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CapitalHOME

Cover Front Black S U S1 S2 Cyan Magenta Yellow S3 ProofColor V4 X Z Sheetwise (front and back) Loose Binding 16-03-0209:58:23

SPRING 2016

Capital home

BIG SMALL SPACES

Touring through some tiny homes

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A Style for Every Point of View

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Vol: 3 Issue: 1

673966 Times Colonist

SPRING 2016

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673966 Times - Colonist

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Living

250-381-6238

Cover

HOW VICTORIA LIVES

Smart In Sidney • Small & Spacious • Fabulous Frugality

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{ In this issue } 80. Pack Your Bags The friendly people, incredible fauna and ora and beautiful resorts of Costa Rica await

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RECEDING FLOORPLANS 68. Set Your Table Chef extraordinaire Eric Akis prepares a West Coast version of an old Spanish favourite, Paella!

10. Design Zodiac 24. Mirrors 78. 10 Quick Pasta Dishes!

40

90. Animal Prints 94. Furnishings with Texture

p.

A WALK IN THE VILLAGE

54 p.

ESQUIMALT ESCAPE

On the cover: The wonderfully small and smartly designed home of Bob and Brenda Murphy in Capital HOME | 7 Sidney. p. 26


Editor’s NOTE

PACK YOUR BOXES TURNING ‘SMALL’ INTO A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE

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8 | Capital HOME

CapitalHOME DAVID WHITMAN / DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING JASON SCRIVEN / PABLO MIRANDA SALES MANAGERS WENDY KALO / OPERATIONS MANAGER GORDON FALLER / GRAPHIC DESIGN - LAYOUT DARRON KLOSTER / EDITOR DAVE OBEE / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Capital Home is published by the Times Colonist, a division of TC Publication Limited Partnership, at 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8T 4M2. Canadian Publications Registration No. 0530646. GST No. 84505 1507 RT0001 GET WELL SOON... W

he reasons for moving from the family home into a smaller living space are as varied as the individual. The kids are gone. Travel plans are in your future. The housing market is on an amazing run, pushing values sky high and tempting downsizing baby boomers. Or you’re just tired of maintaining a house that no longer suits your needs. Worst case is your health has taken a turn. Whatever the reasons, the day will come when most homeowners have to make the decision to go smaller. Experts say it’s never too early to start a transition plan. In this edition of Capital Home, we take a look at the process of downsizing with organizational experts, real estate agents and lawyers, and feature three couples who are loving their lives within a reduced footprint. All had different reasons for doing so and all are happy they did. Jan Trainor and Nancy Poole, who moved from a big house into a beautiful condominium on Oak Bay Avenue, started “de-cluttering” their home long before their latest move. It made the transition simple and easy. Now they travel and leave their home knowing its completely secure. As Grania Litwin, who penned all three home features in this edition, noted “living in a more compact space gives them a feeling of freedom. This condo is smaller, but their lives are bigger.” So, what’s right for you? Financial expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq shares a quick quiz. She says the more you answer yes, the more you should consider downsizing your home. s!RETHEREROOMSINYOURHOUSETHATYOUARENTUSING s$OYOUDREAMOFTAKINGMOREVACATIONS s(AVEYOURGUESTROOMSBEENUNUSEDFORTHELASTSIXMONTHS s$OYOUHAVEMORETHANTHREEBATHROOMS s)SCLEANINGYOURHOUSEBECOMINGSTRESSFUL s$OYOUHAVEMORETHANONEJUNKROOMINYOURHOUSE s!REALLYOURKIDSMARRIEDANDLIVINGINTHEIROWNHOMES s(ASYOURHOMEVALUEAPPRECIATEDBYMORETHANPERCENT Ahmed-Haq goes on to say there are pros and cons to downsizing. The upside is you will likely save money. There is also less stress caring for a smaller place. Often, there are fewer expenses and you will reduce your personal environmental impact. But there are downsides to downsizing. Getting rid of stuff isn’t as easy as it sounds. There will be less space for entertaining and house guests. And what about those neighbours you’ve had — and hopefully enjoyed — for decades? So, with spring in the air and new flowers and blossoms bringing that feeling of fresh starts, take some time with this edition of Capital Home. Even if you’re not ready for a downsized home, spring cleaning can get you on the way to that smaller space in your future.

Please send comments about Capital to: Editor-in-chief Dave Obee dobee@timescolonist.com To advertise, phone: 250-380-5328, or email Sales Manager Jason Scriven at: jscriven@timescolonist.com.


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What’s your decorating sign?

BY GABRIELLE SAVOIE

O

ur zodiac signs reveal quite a lot about our personalities, and it turns out they say a lot about how we decorate as well. Curious to know which sign is known as the ultimate neat freak or which one is bohemian at heart? How about which colors your sign is most drawn to? Find out if your zodiac personality influences your decor style.

CAPRICORN Capricorns have a very disciplined, down-to-earth personality that draws them to minimalist, no-fuss interiors in earthy tones like slate gray and forest green. Their family-oriented nature pushes them toward comfortable spaces with a sense of tradition, so their minimalist tendencies never read as austere. Capricorns love to display items that reflect their interests, be it graphic prints, coffee table books or a well-stocked bar cart.

ARIES Aries have a fiery personality and are drawn to passionate colors like reds and oranges. Their entrepreneurial and dynamic personality draws them to show-stopping kitchens where they can show off their advanced cooking skills. Their spontaneous personality often leads them to accumulate clutter, though they would love to be better organized.

LEO Leos are theatrical entertainers at heart. Because they are also family-oriented in nature, they are always ready to host large groups or throw lavish dinner parties. Leos proudly display their collections and travel souvenirs around their home, but they always do so in an elegant and refined manner.

VIRGO Virgos are extremely organized and minimalist creatures. They are averse to clutter and are natural organizers. Their decor is a testament to their practical nature, meaning not only that it’s tidy at all times, but also that you can always count on a Virgo to be ready to host and entertain without notice.

TAURUS AQUARIUS Aquarius personalities are drawn to cutting-edge designs and high-tech gadgets that make their lives easier. Their aesthetic is often monochrome, airy, and light. They appreciate well-designed sculptural pieces and feel most at ease in open spaces drenched in natural light.

The Taurus has a sensual personality with a penchant for entertaining, romance and the arts. They prize luxurious, comfortable and traditional pieces, whether it be an antique chest or a soft fur throw. Their love for music often pushes them to invest in a top-notch entertainment system or a grand piano.

LIBRA Libras have a taste for quality craftsmanship and great design and won’t hesitate to splurge on pieces they love. Their harmonious nature ensures their space is always well-balanced, curated and timelessly elegant. Libras prefer subtle and cool color palettes in large and bright open spaces.

GEMINI PISCES Pisces are bohemians at heart, a character trait that’s reflected in their home aesthetics. They appreciate eclectic spaces filled with personality and art to let their creative juices flow. Pisces enjoy spaces that are meditative, so scented candles and windows that open up to nature are paramount.

Social and lively, the Gemini personality loves to entertain. Their homes often include large spaces furnished in ways that encourage conversation and larger dinner parties. The duality of their sign draws them to items displayed in pairs. Their style tends to sway toward cleaner and more modern lines, but their space is always vibrant.

CANCER Cancers are homebodies and sentimental beings. They are drawn to spaces that are more collected than decorated, and to items that tell a story. Because of this, their homes tend to include many family heirlooms and personal pictures. Their space is always warm, cozy and inviting, and cool silvery colors are their favorites.

10 | Capital HOME

SCORPIO Scorpios are private and mysterious creatures drawn to spaces with a dramatic flair. Their boudoir-esque homes are often outfitted with sumptuous textiles like velvet and marble. They see their homes as a refuge from the outside world, where they can let their passionate side flourish.

SAGITTARIUS The Sagittarius personality is adventurous by nature, so their spaces are often curated with travel treasures and a flair for the exotic. Their style is eclectic and simple but always comfortable. They love to entertain, but contrary to other signs, they do so in a very subdued manner.


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THE UPSIDE

of downsizing WHETHER IT’S FOR LIFESTYLE OR HEALTH, MOVING INTO SMALLER LIVING SPACES SHOULD INVOLVE SOME SERIOUS PLANNING

Capital HOME | 13


SO YOU WANT TO DOWNSIZE... With baby boomers becoming senior citizens, the number of people downsizing or thinking of it is on the rise. For the first time, there are more senior citizens in Canada than children, says Statistics Canada, with nearly one in six Canadians 65 years or older. Capital Home talks with local experts — from companies that specialize in helping with the transition to lawyers, real estate experts and academics who study aging — about the ins and outs of downsizing and provides tips and advice on how best to make a successful move. BY KIM WESTAD

14 | Capital HOME


“IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON’S DECISION. IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE TO THAT PERSON,”

W

hen John and Peggy Mika downsized from their View Royal condo to assisted living last year, they gave careful thought to what amenities they wanted nearby. Easy access to transit, health care, green space — whatever the needs and comforts are that give one’s life meaning — is one of the “golden rules” of successfully downsizing. It was even more important to the Mikas because John, a former Saanich councillor, has dementia. Returning to familiar places, such as the Esquimalt Recreation Centre pool and the nearby public library, are important touchstones for John and Peggy, 85 and 83 respectively. They love their new two-bedroom suite at The Renaissance on Esquimalt Road and the ease of being provided with two meals a day. They chose the assisted living home, in part, on the advice of a lifelong friend who toured six facilities in the region. She chatted with residents and staff and even ate meals at the facilities before making her selection. The Mikas also did their research, but relied on their friend’s diligence as well.

