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VICTORIA’S HOME & D E S I G N MAGAZINE

FALL/WINTER 2020

INSPIRING HOMES & INTERIORS

sprucemagazine.ca PM41295544


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FALL/WINTER 2020

IN THIS ISSUE

ON THE COVER

This mountain chalet fuses a contemporary esthetic with an old-world flair. Page 32

FEATURES

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32

38

A heritage renovation in Oak Bay makes clever use of space for its elegant and functional design.

Victoria-based designers re-envision the modern Revelstoke chalet.

This ultra-energy efficient Passive House delivers on its owners’ eco-minded goals.

B Y DANIELLE POPE

B Y DAVID LENNAM

ALL IN THE DETAILS

MOUNTAIN SPLENDOUR

B Y ERIN McINTOSH

PEAK PERFORMANCE

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52

New housing on existing lots offers contemporary design in established, family-friendly neighbourhoods.

This 1970s kitchen gets a modern, European-inspired update.

DESIGNING THE MODERN TOWNHOME

B Y LINDA BARNARD

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KITCHEN WITH A DIFFERENCE

B Y JULIA DILWORTH


100% Victoria Owned

INCREDIBLE HOME WWW.INCREDIBLEHOME.CA

Live Life Incredibly

CLOSETS • KITCHENS EURO CLOSET DOORS


GROW YOUR INVESTMENTS Managing business, family and personal wealth

IN THIS ISSUE DEPARTMENTS

10

EDITOR’S LETTER

B Y ATHENA McKENZIE

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S  PRUCE IT UP

In with the new: design-forward finds to enhance your home.

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DESIGN INSPIRATION

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The psychology of colour. B Y ATHENA McKENZIE

20

ASK THE EXPERT

Mike De Palma, CEO of Flintstones Design & Build, on taking a project from vision to finished home. B Y CARLA SORRELL

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REAL ESTATE

What you need to know about strata insurance. B Y SHANNON MONEO

58 IAN STOCKDILL Portfolio Manager & Investment Advisor 250-953-8461 or 1-800-799-1175 ian.stockdill@nbc.ca www.ianstockdill.com

National Bank Financial Suite 700, 737 Yates St., Victoria National Bank Financial – Wealth Management (NBFWM) is a division of National Bank Financial Inc. (NBF), as well as a trademark owned by National Bank of Canada (NBC) that is used under licence by NBF. NBF is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), and is a whollyowned subsidiary of NBC, a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA).

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FINISHING TOUCH

A stunning custom-designed wine room that also serves as a tactile piece of art.

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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

MANAGING EDITOR Athena McKenzie

L ET''SS M A K E S O M E

ENGLISH N O I S E. PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Kühtz

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeffrey Bosdet

DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Amanda Wilson

LEAD GRAPHIC DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant

ASSOCIATE GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Carla Sorrell

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Rebecca Juetten

DIGITAL MARKETING COORDINATOR Belle White

PROOFREADER Paula Marchese

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Linda Barnard, Julia Dilworth,

David Lennam, Erin McIntosh Danielle Pope, Shannon Moneo

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jon Adrian, Dasha Armstong,

Jeffrey Bosdet, Joshua Lawrence, Jo-Ann Richards

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CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES Getty Images p. 17, 18, 56

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SPRUCE | FALL/WINTER 2020

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EDITOR’S LETTER

Adding Joy to our Homes

I Our in-depth knowledge of the market and personalized strategies will put you in the best possible position when buying or selling a home in Victoria.

Properties in Victoria Professionals ™ Sarah West and Bill Ethier The Real Estate Team You Trust for Life w: propertiesinvictoria.com   I    p: 250.920.7000 Personal Real Estate Corporation

Our in-depth knowledge of the market and personalized strategies will put you in the best possible position when buying or selling a home in Victoria.

Sarah West* and Bill Ethier

*Personal Real Estate Corporation

The Real Estate Team You Trust for Life

w: propertiesinvictoria.com The Real Estate Team You Trust for Life p: 250.920.7000 Sarah West, PREC and Bill Ethier w: propertiesinvictoria.com p: 250.920.7000

t’s amazing how much can change in a year. Last autumn around this time, I was headed back from IDS West in Vancouver, full of ideas and marvelling at the incomparable views of the Gulf Islands from my Helijet flight. I’ve always appreciated the immersive quality of the IDS events and its display floor, with its ability to illustrate the range of innovation that is happening in the world of interior design and home building. It is invaluable for discovering new designers and products, and for sparking plans for new stories. While this year did not have the same handson experiences, the digital version did share a font of inventiveness and creativity. It also provided lots of ideas for the home. The things that really caught my eye at the IDS Digital Fair were the items and design elements that can add joy and brightness to our homes during the autumn and winter seasons — think of it as Hygge, version 2.0. It’s no secret that light fixtures become more critical this time of year. One Vancouver-based exhibitor, umbra & lux, brings a sculptural esthetic and sense of play to their light creations. The globes in their “orbs” series are suspended by such fine electrical cables they appear to be floating. It is truly mesmerizing. Another thing that stood out to me is how architects and designers are integrating plants into their projects. There is plenty of science supporting the theory that greenery acts as a mood booster, including a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology that showed the active interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) reduced physiological and psychological stress. My own house plant collection has grown considerably in the last little while, thanks to the VI Plant Shop, a Victoria-based company that ships across the country. Missing the in-person art fix that IDS always provides, I made a point of checking out the artists at Victoria’s local galleries. The botanical bounty of Rachelle Brady’s paintings — on display at The Avenue Gallery — would be a bright and vivid addition to any space. One of the fun things about this time of year is that we can start planning our next home project. These things do take time — as Mike De Palma of Flintstones Design & Build shares in our Ask the Expert on page 20. This issue is full of inspirational local projects and experts to get you Carry Me Home, Rachelle started. Brady, oil on canvas 36 x 24

Athena McKenzie, Managing Editor As we’re also entering the season of giving, consider a donation to a local housing nonprofit, such as the Greater Victoria Housing Society or Habitat for Humanity Victoria.

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DINING IN STYLE

“This warm, contemporary dining room invites you to enjoy nourishing meals with family and close friends in your “bubble.” Warm metals, soft wood and supple leather create a stylish mix of textures while the geometric light fixture illuminates a reflective glow throughout the room.” — JANINE LANGE, LUXE DESIGNER

2655 Douglas St | 250.386.7632 | www.luxevictoria.ca


SPRUCE IT UP

In with the new

DESIGN-FORWARD FINDS TO ENHANCE YOUR HOME

Julian Tile

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THE MODERN LOO

Today’s toilets take comfort to the next level, incorporating everything from heated seats and adjustable heights to bidet functions with integrated personal cleansing. Both Duravit’s SensoWash Starck (left), which is designed by Philippe Starck, and the TOTO Neorest 700H Dual Flush 1.0 features oscillating and pulsating sprays, a night light and a remote control. Visit duravit.com and totousa.com for local retailers.

MADE IN ITALY Old-world charm meets modern ease with Intarsi Glam Porcelain stoneware wall and floor tiles. The major appeal of this line of tiles is its ability to emulate natural stone, marble, brick or wood. Its mix of cool hues and dark colours imparts a timeless style. Given its durability, it is particularly suited to hightraffic areas of the home, such as an entryway. Available through Julian Tile and Design District Access

CALM IN THE FORECAST

Given the events of 2020, it’s not surprising that trending hues tend to the soothing tones. Sherwin-Williams Colormix forecast for 2021 includes its Sanctuary palette, which looks to nature and its ability to cultivate wellness and calm. Its influences include wellness, biophilia, nesting, warm minimalism and Scandinavian design. Learn more at swcolorforecast.com

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Hibernate in Style

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Creating a serene bedroom sanctuary might be the best thing you do for yourself this winter. While this room is more that just a place to sleep, design choices should serve to encourage rest and relaxation. As the place you begin and end your day, you can create a comfortable and restful space by adding thoughtful touches.

