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SPRING 2018

CapitalHOME HOW VICTORIA LIVES

IN SPACES 8 SMALLER

TOURING MINI MANSIONS

Pocket-Sized Homes © Lunar Lander © Gypsy Caravan

DESIGNERS’ CORNER: Respecting Proportions

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{ In this issue } 70. SHEET-PAN DELIGHTS Eric Akis prepares three tasty ovencooked meals

11 p.

MINI MANSIONS

80. UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Join Kim Westad and Rwanda’s amazing mountain gorillas

64. DESIGNERS' CORNER A kitchen remake or any other redesign should always be all about you

24 p.

40. Victoria furniture has all the right angles

52. COUNTRY CHARM A Cowichan Valley home awash in art, colour, fabrics and handcrafted furniture

LUNAR LANDER

32 p.

On the cover: Living large in smaller spaces. Canadians are downsizing more than ever before, and finding creative ways to cut their personal footprints without sacrificing style and function. P. 10

GYPSY CARAVAN

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 7


Go Small (and) Go Home

C

JASON SCRIVEN / DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING PABLO MIRANDA SALES MANAGER

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.

WENDY KALO / OPERATIONS MANAGER

Canadian Publications Registration No. 0530646. GST No. 84505 1507 RT0001

DAVE OBEE / PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Please send comments about Capital to:

DARRON KLOSTER / EDITOR GORDON FALLER / GRAPHIC DESIGN

8 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

Dave Obee dobee@timescolonist.com To advertise, phone: 250-380-5328, or email Sales Manager Pablo Miranda at: pmiranda@timescolonist.com.

omedian George Carlin had this hilarious standup bit back in the 80s about “stuff,” and how we tend to collect it and then have to find bigger houses to put it all. Times are changing. The movement to downsizing has fully emerged and people are truly embracing smaller living spaces — with much less “stuff.” In fact, homes have been dwindling in size for quite some time now, with some going to minimalist extremes either by choice or because of costs. Values are shifting to life experiences such as travel and volunteering, with fewer possessions. Skyrocketing land and building prices have also played a role in people cutting their personal footprints as our cities grow upward instead of in sprawl. The statistics are proving it. The number of people living in apartments and condos taller than five stories went up more than 12 per cent between 2011 and 2016, according to national census data from Statistics Canada. The change was particularly noticeable in B.C. where the number of people living in singledetached homes dropped by 1.4 per cent, while the number of people living in apartments taller than five storeys went up by more than 23 per cent. In this edition of Capital Home, we’ll take you inside some Tiny Treasures — from a an incredible lunar lander masterpiece and a colourful Gypsy caravan to little homes on wheels that you can plant just about anywhere. We will also introduce to you to an incredibly talented furniture and designer from Victoria whose creations will find a tasteful fit in any home. Our food writer, Eric Aki s finds the perfect recipes for any small kitchen with his economical sheet-pan dinners. Try three delicious spreads any night of the week. And come along for a journey to the lush green mountains of Rwanda, where our intrepid travel writer, Kim Westad, gets up close and personal with majestic mountain gorillas. Get cozy. Enjoy the read. And for a laugh, Google George Carlin Stuff. CH


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IN SPACES SMALLER

S

tep inside. Have a look around. It may not be the space you are used to seeing or feeling. There are no big kitchens or bathrooms here. No big-screen televisions or king-size beds. The little homes on the following pages are the ultimate in saving space and cutting your personal footprint on this earth. Some are on wheels so you can take them just about anywhere and another is just simply out of this world.

10 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


PATRICK AND JESSICA WHELAN HAVE LIVED IN SEVERAL TINY HOMES THEMSELVES, AND NOW BUILD THEM FOR OTHERS. THEY SAY THAT LOWER EXPENSES, AS WELL AS LESS SPACE TO FILL AND CLEAN, IS LIBERATING.

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PATRICK WHELAN, DIRECTOR / OWNER JESSICA WHELAN, DIRECTOR / CO-FOUNDER / ADMINISTRATION THOMAS BRADEN, PROJECT MANAGER / SYSTEMS DEVELOPER

J

essica and Patrick Whelan have built pocket-sized houses all over North America — from the Gulf Islands and Alaska to Montana and Newfoundland — and they didn’t leave Vancouver Island to do it. Instead, they became masters of mini home construction and devised a way of building wee houses on wheeled trailers that can be delivered anywhere there are roads, including urban backyards, beach-front recreational properties, forest glades or remote worksites. The diminutive domiciles are custom made for a vast array of people who use them for everything from off-grid fishing or hunting cabins to luxurious guest suites, longterm accommodation for aging parents, as Airbnb rentals, art studios, professional offices and more. >14 Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 11


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THE TINY HOMES — WHICH ARE NAMED FOR BIRDS LIKE WARBLER, BLUE HERON AND KESTREL — ARE BUILT TO A VARIETY OF FINISHING LEVELS RANGING FROM UPSCALE VERSIONS WITH LIVE EDGE COUNTERS AND DOUBLE GRANITE SINKS TO MORE ECONOMICAL UNITS. THEY COME IN A VARIETY OF LENGTHS AND ARE JUST UNDER 13.6 FEET HIGH, A STANDARD FOR HIGHWAY TRAVEL.