16 | Capital HOME


CEDING FLOO FLOOR RPLANS They are happy that they made the decision on their own schedule, having ďŹ rst moved from their Gordon Head waterfront house to a condo in 2002, before downsizing yet again as health and circumstances changed. The Mikas are a good example of a carefully planned downsizing, say experts. It was done in stages, with the help of professional seniors transition movers who did everything from helping winnow and pack (one measuring cup, not four) to unpacking and arranging the furniture according to the detailed oor plan they had drawn up in advance. And, importantly, the Mikas made their own choices, crucial in making a contented transition, says Gloria Gutman, professor emerita at the Simon Fraser University Gerontology Research Centre. They also knew and understood their reasons for making such a big life change. “It is the individual person’s decision. It has to make sense to that person,â€? Gutman says. That’s something 90-year-old Mary (who didn’t want her full name used) is struggling with. She recently moved into a “perfectly lovelyâ€? assisted living suite in the Victoria area, after having lived in her own condo for 20-plus years. Mary had an independent and full life. But her family, who live abroad, worried about her being on her own at her age. “I’m 90, but I don’t feel it,â€? she says. “I don’t think I was ready.â€? But when a suite came available, with two meals provided in a communal dining room, she felt she should take it to calm family worries and so she wouldn’t impose on friends, who she counted on for rides to appointments. The transition has been difďŹ cult, she says, even for a relatively outgoing, independent person like herself. “I’m a bit shocked at my reaction. I thought I’d just sail through this. It’s a new experience for me and I’ll make adjustments, but I had the life I wanted and, at 90, I’m not sure I want to be making those adjustments. But I will.â€? Daphne Hobbs, 77, who recently downsized from the family home in Cobble Hill to a singlelevel home in Arbutus Ridge with her husband, says knowing clearly in your own mind why you are moving is critical. Her husband could

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WITH AN INCREASING NUMBER OF BABY BOOMERS ENTERING THE SENIOR STAGE OF LIFE, THE NUMBERS OF THOSE DOWNSIZING IS ON THE RISE.

no longer use the stairs in their up and down family home, prompting the move from their oceanview home to a single level bungalow in a gated community. “You need to make up your own mind on what your motives are for moving. That helps when you’re in the middle of a lot of change.”

DOWNSIZING AVALANCHE As the stories show, the reasons and reactions to downsizing are as varied as people and their individual circumstances. It’s one thing if you’re an empty nester with a paid-off mortgage, kids out of university and want to free up time and equity (and to guarantee your adult kids can’t move back home). For others, the move is necessitated by infirmity and illness.

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Regardless, moving — at any age — is viewed as one of life’s most stressful events. “If you have just sold your house for an obscene amount of money and are going to be moving into a fabulous apartment for part of the year and travelling the rest, why would you not be excited about doing so?” Gutman says. “It’s much different if you’re leaving a home you’ve been happy in because you’ve lost a spouse or you can’t maintain it anymore. It really depends on what age and stage you are at.” With an increasing number of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1965) entering the senior stage of life, the numbers of those downsizing is on the rise. “In Victoria, I think we’ll be seeing more every year. We’re just sort of hitting the tip of the iceberg in terms of what will be happening with downsizing,” says Tony Zarsadias of The Condo Group real estate company. The 2008 stock market crash saw many people postponing plans to retire and downsize. “People who had planned to retire in 2010 or 2012 had to keep working and recover from that. What we anticipated in 2012 is happening now,” Zarsadias said. Higher-end condo open houses see a lot of potential downsizers kicking the tires. “Some have big houses and want to see what’s on the market before they put their home on. Others have sold and are ready to buy,” says Andrew Hobbs, also a real estate agent at The Condo Group. Local businesses that provide moving and transition services for people downsizing are busier than ever and well know its stresses. “We had one client who had been through two wars and had

a demanding career as an architect. He said that downsizing and moving out of the family home was the most difficult and emotional transition he had been through,” says Sue Simard of It’s Your Move, one of several downsizing and relocation businesses that help seniors. How to deal with this? “Attitude is everything,” says Simard. Combine that with some tried, true and practical tips, and the life change can be a lot less stressful and even fun.

WHEN TO MAKE THE DECISION Simard stresses that making the decision sooner rather than later makes the most sense. “If you wait, sometimes the decision is taken away from you. You fall or become ill and can’t take care of yourself. If you’re thinking about it now, work towards it.” Simard has seen seniors living independently go into hospital and then have to go into a care home. “They’re simply moved and the decision is taken away from them. It’s always better if you can make your own decision from a position of health.”

A longer timeline also means an easier move because it allows more time to psychologically and physically adjust. Jill Phipps of Home Again Seniors Transition Services suggests giving yourself a year, and to take advantage of that time when your mind makes a subtle shift to viewing downsizing as a positive thing rather than the inevitable consequence of aging. Her typical client is an 85-year-old woman who has been in the family home for 40 or so years, widowed and ready to move into something smaller and more suitable. These clients generally move to a condo or a senior’s residence. As for getting organized, “There’s no time like the present,” Phipps says. The longer the timeline, the more jobs a person can get done in their home before the move. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, people accumulate things and it can be overwhelming.” >22

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT TO GET ORGANIZED

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TIPS

DE-CLUTTERING TIPS Here are some tips from Simard, Phipps and those who have been through the process: s Whether you are moving into a smaller house, a condo, assisted living or a care home, the space is going to be smaller than you are used to. This means getting rid of stuff. s The Mikas were collectors of everything from books (including 150 cookbooks) to Japanese garden décor. They were ruthless about which books to take with them. Then they invited friends and family over to help themselves, knowing the books and garden implements collected over years of travel would go to good homes. (And don’t forget the annual Times Colonist Book Drive. It sells donated books to raise money for literacy.)

condos. It’s a rare one that has room for a large china hutch with dishes for 12. “The big challenge for people moving from a large home to a smaller one is they are psychologically carrying all their possessions with them,” says Tony Zarsadias. “Try to look at is at a new exciting way of life, not a loss.” Adds Phipps: “Even if you don’t have the same furniture, you still retain the memories. They’re not lost.” s Tackle areas that aren’t part of daily life first, such as the basement. Here’s the opportunity to get rid of all the stuff your kids are storing in your basement. Give them a deadline as to when it needs to be picked up and stick to it. s Go through all your magazines and paperwork and recycle and/or shred.

s Set aside a specified amount of time each day or week to tackle different areas. Invite a friend or family member over to help and chat with.

s When going through the kitchen and personal items, have piles or boxes for keeping, tossing or donating.

s Figure out what furniture, bedding etc. you will take with you and what will be sold, donated or given away. Many charities will pick up unwanted furniture and household items in good condition.

s Follow the OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once. Don’t keep picking up something and moving it or packing and unpacking. Pick it up. Pack it. Move on.

s Give items to family members to use and enjoy. If you have items you were leaving to family members as part of the your estate, consider gifting them now. You will see them enjoy the items — and it will make your move that much lighter. s Have a floor plan of your new home. Measure to see what will fit. Keep in mind the style of smaller

DON'T FORGET THE IMPORTANT STUFF

* Label boxes (kitchen: bowls and plates” and the date) on the front righthand corner and the top right hand corner, Simard says. When they’re stacked, you will know what’s in them. s When you have packed a box, get rid of it. If it’s going to charity, off it goes. Get it out of the house and to its destination. Out of sight, out of mind. And you will start seeing progress with the empty space and cupboards. s In moving into assisted living, where you will have a small kitchen, only bring four place settings. You won’t be hosting dinners for 10 and that will take up valuable storage.

Capital HOME | 21


The “less is the new more” credo is popular, regardless of age. (How to de-clutter books have been on top bestseller lists for months. Phipps says she’s always going through her own things, decluttering and organizing and she’s years away from downsizing. While the idea of downsizing from a 3,000 square foot family home filled with decades of memories, never mind the furniture and sports equipment your kids have been storing in the basement, can be daunting, a methodical plan can take the sting out. “We don’t want the move itself to be the thing that stops you from making a positive choice for yourself,” Phipps says.

GET ADVICE AND HELP SENIORS TRANSITION COMPANIES: If your budget allows, moving and transition companies are an enormous help. Companies like those run by Simard and Phipps — who both have backgrounds in social work — do everything from consultations and a timeline of what you should do, to figuring out your new floor plan, arranging the movers, selling furniture, fixing up the garden and making sure your cat is looked

after. “I’m kind of like a wedding planner for people who are moving,” Phipps says. Having an impartial third party there when packing can also help when deciding what to keep or give away and also help with family squabbles. They’ve done this hundreds if not thousands of times and know what you will need. Most companies will give you a free consultation and give you as many tips as you need to do it on your own as well. Costs vary, depending on services needed. According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers, rates range between $40 and $100 an hour. REAL ESTATE AGENTS/HOME EXPERTS: It’s important to talk to experts who know the market, especially in one as active as the Greater Victoria region. Interview several until you find one who you think you will work well with. Hobbs found the help of an agent invaluable in her move to Arbutus Ridge. “That’s my number one recommendation,” Hobbs said. She also found money spent “staging” the family home to be good value, although she was unsure of it beforehand. The home looked fantastic and sold quickly, she said.

LAWYERS/ MEDIATORS: Some seniors downsize by moving in with family or living in a suite in a family member’s home. While this can seem like an ideal situation — and may well be — it should be approached like a business plan, says lawyer Teri Rodgers. So often the younger family member wants to help and the older family member wants to be with family, yet neither sits down and thinks of what is involved and how the situation can change, Rodgers says. “What if the older family member breaks a hip and suddenly can’t drive or care for themselves very easily or babysit. The situation can change very quickly.” Talking with a lawyer or mediator in advance doesn’t mean the situation is adversarial, she says. “Sitting down with a lawyer or mediator in advance might be a much more gentle approach to get people to talk about their needs and expectations.” Professor Gutman also recommends getting legal advice before entering into an arrangement with family or friends. “The senior needs his or her own advice from someone looking out for their best interests,” Gutman says. CH

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ns

The Magic of MIRRORS

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sing mirrors may not be a new design trick or tool, but with many people looking to downsize or gravitating toward smaller living spaces, the use of mirrors is making a comeback. No longer purely functional in spaces such as bathrooms or walk in closets, mirrors hold true aesthetic value that cannot only help brighten, but also expand a space. Mirrors offer a true opportunity to bring light into a space with little light, reflect light in areas with perhaps few windows and make smaller rooms feel bigger.

WHY MIRRORS? Because of their reflective nature, mirrors automatically act like windows. They can be used to reflect wall color, a beautiful piece of art, natural surroundings or perhaps just the opposite side of a room. Mirrors both large and small — the larger the mirror, the more they reflect — can almost magically expand a space.

BIG OR SMALL?

TRICKS OF THE TRADE

Mirrors come in all shapes and sizes, and you are going to want to choose a mirror that is appropriate for your space. Choose smaller mirrors for areas that are above a tall piece of furniture such as a sideboard, chest or buffet. Consider round mirrors for these spaces as well. Round mirrors also work well above desks. Long mirrors can be hung both vertically and horizontally and can help elongate or widen a space. A mirror hung vertically can help make a ceiling height feel higher, while a horizontal mirror can help make a room feel wider or bigger.