Soften the look of your bedroom with an upholstered headboard. The Trica Nest bed features two adjustable headboard pillows.

A light fixture is another way to add organic texture to the space. Arteriors Home Wilde Pendant is made from a hammered rattan that softly filters the light.

Available through Luxe Home Interiors

Available through Pine Lighting

SPRUCE | FALL/WINTER 2020

Luxury linens are the perfect finishing touch for your bedroom retreat. Cultiver’s duvets are finished with a button closure and are crafted from 100 per cent linen, pre-washed for softness. Available through Tulipe Noire

A beautiful basket acts as both dĂŠcor and versatile storage. These Isidora baskets come in three different sizes and feature sturdy construction of natural seagrass. Available at Urban Barn


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

TOUCH OF A BUTTON

Turning your home into a smart home doesn’t have to happen during construction. A system like Control4 can be integrated at any time and can consolidate devices from across your entire house onto one screen, giving you instant access to your security, smart door locks, window coverings, lights and entertainment systems. Its “open” platform communicates with thousands of devices from over 300 brands. Find locals dealers at control4.com

DREAM KITCHENS REALLY DO COME TRUE

KITCHEN HELPER

Find local retailers at samsung.com/ca

JOSHUA LAWRENCE

While the kitchen has long been considered the heart of the home, it can also serve as the brain. Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator lets you manage your family’s calendars, play music on Spotify, share pictures and stay connected via the touch screen on the refrigerator door. Its View Inside internal cameras show what food you have, so you can check when you’re shopping. It automatically tags food expiration dates and lets you create a shopping list, food memos or reminders.

Custom Jason Good kitchens and bathrooms are built for inspired living. From initial sketch to final installation, we transform design dreams into functional masterpieces.

250.384.4663 | Victoria, BC | jasongoodcabinets.com JOB # JGOF-15756 CLIENT: JASON GOOD CUSTOM CABINETS PUBLICATION: YAM MAGAZINE INSERTION DATE: MAY/JUNE 2014 ISSUE SPRUCE | FALL/WINTER 2020 SIZE: 7.5" X 4.7" (HALF PAGE) PREPARED BY: ECLIPSE CREATIVE INC. @ 250-382-1103

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DESIGN INSPIRATION

BY ATHENA McKENZIE

The Psychology of Colour TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CONNECTION BETWEEN EMOTIONS AND COLOUR TO CREATE A HIGHLY PERSONALIZED AND PURPOSEFUL SPACE.

W

hile colour psychology is often associated with branding and marketing, it can also be an important tool in interior design. Each colour can inspire a variety of emotions, so it’s important to consider the mood you are trying to create when you’re deciding which hues to choose for your home. “What is the psychological outcome that you’re hoping to get?” asks Sheri Peterson, interior designer and colour consultant. “Do you want the space to be energizing? Or do you want it to be relaxing and calming?” Peterson recently completed her education as a colour consultant with the International Association of Color Consultants of North America. She says the organization emphasizes colour from the perspective of human well-being. “It’s not about trends,” she says. “It’s not about marketing, and it’s not about colour of the year. It approaches colour from a psychological and physiological point of view.” As Peterson explains, colour is all about where it falls on the colour wheel — its hue is the colour itself; its chroma how bright or dull; and its value, how light or dark it is. Whether you’re just adding accents or painting the entire room, it’s also important to consider the cultural and personal implications of colour. “There’s going to be different connotations with colour for everybody,” Peterson says.

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ORANGE

“Orange is exciting, jovial, sociable, stimulating, extroverted,” she says. “But in strong hues, it can be intrusive, blistering or cheap.”

PINK

“Pink varies a lot,” she says. “We have bright pink, like magenta or hot pink, versus a rose. Those are going to give you completely different psychological effects. Overall, it’s relatively comforting and a delicate colour, but it can be too sweet. Obviously, it’s considered a feminine colour.”

RED

“Red is rousing, exciting, stimulating and strengthening,” Peterson says. “But on the negative side, it can be aggressive, raging, intense, fierce and have anger.”


BROWN

“Brown encompasses wood and the earth, so we associate it with comfort — we have security. It’s stable, it’s dependable,” Peterson says. “Of course, it can be dirty, drab and boring, if it’s overdone.”

YELLOW

“Yellow is happy, luminous, cheerful, active, extroverted and lively,” she says. “Negatively, it can be glaring, and it can cause anxiety. It can be too intense and loud. It’s a very big colour.”

Communication is key.

THE WATKINS GROUP

ScotiaMcleod,® a division of Scotia Capital Inc. Scotia Capital Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. The Watkins Group is a personal trade name of Michael Watkins.

Suite 400 - 1803 Douglas Street 250.389.2160 | 1.800.663.1855 karen.king@scotiawealth.com www.watkinsgroup.ca

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LOVE THE HOME YOU’RE IN WE MAKE HOME RENOVATIONS AFFORDABLE AND EASY!

Providing the highest quality renovation and construction service

PURPLE

Whether you’d like to upgrade an outdated bathroom or expand the size of your home to accommodate your growing family, we’ll work with you to ensure every detail is covered and the project is completed to your 100% satisfaction.

“In its darker hues, purple is exclusive, dignified, magic and mystical,” she says. “Then negatively, it can be pompous, conceited, or a lonely or mournful colour. As it goes to the lavenders and the mauves, it’s feminine, sensual, secretive, sweet, intimate and pleasing. Negatively, it can be unsettling, morbid and narcotic.

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Outdoor Spaces for All Seasons

GREEN

“Green is, in its purest hue, the most relaxing hue, representing nature, growth and rebirth,” she says. “It’s refreshing, but the potential negative [connotations] are decay, mould, sickness and envy. That depends on where it falls on the colour wheel.”

Rain or Shine BLUE

“Blue is the ultimate peacemaker,” Peterson says. “It’s relaxing, retiring, calm, secure, trustworthy, sober, contemplative, assuring and quiet. Potential negatives: it can be cold, depressing, sad and can be distressing over long periods of time.”

For Your Home or Your Business

WHITE

“White is celestial, hope, holiness, innocence, cleanliness, simple, pure and peace,” she says. “On the negative side, it’s clinical, uncaring, cold, sterilized, under stimulating and isolating.

Security & Weather Protection

GREY

The true neutral, it’s quiet, conservative, calm, balanced and reliable,” she says. “But negatively, grey is dreary, tedious, passive, lacks energy and can be boring.”

Serving Vancouver Island since 1991

Visit our showroom M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm 2745 Bridge Street, Victoria, BC Phone: 250-361-4714 E-Mail: info@pacificrollshutters.com Web: www.pacificrollshutters.com WE ARE VANCOUVER ISLAND'S LARGEST RETAILER OF AWNINGS, ROLLSHUTTERS, LOUVERED PERGOLAS AND RETRACTABLE ROOF SYSTEMS

SPRUCE | FALL/WINTER 2020

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ASK THE EXPERT

BY CARLA SORRELL

Set in Stone

TAKING A PROJECT FROM VISION TO FINISHED HOME.