THE MINI HOMES ARE BUILT ON TRAILERS AND CAN BE TRANSPORTED ALMOST ANYWHERE. THEY ARE BUILT TO LAST, LIKE A TRADITIONAL HOME, WITH QUALITY MATERIALS AND A WIDE VARIETY OF FINISHING STYLES. MATERIALS AND FIXTURES ARE CHOSEN WITH LONGEVITY AND SUSTAINABILITY IN MIND. 14 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


~MIN I M A NSIONS

“We started this company to follow our dream of making a difference in the community,” said Jessica. “Our number one goal is to help make home-ownership affordable for everyone, and to offer an alternative to the high housing prices that so many people face across B.C. Although we started with Vancouver Island in mind, people are now reaching out to us from around the world in hopes that we can help them achieve their goals of home-ownership and financial freedom. We get dozens of calls a week.” When Jessica and Patrick first became partners in their early 20s, they couldn’t afford a traditional house so they started looking for creative alternatives and it seemed like a great idea to live in a tiny one. The problem was finding anything to suit their needs. But disappointment soon led to a eureka moment when they realized this was a market niche that needed filling. Five years ago they entered a Dragon’s Den-style, business competition organized by the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and Vancouver Island University. It changed their lives. >

THE

BLUE HERON B O

Propane appliances, a composting toilet, and a Morso wood stove make the Blue Heron your first step toward the independent lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of without sacrificing style.

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 15


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s CUSTOM 24’ DUAL-AXLE 14,000LB GVW TRAILER s MORSO WOOD STOVE WITH GLASS DOOR s GLASS SURROUND SHOWER s 7.2 CUFT STAINLESS STEEL FRIDGE s UNIQUE PROPANE RANGE s RECESSED LED LIGHTING

s FIR BEAMWORK AND CEDAR CEILING s CUSTOM STAIRCASE WITH STORAGE s SOFT-CLOSING DRAWERS AND CUPBOARDS THROUGHOUT s FULL CUSTOM CLOSET IN THE BATHROOM

s EXTERNAL ACCESSORY PROPANE BBQ TETHER

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~MIN I M A NSIONS

“Jessica was the driving force who pushed me to go for it,” said Patrick. They won about $3,000, which along with their savings, was enough to leverage a loan so they could build a show home. But it was not just the cash that mattered. “With this chamber program you get a business coach and contacts, experts who sit in on meetings with you, experts in corporate taxes, really crucial things. It’s the people you meet, who can point out what you’re doing wrong, pick apart your plan and point out flaws because they really care and want you to succeed,” he said, adding if it weren’t for this program they wouldn’t be where they are today. The young duo built a model home that was 20 feet long and eight-foot-six wide, and that tiny start created a big result. HGTV came to shoot an episode

on their endeavour and the rest is small-house history. Now in their late 20s, Jessica and Patrick have created more than 30 tiny homes — and they even found time to get married a couple of weeks ago. After building their show home they moved into it, but soon had a purchase offer from a Calgary woman who wanted to use it as a guest cottage. “She got a screaming deal because we sold it below cost,” said Patrick, but it gave them the resources to build another and this time he and Jessica decided to live fully off-grid, harvesting rain water and energy from sun and wind. “Sustainable living is our big passion,” said Patrick. “In our personal life we do everything we can to mitigate our footprints and we firmly believe in being accountable for not wasting things. I wish more >

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 17


Spacious, modern, and bright. Designed for entertaining, the Fox Sparrow has a wicked-cool live-edge breakfast bar with double opening casement windows perfect for brunches and bbqs.

18 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

FOX SPARROW F O

THE

HIIGHLIGH HTS: s CUSTOM 24’ DUAL-AXLE 14,000LB GVW TRAILER s VANCOUVER ISLAND WESTERN CEDAR SIDING s 50AMP ELECTRICAL SERVICE s GLASS SURROUND SHOWER s 7.2CUFT STAINLESS STEEL FRIDGE s 4-BURNER PROPANE COOKTOP s DOUBLE BLACK GRANITE SINK s RECESSED LED LIGHTING s LIVE EDGE BARTOP AND BUTCHERBLOCK COUNTERS s CUSTOM BENCH WITH STORAGE s CUSTOM STAIRCASE WITH STORAGE s SOFT-CLOSE DRAWERS THROUGHOUT s PROPANE DICKENSON HEATER s EXTERNAL ACCESSORY PROPANE BBQ TETHER s PRECISION TEMP RV-550 NSP PROPANE s ON-DEMAND WATER HEATER s DOMESTIC WASHER/DRYER COMBO IN BATHROOM s CUSTOM FULL HEIGHT CLOSET s OPTION FOR FLUSH OR COMPOSTING TOILET


~MIN I M A NSIONS

people would try living with an awareness of every litre of water, every watt of power they use. Most people seem to think there’s a limitless supply, that they can just turn a tap or flip a switch,” yet he points to places such as Cape Town that are now running out of water. Since forming Rewild Homes in Nanaimo four years ago, the Whelans have shipped their small buildings all over North

America, including one to the Yukon and two that will soon be located on a 1,000-acre ranch in Hawaii. “The owner asked us to max those last two out with granite countertops, six appliances, three bedrooms, tons of cabinetry…” Their pocket-sized homes are being used as staff housing in remote locations, as art and yoga studios on the Gulf Islands and student housing. >

PEOPLE USE THEM ON RECREATIONAL PROPERTIES, AS GRANNY SUITES, TO CREATE AN INCOME STREAM OR AS A BACKYARD OFFICE OR STUDIO.

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 19


~MIN I M A NSIONS

THE

WHISKEY JACK The Whiskey Jack is a modern 28’ tiny home that feels more like a condo than a cabin. Sleek lighting and appliances coupled with clean wooden accents make this home the perfect fit for any style.

HIGH HLIGHTS: s QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS IN KITCHEN AND BATHROOM s CUSTOM MILLED AND STAINED CEDAR SIDING s FLUSH MOUNTED LED LIGHTING s TILED SHOWER AND BATHROOM FLOOR s TILED BACKSPLASH ACCENTS IN KITCHEN AND BATHROOM s SOFT CLOSE DRAWERS AND CUPBOARDS s PROPANE HEAT AND COOKTOP s COMBO WASHER/DRYER AND FULL SIZED FRIDGE

20 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


REWILD’S TINY HOUSES USE LESS MATERIALS, ELECTRICITY AND ARE BUILT WITH VANCOUVER ISLAND PRODUCTS. “OUR GOAL IS TO LIVE SIMPLY SO OTHERS CAN SIMPLY LIVE,” SAYS JESSICA.