There are some wonderful ways to creatively incorporate mirrors into a space. Here are some tips: s Consider hanging mirrors in sets, groups or in a series. Hanging several identical mirrors along a single wall can truly have a powerful effect. You will be surprised how the room will be instantly opened up! s Experiment with color and shape. From round to rectangular and square, there are many different shapes of mirrors to choose from. s Consider different finishes. From metals to shells, leather and beveled

24 | Capital HOME

HANG MIRRORS TO “EXPAND” ROOMS. MIRRORS CAN TRICK THE EYE INTO BELIEVING THERE IS MORE SPACE IN A ROOM. MIRRORS MELT AWAY ROOM BORDERS AND CAN ACCELERATE THE FLOW OF LIGHT.

glass, there are a number of styles to choose from. s Hang them as you would artwork. A good rule of thumb is to hang mirrors so the center is a little above five feet from the floor. It is also a good idea to involve the help of a professional when hanging heavy mirrors. CH


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SMART

IN SIDNEY

BY GRANIA LITWIN PHOTOS BY ANDREW TIDMAN

OWNER BOB MURPHY CREDITS THE “AMAZING CRAFTSMEN” AT EXCALABOR GLASS AND ALUMINUM FOR ALL THE INTERIOR GLASS, SHOWERS, STAIRWELL AND EXTERIOR ROOF GLASS, HANDRAILS AND MARINE GRADE POWDER COATED ALUMINUM BACK STAIRS. “WE SPENT THREE TIMES THE COST OF MY ENTIRE FIRST HOUSE JUST ON THE GLASS, BUT IT WOULD FEEL LIKE A WHOLE DIFFERENT HOUSE WITHOUT IT.”

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Capital HOME | 27


THE SIDNEY HOME WAS DESIGNED BY DAN BOOT, WHO HAS A LOT OF EXPERIENCE IN FLOAT HOMES

28 | Capital HOME

I

f you are building a sprawling 5,000-square-foot house, you don’t have to be too smart about design. But with a small house, you have to be very clever. That’s the word from former Victoria Realtor and experienced builder Bob Murphy, who has bought, renovated and flipped more than 60 homes just since “retiring” in Arizona. He and his wife, Brenda, live in Phoenix, but yearned for an easy-care pied-à-terre here, a small vacation home where they could escape the searing southern heat and keep a toe in Canada’s west coast waterfront, “because I’m still very much a Canadian, although my wife is American,” says Bob. So they built a small two-bedroom home in Sidney with 700-square feet on the ground floor, slightly less on the second and a rooftop terrace. “It is not a large house, so we had to fight for every square inch, and be very creative,” he explains.

The interiors are as compact and innovative as a yacht, and the nautical vibe is accentuated by accessory metals, railings, cleats for door handles, wavy carpets, industrial-looking vinyl flooring that looks like galvanized metal and bathroom tiles that resemble wooden planks. All they need on their upper deck is a steering wheel and they could almost set to sea. “We were playing with very small spaces, which is why we ended up with things like multipurpose tables on casters that roll from the kitchen, where they’re used as a working island, to the dining area where they are used for entertaining,” says Bob, who has a long history in the development business. Luckily he was able to visualize the work and talk through issues at a distance, because the project was done over the Internet, said builder Andrew Tidman. The contractor said the compact Roberts Bay home typifies a new age in construction: “Construction is


THE LOW-MAINTENANCE GARDEN WAS DESIGNED BY BIANCA BODLEY, OWNER OF BIOPHILIA DESIGN COLLECTIVE, USING LOTS OF GRASSES AND SUCCULENTS FOR TEXTURE AND INTEREST. THE BACK GARDEN FEATURES DROUGHT TOLERANT NATIVE PLANTS -DOGWOOD, INDIAN PLUM, SWORD FERNS AND FLOWERING PLANTS - AS IT IS A “SHARED LANDSCAPE” WITH THE BIRD SANCTUARY, SHE SAID.

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5 STREET T FANTA

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A GORGEOUS WATER VIEW IS FRAMED BY A HIGH, HORIZONTAL WINDOW IN THE DINING AREA. THE OWNERS USED SIDE GLASS SPARINGLY BUT BRILLIANTLY AND EFFECTIVELY.

> SUNLIGHT POURS DOWN THE THREE-STOREY STAIRCASE FROM A GLASSED-WRAPPED VESTIBULE, WHICH LEADS TO A 450-SQUAREFOOT ROOFTOP DECK.

BRENDA MURPHY FOUND THE WAVY BLUE AND GREEN LIVING ROOM CARPET ON-LINE

30 | Capital HOME


A GLASS WALLED, OPEN-TREAD STAIRCASE IS THE CENTREPIECE, CREATING A LIGHT COLUMN AND EXPANDING THE INTERIORS almost all done in the cyber world these days. Seventy-five per cent of our clients don’t live here. Some are from east of the Rockies and a lot are Americans.” Bob and Brenda did pop back to Victoria every couple of months during construction, “but it all worked out because Andrew is very good at what he does, and his construction superintendent, Art Luining, was absolutely amazing,” says Bob. The owners have lived in Arizona for almost 25 years. Bob sold his Realspan Properties to Colliers in 1986 and stayed on as managing partner for many years here before being asked to open an office in Phoenix. “At the time, Colliers’ American business was not strong, so I moved to Arizona in 1991 and became president of its U.S. operation and worked there for 10 years building it up.” He retired in 2001, but saw opportunities after the subprime mortgage crash of 2007-09 and started buying homes. Since 2010, he has flipped scores of them although the market has gradually changed: “It used to be easy to buy homes here in greater Phoenix and tough to sell them, but now it’s the opposite.” He and Brenda have two houses down south: a contemporary townhouse in the city and a “log cabinish” place in the cooler climes of Pine, a community at 1,800 metres altitude, in the middle of a national forest. “I’m ok up to about 110 degrees, but when it gets up to 122, we move to Pine, which is 20 degrees cooler.”

THE HOUSE WAS BUILT BY TIDMAN CONSTRUCTION AND IS JUST OVER SIX METRES WIDE, BUT THE OWNERS MAXIMIZED THE FRONT VIEWS WITH WALL-TO-WALL AND CORNER WINDOWS. THE GLASS SLIDES BACK, CREATING A BROAD OPENING THAT VIRTUALLY TURNS THE LIVING ROOM INTO AN OUTDOOR TERRACE.

Capital HOME | 31


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32 | Capital HOME

THE ROOFTOP DECK HAS HARDWEARING CONCRETE PAVERS AND TOPLESS GLASS, SO NOTHING OBSTRUCTS THE VIEW. GLASS IS TIGHTLY FITTED, TOP AND BOTTOM, FOR A COMPLETE WIND GUARD.

The wanted their Island home to be a total juxtaposition from their other two — with a modern, maritime aesthetic, little maintenance — and had to be “bullet-proof” because of weather and seaside exposure. He and Brenda found two small lots and after demolishing a small shack that straddled them, the owners built on the smallest lot, which measures just nine by 30 metres. The other is slightly larger at 15 by 37 metres and they may build there in future. But right now they are enjoying their slender, innovative home with its corrugated galvanized aluminum siding and acrylic stucco mixed with colour, so it never needs paint. “My wife did all the decorating and buying and she has a real feel for it, having helped decorate all our homes here in Arizona,” and Bob installed all the Ikea cabinets. He loves their mechanical aspects, good value and custom engineering. “I’ve done this about 30 times before, but this time was very emotional as a good friend and fellow I worked closely with down here helped me. He was terminally ill at the time and has since passed away, but we flew him up and worked in the mornings and relaxed in the afternoons. It was beautiful … we couldn’t have had a better time.” Builder Andrew Tidman, whose thirdgeneration, custom building company was founded in 1948, enjoyed the project because the owners are so fun. “They are the youngest 61 and 68 year olds I have ever met, so easygoing and knowledgeable, and it was a


V is c o n ti s u rg e s a h e a d in th e w a tch bu sin ess The name of Visconti has been synonymous with writing implements of unparalleled historical and technological sophistication for the past twenty-five years. To mark its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2013, Visconti took on board the human resources, the know-how and the traditional tools of Florentine watchmaking to begin making its own luxury timepieces. A new area has been set aside in Visconti’s historic Medici villa for the sole purpose of manufacturing top-of-therange watches featuring the same creative and innovative vein that customers look for in all of the company’s products.

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5 SSTREET T FANTASY S great collaboration that evolved along the way.” One of the most successful evolutions was their decision to install a large sliding window in the living room. The owners originally wanted a small deck there, but were refused the necessary setback relaxation. “Then we discovered if windows come up 18 inches from the floor, you don’t need railings, so we went with a large window instead,” says Bob. “When the window’s open, the whole living room becomes a deck. We’re also counting our blessings because due to that decision we maximized the roof deck, which is a very cool place.” Bob and Brenda didn’t want a fussy home, stressed Tidman. “They want to feel like they’re on vacation here, and because it’s a small home, every space had to be multi purpose. We seem to live in a society where we fill every space and have much more than we need,” so creating a compact house was a challenge and a treat for the builder. He noted it also involved a lot of engineering because of the many windows. “There isn’t a lot of wall space for art, but the windows are the art.” Brenda Murphy, who sold real estate in the U.S. for many years, enjoyed choosing artworks and colourful pieces for the interiors,

but used a silver and linen palette outside, “to blend with the environment.” The apple green sofas — “Aren’t they fun?” — came from ScanDesigns Furniture, pictures in the living room from Santa Fe and desert botanicals in the powder room from Arizona. “I wanted to bring a little of the desert to the ocean.” She noted they have renovated several homes and this is a departure from what they’ve done in the past, they love living in something so modern and small. Home designer Dan Boot “did a smashing job,” says Bob. Known for his sculptural modern buildings, the designer said this project was intriguing because the home’s total area is only 1,327 square feet, not counting the roof terrace. The challenge was fitting a single-family residence onto a very narrow lot, said Boot, who drew on his background in float home design to work within such tight constraints. “It was built to the maximum allowances and there is no wasted space, no hallways at all, and by extending the central stairwell to the roof we created a wraparound deck with unrestricted views.” The middle floor also has expansive sea views and the ground floor master suite wasn’t left out. It overlooks Mermaid Creek with its own exquisite sea-grass environment. CH

THE MULTI-PURPOSE, GROUND FLOOR DEN HAS A HIDE-A-BED-FOR GUESTS, SMALL ENSUITE WITH SHOWER AND LAUNDRY. FLOORS ON BOTH LEVELS ARE, METALLIC VINYL FOR A MARINE LOOK.

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THE DEN HAS A COMPACT ENSUITE FOR GUESTS, WITH ANGLED SHOWER AND ATTACHED LAUNDRY.

MASTER ENSUITE HAS A SHOWER, TUB AND VANITIES THAT FIT TOGETHER LIKE LEGO.

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Capital HOME | 35


THE LOT IS PIE SHAPED AND SO IS THE BACK DECK, A SHAPE DICTATED BY SETBACKS FROM THE WATERCOURSE.