Mike De Palma, founder and CEO of Flintstones Design & Build, shares his insights on material choices, heritage homes, and the importance of listening and asking questions when it comes to clients’ needs.

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JEFFREY BOSDET/SPRUCE MAGAZINE

C

onstruction has been a lifelong focus for Mike De Palma. As a teenager, De Palma left school and got onto a building site, where he found a confidence missing in the classroom. Over the last 23 years, he has completed thousands of projects in Greater Victoria, worked across all 13 municipalities and has built a beautiful, tactile showroom that echoes the promise: If you build it, they will come. A name change in 2019, to Flintstones Design & Build, reflected De Palma’s desire to “focus on where we have most value, coming up with the plan and taking it all the way through to a great finished project.” Although stonework is still at the heart of the business, the shift toward more comprehensive, creative custombuilds meant taking on projects that the team can see through from start to finish, or from design to build.


Gratefully indebted to the community, Flintstones has contributed to multiple restoration projects around Victoria, building a legacy beyond commercial projects. “We want to look back and ask what did we build? How did we improve our clients’ lives? How did we improve our community? How did we improve our coworkers’ lives? We want to build stuff we are proud of.”

“THERE IS NO SINGLE PROCESS THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE. WE LISTEN AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS ... FOR SOME, THE LIGHTING MIGHT BE THE MOST IMPORTANT, AND FOR OTHERS, IT MIGHT BE FLOORING OR MILLWORK.”

What defines your approach to working with a homeowner? There is no single process that works for everyone. We listen and ask lots of questions. If I’m talking the whole time, how am I going to find out how to better serve my clients? For some, the lighting might be the most important, and for others, it might be flooring or millwork. Time and money are always going to be on the higher end of importance, but when it comes to quality, it’s a given, it has to be there or we’re not going to do it.

Do many homeowners know what they want when they come to you? Some know exactly what they want, but some homeowners don’t know what is possible. In a lot of cases, neither do we until, for instance, we do a zoning analysis. Let’s say you live in a 75-yearold house in Oak Bay; it’s legal non-conforming. What can you do? The only way we are going to know this is by digging into the zoning: Are there any encroachments on setbacks? Are there any right of ways? Are there any covenants on your property? From there we can come up with a plan to maximize your individual property to meet your needs.

What question should someone ask themselves before they call a builder? Timing. It’s not realistic to think you are going to do a build, and it’s going to start in a month or two. Without knowing the industry, clients can be blown away about how long a [big] project might take, between when we start a feasibility study and when we actually finish construction. It’s up to us to educate our clients and make the process as simple and transparent as possible.

A full exterior renovation gave this Uplands home a new lease on life. Taking stylistic cues from the existing home, the design maximized the family’s outdoor living space with an extended stone patio, a louvred pergola over a heated seating area, and the addition of an outdoor dining space. Other features include new entrances, built-in lighting and glass railings.

When it comes to material choices, what are the considerations? We’ll get the clients to put images together of what they like and don’t like, [so we can] give them suggestions of what materials we think would fit the look they are going for. We break the whole project down on a spreadsheet and go through it line item by line item, from flooring, to drywall, to paint, to siding, to roofing, to gutters, to windows, to doors, to blinds, giving multiple options for each. The client can decide where they want to spend their money. SPRUCE | FALL/WINTER 2020

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ANDREW MAXWELL Victoria Real Estate Professional

Buying or selling, I am dedicated to providing my clients with exceptional service, sound negotiating techniques and constant communication through the process. Take advantage of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s comprehensive and well thought out approach to marketing real estate. Luxury isn’t about price point but about an experience. Call today to find out how Andrew can assist you with your real estate needs.

250.213.2104 amaxwell@sothebysrealty.ca ANDREW MAXW E LL.CA

SOTHEBYSR EALT Y.CA

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Independently Owned and Operated. E.&O.E

How do you work with older homes?

Come in for an artfully curated, serene shopping experience that includes home goods, bath and body products, clothing, novelties, and jewelry such as Victoria’s Glee Jewelry — a top seller year round for a reason!

It’s very rare that we take down old homes [80 years or older]. The majority of projects we’re completing are large-scale renovations where we will be structurally upgrading the house. Let’s say the home has an old crawl space or old stone foundation only five or six feet high, with dirt underneath and rodents and hanging wires are prevalent. We come in, and we’ll pick up the house, dig down the full-depth foundation, upgrade the services [insulation, plumbing, electrics] to the home and put it on a proper foundation. We can then clad the foundation in a way that it looks like it has been there for the last hundred years. It’s more challenging to do that than to build a new house. We’re basically building a new home in an existing shell, so there are more restrictions to overcome.

What are the advantages to choosing to renovate a heritage home?

541 Fisgard Street | 250-382-4424 | FANTANVICTORIA.COM

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Some clients stay away from heritage status due to the limitations it could create to future property owners, as the designation travels with the title. But others want their home to have the historical value, so it’s protected for the future. There’s a lot of value in those old homes.


Over a hundred years old, this Government Street home was transformed into a legal duplex. The structure was raised by 10 feet, while the new foundation was poured and replaced for a complete renovation. The entire ground floor is new while the upper floors benefited from a comprehensive upgrade — including electrical, plumbing, kitchen, windows and bathrooms — that improved the home’s livability and efficiency while maintaining its original features.

ahhh, the

Romance of a fire... Is there anything more symbolic of home, of warm hearts, and the gathering of loved ones? At Wilk Stove, it’s our mission to keep these sentiments alive — with the perfect stove for your living space.

We’re not going to get the same materials that they used to have with the old growth, the quality of the materials, without spending a fortune getting there. A lot of the older homes have a much bigger footprint than what you would be allowed to build if you took it down. And sustainability — why pay to throw it all in landfill when we can reuse it? You’re never going to get that same feeling in a new home. It can be much easier to phase a project like this. You can decide to do the lift first, finish the suite in a few years, and update the kitchen in another few. We’ll come up with a master plan for the project, then it comes down to our client’s schedule and budget. At least when it’s all finished, it will look like it was thoughtfully done. With a new house, that’s a lot more challenging.

Amy and Tim

Why should a homeowner consider adding stonework or masonry to their project? When I look at the marvels of the world that humans have built — Stonehenge, the pyramids, the incredible stonework and masonry in structures across Europe — that’s what got me into masonry. It gives me this incredible feeling. Beautiful woodwork gives me that same feeling. There’s something subconscious to us about those primal elements. Those are elements we use in a lot of our projects.

The best in wood and gas heating appliances

What changes have you witnessed with how people approach their outdoor living space? I think it’s one of the fastest growing trends in construction. We can do structures that are completely open, warm and illuminated, and then, at the push of a button, it’s waterproof. You’ve got a kitchen out there, and, all of a sudden, it’s where the family comes together to spend time, getting fresh air, cooking, having fun and maybe not so much on your mobile device but actually being present.

160 East Burnside Road, Victoria | 250-382-5421

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â– HERITAGE RENO

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All in the Details A HERITAGE RENOVATION IN OAK BAY MAKES CLEVER USE OF SPACE FOR ITS ELEGANT AND FUNCTIONAL DESIGN .