“Several parents have ordered them for their backyards because they don’t want their kids living with them anymore,” he said with a chuckle. Other parents have bought them for their children as starter homes because they see it as a way for their kids to build equity. “It makes sense because students can pay up to $700 a month or more for rental accommodation, and for that you can carry a mortgage on a $100,000 tiny home.” Rewild is certified to do a range of homes and prices start at about $50,000. The largest they’ve built is 38-feet long, but they also build shells at various levels of finishing and a fraction of that cost, for do-it-yourselfers to complete. Trailers can add $9,000 to $15,000 to the final bill, depending on the size of home: “A trailer takes the guesswork out of a foundation, but if people don’t want one the home is simply backed into a site, jacked up, the trailer is driven out and the house is lowered onto a pad or platform,” said Patrick. The homes are typically 250 to 400 square feet and a growing number are now ordered for off-grid living, with everything from composting toilets and full solar array to battery systems and wood burning or propane heaters. Why would someone not just buy a camper instead of a small house? “We don’t compete with RVs because these two options are apples and oranges. Our homes are constructed just like houses — and then some,” said Patrick, adding they have to withstand highway travel that can mean 100 mph winds, sheeting rain, bumpy gravel roads and more. They are built to hold or increase in value and are warm because they are insulated with a thick layer of closed-cell spray foam in walls, ceiling and floor. “Because they are subject to customers’ desires, we’ve also blown in everything from recycled denim to sheep’s wool,” said Patrick, who grew up in Nova Scotia and studied environmental sciences in Newfoundland, forestry in New Brunswick and resource management at Vancouver Island University. He managed a fishing lodge in Bamfield and worked for a home contractor before launching the business with Jessica, who is a graphic designer. She has worked for luxury tree house rentals to top tourism companies, and also studied environmental engineering. > Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 21


Rewild now has eight employees and the company is expanding to accommodate its mushrooming waitlist. The Whelans moved out of their latest tiny home recently as they needed more office space, but their “large home” is now only 800 square feet and it’s plenty, says Jessica. “Being in a tiny home allowed us to save up for a bigger one, and we’ve kept our tiny home on the property as an income generator.” Having lived in several tiny homes themselves, she noted they have lots of ideas for smallspace living, but many suggestions come from their customers, who dream up unique and interesting requests. As a result, the Whelans have created homes for people with accessibility issues, who use wheelchairs or walkers and want lots of handgrips. They devised one recently for an active hunter and fisher who wanted a small, walk-in cold room, fully insulated down to three degrees, to hang and dress meat. They fitted it with wire shelves and a refrigeration unit powered by a second generator. Rewild is also starting to do man caves with bars, televisions, sound systems, modest bathrooms and barbecues, and a female client just asked for one where she could host wine tastings with friends and do yoga and weight training. The Whelans love the business because it allows them to combine their own ingenuity with clients’ passions and interests. “People come up with the most fantastic design ideas and we can make them a reality,” said Patrick. CH

22 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


~MIN I M A NSIONS WHY NOT

TRY ONE ON FOR SIZE?

STAY A NIGHT VIA AIR BNB IN THIS TINY HOME ON THE SUNSHINE COAST. BOOK YOUR STAY @ airbnb.ca/rooms/14983006?s=1

HIIGHL LIGHTS : s SEPARATE ROOM ON THE LOWER FLOOR s FLUSH MOUNTED LED LIGHTING s TILED SHOWER AND BATHROOM FLOOR

THE

ROBIN O

s SOFT CLOSE DRAWERS AND CUPBOARDS

Half home business and half vacation rental, the Robin is a multipurpose unit that serves as a massage studio during the s SLEEK ELECTRIC week and is rented out through Air BnB on the weekends. A large WALL-MOUNTED bedroom loft sits on top of a closed off treatment room on the ELECTRIC HEATERS lower floor with a simple kitchenette and cozy spa-like bathroom.

                                                  

      

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 23


~LUNAR COTTAGE

NAVAL ARCHITECT ADAPTS BOATBUILDING TECHNIQUES TO CREATE AN OTHERWORLDLY LUNAR LANDER TEXT: SANDY DENEAU PHOTOGAPHY: STEVE RINGMAN

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROJECT.

Technically, it is not a starship, but it certainly has proved quite the enterprise. Our DIY commander, Kurt Hughes, has systematically designed and built his very own livable, lovable lunar lander, securely perched on an acre of peaceful Central Washington terrain. It is out-of-this-world spectacular. Hughes launched this inspired mission about 10 years ago: His youngest daughter, Kiku, attended space camp at The Museum of Flight, so Hughes printed her a lunar-module graphic, and then Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise signed it. (The graphic, now framed, hangs in a spot of honor just inside the lander’s portal.)

24 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


THE LIVABLE LUNAR LANDER DESIGNED AND BUILT BY KURT HUGHES ON THE BANKS OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER NEAR BEVERLY, WASHINGTON, SHINES. DURING A RECENT SOLAR ECLIPSE .

KURT HUGHES HOLDS THE FOAM AND CARBONFIBRE STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANELS HE MADE HIMSELF FOR HIS LUNAR LANDER/ TINY HOUSE.