INSTEAD OF GROUND COVER OR LAWN, THE GARDEN FEATURES PLANES OF QUARTER-INCH MINUS CRUSHED GRANITE WHICH THE OWNERS PLAN TO TOP DRESS WITH CRUSHED WHITE SEA SHELLS.

T

his unique oceanfront setting, with tidal waterway and bird sanctuary at the back, presented interesting challenges for landscape designer Bianca Bodley.

“In the winter, the rising water would sometimes cover half of the back garden, so we had to create a landscape where we wouldn’t lose the garden to erosion, and choose plants that could survive in a high water situation, with maybe salty water, too.” The owner of Biophilia Design Collective selected several different grasses -such as Mexican feather, miscanthus morning light, Karl Forester and native Elymus - because they are drought tolerant and also, curiously, able to withstand a drenching. “These grasses enhance the shared landscape” between the home, bird sanctuary, estuary and ocean front and form a smooth transition between the zones. Bodley also planted flowering perennials so birds can enjoy the various nectars, as well as a sprinkling of evergreen shrubs and succulents for added texture and colour. A crimson king maple was planted in the front garden, “because it can handle wet feet,” along with other plants in a complementary palette of orange, purple, pink and blue.

36 | Capital HOME

36 | Capital HOME


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FANTASY S Nancy Armstrong

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There’s no lawn and all surfaces are permeable, said Bodley, especially the quarter-inch minus crushed granite, which was laid 15-centimerters deep, in five-centimetre increments. “It’s

Lorne Barr

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important to tamp it down between each lift to make a very solid, tight base. Otherwise your gravel ends up in lumps and slumps.” Rip-rap retaining walls were built to

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defend the shoreline, using landscape fabric and large boulders, and into this were set tubes for fence posts. The fencing material was artistically welded together by Lindsay Mitchel and

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then Pennsylvania blue stone, cut into rectangles, completed the pathways. “We gave Brenda the feel of what we wanted and then said go ahead,” Rod Kurtz

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Capital HOME | 39


THE OWNERS ARE ACADEMICALLY MINDED AND LOVE TO READ SO THEY COMMISSIONED A LIBRARY ALCOVE, WHICH WAS DESIGNED BY SANDY NYGAARD AND BUILT BY ABSTRACT. THE TAUPE SUEDE BENCH IS ACTUALLY A PULLOUT BED, PERFECT FOR SEATING AND LOUNGING.

Cap a api piita p tal HOM 40 | Capital 40 HOME H HO OM ME E


A WALK IN THE VILLAGE

SMALL Spacious

METAL SCULPTURE OF A WOMAN ON A VESPA WAS BOUGHT IN VERONA.

&

Freedom to live and roam Well-appointed, situated condominium proves a perfect home

BY GRANIA LITWIN PHOTOS BY DEBRA BRASH

OWNER JAN TRAINOR LOVES BASEBALL AND SHE AND NANCY POOLE STARTED GOING TO WATCH SPRING TRAINING AND EXHIBITION GAMES IN THE U.S, WHEN ON HOLIDAY THERE. “THE ADVANTAGE OF GOING TO SMALLER GAMES IS YOU CAN SEE YOUR HEROES UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL,” SAID TRAINOR, WHO HAS BALLS SIGNED BY LOU BROCK AND VIDA BLUE.

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A WALK IN THE VILLAGE

INTERIOR DESIGNER SHERI PETERSON HELPED THE OWNERS PERSONALIZE THEIR INTERIORS WITH SOME MODERN PIECES AND TURQUOISE HIGHLIGHTS.

NANCY POOLE SAID THEY NEVER HAD TO TELL THEIR DESIGNER ANYTHING, “SHE KNOWS US WELL ENOUGH THAT SHE CAN TAKE OUR LITTLE BIT OF TASTE UP TO THE NEXT LEVEL.”

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J

an Trainor and Nancy Poole have lived in large homes with rampant, demanding gardens for many years. Recently, they moved into a smaller, but still spacious two-storey condo with soaring ceilings, two bedrooms and two ofďŹ ces. Now, after three downsizing exercises and a major lifestyle shift, their home is a 1,240-square-foot condo on Oak Bay Avenue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lived in houses twice this size, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve cut lawns, replaced windows and put on roofs,â&#x20AC;? says Trainor, who is a retired federal civil servant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be house slaves anymore and we wanted to upgrade from an older building to a new one where we wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry about repairs.â&#x20AC;? Eight months before downsizing, they started de-cluttering and wisely hired a â&#x20AC;&#x153;14-year-old lifter and shifter â&#x20AC;&#x201D; because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a big job and I was a lot younger when I put some of those boxes onto those high shelves.â&#x20AC;? Looking back, she says de-cluttering is something you have to keep on top of and not try and do just before a move. These two thoughtful owners, who enjoy travelling and just visited London and Paris, say a smaller condo makes sense from a lock-andleave perspective too, but most of all, living in a more compact space gives them a feeling of freedom. This condo is smaller, but their lives are bigger. Their third-ďŹ&#x201A;oor, corner condo in Village Walk was built by Abstract Developments and designed by architect Franc Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ambrosio. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We did look at a penthouse ďŹ rst, but liked this kitchen better. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all along one wall rather than in an L-shape, and the corner views here are beautiful. We love the sunsets, being in the sky, living in something beautifully modern.â&#x20AC;? And somehow, the space feels roomier than their previous condo although they did have to rethink their furniture. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our previous place had 20-foot ceilings, whereas these are nine feet high, so our furniture didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look right.â&#x20AC;? They called upon their friend, interior designer Sheri Peterson, who took them shopping. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Their furniture was the wrong proportion and the

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A WALK IN THE VILLAGE wrong colour,” explains the designer, who had started working with Poole’s parents 17 years ago and met the current owners when they were in their previous condo. She helped them furnish, decorate and renovate that home and enjoys working with them because they “always allow me a lot of freedom.” She started by guiding them toward a pair of custom sofas by Timothy Oulten in a deep charcoal shade. The streamlined high-back pieces are an interesting size, a little bigger than loveseats, but slightly smaller than sofas. They were inspired by Danish designs of the mid-century — a time when simplicity was valued and excessive ornamentation was not — and they are space efficient, stylish and ultra luxurious thanks to the hand-finished vintage leather upholstery. The owners paired these classic sofas with a trendy, custom-made coffee table by Christina Hilborne, who has a studio on Bridge Street. The table features contrasting textures of wood and brushed stainless steel inlay, with a luminous turquoise undershelf lit by battery-powered LED lights. Hilborne works with selectively logged or reclaimed fir and other eco-friendly materials, and her finishes are water-based and free of volatile organic compounds.

THE SPECTACULAR COFFEE TABLE WAS MADE BY CHRISTINA HILBORNE COMBINING STEEL, WOOD AND A TURQUOISE STORAGE AREA UNDERNEATH, LIT BY LED LIGHTS.

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44 | Capital HOME

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THE GLOW OF AN IN-WALL, 50-INCH ELECTRIC FIREPLACE IS REFLECTED IN THE WOOD AND STEEL-INSET COFFEE TABLE. (DETAILS ABOVE)


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THE TABLE HAS A BRUSHED PEWTER PEDESTAL. THE ZIGZAG SHELF WAS DESIGNED BY SANDY NYGAARD BECAUSE THE OWNERS DIDN’T WANT OR NEED A BUFFET FOR EXTRA STORAGE.

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A WALK IN THE VILLAGE “She makes absolutely beautiful things,” says Trainor, who quipped the woodworker may look like a whippet, but has a powerful handshake that can make knees buckle. Poole’s father used to be general manager of Gibbard Furniture and for a while they were “drowning in it,” but for this downsize the owners kept only a few of their favourite pieces, a couple of mahogany chests with a contemporary, timeless look. While both women come from traditional families they have contemporary taste in furniture and enjoy mixing modern, abstract and local artwork with Australian aboriginal art and Coast Salish pieces from the Alcheringa Gallery. Their walls and shelves feature a range of pieces by Susan Point, Phyllis Serota, Sheila Norgate, Jenny Waelti-Walters, First Nations artist lessLIE, cedar weavings and funky sculptures. A poster of Joni Mitchell hangs over Poole’s computer desk and recalls a time “in my previous life” when she worked as an empressario and sound engineer with several rock bands. The two are both eclectic in their style, and academic. Trainor just completed her masters in Canadian history, which she did to keep her “grey cells popping. Studying keeps you engaged and it’s also a wonderful opportunity to stay in contact with young people,” says the life-long learner, who is into Greco-Roman studies now and contemplating a degree in art history.

Poole, whose area of interest is women and substance abuse, has a doctorate of philosophy and was recently on a two-week speaking tour in Australia. She is director of the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, in Vancouver, and just finished a big research project in northern Canada on women’s homelessness. Clearly their lives and their bookshelves are bursting, but their condo isn’t and they both appreciate how well it functions. “It’s obvious that great thought has been put into how people will live here … we can’t say enough good things about Abstract,” says Poole. The awardwinning building has 22 units and includes electric fireplaces, triple-pane wood windows and oversized decks fitted with water, power and gas so residents don’t have to haul tanks upstairs for their barbecues. The owners bought their unit on paper and made a few key changes, such as having oak floors instead of wool carpets, due to allergies. They also wanted a library in an alcove off the living room and zigzag shelving in the dining area. Sandy Nygaard designed both and Abstract built them. “We didn’t want a china cabinet or sideboard. We don’t do dishes, we do books,” says Trainor with a chuckle, adding they are thrilled with their new shelves although they still need to purge more books. The condo is roomy, with lots of storage and great flow, she says. “These areas are built for the human >50

AMUSING FOLK ART WOODEN CATS FROM THE TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES STORE.

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A WALK IN THE VILLAGE

NANCY POOLE LOVES THE FACT THEIR KITCHEN IS WIDE OPEN, NOT A LITTLE GALLEY, AND THAT IT HAS PLUGS EVERYWHERE, LOTS OF DRAWERS, A HUGE PANTRY WITH ROLLOUT SHELVES, AND SPACE FOR WINE RACKS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE MICROWAVE. LOWER CABINETS ARE HORIZONTAL-GRAIN NATURAL WOOD, IN WALNUT, COMPLEMENTED BY CONTEMPORARY WHITE UPPERS. THE FAUCET IS POLISHED CHROME DUAL-SPRAY AND STAINLESS DOUBLE SINKS ARE UNDERMOUNTED.

A FAVOURITE CHAIR FROM THE 1940S WAS RECOVERED IN FABRIC THAT PICKS UP ON THE SUITE’S TURQUOISE ACCENTS. MYFANWY PAVELIC’S PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN IS A PRINT.