BY ERIN McINTOSH

PHOTOS BY JOSHUA LAWRENCE

R

enovating a character home from 1908 to accommodate an active family of five is no small feat. It requires creativity, patience and vision. Rather than tear down and restart, the Lee family decided to integrate the historical qualities of their Oak Bay home with a familyfriendly design. “I feel like these homes are so old, and a lot of the time they’re just ripped down, but they have stories and beautiful things in them,” says homeowner Deborah Lee. “So I wanted a space that worked for the modern family, but still retained that feeling of quality workmanship.” To ensure the 4,250-squarefoot home retained its historical essence, the Lees found Adrienne Hempstock, senior interior designer for Jenny Martin Design. Together they created a master plan that kept most existing walls, honoured room placements, historical colour palettes and window locations but added lots of storage and room to grow. The Lees decided to keep the original trim work, stair railings, the stained glass windows and the fireplaces. The original floors were also kept and refinished. “It wasn’t a gut, by any means. There were some extensive renovations in certain areas that weren’t functioning up to 21st-century standards,” says Hempstock. Once the design was finalized, the project was handed to general contractor Jim Town and millwork master David Sheridan from Splinters Millworks, who worked his magic in nearly every room.

The kitchen boasts a modern-historical fusion look, with sleek countertop finishes, and walls wrapped in Centanni ceramic tiles in soft sage. Details like the custom-arched pantry, an eye-catching island and a unique baking station with a lowered countertop, make this kitchen functional for the Lee family, and is anything but cookie cutter.

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The six-bedroom, four-bath home had multiple compound curves and angles. Sheridan says “a lot more had to be built and scribed on site than a typical project.” For example, the unique closet space in the master bedroom had to be built into the existing vaulted roofline. As part of the modernization, a bedroom was converted into the master ensuite bathroom. Because the windows stayed in their original locations, the mirrors above the vanity were hung in front. “I hadn’t done a project before where we couldn’t move a window,” says Hempstock. “It was like using what could be considered drawbacks as design elements and using them to our advantage, as best as we could. And I think we did that pretty well.” A large island stands strongly in the middle of the kitchen, inviting family and friends to gather round. For the kids, a baking station was incorporated with ample elbow room and storage below. A marble countertop finish and a soft sage blacksplash throughout the space keeps it simple, streamlined and easy to clean.

To provide the most storage space, the team at Splinters Millworks crafted a built-in, pull-out spice rack behind an existing cabinet, utilizing what was dead space. The standard drawer boxes here are solid maple dovetail drawers, made in-house. All hardware finishes are from Restoration Hardware.

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Since the family’s passion for the outdoors runs strong, the designs had to incorporate extra storage and designated areas for sporting equipment and gear, especially in the laundry room. “We have eight spaces with laundry separators because you end up going through a ton of washing when you’re busy like that,” says Lee. A bike room was also added beneath the deck. In addition, the entire house was lifted, creating more height and space in the basement. Walk by this home, and you might not realize an extensive renovation ever took place. With original paint colours matched, original window placements, freshly repoured concrete steps and a dormer off the back of the house that looks like it was meant to be, the house essentially looks the same as it did before. “It’s very much in keeping with the character of the home, but it is definitely an improvement,” says Hempstock.

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Left: The mud room is brought to life with striking blue-patterned tiles on the floor, and, like the laundry room, is painted with Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray for a sleek, simple finish. Below: The family of five needed ample storage space for all their sporting equipment. Splinters Millworks used 3/4-inch birch ply for the built in cabinet boxes in the laundry room, which will withstand any wear and tear of the years.

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Above: The upstairs bathroom was designed with the children in mind. The penny round tiles on the floor and walls brighten up the space, making it both whimsical and sophisticated. The heritagestyle sconces from Hudson Valley Lighting keep the historical theme intact. A large farmhouse style trough is used for the sink, big enough for the children to share. Right: The master bedroom showcases the masterful millwork and carpentry from Splinters Millworks. The hand-crafted closet was incorporated into the drop of a vaulted roofline. Dave Sheridan and his team worked with the angles, creating a closet that maximized every inch. The top is perfect for hanging clothes, while the bottom has deep drawers, useful for chunky sweaters or equipment.

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With Willows Beach just two blocks away, the Lees can use their kayaks and SUP boards with ease. A big backyard and a family-friendly neighbourhood means annual Halloween parties and big birthday bashes. Since moving in two years ago, Lee says time has gone fast. They’ve settled in. And without hesitation, they love their home.

RESOURCE LIST ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Ryan Hoyt Designs CONTRACTOR/BUILDER: Jim Town of J. Town

Developments

INTERIOR DESIGN: Adrienne Hempstock and Jenny Martin of Jenny Martin Design MILLWORK/CABINETRY: Splinters Millworks FLOORING: Edgar & Miner Floor Coverings COUNTERTOPS: Colonial Countertops KITCHEN APPLIANCES: Lansdowne Appliance

Gallery

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The laundry room was specifically designed for high-foot traffic, and includes one of the home’s four bathrooms. With the laundry room’s direct access to the outside and abundance of storage, it is exceptionally functional.

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■ CUSTOM BUILD

MOUNTAIN SPLENDOUR VICTORIA-BASED DESIGNERS RE-ENVISION THE MODERN REVELSTOKE CHALET. BY DANIELLE POPE HOUSE PHOTOS BY JON ADRIAN

W

hen Christina and Mike Forest approached Victoria interior designer Mari O’Meara to create their home in Revelstoke, they knew they wanted her on the job. They weren’t sure, though, if their vision could work in one of the province’s most mountainous ski areas — one that faces weather extremes, heaping snow and is decorated with classic chalets. It would be different from O’Meara’s work on the Island, and an even farther reach from the Spanish-style L.A. motifs Christina hoped to capture. Yet, with the aid of a few of Victoria’s housing specialists, as well as local talent in Revelstoke, the Forests’ dream became a resort of their own making. “These clients had a great concept of what they wanted, and they were faced with searching for a designer who aligned with their vision,” says O’Meara, noting that while her firm has completed projects off Vancouver Island, Revelstoke is the farthest so far. “They wanted something contemporary, with oldworld flair, but with heavy contrast and plastered walls.” O’Meara knew from the outset she’d be met with challenges: remote access would demand efficient meetings, and she’d need to rely on some unfamiliar contractors. The geography would present obstacles as well, with specialists needed to capture the nuances of Revelstoke architecture.

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Christina and Mike Forest wanted their Revelstoke home to capture an old-world style while being functionally supportive to their busy outdoor lifestyles. With windows designed to frame the surrounding mountain range, the coved ceilings, rounded archways and classic Spanish-style features tie these two wishes together. The plaster fireplace feature is a favourite of both Christina’s and interior designer Mari O’Meara’s. The mantel’s unique curves and stucco cladding required a specialist from Victoria to be brought in to complete the work.


“[THE HOMEOWNERS] WANTED SOMETHING CONTEMPORARY, WITH OLD-WORLD FLAIR, BUT WITH HEAVY CONTRAST AND PLASTERED WALLS.” Interior designer Mari O’Meara

“Being that far away, you have to establish a high level of trust. Many things are unspoken, so the time we had together was very valuable,” says O’Meara. “The most rewarding part of the project was seeing how much trust they had in me to make decisions because we set the tone.” Mike fell in love with Revelstoke years ago, frequenting the mountains for snowboarding trips and getaways, but it was Christina who had the vision for their home. “The area is breathtaking. We have a half acre, backing onto a 30-metre ski hill, with views of the mountains and river,” says Mike. “For years I would see this spot while I was snowboarding and wonder why no one was building here. It was like it was waiting for us.” While Mike wanted to walk their kids to school, surrounded by nature, Christina wanted a home that reflected the old-world charm she was used to in California, with the modern conveniences of a new build. “I love old homes, and, being from L.A., I had a specific vision for the kind of contemporary character I wanted,” says Christina. “Mike and I agree on style, so we blew through the design process because we were so in sync with Mari.” The two-level, 3,354-square-foot home features a three-bedroom upper level, with a main level kitchen, living and dining area, guest room and nearly 900-square-foot garage. While the home has a resort feel, it’s outfitted with homey flair — from the custom wood-burning indoor grill to a stylized media room with a drop screen and projector. Moroccan-inspired tile and a blend of modern and classic Spanish-style pendants and wall sconces create the old-world feel. Yet it’s the coved ceilings, plaster fireplace feature and walnut flooring that brings in Christina’s wish list.