THE LUNAR LANDER FEATURES FAMILIAR GEOMETRIC SHAPES. “I THINK EVERY LUNAR LANDER WAS DIFFERENT,” HE SAYS. “OBVIOUSLY, I’M JUST EXPLOITING THE FORM, BUT NO ONE HAS LOOKED AT IT AND SAID, ‘THAT’S NOT ACCURATE.’ IT’S FAR BACK ENOUGH IN HISTORY, PEOPLE THINK: ‘HE MUST KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING.’ ”

“I never have seen anyone living in a lunar lander,” Hughes says. “They’re mostly uninhabitable. But Haise said to my daughter: ‘The one we took was pretty comfortable.’ “ Hughes is a naval architect whose Seattle-based company, Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs, caters to comfortable. “If you go to Maui, about half the tour-boat catamarans are my designs,” he says. With the lunar lander, though, Hughes saw a space challenge, and more than one opportunity. “Typically, an architect can look at a building and understand what’s

going on,” he says. “I looked at the lunar lander and couldn’t figure it out. While it always was, ‘Don’t just do a box, like almost everybody else,’ this is a proof of concept for building a house like a modern boat is built.” As a bonus, Hughes’ lunar lander (and its pad of riverfront land, near Beverly, Washington) honors his past (he went to Royal High School, “20 miles up the road”), and the space program’s. “I wanted an homage to an era when anything was possible,” he says. “And, the Apollo astronauts trained only a few miles from here.” > Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 25


ALL SYSTEMS GO AWAY, tucked in

the hexagonal ring under the living space. Practically, Hughes says, the lunar lander “will be a weekend getaway place, especially for creative work, and for the kids to visit the Gorge events.” (He lives full-time in Seattle with his wife, Eugenia; they have two grown daughters: Mariko and Kiku, the space-camper.) Structurally, Hughes envisioned “a habitable dwelling with the latest marine composite technology, providing creature comforts with low impact on the land and high amazement factor.” Modestly, he calls it “an unusual project.” We’ll just say: We are highly amazed, and unusually impressed. This is no tiny house that vaguely resembles something space-y, fellow Earthlings. This is a “retrofuturist” and officially permitted lunar-lander tiny house (total weight, less than 3,000 pounds; total square footage, 250). It kind of stands out. “There are four sides and four truncations — it’s technically a hexagon,” Hughes says. “The intent is that it’s cool from every side.”

Six stretchy cables act as tethers; three spidery steel legs attach to reinforced concrete pads; and a fourth stabilizer holds the 12 solar-lighted steps that lead to the front door, which, naturally, has a porthole. On the other side, under a sun-shading array of photovoltaic panels: a deck for two, perfect for watching the Columbia roll on. Inside, on the main level (an airy, open space with “external modules for the bath, galley, breakfast nook and storage”), a clear, geodesic dome overhead lets “light stream in, down, all around,” Hughes says. Down the interior ship’s ladder: “a soft lounging pit and bed” (and required fire egress). All systems go away, tucked in the hexagonal ring under the living space. The work (and ingenuity) behind all of that is staggering: s%LIMINATINGhTHENEEDFOROLD STYLENAILFRAMING v(UGHESBUILTHIS own structural insulated panels (SIPs). “I am expert in building [them] easily: much higher strength and quality >

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26 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


~LUNAR COTTAGE

KURT HUGHES REPURPOSED THIS TABLE FROM HIS FIRST SAILBOAT. “CAPTAIN NEMO’S WINDOW” OFFERS A STUNNING VIEW OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER, AND THE CRITTERS THAT LIVE AROUND IT. “WE’RE SITTING UP HIGHER THAN I IMAGINED,” HUGHES SAYS (BUILDING CODES REQUIRED A SEVEN-FOOT CLEARANCE DOWNSTAIRS, INSTEAD OF THE FIVE HUGHES HAD ENVISIONED). “WILDLIFE NEVER LOOKS UP, SO YOU CAN LOOK DOWN ON THEM. THERE ARE LOTS OF BIRDS — WHITE PELICANS, EAGLES — AND LYNX.”

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 27


~LUNAR COTTAGE

KURT HUGHES’ LUNAR LANDER SITS ON AN ACRE OF FRAGILE WETLANDS ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER NEAR BEVERLY IN CENTRAL WASHINGTON. “WHEN WE EXCAVATED FOR THE SEPTIC SYSTEM, I SAID TO LEAVE THE ROCKS AND MAKE SURE IT GETS BACK TO THE ORIGINAL,” HUGHES SAYS. “THE IDEA IS LOW IMPACT ON THE LAND, ESPECIALLY AN ARCHAEOLOGICALLY HISTORIC AREA. I DON’T WANT TO BE DIGGING. MOST PEOPLE MY AGE SPEND $15,000 ON TWO KAWASAKI NINJAS — ME, I BUY A SEPTIC TANK

than commercial ones,” he says. “I pioneered using Ziploc Space Bags for vacuum-bagging smaller SIPs. A shop vac, bubble pak and Poly Tarp are all that is needed.” s%POXYCOATSEVERYPART HESAYSh%POXYKEEPSEVERYTHINGDRY AND mold cannot get a foothold.” (He even created a phosphorescent epoxy floor for the bathroom — so aglow, it “rarely needs nightlights.”) s(UGHESUSEDARUBBERIZEDNONSKIDPAINT %VERCOAT ONTHESHIPS ladder treads. “Out of the can, it looks like pale alien hurl,” he says. “I added graphite powder to the mix to give a dark-gray, OSHA-looking result.” >

There were a few 28 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

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KURT HUGHES BOUGHT THE REFLECTIVE BLUE SINK ONLINE. “THERE’S A CERTAIN QUALITY OF THINGS IN COMMON — I CAN’T STAND A CHEAP SINK — A CERTAIN LOOK THAT BELONGS HERE. I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED EVERYTHING TO BE MIDCENTURY AEROSPACE, BUT YOU CAN’T FIND IT ANYMORE.”

