resurgence in popularity, especially with the sustainability movement, although both tend to sacrifice the longevity of hardwood. Homes that combine hardwood and carpet or tile are nothing new, though designers now commonly create gradient looks that form an artistic melding of the materials. Break-out borders allow carpet, wood or tile flooring to be inset at the junction where they meet. Patterns have a bigger role too now, with some designers, like Swiss-Argentinian Alfredo Häberli, creating modern parquet flooring designs with colourful panels of tiles inset next to wood. Textures can also add drama to a surface, like that found in Pirelli flooring, which uses irregular dots to form a pattern similar to domino pieces for a highly stylized look. Despite the myriad and sometimes overwhelming options available to those ready to find their floor, Radford offers one tip: go with your gut. “At the end of the day, flooring is a personal choice, and with the right varnish, you can make almost anything work,” he says. “Choose something you’ll love, and you’ll always go home happy.”
THE COLOUR QUESTION Choosing the right colour of flooring for their home causes strife for many owners — especially when more than one opinion is involved. Here’s an easy way to break down the process, according to interior designer Stefanie Watchman. Consider what you love: Take note of any wood colour and design that sparks your interest, and see if you can imagine it in your space.
Think about the lighting in your home: Low-lit homes will appear darker if dark wood is used, while bright woods will pick up light and can even appear reflective in highly lit homes. Understand the wood’s limitations: If you love the bright warmth of soft pine but plan on having a space with kids, pets or heavy traffic, understand that damage is on the way. Consider finding your colour in an alternate or engineered material, or pick a harder wood with a finish close to your preferred tone. Be realistic with what you have: Flooring will change the look of your home, but — unless you are planning a full renovation — it won’t reinvent your walls, raise your ceiling, increase your number of windows or replace cabinetry. Be sure your colour choices align with what’s pre-existing.
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Go for quality: A great wood floor will last a lifetime, says Watchman, so invest in the highest quality material you can afford in your preferred colour.
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COMMON SENSE FOR CONDO BUYERS
YOU’VE FOUND THE CONDO OF YOUR DREAMS, BUT BEFORE YOU BUY, MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE GETTING.
s the median price of single-family homes in Greater Victoria goes up, the appetite for condo living is definitely on the upswing. While the average price of a single-family home in the region hovers at $800,000, condo prices average around $430,000 — and the choice is growing as developers build for singles, couples and families. But unlike most detached homes, condos almost always have strata corporations — the boards who run the residences — so teasing out accurate information is critical. Despite today’s feverish sales environment, realtors agree that purchasing a condo requires “home” work. “You need to approach buying into a strata carefully. There are lots of moving parts,” says
Bradley Stokes-Bennett, a realtor with The Condo Group. A former investment adviser and developer, Stokes-Bennett has somewhat of a bias when it comes to condos. “People have to be very cautious with older buildings,” he warns. “If talking about buying, I go with smaller and newer rather than older and bigger.” There’s no comparison between 1970s-built condos and new structures, Stokes-Bennett says. He considers condos built since 2001 “new,” but he ups the ante, adding that 2006-built and later are even better because building codes were thoroughly revised. These building codes remain important. Remember the 1990s-built leaky condos? Those were the result of a California building
code being applied in a West Coast rainforest. Today’s codes stipulate constant airflow to prevent mould, for example. “The older something is, the more it costs to fix per square foot,” Stokes-Bennett says. As well, homes built by licensed residential builders are covered by mandatory homewarranty insurance. Minimum coverage includes two years on labour and materials, five years on the building envelope and 10 years on the structure. Still, older gems can be found, but it takes time, he adds. If an older condo is in great shape, it’s usually been managed well by the strata. To discover how well a strata operates, carefully review the mandatory depreciation report (note
that condos with four or fewer strata lots don’t require one), strata board minutes and bylaws. Once an offer is placed on a strata property, the documents are accessible, says Andy Stephenson, a realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty in Victoria. “It’s absolutely critical to be up to speed on the building,” he says. It can even be prudent to have an accountant or lawyer go over the documents.