48 | Capital HOME


THE BRUSHED PEWTER BED WAS MADE BY CANADIAN MANUFACTURER AMISCO. ABOVE IT IS A SUSAN POINT PRINT CALLED MISSING PIECE. THE WHIMSICAL WORK WITH A TOUCAN ON A BICYCLE IS BY VICTORIA ARTIST ALAIN VINCENT, WHO CALLS IT THE FIRST TIME YOU MARRY.

AWARD WINNER THE ART OVER THE TOWEL RACK IS BY MONTREAL ARTIST ROSLYN SWARTZMAN, ONE OF HER ANCIENT DWELLING SERIES. “I’M NOT NORMALLY A WALLPAPER PERSON,” SAID JAN TRAINOR, “BUT OUR DESIGNER SHERI PETERSON CHOSE THIS DARK BLUE PAPER WITH A GRAIN THAT MOVES HORIZONTALLY ALONG WITH THE WOOD. SHE IS SO GREAT.”

VRBA CARE award 2015 for Best Interior Residential Condominium VIBE Awards (Vancouver Island) 2015, Best Multi family low-rise development

THE WALK-THROUGH DRESSING ROOM HAS MIRRORED CLOSETS ON BOTH SIDES WITH SHELVES AND RAILS.

VREB Commercial Building Awards (Greater Victoria) 2015 Merit Award, condominium — New Construction Capital HOME | 49


FILES, ARTWORK AND COLLECTIBLES ARE DISPLAYED ON A WALL UNIT THAT SEPARATES IN THE MIDDLE, SLIDES BACK AND HOLDS A FOLD DOWN MURPHY BED BEHIND.

hand and body,” In the bathroom for instance, a flip-up seat instead of a built-in bench makes the shower roomy and other innovations include deep drawers, deep sinks that don’t splash, bright lights and extra storage at the end of the counter, that goes to the ceiling. They also have a full, deep, soaker tub in the second. The location can’t be beat, say the owners. It’s so easy to walk to the village or downtown they are thinking of selling their car, which has been sitting in the garage for weeks. “We have everything we need here: an organic juice bar downstairs, a Red Barn Market, the Good Earth Coffeehouse and more coffee shops along the avenue. So why would I ever have to deviate from Oak Bay?” she jokes. They both have learned valuable lessons from older friends and relatives who ended up with too much stuff at the ends of their lives, and large homes in areas where they had to drive everywhere. “Being around older people is like a primer in how to grow old. We have learned what not to do,” says Trainor. Being an expert in addictions Poole smiled but shook her head at any thought of becoming a hoarder. “I saw what happened to my mum as she moved through various stages of downsizing, putting stuff in boxes, then in storage and never thinking of it again. I helped her go through all her stuff when she was in her mid 80s and it was a great lesson: If you can’t look at something and say you’ll use it every day, then let it go.” She added her mother also had a beautiful strata home on Rockland but as she aged she had to drive everywhere, as there was no village nearby. “Jan and I are both in our 60s now and we are planning ahead. It’s important to make the move when you are still young enough and have lots of ideas. “When we decided to move here we got out the graph paper, saw what would fit, and decided how much we had to give away. More than one friend has since joked that they have decorated their places in early Nancy and Jan décor.” CH

50 | Capital HOME


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VICTORIA, CANADA Bayview Place is a 20-acre master planned community set along Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The 1.5 million square feet of residential development includes two completed buildings with a third well underway. č˜œÌ…iÀwÛiLՈ`ˆ˜}Ș>``ˆÌˆœ˜̜ residences custom designed for seniors living will be sited around urban shops and grocery market retail, linking contemporary design with rich railway heritage.

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F TWO WHITE CHAIRS FROM HOME SENSE STAND EITHER SIDE OF A CHEST THAT WAS ALSO DAMAGED AND ON SALE, REPAIRED BY SERGEI, WHO ALSO MAKES VIOLINS IN HIS SPARE TIME. “I’VE BEEN A WOODWORKER SINCE A YOUNG AGE, AND THEN A GENERAL CONTRACTOR, BUT I ALWAYS DREAMED OF MAKING A VIOLIN. I HAVE MADE EIGHT OF THEM.”

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F

UIMALT MALT ESCAPE

abulous frugality BY GRANIA LITWIN PHOTOS BY DEBRA BRASH

Couples find treasures — and each other — to bring an Esquimalt condo to life

W

ith twice-around building materials, recycled hardware, used furniture salvaged from garage sales and lashings of talent and elbow grease, Sergei and Auri Pavesic have transformed a small, nondescript condo in Esquimalt into a beautiful gem that’s full of personality. The prudent pair did all this character building on a shoestring, after buying their suite two years ago for $200,000. “We have been redoing it little by little and so far we have spent about $9,000 on upgrades,” says Sergei who, since 1968 has worked in construction, marine repair, been a general contractor, and is now self-employed and semi-retired. He didn’t keep track of his hundreds of hours. “The labour is all my own sweat equity,” Sergei says. But Auri proudly points out her husband is a very, very fast worker — and clever.

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“Everything here, every little nail, every item big and small, he did. He makes all these things in no time,” and she is the envy of her friends. So, with second-hand materials and first-class abilities, the two enjoy scouting for deals and have purchased many furnishings and building materials for half price — or much less. Listening to them describe their finds and how they adapted them to their purposes is like taking a short course in fabulous frugality. It starts with a full wall of mirrors, which he mounted in their living room to magnify the already attractive space. Auri had spotted a cardboard sign on someone’s boulevard saying the owner was throwing the mirrored doors away, or would give them to anyone who could come and remove them. She rushed home to tell her husband and he dashed over with tools and muscles, quickly deconstructing them, hauling them home and installing the four large doors.

AURI AND SERGEI PAVESIC ARE LIVING PROOF THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO HIGH END TO LIVE IN BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS.

... OLIE THE SHIH TZU LIKES IT TOO! Capital HOME | 57


You should control your patio. Not the weather.

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WHITE 24-INCH SQUARE PORCELAIN TILE BRIGHTENS A HALLWAY WHERE AURI MADE LIME GREEN CUSHIONS FOR A CURVED BENCH.

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ESQUIMALT ESCAPE SERGEI RETILED THE KITCHEN BACKSPLASH, He makes it sound USING TWO TYPES simple, â&#x20AC;&#x153;All I had to OF TILE TO BOOST THE FEELING OF THE do was take off the VERTICAL SPACE. wheels at the bottom and top and hang them from brackets,â&#x20AC;? but the results are impressive, and because the mirrored wall wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t reďŹ&#x201A;ecting anything terribly interesting he added some pizzazz on the opposite wall by painting taupe and white stripes that look like wallpaper. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My friends laugh when I tell them whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going on,â&#x20AC;? says Auri. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sergei can take any piece of wood or furniture and slice it like a piece of bread. Every time I have an idea he says, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Oh no,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; but I know he can do anything and usually he begins right away.â&#x20AC;? In the kitchen, for instance, the cabinets did not go all the way to the ceiling and they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to waste that space, so in a twinkling he took the fronts off, added new frames to the top and fabricated

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THE LIVING ROOM WALL, OPPOSITE THE MIRRORS, WAS GIVEN SOME VERTICAL INTEREST WHEN SERGIE PAINTED FAUX WALLPAPER. THE HALL SIDEBOARD WAS ANOTHER SECOND-HAND FIND, $35, WHICH HE REFINISHED IN WHITE.

DOUBLED BY MIRRORS, THE CHEERFUL LIVING ROOM FEELS SPACIOUS WITH GLASS TOPPED COFFEE TABLE AND BRIGHT RED ACCENTS. AURI FOUND AN $8 TABLE TO GO BETWEEN THE SOFAS, AND SERGEI REFINISHED IT.

62 | Capital HOME


A HIGHER THAN NORMAL DINING TABLE AND CHAIRS SUITS THE OWNERS JUST FINE AS SERGEI STANDS 6-FOOT2. THE SIDEBOARD WAS ON SALE BECAUSE IT WAS DAMAGED, BUT THAT WAS NO PROBLEM FOR SERGEI WHO SOON REPAIRED IT. AURI FOUND THE SHELVING UNIT AT RIGHT, WHICH IS PERFECT FOR EXTRA STORAGE AND MICROWAVE, ALTHOUGH SHE KEEPS THE UPPER LEVELS FOR ATTRACTIVE CERAMICS.

Capital HOME | 63


AURI WANTED A LITTLE MORE STORAGE, SO SERGEI CREATED A SMALL BREAKFAST BAR IN A DECK OFF THE LIVING ROOM, USING UPPER CABINETS FROM AN OLD KITCHEN, TOPPED WITH A SLAB OF WHITE MARBLE FROM RESTORE. HE MADE THE LIGHTING FIXTURE OUT OF OLD LAMPSHADES, TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.

THE OWNERS TURNED A SMALL PATIO INTO A WEE SITTING ROOM OFF THE BEDROOM, WITH CURTAINS MADE BY AURI.

64 | Capital HOME

new, taller doors. He also added new counter tops and took out several small drawers, replacing them with larger, more practical ones, including a special deep one under the sink for recycling. Lack of light was a problem, especially for his wife who missed the sunny southern climes, so he cut holes in several of the doors and inserted glass to make the rooms brighter — and then he quadrupled the ceiling lights. She needed a little extra counter and storage space in the kitchen, so he created another lower cupboard, applying the creativity to small spaces he used when working on boats. It projects slightly into the dining area, but to balance that Auri found an inexpensive, same-width shelving unit for the opposite wall. It holds a microwave and other essentials on the lower shelves, and she reduces any utilitarian look by displaying decorative pottery and glass above. “I wanted to draw attention to the top,” she says, adding the fish plate is a treasured a wedding present. The resourceful, thrifty couple wanted to retile the kitchen backsplash and found some tile at ReStore, but there wasn’t enough to do the whole job, so they bought a contrasting slender tile and interspersed the two, creating a vertical design. “The idea was to make the room look taller, with vertical lines rather having horizontal tiles, to give it an airy and happy effect,” says Sergei. In the kitchen, dining room, living room and hallways, he laid mirror finish, large white tiles to add sparkle and reflection, and in the other rooms he replaced the carpet with wood flooring. Almost as intriguing as their renovation style is their personal life which began in Peru, where Auri was born. Sergei is Croation, but his family moved to Lima when he was two to escape the dictatorship of Marshall Tito. He was 16