30 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

HE ORDERED THE CUSTOM-CUT ETHAFOAM BOOTH CUSHIONS FROM FRIENDLY FOAM SHOP IN SEATTLE. “THEY LOOK KIND OF MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL,” HE SAYS. “I THINK THE COMMONALITY OF ALL THE THINGS IN HERE IS THEY ALL HAVE TO HAVE A ‘DAMN, LOOK AT THAT’ DELIGHT QUALITY.”

THE BACK DOOR OFF THE MAIN LIVING LEVEL LEADS TO A RIVER-FACING DECK WITH “ROOM FOR A COUPLE CHAIRS.” “IT’S A GREAT PLACE IN THE AFTERNOON.


~LUNAR COTTAGE

HUGHES SPECIALORDERED THIS TOTO TOILET, WHICH IS MOUNTED ON THE WALL UNDER A THREE-INCH-THICK TANK. “IN A TINY HOUSE, THAT’S BIG SAVINGS,” HE SAYS. “THE BATHROOM IS BUILT LIKE A BOAT. YOU COULD PRESSURE-WASH IT — ACTUALLY, THE WHOLE BUILDING.”

s 7HILE SAVING SPACE THE TOILET tank is only 3 inches wide, front to back), Hughes also prioritized energy savings, with a quarter-ton ductless heat pump, air-to-air heat exchanger, and “state-of-the-art marine 12-volt electrical systems and LED” lighting. There were a few delayed liftoffs: Fitting the door handles took “a crazy amount of time,” he says. It didn’t occur to him originally that he’d need an attached exterior ladder so he actually could work up high — but there’s one now. s!NDWITHTHESHOWERDOOR h4HE goal with composite construction is to drill as few holes as possible,”

he says. “I tried to hang it with only high-strength 3M VHB tape so I could escape drilling into the plywood. It failed. Now I know: I must drill.” There’s a universal lesson there, he says: “It’s real important to build the stuff you’re designing. I design boats for others, and build for myself. Too many builders don’t get their hands dirty.” Hughes has taken giant steps for do-it-yourselfers-kind, but his lunar lander remains an active exploration. “At some point, I’ll be done enough,” he says. “When I’m 85 and sitting in that captain’s window and sipping absinthe.” CH

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 31


~CARAVAN

e l i b o M e c e i p r e t s a M GYPSY CARAVAN BONDS HUSBAND AND WIFE, BRINGS TOGETHER A COMMUNITY TEXT: SANDY DUNHAM PHOTOGRAPHY: STEVE RINGMAN

STAIRS LEAD TO THE WELCOME PLATFORM, AND ENTRY, OF DENISE HARRIS’ HANDCRAFTED CARAVAN. SHE AND HER LATE HUSBAND, BOB CEDERWALL, BOUGHT THE CARRIAGE LIGHTS WHILE TRAVELING. “THEY’RE MADE TO BE ON THE SIDE OF THE WAGON, WITH A RED TAILLIGHT ON BACK,” SHE SAYS. “I HAD TO HIDE THE WIRES INSIDE IN THE CLOSET.”

32 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


THE PROBLEM WITH THE PORCH BRACKETS, DENISE HARRIS SAYS, “WAS COMING UP WITH THE DESIGN AND THE LEVEL OF DEPTH - AND THEN DOING A SECOND ONE, AND A THIRD ONE, AND A FOURTH ONE.”

K

now what we need? We need a soundtrack. We need Van Morrison, and “Caravan”.

Know why? Because if you have heard that song (and really; you should), it will loop in your noggin for hours, and then days, once you lay eyes on the magnificently marvelous creation in Denise Harris’ backyard. Denise lives in a fantastic off-the-beaten-path home on Bainbridge Island, Washington that she shared with her husband, Bob Cederwall, until his death in 2013. Blessed with an amazing array of artistic skills (Denise is fluent in embossed serigraphs, printmaking, colored-pencil drawing, stained glass and jewelry-making), the couple really harmonized over woodworking. Bob cut trees from their property and milled them in his shop, and Denise creatively carved art. “I’d say, ‘Bob, I need a piece of maple,’ “ Denise says. Then Denise spoke the innocent-sounding words that led to 1,700 hours of labor (three or four hours a day in the shop of co-builder Dave Sutter, for three years); an island-wide collaboration of love and talent; and, ultimately, the 13-foot-long mobile masterpiece in her backyard: “I said it’d really be neat to build a Gypsy wagon.”

A YELLOW UNDERCARRIAGE WITH SPOKED WHEELS SUPPORTS THIS 13-FOOT-LONG LEDGE WAGON, WHICH DENISE HARRIS BUILT BY HAND USING DRAWINGS FROM THE BOOK, MAKING MODEL GYPSY CARAVANS.

WITH HELP FROM A DOZEN OR SO CONTRIBUTORS, WOODWORKER/ARTIST-OF-MANY-MEDIA DENISE HARRIS SPENT YEARS PAINSTAKINGLY CRAFTING AN AUTHENTIC BACKYARD CARAVAN, BASED ON ONE BUILT IN 1910. IT’S NOW A ONE-OF-AKIND GUEST SPACE IN HER BAINBRIDGE ISLAND BACKYARD.

> Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 33


A PAINTING OF THE SUN BRIGHTENS THE INTERIOR OF THE CARAVAN. “THERE’S A SUN AT THE FRONT AND A MOON AT THE BACK,” SHE SAYS. “THE INTENTION IS AN ASTROLOGICAL SKY.”