Facing page: Porcelain is an elevated feature used throughout this home to mimic the look of natural stone while offering a higher durability for the most active areas. The guest hall floor is adorned with Daltile’s Quartetto porcelain tiles in Cool Piccolo Fiore, while Margranite porcelain slab countertops in Calacatta Oro outfit the kitchen. This page: Powder coated matte black windowpanes give a striking contrast to the home’s white-walled finish. The black-andwhite theme is enhanced in the kitchen, with classic flair brought in from antique brass pulls and knobs, as well as finishes like the Brizo Litze pulldown faucet with angled spout. The custom woodburning indoor grill — one of Mike’s wish-list items — transform this space into a chef’s dream.

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The home’s elegant walnut flooring brightens the space with texture, while an array of pendant lamps give each space a traditional grandeur. The six-foot candelabra in the dining area is the Venetian Medium from Circa Lighting in hand-rubbed antique brass.

“I really wanted plaster throughout the house, but no one does that anymore because there are so many other materials available,” says Christina. “We had to make exceptions, but I love the way it’s reminiscent of the past.” That plaster was such a challenge that O’Meara managed to bring in a contractor from the Island to do the work. “My favourite accomplishment is that fireplace, which looks simple, but achieving the texture and complexity of the curved lines was highly specialized and gives the space a softness that transforms it,” says O’Meara. Mike had seen O’Meara’s work in his parent’s Island home, and through that connected with registered building designer Ryan


Redefining the traditional chalet was a major goal of this project. Because of the area’s seasonal realities, the roof presented one of the biggest challenges. This multi-tiered, low-sloped roof was devised by designer Ryan Hoyt to transform a functional shed-style concept into a structure that supports a more contemporary feel.

Hoyt, who was drafted to redefine his signature West Coast-style into something that could work in a chalet environment. “The roof was our biggest challenge because we were trying to achieve a contemporary esthetic, but needed to create something that could handle the crazy snow loading,” says Hoyt. Hoyt devised a multi-tiered, low-sloped roof that merged the modern feel with a shed-style roof. With the help of Revelstoke’s Absolute Contracting, Hoyt combined his plans with the expertise of builders accustomed to the geography. “Working with the builders was a great experience, because they could capture the nuances we needed to consider,” says Hoyt. “In Victoria, our architecture is looking out and down at the water. In Revelstoke, you’re looking up at the mountains, so the designs harness those views.” While blending traditional styles with modern function can complicate designs, Hoyt attributes the unity of this project to O’Meara’s vision. “It was refreshing to work on a contemporary home that moved away from the typical open-concept design,” he says. “Mari’s work gave it a cohesion without trying to do too much. In the end, it has a real mountain-home vibe: warm and casual but still very elegant.”

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KITCHEN APPLIANCES: Trail Appliances

ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Ryan Hoyt Designs

PAINTING: Bruce Webb Painting

CONTRACTOR/BUILDER: Absolute Contracting

FIREPLACE STUCCO: Victoria Restorations

INTERIOR DESIGN: Mari Kushino Design

FIREPLACE: Salmon Arm Fireplace

CABINETRY: Lortap Kitchen & Bath

WINDOWS: Westek Windows & Doors

FLOORING: Ramco Floor & Tile

PLUMBING: Johnson Walsh

LIGHTING: Signature Lighting & Fans

ELECTRICAL: Canyon Electric

COUNTERTOPS: Kootenay Granite

LANDSCAPING: Good Earth Contracting

BATHROOM FIXTURE: Robinson Supply

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■ PASSIVE HOUSE

PEAK PERFORMANCE THIS ULTRA-ENERGY EFFICIENT PASSIVE HOUSE DELIVERS ON ITS OWNERS’ ECO-MINDED GOALS.

JOSHUA LAWRENCE

BY DAVID LENNAM

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DASHA ARMSTRONG

Y

ou might stop and stare when you wander past this tall, rather simplistic-looking house on a leafy street near Playfair Park. But there’s nothing catching the eye to suggest the two-storey, single-family home, with its barn-like Scandinavian Modern flair, is a vision of the future. It’s an ultra energy-efficient Passive House that doesn’t announce its green-leaning distinction with straw bales for walls, muddy grass for a roof or odd attachments poking out like alien antennae. But within its thick walls, the building is kilowatt hours and gigajoules ahead of its neighbours, costing a fraction of the price to heat and cool.


There’s a line Passive House designers Waymark Architecture like to use: “The best way to predict the future is to design it.” This example, in the high Quadra area, doesn’t look flashy, but it does look different, in a way that pulls in both modern and traditional. Inside, it’s all about open spaces, thicker walls and an obligation for air tightness, which means operating costs as close to zero as you can get. And adhering to strict construction principles has resulted in this house gaining certification from the Passivhaus Institut in Germany.

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Above: The Calders relax in a wide open floor plan that’s comfortably modern. Interior design, based on the idea of “enough space,” was done by Carly Sanderson Interiors with a nod to West Coast motifs: the concrete terrazzo floors are reminiscent of a rocky beach (but remain warm on the feet), while raw Douglas fir represents the forest and the light blue backsplash the open sky. Right: A loft off the second floor, above the bathroom and facing the back of the house, not only becomes a teenager hangout spot, but allows the homeowners access to the larger upper window that they open in the summer to invite in the cool ocean breeze.

THIS PAGE: JOSHUA LAWRENCE

Brian and Charity Calder were well versed in the language of Passive House by the time they decided to build in late 2017. They’d been inspired by a visit to an eco-house but felt features like a composting toilet and cob construction were a little out of their comfort zone. Curiosity led them to a seminar on Passive House; a meeting with their future builders, Interactive Construction; and more answers about the necessarily rigorous and measured standard of fabrication. “As this was to be one of our largest investments, we felt that we needed to build a house that would be relevant for the next 100 years, so that it would be future proof when, and if, us or our children decided to sell,” says Brian. The Calders asked themselves what features an eco-modern, new build promised, what it delivered and how affordable it would be. “Crazy as it seems,” adds Brian, “we felt that a modern house would help pay for itself. It couldn’t be a consumer of money. It needed to be a producer.”