WHAT CONDO FEES CAN TELL YOU Monthly strata fees can be a warning. If fees are too low, it could be an indication that the building isn’t sufficiently maintained. Expensive repairs, such as elevators, could be jeopardized. “It’s critical to collect the right strata fee,” Stephenson warns. “Older folks on a budget don’t want to increase the fees. But you have to pay the piper at some point.” Andy Spurling, president of Proline Management, which manages a number of Victoria properties, notes that strata fees are typically set via the unit’s square footage so that larger condos, for example, pay more than smaller ones. “It’s easy to keep condo fees low if you’re doing DID YOU KNOW? nothing — no gardening, cleaning, updating,” says Spurling. He agrees that reading The percentage the depreciation report is of the annual vital because it outlines operating budget work to be done in a strata councils fixed period. The report must set aside in is usually prepared by an B.C. for regular engineer and addresses and unexpected features such as the maintenance and building exterior, electrical/ repairs. A strata plumbing/heating systems, can be exempt landscaping and balconies. from this only if 75% of owners “If you see that three agree. years ago all the windows were due for replacement and nothing’s been done, what may have been a $2-million expense will now cost $3 million,” Spurling says. The day someone becomes a condo owner, they’re on the hook for all shared strata expenses. Annual general meeting (AGM) minutes also provide important insight, he says. They’re mandatory and must address insurance and the strata’s budget. Would-be buyers often find the reports boring, and if the buyers are caught in a bidding war, they may not do their due diligence. Also, minutes may be scant and not truly representative of what’s actually occurring at the strata. An advantage of property management companies is that they, not the strata board, record minutes fully and factually, Spurling notes. While having a lawyer go over the documents with a fine-tooth comb may cost money upfront,
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this could save you money in the future and avoid unpleasant restrictions in the future. For instance, Spurling has seen buyers end up with unpleasant surprises when they decide at a later date to add mobility ramps or satellite dishes, rent the unit to friends, start the dishwasher at 11 p.m. or smoke a cigarette. Had these buyers looked closely at the bylaws, they may have noted that such actions were prohibited. In a condo, the idea that “my home is my castle” can be challenged. “You get in and can’t live the way you expect to,” Spurling says.
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Beyond paperwork, a proper home inspection remains crucial, Stephenson says. The unit and all public premises should be checked by a reputable building inspector. Stokes-Bennett has noticed that buildings that don’t allow short-term rentals are maintained better, and there’s less wear and tear on common areas. Stephenson, meanwhile, has witnessed a “real clampdown” on short-term rentals. Some new condos only allow rentals for a minimum of 30 days at a time. Outside of probing the premises, Stephenson also explores what elements are important to his clients’ lifestyles to determine how a condo fits their needs. “Any client I get, I align the condo with the activities they like to do,” he says. If they love sports, for instance, location becomes important. If they own a big dog, condo choices are limited. If clients are over age 50, they may want a 50-plus property. “What’s important to their lifestyle?” he asks. Another important question is, what’s the impression when first walking in? “Sometimes people fall in love too much with cosmetic upgrades,” Stokes-Bennett warns. The marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and the appeal of a carefully staged unit could be camouflaging a not-so-well-built condo. “If it’s outdated, who cares?” he says. The condo can be revamped. What’s more important is that the building is well constructed. “Remember, when you’re buying a condo,” Stokes-Bennett says, “not only do you want to live there, you want to make money when you sell.”
CONDO BUYERS’ CHECKLIST Is the condo part of a strata corporation and do you fully understand the pros and cons of stratas?
Do the depreciation reports, strata minutes and bylaws check out? Have you had them reviewed by a legal and/or accounting professional?
When should you contact our team before listing your home?
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Saira Waters* RealToR®
Have you carefully reviewed strata fees and any associated fees?
Have you checked the reputation of the builder and developer?
Have you talked to any current owners about what they like and don’t like?
Are there bylaw restrictions that impact your lifestyle, such as those around pets, rentals, suite renovations, patio barbecues, personal gardens, exterior decorations and more?
Have you had a professional inspection done on both the unit and premises, i.e. electrical room, rooftop, elevators?
Do you understand the pros and cons of wood frame versus concrete? Of note, concrete buildings often provide better soundproofing.
Have you checked out rules regarding parking and storage?
Have you asked how much money is in the strata’s reserve fund to ensure the condo has sufficient funds to cover major repairs and renewal projects?
Have there been special assessments in the last five years? Are any expected in the next 10 to 15 years? Frequent and costly ones may indicate a deteriorating building or poor financial management.
What is the turnover rate in the complex? This will give you an idea of how happy people are living there.
Is the condo corporation involved in any lawsuits? If it is and it loses the lawsuit, a portion of your maintenance fees could go toward paying a settlement. This is a good reason to review the corporation’s liability insurance coverage.