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34 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

Inspiration arose naturally from the couple’s love of “carnivals, carousels, color and woodcarving,” Denise says; instruction was a little harder to come by. “In Making Model Gypsy Caravans by John Thompson, he made models of wagons,” Denise says. “He talks about types and materials. He did incredibly detailed drawings; we used those. That book — this is all we had to work from: drawings and pictures.” Those were models, mind you. This is a fullsize, usable, amazing caravan based on drawings of a Ledge wagon built in England by Dunton and Sons around 1910. “They all had names,” Denise says. “This one has a ledge overhang. There are other types; the Bowtop wagon is the easiest. But what’s neat about the Ledge is there’s more room inside.” Her roomy, super-authentic wagon was built “entirely by hand, from the wheels up,” Harris says, out of yellow and red cedar, locust and locally cut and milled wood. “Once we got into it, it was like, ‘God, this is a lot of work,’ “ she says. “What made this difficult is that it’s all angles. Every piece of wood on it had to have angles.” The details are brilliant — decorative wooden buttons, painted gold; a comedy mask on the front, with tragedy in back; four lions on the corners (rainwater runs out their mouths) — and the colors rich and melodious: yellow undercarriage, red platform and stair trim, burgundy, pops of blue and green. On the other side of the Dutch door (stained glass on top, wood panels on the bottom): a closet and cupboard on one side; a dresser on the other; and, in back, a bed that pulls out to queen size. Blue etched glass centers a curved fir ceiling. The white part of a high-up moon glows in the dark, and the lamp is set on a timer to glow on its own. “It’s really nice from the house,” Harris says. In nice weather, the caravan nestles in a grove of trees as a one-of-a-kind guest room, Harris


~CARAVAN

THE ONLY INAUTHENTIC TOUCH IN DENISE HARRIS’ CARAVAN IS THE ABSENCE OF A STOVE. INSTEAD, THERE’S A DRESSER TO THE LEFT, AND A CLOSET AND CUPBOARD ON THE OTHER SIDE. FIBRE ARTIST JANIE EKBERG DID “ALL OF THE SEWING,” HARRIS SAYS.

says; in winter, it’s painstakingly wheeled back into the shed. Those spoked wheels have hit the road, too: Bainbridge Performing Arts borrowed the caravan for a home tour, it’s shared annually at the fall harvest fair, and Ranger and the ReArrangers used it as a backdrop for a Gypsy jazz album. It’s a community caravan, for sure (when we told the Bainbridge homeowners we visited right after Denise that we’d just come from a house with a caravan in back, they said: “You mean Denise Harris?”), and a community helped create it. “Bob knew everyone,” Harris says. “Things got done because he was connected.” In addition to shipbuilder/woodworker/master cabinetmaker Sutter, Denise credits “the exquisite fabric work of Janie Ekberg” and Mesolini Glass Studio (which built windows from Denise’s designs), along with nine other contributors (including “an inheritance from my Aunt Eleanor”). Sing it, Van: “And the caravan has all my friends. It will stay with me until the end.” CH

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 35


~GUEST HOUSE

DELIGHTFULLY

DETACHED

TEXT: SANDY DENEAU PHOTOGRAPHY: STEVE RINGMAN

A SUPERB GUEST HOUSE IS A ‘MINI-ME’ OF THE MAIN HOME

36 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


‘‘C WHILE THE GUESTHOUSE, MIMICS THE MAIN HOME, “WE USED THREE WINDOWS IN THE FRONT, INSTEAD OF A PAIR,” SAY THE OWNERS.

ottage” didn’t fly with Carolyn. And, while some people call it the super-garage, Kevin says, that’s a little limiting. In the end, the straightforward “guesthouse” prevailed — though architect Tyler Engle offers his own entertaining interpretation of this delightful detached accessory dwelling unit: “It’s meant to be a new mini-me.” That it is: Mini-me’s full-size counterpart is the maximally gorgeous main home in Woodway in Snohomish County, Washington that Engle designed almost 20 years ago for

THE LIVING ROOM CONNECTS TO THE YEAR-ROUND WOODS OF THE NORTHWEST.

Carolyn and Kevin. For the expansive main home: “Their preference for the Shingle-Style summer houses of the Hamptons was reinterpreted for the Northwest climate and context with deep porches, substantial eaves and an integration with the landscape through formal outdoor rooms,” Engle says. Modern interconnected spaces and updated custom details coexist cohesively with the traditional theme there, and again, very purposefully, in the guesthouse down the driveway, under the portico and along the woods. Except, this time, “modern” is a little more recent. “The guesthouse took the same materials in a different way, 17 years later, and a different function,” Engle says. “The gridded glass wall is traditional, but more modern. All the materials, stains and floor colors match. The guesthouse is the main house, compacted.” >

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 37


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38 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


LIVE

SIMPLE

THE ENTRY OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF THE LIVING ROOM WITH GRACIOUS SPACES CARRIED THROUGH, SAYS ARCHITECT TYLER ENGLE. “IT GOES FROM FORMAL GRADUALLY TO INFORMAL.”

It’s amazing how much familiarity fits in these 1,387 square feet. From the first look: an “iconic gable-end facade with anthropomorphic windows,” Engle says — but “three windows in the front, instead of the pair.” Like its label, the guesthouse itself is refreshingly straightforward. “The main thing is the flow,” says Engle. “The split level makes it easy; spaces are together, but they’re not. Builtins make this space work.” Up the first set of stairs, the kitchen/living/ dining area fills a peaceful, private space with windows wrapped around a corner, overlooking (and practically a part of) green, lush woods. Up more stairs, the airy master suite mimics the windows and lofted ceiling of the main home’s master bedroom, with built-in cabinetry, a vaulted bathroom and a walk-in closet. CH

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 39


~FURNITURE

A-to-Z

PUTTING

INTO FURNITURE DESIGN

LINES AND ANGLES, ESPECIALLY THOSE FOUND IN THE LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET, INSPIRE CHILEAN-BORN FURNITURE DESIGNER CRISTIAN AROSTEGUI TEXT: ANGELA MANGIACASALE PHOTOS: CRISTIAN AROSTEGUI STUDIO

40 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


FURNITURE DESIGNER CRISTIAN AROSTEGUI MADE HIS AWARDWINNING SOFI BENCH FROM ULTRA-HIGHPERFORMANCE CONCRETE, WHICH USES METAL FIBRES INSTEAD OF RODS TO ALLOW FOR A THINNER PROFILE. THE DESIGN WAS INSPIRED BY THE ANGLES AROSTEGUI NOTICED IN THE SHAPE OF HIS MEXICAN RESCUE DOG, SOFI, DURING A WALK WHEN SHE STOPPED, READY TO POUNCE ON A SQUIRREL.