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In one sense, Passive House is a misnomer. There’s nothing passive about its commitment to energy savings and sustainability. Energy costs (heating and cooling) can be 90 per cent less than in a typical modern house, built to code. That’s not only significant, says the home’s architect, Will King of Victoria’s Waymark Architecture, it’s like cutting your monthly energy bill in half and then in half again and again and again. “Ongoing maintenance and operating costs are as close to zero as you can get. Those were (the Calders’) goals.” At 2,600 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and including an office, plus a two-bedroom suite, their Passive House isn’t tiny, but there’s no basement or garage — two spaces of energy leakage. And without them it was simpler to insulate the building envelope, key to a Passive House, which is like a normal

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house with more insulation, more air flow and less energy lost to the outside. “A Passive House may be best described as a high performance house,” suggests Brian. Heat coming in through the windows is trapped along with heat generated within by appliances, people, etc. Interactive Construction co-owner Russ Barry explains that the heart of the Passive House is the heat recovery ventilator, which pulls fresh air inside and pushes stale air out. The incoming air is passed through what’s basically a little radiator. Heat from the outgoing air is recovered and warms the cool air entering the house. “You don’t have to reheat your air all the time. The key to these houses is not throwing that heat away.” The project marked Interactive’s third Passive House. They begin work on their seventh this fall. The challenge, says Barry, is thinking ahead, having builders savvy in Passive House techniques and ensuring the envelope is perfectly sealed. “One of the primary (challenges) to have it go successfully is there really needs to be a lot more upfront work.” Insides of windows are warm to the touch, even in winter. And the continual flow of air means all rooms have similar temperatures. Because the heat stays in and stays constant, the Calders now only notice temperature changes and drafts in other houses they visit. “Another client likened it to a weightlessness,” says Will King. “No hot spots or cold spots. All surfaces are the


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The reference to a Passive House comes from the German: Passivhaus. That country emerged as a leader in ultra-low energy structures after the idea was conceived there in 1988 and then realized two years later with the construction of four row houses. Since then, thousands of Passivhaus units have been built, the majority in Germany and Austria. However, energy-efficient design had roots nurtured in the frigid prairie winters of Saskatchewan. Research during the oil crisis of the 1970s led to the creation of the virtually airtight Saskatchewan Conservation House in 1977, which ran on a fraction of the energy used by other homes of the day. Passive House development stalled in North America, and this voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building resulted in too few examples … until recently. The energy consumption is so low that some banks are beginning to adjust their mortgage calculations when financing a Passive House to account for these reduced costs. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, over the next 10 years, this starts to be the norm,” says Waymark’s Will King.

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The entrance foyer and master bath both exemplify clean lines and a somewhat European feel. Avoiding spaces where air can get trapped defines Passive House construction — you’re comfortable everywhere all the time. “The inside of the windows are warm to the touch even in winter,” says homeowner Brian Calder. “With a constant flow of air around the house all rooms have similar temperatures and there are certainly no drafts. The exterior doors have seals all the way around, sealing like what can best be described as a submarine door.”

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The overhang detail at the back serves both form and function. For thermal efficiency, the side walls that join the roof are structurally separate from the main house with only the siding connecting it continuously for appearance. The walls don’t act like cooling fins. The Calders have installed a dozen solar panels and hope to add another 16, which will bring the house very close to net-zero energy consumption. Overall, building costs were less, per square foot, than the average for a custom home in B.C. — just over $300/ sq. ft. for this house.

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same temperature. You don’t have to wear wool socks in this part of the house.” 1 Super-insulated Air quality envelopes (lots of is also superior insulation) because the air turnover far 2 Airtight construction exceeds that of a (tape, tape and more standard house, so tape) the interior never feels stagnant. 3 High-performance “My mother glazing (EuroLine Tilt just visited,” says & Turn windows) Brian. “She lives in an air-conditioned 4 Minimal thermal house and couldn’t bridging (the say enough about foundation can’t steal how much she your heat) enjoyed the fresh air.” 5 Heat recovery Another bonus ventilation (a single to the airtight entry and exit point for air where all the energy walls, tripleis transferred from the pane windows air leaving to the air and 14-inches of coming in) insulation is the quiet. For the Calders, the only noise comes from inside the house, and since sound travels very well through the structure, as long as the doors are open, the couple can talk to each other from almost any room without raising their voices. According to the architect, there’s nothing arbitrary about Passive House design. “Every move you make has an effect on how heat energy moves through the building,” says King. “The house has the fewest number of corners and jogs and details, so the cold air won’t seep in, and the hot air won’t seep out. You can’t leave anything to chance, and I find that very satisfying.” For the Calders, it all fit together perfectly. “Really, without architects like Waymark and a builder like Interactive Passive House would have remained as an abstract idea,” Brian says. The five principles of Passive House design the Calders wanted met:

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Designing the Modern Townhome NEW HOUSING ON EXISTING LOTS OFFERS CONTEMPORARY DESIGN IN ESTABLISHED, FAMILY FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOODS.

amion Briscoe and his wife Christine Rafferty-Briscoe are getting used to people stopping to stare at their James Bay townhouse. In a city where single-family homes are the norm, their two-bedroom-plus-den, 1,500-square-foot townhouse is an infill project. It sits amid traditional houses, one of six modern units built on a corner that once held two rundown homes. Briscoe believes the Frank project, built by Aryze Developments and completed in 2016, has “energized” the corner. “It really stands out,” says Briscoe, a semi-retired former design engineer who works parttime for the Salal Foundation. “There are only a few developments that stand out in Victoria.” The exterior incorporates weathered steel and plenty of windows in a contemporary take on an urban brownstone.

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PHOTOS THIS PAGE: JOSHUA LAWRENCE

The front door of Briscoe’s townhome opens to the street. There’s a 100-square-foot private patio out front and shared common green space in back. The couple and their children, ages 12 and 15, walk everywhere, says Briscoe. Their home is energy efficient, lets in lots of natural light and makes good use of space. In a city dominated by single-family homes, infill townhouse projects fill a home-ownership gap that will improve urban life in Victoria, say two principals with Fairfield-based Aryze Developments. Long popular in cities including Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, infill projects slot small clusters of new townhomes on compact lots among decades-old houses in desirable neighbourhoods. Retail, restaurants, schools and services are within walking distance. Communities are strengthened and benefit from increased density. Prices are more walletfriendly than single-family homes. “From a holistic point of view, it’s better for the community,” says Briscoe. His family puts less than 5,000 km a year on their car because they walk everywhere, using local amenities and services. “We’re really focused on improving our city and improving livability,” says Aryze general manager Ryan Goodman.


PHOTO: BD3M

While half the city’s land includes neighbourhoods like FairfieldGonzales, Rockland and Fernwood, only 10% of Victoria’s population growth has happened in these areas in the last 45 years. “This is such an important thing to be doing because there aren’t a lot of these types of homes in Victoria,” adds Justin Filuk, Aryze director of development. “They’re so ubiquitous in other parts of Canada, and they’re so sought after.” With common interior walls akin to a condominium apartment and front doors that open to the street like a house, townhouses fall between high-rise units and single-family homes for buyers. While half the city’s land includes neighbourhoods like Fairfield-Gonzales, Rockland and Fernwood, only 10 per cent of Victoria’s population growth has happened in these areas in the last 45 years, says Filuk. Most new builds are downtown condos. Aryze’s new infill builds include the 22-townhome project Rhodo on Fairfield Road, which features cedar siding, glass and metalaccented exteriors and customizable interiors. Rotunda is a mixed condo and townhome

Designed by D’Arcy Jones Archtitects, Rotunda (top) is located in the James Bay’s Legislature District, and its one- and twobedroom condos and townhomes are centred around a shared courtyard. The Pearl Block (botton) is a new complex of six three-bedroom townhomes in Oaklands, built on a lot that sat vacant for 65 years. Each unit will feature a private roof-top deck.

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infill project designed by D’Arcy Jones Architects, located near the provincial Legislature on Parry Street in James Bay. Also designed by D’Arcy Jones Architecture, Pearl Block consists of six three-bedroom townhomes in Oaklands on Shelbourne Street. It occupies a lot that had been empty for more than 60 years. It just makes sense to build within neighbourhoods, says Filuk. “When you go to cities like Victoria, the charm of the city is often outside downtown in these little neighborhood nodes that exist just outside the periphery of downtown,” he says. With parks and green spaces, these pockets are especially appealing to families. Goodman said Aryze targets what he calls a niche market of buyers — those who love Victoria’s neighbourhoods but aren’t interested in an older home. They value contemporary architectural looks, but their budget doesn’t stretch to a custom build. “By doing smaller routine projects, we’re able to work with more creative architects and push the edge with design,” Goodman says. It’s taken a while for Victoria to warm

PHOTOS THIS PAGE: JOSHUA LAWRENCE

It’s taken a while for Victoria to warm to the idea of compact townhouse living, where small decks, courtyards and terraces take the place of backyards.