Has the condo corporation made any insurance claims in the last five years? This can tell you about the condition of the property and may account for steeper condo fees.
design | interiors | construction
MAKERS B Y MARIANNE SCOTT
PHOTOS BY JOSHUA LAWRENCE
A WAY WITH WOOD WHEN IT COMES TO WOODWORKING, CRAFTSMAN JASON GOOD IS KNOWN FOR HIS ABILITY TO TRANSFORM ANYTHING FROM KITCHEN ISLANDS TO VANITIES AND STAIRCASES INTO FUNCTIONAL ART.
thin film of wood dust coats the floors in Jason Good Custom Cabinets’ workshop in Victoria’s Hillside area. Cabinets under construction are stacked up. Sturdy, red-painted steel wall racks support long slabs of three-quarter-inch, pre-finished plywood, whose laminated strength is the building block for all cabinetry. Woody scents pervade the air. Staff are bustling and a CNC machine is programmed to cut, drill, bore and rout, adding to production accuracy and speed. Jason Good, 34, has operated his custom cabinet-building business for the past 13 years, and, as his 30 awards attest — 12 of them just last year — his work is considered among the finest by people like Victoria’s Frank D’Ambrosio of D’Ambrosio architecture + urbanism who designed a Telegraph Bay house that Good worked on. “He understands both quality and design,” says D’Ambrosio. “His millwork is detailed. He picked up on the spirit of the architecture, understands craftsmanship and takes great pride in his company’s work. Besides the meticulous work of the grain-matched walls, he also designed and built a butcher block out of small pieces of different hardwoods. A parquet design, a mosaic. It fit perfectly into the spirit of the place.” Given Good’s range of talents, his company name is somewhat misleading. He certainly manufactures cabinets for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms, some for standard housing developments, others for new homes and renovations; but his reputation for excellence has grown from integrated projects that include staircases, shelving units, walls clad in wraparound book-matched or grainmatched veneers, interior trim, vanities, breakfast nooks, breakfronts and just about any custom product made of wood. Some of his kitchens and bathrooms are painted in a variety of hues, but white oak, teak, walnut, rosewood, maple, mahogany and other figured woods have a place of honour. His designs range from traditional styles with carvings, cabriole legs and
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IT STARTS IN A GARAGE Good caught the woodworking bug while attending grade eight at Colquitz Middle School. “I took a special woodworking program and the teacher, Bruce Summers, allowed us to build our own projects,” he recalls. “We could construct something inspired by our own creativity.” At age 16, he took two summer jobs: at the former Esquimaltbased Tools and Space — a store patronized by every woodwork enthusiast in the region — and with a cabinet shop providing the millwork for an upscale house. “In the cabinet shop, I was exposed to high-end millwork,” Good says. “It really caught my fancy. My supervisor, Sergei, who joined my company early on, trained me. Every day, it was on-the-job, hands-on learning.” After working for five years at Tools and Space, Good, at age 21, was ready to fly on his own. He started his business in the proverbial garage, moving into a larger shop, then sharing space in the building he occupies today and eventually taking over the entire 6,000-squarefoot workshop. He now employs 18 people, including his two designers, Claire Reimann and Melissa Orton.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH Good likes to learn about new materials personally. In fact, he tried one out when he bought and remodelled a home when he and
For this contemporary kitchen on Beach Drive, Jason Good used grain-matched rosewood with a subtle oil finish to complement the Super White Waterfall quartz countertop from Stone Age Marble & Granite. To keep the look clean and modern, the cabinetry features either magnetic touch-latch technology or continuous handles.