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THE BEDROOM HAS A NEW, L-SHAPED MIRRORED CLOSET THANKS TO SERGEI, PLUS LOTS OF STORAGE UNDER THE BED, WHICH HE ALSO MADE. HE CREATED THE TWO BEDSIDE TABLES (NOT SHOWN) BY CUTTING A TALL CHEST OF DRAWERS IN HALF AND MATCHING THE NEW TOP PERFECTLY TO THE ORIGINAL

SERGEI COMPLETELY REMODELLED THE BATHROOM, TILING THE WALL, BUILDING NEW DRAWERS, ADDING FRESH FIXTURES AND A USED VESSEL SINK, WHICH INSTALLED AFTER CUTTING THE VANITY DOWN.

when he met Auri and fell in love with her, but she was just 13 then and soon after his family moved to Canada where he eventually settled and married. She also married. Forty years later, he and his wife separated and Sergei dreamed about Auri one night. He got up the next morning and started looking for her, eventually tracking down her old aunt, who told him Auri and her husband had moved to Colombia, Washington and then Miami, where her ex had a plastic manufacturing business. Sergei didn’t give up and eventually found she had moved back to Peru and was separated. “I knew we had to be together, sight unseen, and I didn’t care even if she was 400 pounds.” She wasn’t, and after connecting briefly he flew to Peru and brought her home to Victoria two weeks later. “That was 12 years ago and I still remember there was a terrible snowstorm when she arrived. It was a culture and weather shock for her.” Auri found Victoria gloomy and grey at first, but not anymore. In this condo her husband added fluorescent lights in the kitchen and office. Where there used to be just two tubes, there are now eight in each ceiling. She explained: “I needed a lift when I moved here and Sergei said, I will give you light.” CH 66 | Capital HOME

IN THE OFFICE, SERGEI CREATED COMPACT VERTICAL STORAGE - A NARROW SHOE ARMOIRE AND HANGING ACCESSORIES CUPBOARD- BY CUTTING A MIRRORED BI-FOLD IN HALF. HE THEN DESIGNED A HIDDEN BED OUT OF A LARGE, USED DOOR FROM RESTORE. IT FOLDS DOWN LIKE A BUNK AND IS SUSPENDED ON BRACKETS. HE ALSO PAINTED THE PICTURE OF GREECE ABOVE.


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JO-ANN RICHARDS

Eric AKIS

Capital HOME | 69


MAGICAL SAFFRON





70 | Capital HOME

SAFFRON, LONG AMONG THE WORLD’S MOST COSTLY SPICES BY WEIGHT, IS WIDELY USED IN COOKING IN MANY CUISINES, RANGING FROM THE MILANESE RISOTTO OF ITALY, THE PAELLA OF SPAIN, THE BOUILLABAISSE OF FRANCE, TO THE BIRYANI WITH VARIOUS MEAT ACCOMPANIMENTS IN SOUTH ASIA.


Eric AKIS SAFFRON IS A SPICE DERIVED FROM THE FLOWER OF CROCUS SATIVUS, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE SAFFRON CROCUS. SAFFRON CROCUS GROWS TO 20 TO 30 CENTIMETRES AND BEARS UP TO FOUR FLOWERS, EACH WITH THREE VIVID CRIMSON STIGMAS.

hen my wife and I first lived together, we shared a humble one-bedroom apartment in Toronto. It had a wee kitchen that didn’t match our large culinary ambitions. She was a talented pastry chef; I was the chef of a busy downtown restaurant. Despite that home kitchen’s small size, we managed to create fine meals, often multi-course, such as seven-course extravaganza we served to guests one New Year’s Eve. That said, I do recall our most successful meals were one-pan dishes that didn’t cause clutter and were obviously better suited to the small workspace. The top dish on that list was paella, which was always a hit when we had another couple over dinner and wanted to eat casually, but well. If you want know why that dish was such as a hit, below you’ll find a description of paella, the key steps and ingredients required to make and a delicious recipe for it.

Paella was first cooked in Valencia, Spain, and made with local ingredients. Those included its base ingredient rice, and items to bolster and flavour that rice, such as chicken, rabbit or pork, beans, tomatoes, saffron and snails. When paella began to be made in other parts Spain, other ingredients were also used, such as shellfish and olives. Now cooks around the world make paella with what they have available, including my local-seafood-rich recipe that follows.

Paella is the name of a rice-based dish; it’s also the name of the pan it’s cooked in. A paella pan, also called a paellera, is shallow and wide. It’s designed that way so it has a large cooking surface suitable for a variety of foods. And because the pan is wide, it also makes it easier for diners to reach and get some paella, which is set on the table and served right from the pan. Paella pans are sold at stores offering a good selection of kitchenware. If you don’t have one, I have successfully also used a large, wide skillet to make paella.

Spanish short-grained rice varieties, such as Valencia or Bomba, are traditionally used to make paella. They absorb flavours well and, when cooked, retain some firmness and have a lovely mouth feel. Look for this rice at Mediterranean/specialty food stores. I found Valencia rice at Fig Delicatessen, 1551 Cedar Hill Cross Road. It’s also possible to make paella with other types of short-grained rice, such as Italian arborio rice, and with regular, long-grain white rice. If you do the latter, don’t overcook the rice or it could become mushy and unappealing. >73

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Now You’re Cookin’...

72 | Capital HOME

Cooking shows are all the rage, but to perfect the culinary arts, you need to bond with your kitchen. Before the chopping, blending and broiling can begin consider the design and ambience of your workshop. Will your surroundings send you packing early or take you to the finale? Consider this range of styles from the Victoria Residential Builders Association’s CARE Awards of Vancouver Island. Their photo gallery of kitchens, bathrooms, new homes and renovations can be viewed at www.careawards.ca


Ericc AKISS Saffron threads give the rice in many types of paella its appealing, golden/red hue. Saffron threads are the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativa plant and have a bitter/ sweet, almost honey-like ďŹ&#x201A;avour. Those small stigmas are handpicked, which is why this spice is expensive. The good news is that a little saffron can go a long way and you can buy it in more affordable small containers.

SPANISH CHORIZO IS MADE FROM COARSELY CHOPPED PORK AND PORK FAT, SEASONED WITH PIMENTĂ&#x201C;N â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A SMOKED PAPRIKA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; AND SALT. IT IS GENERALLY CLASSED AS EITHER PICANTE (SPICY) OR DULCE (SWEET), DEPENDING UPON THE TYPE OF PIMENTĂ&#x201C;N USED.

You likely wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see these words noted in many recipes for paella, but when making it correctly youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be employing them. Sofrito is the aromatic, ďŹ&#x201A;avour base for paella. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made by slowly cooking ingredients, such as onions, peppers, tomatoes and seasonings, until they soften, their ďŹ&#x201A;avors meld and the water from the tomatoes has evaporated. Rice and your other paella ingredients are added to the sofrito and at the end of cooking, when the rice at the bottom of the pan sounds like it is quietly crackling, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made socarrat, a thin layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan. Spaniards consider that socarrat essential to good paella.

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Capital HOME | 73


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This recipe yields four generous servings, rich with local seafood. Serve it with crusty bread and get ready to snack on it awhile. Preparation time: 30 minutes plus steeping time Cooking time: about 30 minutes Makes: four generous servings 1/2 tsp saffron threads 2 Tbsp hot water 2 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 medium onion, ďŹ nely chopped 1/2 medium green bell pepper, ďŹ nely chopped 2 ripe on-the-vine tomatoes, ďŹ nely chopped 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 1/2 cups Spanish short grain rice, such as Valencia 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp paprika 3 cups chicken stock or broth + more as needed? 2 dried chorizo sausages (each about 70 grams) sliced (see Note) Freshly ground black pepper to taste 16 live mussels (see Note) 16 live manila clams (see Note) 150 grams small, cooked B.C. shrimp, such as hand-peeled or side stripe 250 grams snapper or ling or grey cod ďŹ llet, cut 1 1/2 inch cubes 16 unpitted black or green olives, or a mix of both 1/4 cup frozen peas Lemon wedges, for garnish 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley Crumble the saffron threads into a small bowl, add the boiling water and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Place the oil in a paella pan or large skillet 12 to 14 inches in width and set over medium

heat. When hot, add the onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano and paprika. Cook the vegetables until tender and the moisture in the pan from the tomatoes has evaporated, about six minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for two minutes more. Pour in the chicken stock (or broth), sliced sausages and saffron and its liquid. Season with black pepper, and then bring to a boil. Now cover and reduce the heat to mediumlow. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and arrange the mussels, clams, shrimp, ďŹ sh and olives on top of the rice, gently pushing and nestling them into the rice. (Add a little more stock to the pan if the rice is looking overly dry.) Cover and cook for ďŹ ve minutes more, or until the mussels and clams open, the ďŹ sh is cooked, and the rice is tender. Sprinkle with peas and allow them to thaw and heat through for one to two minutes. Garnish the paella with lemon wedges, sprinkle with parsley, set on the dining table and enjoy!

NOTE: Rinse and drain the clams and mussels before using. Discard any clams or mussels that do not close when squeezed before cooking, or that do not open after cooking. Both are signs the bivalve was dead before cooking it and should not be eaten. Dried chorizo sausage, which are cured and ready to eat, are available in the deli section of most supermarkets.

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Capital HOME | 75


BY AME DE PAOLI

Terravista 2013 Fandango This is a beauty blend of two Spanish varietals, Albarino and Verdejo. This wine is crisp and clean, which makes it a great palate cleanser for the spices in paella, such as saffron, garlic and oregano. This wine is also a perfect marriage with seafood! Baillie Grohman 2014 Blanc de Noir Rose Looking to start with a wine that can also be used as an accompaniment? This is the one! Aromatic, medium bodied with plenty of fruit to stand up to all the ďŹ&#x201A;avors in the paella. Joie 2013 PTG PTG (Passe tout Grains) is a wine made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes that originated in Burgundy. This wine is light, yet earthy and has virtually no tannin. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s light enough for the seafood in the paella, but rich enough to pair with the chorizo. Ame De Paoli is a wine expert from Cook Street Liquor Store (cookstliquor.com)

76 | Capital HOME


eakis@timescolonist.com Eric Akis is the author of The Great Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook (Appetite by Random House). His columns appear in the Times Colonist Wednesday and Sunday.

2517 Douglas St 250.383.1275 lansdowneappliance.com

Capital HOME | 77


10

FRESH TAKES ON MASTERING EASY DINNERS WITH PASTA ALISON LADMAN

O

n crazy weeknights, sometimes the only thing standing between you and yet another order of takeout is a box of pasta. Because pasta is like that been-through-it-all-with-you friend, that dinnertime Swiss Army knife that can be counted on in your time of need no matter what the day has tossed your way. When there’s nothing in the house and your energy and time are at their lowest, pasta is your ultimate ally. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s versatile. And everybody loves it. All you need is pasta and a little inspiration. You provide the pasta. We got you covered on the inspiration. Here are 10 easy pasta meals to solve your weeknight dinner woes.