Art shown: Shawn Shepherd’s oil-on-canvas paintings Garden Painting #2 and Cantaloupe (Regroup).

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The Frank project (above and left) was designed to maximize both natural light and cohesive materials.

to the idea of compact townhouse living, where small decks, courtyards and terraces take the place of backyards. “A lot of people (in Victoria) are sort of dug in and have this traditional single-family mindset,” says Goodman. He sees potential for Victoria neighbourhoods to house more people in entrenched areas. Intensification means better use of shared resources and an improved quality of life. Car use declines as more people walk and cycle to work and run errands close to home. Neighbourhoods are more diverse, with a mix of ages and income levels. Working from home emerged out of necessity during COVID-19. It seems likely to continue. Goodman points out townhomes have more windows for light and ventilation than condo apartments, as well as enough square


“I really think [alternatives to single-family dwellings] are the way to go. And I think that that’s what cities like Victoria need for the future.”

ARTFUL. SUSTAINABLE. WEST COAST DESIGN

— Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps

footage to encourage flexible ways to use rooms and to carve out semi-private, work-from-home living spaces. Aryze began as a custom builder in 2006 and expanded to develop infill and mixed-use projects. It’s also responsible for the whimsical Project Albero swim float and floating tree in the Gorge Waterway. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps wants city council to streamline the zoning process to make it easier for infill projects like these to be built. “My hope is that we can rezone the whole city, or certainly large blanket portions of the city, so that builders like Aryze and others won’t have to go through a three-year process to get the rights to build townhouses like they had to [with Rhodo],” she tells Spruce. Helps said as more people move to Victoria for work and lifestyle, housing alternatives to single-family dwellings allows the city to do more with a limited footprint. Townhouses, stacked townhouses and house-plexes that look like traditional residential builds provide more density to serve the “missing middle” homebuyers, she said — those whose budgets fall between condos and houses. “I really think they are the way to go. And I think that that’s what cities like Victoria need for the future,” Helps says. “We think that for families in Victoria, townhomes solve one of the most important issues today, which is having a comfortable home to have a family that isn’t driving out to the West Shore, or way out to the [Saanich] peninsula,” says Filuk. “We want to build homes that are comfortable, that have some architectural interest, and we’re trying to build this place where you can grow as a person and have a family, and that is something that you’re really proud of.” Goodman said Rhodo purchasers are a mix of buyers, from young families to seniors who are downsizing and want to stay in the neighbourhood, yet want to feel like they are still living in a house. The developers want to build projects that become known as local design landmarks. “All great cities have that kind of architecture and that kind of development,” Filuk says. “And so that’s our hope for Victoria, that we can be the kind of driver of change and facilitate that in our city and bring more people to neighbourhoods outside of downtown.”

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A KITCHEN WITH A DIFFERENCE A 70S KITCHEN IS REDESIGNED FOR THE FUTURE. BY JULIA DILWORTH

PHOTOS BY JO-ANN RICHARDS

It all started with a flood in the basement of their North

Uplands home. The sudden impetus to renovate and reconfigure was like pulling a thread for homeowners Bruce and Janice Moore. After the basement, they tackled the windows, the exterior stucco, and the garage … And then their vintage 1976 kitchen — with its eightfoot-high coffered ceilings, dark wood cabinets and yellow melamine countertops — found itself squarely between the crosshairs. “We had this construction crew here doing some other stuff, so we decided to rip down the old kitchen and do it right then and there,” explains Janice. They had to live with a hole in the ceiling and the space completely open to the elements for a time, but a new design from their interior architectural designer Markus Ludwig would finally give them the open and light-filled kitchen the family of four was after. Vaulting the ceiling and adding skylights transformed the once dungeon-like space completely. “I really like the natural lighting; you don’t even have to put the lights on a lot of the time,” says Janice. The skylights, connected to solar panels, also open and close automatically. And in a nod to Passive House principles, they were strategically positioned to pull air out, cooling temperatures and replacing the air naturally, without the need for complicated HVAC or air recovery systems. “It’s such a simple way of keeping the house naturally cool and keeping fresh air, but it’s a technology that’s been around for thousands of years,” says Ludwig, citing heat chimneys in the Middle East that would rise up out of buildings to catch the wind. The skylight sensors also measure CO2 levels, temperature and are rain sensitive, closing at the first sign of a West Coast shower. Taking in the off-white quartz countertops, it’s easy to miss another subtle design evolution, if you’re not looking closely. “With Bruce and Janice, I loved their openness to accept outside-of-the-box ideas,” says Ludwig, who convinced the homeowners to replace the standard stovetop with individual, and removable, induction plates.

When homeowners Bruce and Janice Moore bought this 1955 split-level, the dark and closed-in kitchen hadn’t seen an update since the 70s. After vaulting the ceiling and installing rain-sensitive skylights, Incredible Home transformed the space further still with custom millwork in Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue and brushed nickel hardware. Even the solid oak flooring from Woodtech Floors was sized and stained to match the wood floors throughout the home, blending new with old seamlessly.

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Between a hood fan and an undercounter stove, there’s an off-white quartz countertop from Canary Custom Surfaces where a cooktop should be. That’s because the family opted to try portable induction plates instead of a fixed grid of traditional burners. In this way, cooking elements are taken out only as needed and easily cleared away to return the countertop to a clutter-free space. Even the kitchen’s peninsula was customized for the family of four and includes a strategic extension to accommodate ample seating all around it.

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“IT’S MORE VERSATILE THAN ALWAYS HAVING A COOKTOP.”

“You can just take these little induction cooktops out of a drawer when you need them and put them away when you don’t,” says Janice. It’s an unconventional move that has opened up so many possibilities. “The idea that you could cook under a large hood fan and do your own meals is quite interesting,” says Ludwig, who has seen this idea emerging in Europe. “It takes the work off of one person to create all the meals, it allows people to cook and socialize with one another, and then when you strike it all away, you have this beautiful, clean, expansive counter that can be used for anything, like laying out a buffet for a large crowd.” It was a risk, but the homeowners have embraced it. “It’s more versatile than always having a cooktop,” says Janice. “It’s just a very clean and simple kitchen,” agrees Bruce. And it makes a lot of sense considering the Moores, along with so many other families, often use appliances like rice cookers, Instant Pots, air fryers, electric kettles and the like, which don’t require an element at all. “It’s a bit of a mind-bender, but I do believe that one day, this is one of the things going forward,” says Ludwig. For the extensive custom millwork, awash in Benjamin Moore’s Newburyport Blue, Ludwig worked closely with designer Shawn Richardson of Incredible Home. The open shelves measured to house two copper pots, the beefy threeinch thick framing around a frosted glass door and the Baltic birch cupboard boxes and inserts. They are just a few of the very specific details that were “lovingly curated” months before the millwork started, explains Richardson. “Every inch of the space has been used to its maximum,” says the Incredible Home designer, which includes millwork doors that were hand scribed to fit the angles of the vaulted ceiling perfectly. Getting light into the kitchen was the homeowners’ top priority, so it almost seems paradoxical to opt for a palette that’s predominantly a deep navy with flourishes of off-white, but this is just further evidence of a good design gone to plan. “I like the blue,” says Janice. “I like sitting in the family room and looking back at it; it’s very subdued and anchored. You’re not looking at this big, bright white kitchen. It’s just a very calming kind of space to look at.”