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his wife needed more space for the twins they were expecting. The open-concept kitchen/dining area features a large island covered by Neolith — “new stone” — which uses the raw materials found in glass, porcelain and quartz to create a nearly indestructible surface (available at Stone Age Marble & Granite). “It now has three years of rough use,” says Good. “Even with my daughter and twin boys banging on it, and using colouring materials, it still looks new.” Though Good appears to have a laid-back way in the world, he becomes quite animated when discussing the projects he enjoys the most. “I like to grab really unique jobs,” he says. “The funky, neat designs. The beginning of jobs is fun because you can play with so many concepts. There’s freedom in the early design phase.” He describes one large project where a Gothic home was designed around the antiques the owners had acquired over decades. As well as creating the kitchen and bathrooms, Good manufactured and installed stained-fir ceiling beams, window frames and wainscoting. Even the kitchen’s ceiling is coffered. But to avoid making the space gloomy, the full wall of cabinets is painted in a sedate and contrasting ivory. The kitchen’s island features integrated Gothic arches and forged pulls. The same pointed arches are found in the powder room’s and master bath’s medicine cabinets. Some of the wainscoting includes such design details as quatrefoils (sculpted four leaves). “The millwork was very detailed,” he says with characteristic understatement. He lists off other projects: creating a shower lined with matched teak panels and installing white-oak veneer-clad walls in the 7,000-square-foot house with 14-foot ceiling heights in the Telegraph Bay area. “We had to keep track of all the wraparound matching, around
THE CASE FOR VENEERS Jason Good particularly enjoys working with veneers. These thin layers of wood which are then professionally glued to furnishings or cabinets offer him endless creative possibilities — and there are important practical reasons for using veneers as well. “Solid wood often splits and warps,” says Good. “But using plywood as the base, itself an amalgam of wood layers, offers stability and prevents cracking.” To obtain the veneers he needs, Good works with local wood supplier Clearwater Industries. “We look at segments cut from whole trees,” he says. “The pieces can have a lot of colour or be more uniform, be highly figured, or have repeating patterns.... The appearance of veneers can actually alter the design. ” As each tree is unique, veneers also offer endless variety. “The choice of veneer,” says Good, “is an expression of someone’s personality.”
Far left: Jason Good’s own kitchen features an island with durable Neolith stone with a bordering grainmatched walnut countertop. Mitred corners give the cabinetry a sleek, modern look that complements the design of the rest of the room.
Left: In this large Gothic-inspired heritage renovation, Good manufactured and installed stainedfir ceiling beams, window frames and wainscoting. The kitchen features cabinetry, walls and panelling painted in soft historic colours. The kitchen’s island features integrated Gothic arches and forged pulls.
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corners into different rooms, in all, 130 wall panels,” he says. “We could absolutely make no mistakes. One slip-up and we’d have to do a whole room over again.” “I’ve worked with him several times,” says Sandy Nygaard of Nygaard Design, “and he’s not only meticulous but he understands design. He’s super aware of all the connections. As an example, he might ask, ‘Is the tile lineup in keeping with the flow of the other components?’” Nygaard explains that designers always try to develop complete concepts tailored to their customers’ taste. “But,” she says, “working with Jason actually ‘ups the game.’ He’s aware of your design intentions and has your back. It’s very collaborative. He’ll analyze, say, a kitchen drawing, then call and make useful suggestions.” Nygaard loves including millwork in her designs, especially in contemporary settings. But for matched veneers there’s a caveat. “Everything has to line up perfectly,” she says. “When it’s well done, it’s gorgeous. If not, it’s a travesty. Jason’s work is always right on.” And at the core of it all, is a kind of reverence Good has for the material he works with. “Some call wood ‘nature’s work of art,’” he says.
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ART MEETS EFFICIENCY Good has installed a sealed, on-site paint shop to ensure the uniformity and thickness of paints sprayed onto cabinets and drawers. He can match any colour of other design elements. In one white-themed kitchen, for example, a
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In this home by D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism, Good completed the detailed millwork, such as the white-oak veneered panelling and cabinetry. Features include a hidden fridge and a television behind a sliding panel for in-kitchen entertainment.
lively scarlet cabinet adds bold colour borrowed from the enamelled front of the six-burner stove. In another, walnut panels with a subtle oil finish wrap a calming, white-topped island’s sides. In order to speed production, Good recently introduced CNC machining (automated machining). “There’s so much construction in Victoria,” he explains. “It’s hard to get skilled staff. And some of the new software gives excellent results. The sanding program, for example, offers a much smoother finish than hand sanding.” His approach has paid off. Three years ago, he was awarded the (North American) National Kitchen and Bath Association’s gold award for his own home’s “before and after” renovation, and a silver for best contemporary kitchen. In 2016, his shop won 11 gold and a silver from the Vancouver Island Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE). What distinguishes Jason Good’s millwork from other producers? “We take on more challenging work,” he says. “I try things other companies don’t want to take on. Complicated projects. We faceframe cabinets. Install solid-wood supports for durability. Mitre corners. And we source our plywood and hardwood veneers from Columbia Forest Products, a leader in environmental sustainability. We do our best to stay as high as we can.” It’s easy to see why his work is considered a step above.
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