78 | Capital HOME


dining ENCORE

Start with 12 ounces of any shape pasta, cooked and drained according to package instructions

1.

SHRIMP: In a large skillet, heat 3

4. PEANUT AND ROASTED RED PEPPER:

tablespoons olive oil, then add 4 cloves thinly sliced garlic and cook until just starting to brown. Add 2 diced large tomatoes and 1 finely chopped small red onion. Cook for 2 minutes, then add 1 pound peeled and deveined cooked shrimp. Cook just until heated through. Stir in the pasta and add 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves. Serve topped with additional olive oil and shaved Parmesan cheese.

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Adjust the consistency with water, if needed. In a large skillet, gently warm the pasta and a 12-ounce jar of drained, sliced roasted red peppers. Add the peanut sauce and heat until warm. Serve topped with sliced scallions and ground black pepper.

2. THAI CHICKEN: In a skillet, cook 1 chopped large yellow onion in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add 1 cup grape tomatoes and 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken meat. Stir in a 14 1/2-ounce can light coconut milk and 1 to 2 tablespoons red curry paste. Bring to a simmer, then add the pasta. Stir in 1 tablespoon fish sauce, if desired. Serve with lime wedges and chopped fresh cilantro.

5. ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEAS: On a foil-lined rimmed

3. BROTHY BEEF AND MUSHROOM:

6. QUICK VEGGIE: In a large bowl, toss together a grated medium zucchini, 1 pint halved grape tomatoes, 2 cloves minced garlic, the pasta and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, then top with grated Romano cheese or crumbled feta.

Cook 8 ounces button mushrooms (whole or sliced) in a skillet with a little olive oil. Transfer to a plate, then cook 1 pound thinly sliced flank steak in a bit more oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Add 1 cup low-sodium beef broth and 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth. Stir in the pasta and mushrooms. Serve topped with chopped fresh chives or scallions.

baking sheet, combine a 15-ounce can of chickpeas (drained, rinsed and patted dry) with 2 cups cubed butternut squash. Toss with olive oil, salt, black pepper and 1 tablespoon coriander seeds. Roast at 400 F until golden brown and tender. Toss with pasta, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and additional olive oil.

7. KALE AND SAUSAGE: In a large skillet, brown 1 pound loose sausage meat or

crumbled chorizo. Add 1 sliced large onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook until tender. Add 5 ounces baby kale and wilt. Stir in the pasta and serve.

8. CREAMY HAM AND PEA: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 1 diced medium yellow onion and cook until tender. Stir in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and stir to coat. Add 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth and whisk together. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and whisk again. Bring to a simmer, then add 2 cups diced ham and 2 cups frozen peas. Cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the pasta. 9. COTTAGE PIE: Boil 2 diced medium Yukon gold potatoes until tender. Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a splash of vegetable oil, brown 1 pound ground beef with 1 diced medium yellow onion. Stir in 4 ounces cream cheese until melted. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in 1 cup frozen corn kernels and warm gently. Add the pasta and potatoes. 10. BACON, LEEK AND SWISS: In a large skillet, cook 2 large diced leeks in 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter over medium heat until very tender. Stir in 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme. Add 1 cup crumbled cooked bacon and stir in the pasta. Stir in 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Capital HOME | 79


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80 | Capital HOME

DISCOVERING RESORT TREASURES IN COSTA RICA


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YOU ARE INDEED IN A RAINFOREST, A CLUTCH OF BRIGHT ORANGE UMBRELLAS STAND SENTINEL AT THE FRONT DOOR.

here he is,” said Juan Jose, pointing to the young sloth on a tree near the entrance to Nayara Springs. Not to want to see a sloth is akin to not wanting to go zip lining in Costa Rica. I had declined the popular vertiginous sport earlier, but am thrilled to gaze upon that little guy hanging on to that tree for dear life. Juan Jose is one of the most enthusiastic staff members any hotel NAYARA could have — a true naturalist at heart. SPRINGS As a matter of fact, RESORT heart has everything to do with this ultimate romantic ulti boutique hotel, b ttucked away near the town n of o La Fortuna, steeped in the ste rainforest, and within rainfor site of the third most active volcano in the world, Arenal. Nayara Springs is Naya sister of the younger you the Nayara Nay Hotel, Spa They and Gardens. G are not only separated byy a 250-foot pedestrian bridge over o the jungle, but the newer Nayara Springs is strictly adult villas each only, and comprises 16 breathtaking breathtak nestled in what could only be called call a garden of tropical delights. Relaxing in my private plunge pool fed by mineral hot springs, I’m I’ surrounded palms, birds of by a riot of giant red stalk pa all so towering paradise, pink ginger plants, al Lilliputians. that I feel like one of Swift’s Lillip The villa itself is vast (1500 squa square feet), a kind of Noah’s ark on terra firma. The kking-size, four-

poster bed is festooned in the softest of white cottons with two hot pink and deep turquoise velvet accent pillows. The glass shower stall with its twin rain head showers divides another part of the villa into two separate sink and vanity areas each with a glass door opening to an outside Balinese-style shower with another set of rain showers. All of this amid a second garden anchored by a floor of azure stones and open to the sheltering sky. Just in case that sky confirms that you are indeed in a rainforest, a clutch of bright orange umbrellas stand sentinel at the recessed front door. Yes folks, it rains, but it is a warm, caressing kind of rain that doesn’t deter me from swimming long lengths in the hot springs pool bracketed by individual covered lounges on one side and the indoor/outdoor restaurant, Amor Loco, on the other. Its chef has thoughtfully created a wonderfully inventive and artfully presented dishes of Costa Rican ceviches, quinoa salads, burritos, quesadillas — just for starters. The inside lounge area of Amor Loco sets a rather sultry, Moroccan tone with its dark wood and deep purple velvet chairs, a small stage at one end for entertainment, and at the other, the bar presided over by the award-winning mixologist. Even though I am traveling solo, the convivial atmosphere engendered by the staff, who, for the most part comes from the town of La Fortuna, makes me feel that I’m part of their family. If you become too slothful to drag yourself away from this idyllic setting, the staff is happy to whisk you away in their ubiquitous white golf carts, to two other restaurants beyond the bridge. For the truly adventurous at heart, Nayara Springs offers a plethora of off-site tours, including the popular Mystic Hanging Bridges, Lava Fields Walk, Bird Watching around the

Capital HOME | 83


BIRDS OF PARADISE AND TOUCANS ARE ONLY SOME OF THE FLORA AND FAUNA YOU’LL DISCOVER

Volcano V Vo olc lcan ano an o … the thee list lis istt goes goess on. on. B But ut o other th her than thaan o one ne most m mo s eenjoyable st n oy nj o ab ble e trip tri rip p to to Danaus, Dan anau aus, s, aan n eecological co olo logi gica call reserve, rese re serv r e, rv e, w where here he re I h hold old ol d butterflies buttte terfl rflie iees in in my my hand, han nd, watch wily watc wa tch tc haw ililyy caiman, cai aima ma an, n aand nd d see seee twotwo wo-- and and threethr h ee ee-toed to ed d ssloths lo oth thss h igh ig h iin n tthe he ttrees rees re es ((with with wi th hb inoc in ocul ular ars) s I s) high binoculars), am quite content for my three days and nights to take full advantage of what this boutique resort offers. On the day I arrive, the charming and wellinformed resort manager, Frederic Cappello, greets me with the news that the spa was just anointed No. 1 in the world by Conde Nast Travel Reader’s Choice Awards. No surprise then that I book their signature Costa Rican coffee scrub followed by the Volcanic Mud Massage. The setting of the spa is dramatic. It is completely open on one side to the sights, sounds and smells of the rainforest — no need for mood music, or incense. Because it is raining and a bit chilly, Norma wraps me in warm blankets and expertly works her magic. A soothing soak in the room’s hot springs tub completes the ritual, while exotic birds flitted about in the trees, providing a natural sound track. The next day I meet two of the three owners — Leo Ghitis and Angelo Zaragovia, who also triples as the architect and eclectic designer. Their passion and enthusiasm are contagious. Even though the two properties have won most of the top awards internationally, their unique vision for expansion is impressive. Nineteen more villas are currently being constructed and a tented camp of 24 luxurious tents, safaristyle, are in the planning stages. Ghitis, a great admirer of Isadore Sharp, the founding father of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, has taken to heart Sharp’s creed that no guest should ever leave unhappy. It works for me.

84 | Capital HOME

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86 | Capital HOME


T

he screech screec of the howler monkey awakens me at 5:30 am on my first morning at the Four Seasons Resort on the Papagayo Papa Peninsula. More curious than annoyed, I grab my ann binoculars and run to the screened-in terrace to locate the source of the sound. In the dim light, I manage to identify a large hairy mass on a branch level to my third-story suite. As the light slowly illuminates the sky, it leaps to another branch closer me. Thrilling. In Costa Rica, nature is always near and often in your face. It is one the country’s most appealing assets. The fact that Costa Rica is making huge efforts to be a viably sustainable country in protecting its natural richness is admirable — maybe just not at 5:30 in the morning though. The day before, after leaving Nayara Springs, a three-hour winding road trip through various micro climates ends with a stunning view of the Four Seasons Resort (a 2016 Traveler’s Choice Winner) with its 182 guestrooms spread along the isthmus of the peninsula that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The sun is blazing and the sea sparkling. I can’t wait to jump into it. But before that happens, a cool face cloth and cold drink await me at the entrance. I am out of the rainforest and into a hot, dry climate. Everyone seems to know my name, which, after Nayara Springs, doesn’t surprise me — getting to know you and your desires, seem to be part of the code of hospitality in this country. (I just wish all the staff, on both properties, could do so without being wired with head-held microphones with which they constantly interact — it sometimes creates distracted attention to the guest at hand.) Despite this, I happily accept the greeting “Pura Vida,” which the Costa Rican people, affectionately known as “Ticos,” extend to visitors. Basically it means “pure life” and is a lovely way of wishing you a wonderful stay. As I’m being escorted to my room, I notice the unusual shape of the spacious reception — the roof mimicking the wings of a butterfly. It turns out that the local architect, Ronald Zurcher, devised his design from the cultural history and environment of the area — the suites resemble luxurious and beautifully dressed tree houses,