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REAL ESTATE BY SHANNON MONEO

What you need to know about strata insurance In a province where over 1.5 million people live in more than 30,000 strata properties, owners have been fretting over insurance costs. With premium increases from 50 to 300 per cent, strata boards continue to fear they won’t be able to secure insurance. And owners are losing sleep over $100,000 deductible costs. Is there a cure?

T

ony Gioventu happily lives in a 250-unit, Vancouver-area strata condo. He’s also executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC and so has inside knowledge of climbing strata insurance and deductibles that have blindsided many strata owners. Gioventu is blunt in his diagnosis of skyrocketing rates. “People weren’t acknowledging their claims history,” he says. Over the last five years, very expensive claims have occurred in B.C., often due to the behaviour of condo owners and managers: older pipes weren’t replaced, gas barbecues on balconies of wood structures or smoking caused fires or

maintenance and repairs were neglected. Early intervention is crucial. “Stratas need to work on long-term planning and figure out what needs to be fixed. If you wait for things to fail, it can cost 30 to 60 per cent more,” he says.

INFORMATION UP FRONT Sarah West, a Royal LePage Coast Capital realtor, has been selling properties in the Victoria area for seven years, and she’s seen how anxiety over strata insurance has altered her business. “Buyers are being more cautious for the first time in a while,” she says. In response, most realtors are now putting insurance information out front in their listings for fellow realtors, so that buyers’ inevitable

insurance questions can be readily answered. In the past, that information was buried in strata documents, which had the potential of being overlooked. When strata corporations purchase insurance, it covers the building and common areas, such as the lobby, elevator, parking lot or fitness facility. Strata insurance also pertains to anything built or fixed inside a unit by the developer during original construction. When owners purchase insurance, it is for their personal belongings and anything added beyond what the developer installed. Stratas that have had the biggest premium and deductible hikes and have had numerous water claims, such as tubs overflowing, malfunctioning

Cox Development’s 989 on Yates Street.

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RECENT LEGISLATION UPDATES As part of the Strata Property Act and Financial Institutions Act Amendments, the B.C. government passed legislation to mitigate the impact of insurance challenges faced by strata corporations and owners.

without a vote of owners if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an immediate expenditure is necessary to obtain the required insurance.

Effective August, 2020: • strata corporations are required to inform owners as soon as it is feasible of any material change in the strata corporation’s insurance coverage, including increasing deductibles.

Other changes included in the bill will be brought into force by regulation on a later date, including: • set out clear guidelines for what strata corporations are required to insure to help strata councils make informed decisions on their insurance policies.

• strata corporations can use their operating fund or contingency reserve fund to pay for property and liability insurance required under the Strata Property Act or the strata corporation’s bylaws

• protect strata unit owners against large lawsuits from strata corporations if the owner was legally responsible for a loss or damage, but it occurred through no fault of their own.

• identify the circumstances, if any, when stratas are not required to get full replacement value insurance coverage. • strengthen depreciation reporting requirements, including limiting the ability of strata corporations to avoid completing depreciation reports. • change the minimum required contributions made by strata unit owners and developers to a strata corporation’s contingency reserve fund. • prohibit the payment of referral fees between insurers or insurance brokers and strata property managers or other third parties not licensed as insurance agents.

hot water heaters or leaks in common pipes three-month extension, insurance was secured, within a unit, West notes. Poor maintenance and but at a 200 per cent increase. apathetic owners are critical factors, while larger Wall is also aware of stratas where one insurer and/or older structures carry more risk. cannot cover all of a strata’s requirements. Some of the problem relates to how stratas are “Some policies have 32 different insurers,” marketed. she says, “Some can’t find 100 per cent coverage. “Developers sell stratas as carefree living,” It’s unprecedented.” Gioventu says. For some, that translates into As well, rising deductibles are causing much low-cost living, but that has angst for individual serious implications. owners when the A SHRINKING POOL OF “Look at new strata lays blame developments. They keep on owners. If a INSURERS, A GROWING fees low at the start,” deductible has NUMBER OF STRATA Gioventu says. In reality, jumped to $100,000, they should be two to three any claims under PROPERTIES AND B.C. times more to cover future $100,000 are BEING AN EARTHQUAKE costs, including insurance. not covered by As well, the rise in highinsurance. If found RISK, HAS LED TO rise stratas, with highresponsible, say THE SPIKE IN COSTS/ end finishings, has been a for a failed in-unit DEDUCTIBLES. notable contributor to costly washing machine insurance claims, Gioventu hose, the owner is says. Marble or hardwood on the hook for the floors, spa-like bathrooms $100,000 deductible. and granite countertops are driving the insurance West advises owners to find insurance riders, upsurge. If a tenant on the 20th floor lets their often expensive, that protect them from bathtub overflow, imagine the cost to replace deductible distress. hardwood floors five or more floors below.

THE GLOBAL AFFECT The president of the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association Wendy Wall lays some of the blame on recent worldwide disasters — floods, typhoons, hurricanes and wildfires — and their effects on the insurance industry. “It comes down to a business getting hit by massive global losses,” she says. A shrinking pool of insurers, a growing number of strata properties and B.C. being an earthquake risk, has led to the spike in costs/ deductibles, she says. Last April, her 100-unit strata almost couldn’t get insurance. After a

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But finding a satisfying remedy isn’t simple, given the competing players — strata boards, individual owners, insurers, property managers. The big message is to be as proactive and educated as possible. No one wants a policy with exclusions, such as no coverage for the roof or pipes, Gioventu warns. “Strata corporations need to closely look at a five-year renewal plan,” he also recommends. Owners need to be involved and pay attention. And several months before the insurance renewal, cultivate good relationships with the insurance broker and property manager.

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FINISHING TOUCH

Conversation Starter

W

hen Jessica Olafson was building her custom 3,600-squarefoot ocean-front home in Cadboro Bay with developer GT Mann, she knew she wanted to use the space under the stairs for a wine room. But none of the available wine-cellar designs really captured the esthetic she wanted. “I said, ‘I think I can do this on my own,’ so I asked my metal guy, Geoff Lyons [of NightNDay Projects], to create all the pegs, and we added a backsplash of powder-coated pewter,” Olafson says. “We enclosed it in clear glass from Royal Oak Glass and added a special lock from Victoria Speciality Hardware.” The temperature-controlled space holds 1,100 bottles and also serves as a statement piece in the living room. “We consider it a piece of art,” Olafson says. “I find my husband goes in there, and it’s like a Tetris game. He moves his French wines and Italian wines around, and there can be a colour scheme. Sometimes it’s very empty, and sometimes it’s completely full. It’s very simple, but it’s quite beautiful.”

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LANCE SULLIVAN/CONCEPT PHOTOGRAPHY

This stunning custom-designed wine room also serves as a tactile piece of art.


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SPRUCE Magazine - Fall/Winter 2020  

The 2020 Fall/Winter Issue of Spruce features stunning custom homes and dazzling renovations. Victoria, Victoria BC, Victoria magazines, V...

SPRUCE Magazine - Fall/Winter 2020  

The 2020 Fall/Winter Issue of Spruce features stunning custom homes and dazzling renovations. Victoria, Victoria BC, Victoria magazines, V...

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