SOFI BENCH WON THE PROTOTYPE AWARD AT THE INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW WEST IN VANCOUVER IN 2015 AND, IN 2016, WAS A FINALIST FOR THE GERMAN DESIGN AWARD.

>

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 41


~FURNITURE

THIS CABINET WITH SHELVES, BUILT OF WALNUT AND METAL, WAS DESIGNED TO HIDE THE OWNER’S CENTRAL VACUUM HOSE AND PROVIDE EXTRA STORAGE. DAVID ROSEN, WHO COMMISSIONED THE PIECE, SAYS THAT IT COULD NOT HAVE FIT HIS FAMILY’S NEEDS BETTER – AND HE LOVES THE WAY IT LOOKS.

42 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

W

hen he moved to Canada, Cristian Arostegui couldn’t believe that people routinely left pieces of furniture outside their homes for anyone to take. Born and raised in Chile, he was living in Toronto in 2009 when he first noticed this practice. He found it curious, but also saw it as an opportunity. While his girlfriend, Hilary Cochrane, was busy working on a master’s degree, he went scavenging. “We were on a student budget, so I would grab these pieces and then I would reassemble them or redesign or do something that we needed for our apartment with the scrap pieces from the street. Then (Cochrane) told me, ‘Why don’t you do something like furniture-making?’” Arostegui had studied architecture in Santiago because he loved design, but when the third year of the program got into technical aspects of the field, he lost interest. He switched programs, earned a degree in advertising, but never lost his passion for design. So, in 2011, he enrolled in a three-semester furniture-making program at Toronto’s Humber College. In 2013, Arostegui and Cochrane, who was born and raised on the Island, moved to Victoria and a few years later got married. He found some work helping other furniture makers and working in a furniture store, but decided his better bet was to open his own business. In less than 10 years of designing and making furniture, Arostegui, 35, has collected an impressive list of awards and honours. His Sofi bench, a contoured seat made of thin, ultrahigh-performance concrete, won the Prototype award at the Interior Design Show West in Vancouver in 2015. In 2016, the Sofi was a finalist for the German Design Award. For two years in a row – 2016 and 2017 – Arostegui has been a finalist for the Furniture Designer of the Year award bestowed by Western Living Magazine. He recently joined an effort to bring the work of local designers to a wider audience, forming the Victoria Design


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100% waterproof when closed GODDARD CREDENZA: FOUR INDEPENDENT CUBES MADE OF WALNUT SIT ON A BLACK METAL BASE, CREATING A MID-CENTURY LOOK FOR THE GODDARD CREDENZA. THE OWNERS COMMISSIONED THE PIECE AFTER BEING IMPRESSED WITH THE LOOK OF THE ROSEN CABINET.

Collective with Stefane Dimopoulous (ďŹ ne furniture), Jon Braden (children’s furniture), and Mike Randall (lighting and furniture). Arostegui’s work combines materials – wood, metal and glass as well as concrete and resin, with a focus on environmental sustainability. His style reects inuences from his South-American roots, his technical training and innate creativity. Unlike some modern furniture, his pieces radiate warmth. aThe shape and edges of his work are often linear, sometimes curved, but always smooth, precise and simple. “I don’t get the designs that are very complicated or maybe some of them are art furniture that is not meant to be used. It doesn’t make much sense to

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 43


~FURNITURE

AROSTEGUI’S COLOURFUL, METAL MODULAR SHELF DESIGNS CALLED TTRIS COME IN FLAT, V U AND L SHAPES AND CAN BE COMBINED TO BEST SUIT THE USER’S SPACE AND NEEDS.

me. I think (furniture) has to be functional — try to make it beautiful, yes, but functional.” Arostegui flips open his sketch book and, on a page of desk drawings, he has also drawn the alphabet. The lines in the typeface or font often end up in his designs. His YK Desk, for example, combines the shapes of those letters in the piece’s legs. The same is true of his W Credenza and W Coffee Table. He’s now working on a VX-leg desk for a client. He’s also creating packages of his colourful, metal modular shelf designs called Ttris that come in flat, V U and L shapes to sell on his website, arosteguistudio.com. “Everything is a font. In the end, everything is lines,” he says, pointing around his home to various pieces of furniture he has created. “If you see this one or that one, the profile is all about lines and simplicity.” The lines for his award-winning Sofi bench came to mind when he was out for a walk with his Mexican rescue dog, Sofi. “Suddenly Sofi saw a squirrel. She got into this attack/ focus/ambush position approaching the squirrel. I was very interested in the organic shape of her body, mainly the back of her legs, the angles they created.” Another time, he was watching a movie

when he noticed the interesting lines of a window grate, which inspired the design of his Solero coffee table. A glass rectangle with one rounded corner sits atop a black metal base with “arms” radiating like sunbeams from a quarter-circle shape. Gabriel Ross, the upscale modern furniture retailer, carries the Solero in its Victoria showroom and online at grshop.com. “What I love about Cristian‘s work,” says Gabriel Ross owner Ross Taylor, “is that he isn‘t afraid to explore a wide variety of mediums. You might encounter wood, metal, glass, stone or concrete in his work. Cristian brings materials into his designs and blends them together into a perfect harmony. If you explore his work, I think you will find that he doesn‘t really have any one particular style. It will be very interesting to watch his work evolve in the coming years.” In a world where — thanks to social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest — new designs are easily found and copied, Arostegui’s work stands out for its originality, says Victoria designer Iván Meade, who has mentored and collaborated with Arostegui. “One of the things I truly admire about Cristian is that he doesn’t copy; he creates his > >48