FOUR SEASONS RESORT, incorporating the indoors and GUANACASTE, COSTA RICA outdoors. (Now I know why the nes t- building Howler monkey was watching me — he was after my digs). On my side of the screen, my “nest” is filled with fabrics of contrasting tropical colors and designs, cozy seating arrangements and a bathroom with shutters opening into the bed and sitting areas. Perhaps because of the drought, the stall shower and bathtub provided precious little hot water, but the sea was beckoning. I unpack, don my FOUR SEASONS SUITE bathing suit and off I go. Presented with three PADDLE BOARDING swimming pools, one ocean and one protected AT SUNSET bay to choose from, I opt for the ocean and YOUR MORNING plunge into it with abandon. It’s not hot springs WAKE UP HOWLER warm, but delightfully warm, just the same. After a quick change and a refreshing cocktail at the outside bar near one of the swimming pools, I begin to explore. The thatched-roof artisan market with local handmade crafts; the bay side (Playa Blanca) bouncing with kayaks and canoes, sailboats and motor boats and a small hut offering snorkeling equipment. (I do snorkel one morning, but the water was murky and the fish not so perky). Near the Sol y Sombra restaurant (where a $43 buffet breakfast is served — everything you could possibly wish to eat), stands a huge blackboard chalked with events of the day — mostly complimentary. I count 20 options including Boot Camp, Mini-Golf, Tennis Strategy, Ice Cream Time (for sure) and Moonlight Stand Up Paddleboarding (maybe). I book the Mangrove Adventure Tour and then the cooking class. To get to the mangrove area, we drive past the 18-hole Arnold Palmerdesigned golf course and walk into the cool forest of old growth trees. Two secluded and pristine beaches beckon as we approach the mangrove area. Sadly, Capital HOME | 87


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88 | Capital HOME

because of a drought, the mangroves are underwhelming, but the journey is invigorating and works up an appetite for my cooking class. Not being a great cook myself, I am impressed by the organizational skills and ease with which Justo Perez, charismatic sous-chef, prepares, from scratch, a tortilla soup for our small group of seven. He demonstrates how to properly chop and combine various ingredients and what spices would blend in well. Our mouths are watering in anticipation. It’s worth the wait. It is a great food day, for that same evening, Dario Montelvere, the chef de cuisine of the Italian restaurant Cena Sociale, creates one of the best meals I’ve eaten anywhere — a delicate filet of sea bass resting on a bed of tender shrimps and mussels laced with vegetables Julienne. For dessert — homemade coconut ice cream with warm fudge sauce and a box filled to the brim with hot, tiny, perfect bombolini (Italian filled donuts). I take the box back to my suite and go to bed with a smile on sugar-coated lips. Next day, I arrive at the airy three-story spa for the signature bamboo massage and anti-aging (I hope) facial. Before my treatment I “take the waters.” An outdoor balcony houses a long trough of bubbling hot water, next to a freezing cold plunge pool. While steaming in the former, a huge grey tiger heron alights to groom himself — no doubt a spa veteran. Before my skin shrivels, my masseuse escorts me to a quiet, dim room. I must admit, after the open-aired massage at Nayara Springs, I am a bit disappointed by the somewhat stuffiness of the room, albeit warmer, but the massage itself soothed me into sublime submission. On my last day, I wander over to the Artisan Market to buy a few gifts to take home. The choices are abundant, and I’m sure my loved ones will appreciate the gesture. But in truth, the two hotel/resorts I stayed in are the real treasures. Their size, location and climate dictate different experiences and unique memories. CH


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Capital HOME | 89


Fantastically Feral

LEOPARD PRINTS POUNCE INTO HOME DECOR PATRICIA SHERIDAN

L

eopard prints have leaped back into the spotlight in home furnishings.

Upholstery, lamps, rugs and occasional pieces have found their wild side. The look of leopard is timeless whether it’s a pillbox hat or a pouf, but we no longer have to harm the big cats to get their pattern. Unless you are a naturalist, it’s hard to tell cheetah and jaguar prints from leopard, but all of them were stalking this market. “Leopard spots in textiles can be traced back to the 17th century,” says designer Tina Nicole. She showed the frame of the Ansonia/U chair with a black-and-white colored cheetah/ leopard fabric on the legs. The look was inspired by a jumpsuit she saw at the Milan fashion show. “I like it when animal prints get a modern interpretation, and I think there’s always a place to mix these compelling patterns into home decor,” she said.

90 | Capital HOME

LEOPARD SPOTS IN TEXTILES HAVE BEEN USED IN FASHION FOR CENTURIES


ENCORE Prints One of the most remarkable pieces is a low back Charmer chair by Kara Mann upholstered in a tattooed leather leopard print. The interior designer says a leopard print is always in style. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It adds an effortless chic to any space,â&#x20AC;? she said. She considers it a neutral because it mixes with so many colors, patterns and styles. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is timeless.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Animal patterns, be they print or woven, never go out of style, and designers are always exploring new ways to utilize them in fashion and interiors,â&#x20AC;? said Cecil Adams, creative director for Currey & Company. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gilbert bench is a modern take on predator prints. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the current trends is to explode the scale of the pattern, which creates a more contemporary vibe when the fabric is applied to a chair or bench or even wall art,â&#x20AC;? he said. Thayer Coggin covered its Cool Roger chair in large

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ENCORE Prints

black and white animal spots, which paired nicely with the sleek shiny steel frame. And you didn’t have to be a big game hunter to spot Jamie Young’s Littlefield chair and ottoman with leopard print hide as well as the occasional boxes covered in it. Tobi Fairley’s Elle chair is upholstered in leopard spots on a 100 percent cotton fabric with the luxurious feel of faux velvet. It makes you want to curl up on one. This market is modernly classic. Among the pieces exemplifying that aesthetic is a decoupage chest made in Florence, Italy, and classic armchairs covered in a leopard print. Another designer has made a strong statement on spots with the dark walnut-framed Drake sofa fully upholstered in a leopard print fabric called Jamil Gold. “Leopard has evolved into a neutral. A pop of leopard can go in every room as the perfect finishing touch,” said designer Jamie Young. CH

TOBI FAIRLEY’S ELLE CHAIR WRAPPED IN LEOPARD IS FANTASTICALLY FERAL.

92 | Capital HOME


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THE JANAK LARGE FOUR DOOR CHEST BY BUNGALOW 5 IS COVERED IN A ACQUERED GRASSCLOTH AND EMBELLISHED WITH A DIAMOND NAILHEAD DESIGN.

DRESSED-UP DRESSERS AND CABINETS UNDERCOVER hether dressing up a dresser, covering a cabinet or embellishing a bureau, furniture makers are adding layers of interest with digital images and natural fibers such as linen, seagrass, paper and metal. In showrooms this year, consumers can expect to see storage units, tables and consoles with enough panache to become the focal point of a room. Furniture maker Thibaut is delivering several variations of casegoods covered in raffia, linen, grasscloth and paper. The company’s Paperweave in White cabinet has contrasting pink doors made of extra fine sisal, and the Regatta side table is wrapped in navy raffia. Also using natural fibers to build heirloom pieces is designer Bungalow 5, which pumped up the appeal of its lacquered grassclothcovered four-door Janak large chest with diamond-patterned brass nail heads. It comes in navy or white. Currey and Company’s Cadena three-drawer chest also uses textural elements to get the most bang for the buck. The wood frame is enveloped in black linen, which becomes a backdrop for solid-brass drawer pulls and drawer collars. Furniture maker Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams introduced its multipurpose Weaver chest, which is wrapped in a gray raffia and

W

94 | Capital HOME

THE WOODEN CADENA THREE DRAWER CHEST COVERED IN BLACK LINEN WITH BRASS AND BRONZE ACCENTS BY CURRREY & CO.


Capital HOME | 95


u 1

3

1 BERNHARDT’S BARCELONA SIDEBOARD IS MADE OF A BASE OF HANDCARVED, RECLAIMED TEAK WHICH IS THEN COVERED WITH ABBRASIAN RESISTANT GERMAN SILVER.

3 THE FLORENCE BROADHURST MILAN BAR CABINET FROM SELAMAT IS CLAD IN BRASS ON A BLACK STEEL BASE.

2 THE ESSEN COCKTAIL TABLE BY BERNHARDT IS CLAD IN A SKIN OF HIGHLY POLISHED GERMAN SILVER.

2

96 | Capital HOME

outlined in dark-stained mahogany. The inside of the drawer is red lacquer. The chest can be used in a bedroom, entryway or as a media cabinet because there are cutouts in the back for cords. It looks great with the Weaver mirror hanging above it. Designers Bernhardt and Selamat managed to enhance and entrance with skins of metal. The Barcelona Sideboard is handcarved reclaimed teak covered in German silver, which is not really silver but a silver-white alloy of nickel, copper and zinc. It’s also found on the Essen cocktail table. German silver has been used in architectural structures and decorative elements for more than 2,000 years and has many of the same characteristics as brass and bronze. Selamat’s Milan Bar cabinet design comes from the Florence Broadhurst archives, which the company has accessed and repurposed. Ms. Broadhurst’s Milan Tapestry pattern was carved into the doors, and the entire cabinet is clad in brass on a black steel base. The interior has a mirrored back and glass shelves surrounded by a walnut veneer. Ms. Broadhurst was murdered in 1977, and her killer was never caught. However, her visionary designs live on, continuing to capture the imaginations of consumers. Going digital is John Strauss Furniture’s Lake Shore Watercolor console, which is adorned in a painterly palette. The doors of the lacquered piece are covered in digitally printed wallpaper for dramatic impact. CH


J

NEXT ISSUE OF CAPITAL HOME

oin us for the next edition of Capital Home in May when we explore the glorious season of summer, water and fun. We’ll take you through some beautiful homes and spaces, where innovative designs expand our living areas to the great outdoors. We’ll also explore the latest in product designs that help us get the most in life. We’ll also bring you some delicious dining ideas from Eric Akis and some picnic hotspots and what goes best in the basket. Watch for it in May.

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Capital HOME | 97


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CapitalHOME

Cover Front Black S U S1 S2 Cyan Magenta Yellow S3 ProofColor V4 X Z Sheetwise (front and back) Loose Binding 16-03-0209:58:23

SPRING 2016

Capital home

BIG SMALL SPACES

Touring through some tiny homes

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3/1/16 11:53:44 AM

A Style for Every Point of View

100-915 Fort St.

Vol: 3 Issue: 1

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SPRING 2016

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Living

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HOW VICTORIA LIVES

Smart In Sidney • Small & Spacious • Fabulous Frugality

plus:

Travel: Food: Furniture: Costa Rica Paella

-Leopard prints -Texture

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3/1/16 11:32:37 AM

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Capital Home Spring 2016  

Living Big in Small Spaces

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