44 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018




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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 45


own designs. Of course, he gets an influence from what’s happening … but he does it in his own way,” says Meade, the award-winning principal designer of Meade Design Group. Meade describes Arostegui as diligent and humble, especially in handling constructive criticism. “He takes the piece back and in a really good way. He’s not like, ‘It’s my work and don’t touch it.’ He wants to make his work better every time. That’s very admirable.” For example, says Meade, look at the amount of thought and ingenuity in Arostegui’s Airy Console Table, designed to fit the narrow space of a condo entryway. The table legs are angled in, away from the door, to create a sense of spaciousness. It was featured at the Bateman Centre in the recent One Tree exhibition in which a salvaged, 100-yearold walnut tree was transformed into one-of-a-kind pieces by about 50 Island artists. “He designed a piece that fits and doesn’t intervene with the function of the space — how the door will open and close — just to have that small space be functional,” Meade says. “He took the opportunity to

design something that is not just beautiful, it’s functional. Visually, it’s very light … It feels like it’s almost floating. It has beautiful weight. … All his pieces always have beautiful scale, beautiful balance.” It’s a style Meade describes as Canadian west coast meets South American west coast with industrial refinement and European flavour. David A. Rosen, who describes himself as picky about design, loved the look of Arostegui’s work and commissioned a cabinet that would hide his home’s central vacuum hose and provide extra storage. “It’s turned out to be the most used piece of furniture in my house, with the exception of the sofa,” says Rosen, director of Therapy and Rehab in B.C. for Bayshore Home Health. “Working with him was very interesting in that not only was he pretty accommodating to what we wanted, but he kept us in the design process. … To say (that I’m) happy is clearly understating what I feel like the value is that I got out of the piece. It’s not only amazing to look at, but it couldn’t have fit better in the space and it couldn’t have fit us better.” CH

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~FURNITURE

DA R R EN S TO N E, TIM N IS T OLO ES C

1

2

1: DESIGNED AND BUILT AS THE FINAL EXAM FOR CRISTIAN AROSTEGUI FURNITUREMAKING PROGRAM IN TORONTO, THE MAREA BENCH DESIGN WAS INSPIRED BY THE MOVEMENT OF THE OCEAN. MAREA MEANS TIDE IN SPANISH. BUILT OF SOLID RED OAK, THE DESIGN COULD BE EASILY ADAPTED FOR OTHER MATERIALS, INCLUDING ACRYLIC OR CONCRETE, AROSTEGUI SAYS. 2: THE YK DESK’S STREAMLINED PROFILE IS DESIGNED TO EASILY FIT IN HALLWAYS, FOYERS OR LOBBIES. THE PIECE TAKES ITS NAME ITS GEOMETRICAL BASE IN WHICH TWO OFFSET TRIANGLES APPEAR TO BE A FUSION OF THE LETTERS Y AND K.

3

3: AROSTEGUI IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON CREATING THIS DESK FOR A CLIENT. NAMED FOR THE SHAPE OF ITS LEGS, THE VX DESK REFLECTS THE DESIGNER’S FASCINATION WITH THE LINES FOUND IN THE LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET. ARTIST RENDERING BY CRISTIAN AROSTEGUI

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 47


~FURNITURE

1: THIS COFFEE TABLE IS PART OF AROSTEGUI’S W FURNITURE COLLECTION. HE DESIGNED THE TABLE AND WORKED WITH TWO LOCAL COMPANIES TO BUILD IT – ONE PRODUCED THE TABLE TOP WITH WHITE AND BLACK MARBLE EXTRACTED FROM A COWICHAN VALLEY QUARRY WHILE ANOTHER MADE THE POWDERCOATED ALUMINUM BASE IN THE SHAPE FOR WHICH IT IS NAMED.

48 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

2: AROSTEGUI’S AIRY CONSOLE TABLE WAS DESIGNED TO FIT THE NARROW SPACE OF A CONDO ENTRYWAY AND AND PROVIDE A SURFACE FOR EVERYDAY ITEMS SUCH AS A BOWL TO HOLD KEYS. ITS LEGS ARE ANGLED IN TO CREATE A SENSE OF SPACIOUSNESS AND TO ALLOW A NEARBY DOOR TO EASILY SWING IN AND OUT. THE TABLE WAS FEATURED AT THE BATEMAN CENTRE IN THE RECENT ONE TREE EXHIBITION IN WHICH A SALVAGED, 100-YEAR-OLD WALNUT TREE WAS TRANSFORMED INTO ONE-OF-A-KIND PIECES BY ABOUT 50 ISLAND ARTISTS.

3: THE SOLERO COFFEE TABLE FEATURES A GLASS RECTANGLE WITH ONE ROUNDED CORNER ATOP A BLACK METAL BASE WITH “ARMS” RADIATING LIKE SUNBEAMS FROM A QUARTER-CIRCLE SHAPE. THE TABLE IS FEATURED BY UPSCALE MODERN FURNITURE RETAILER GABRIEL ROSS IN ITS VICTORIA SHOWROOM AND ONLINE AT GRSHPOP.COM.


DA R R EN S TO N E, TIM N IS T OLO ES C

2

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 49


     

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TEXT: GRANIA LITWIN

PHOTOS: DEBRA BRASH

Country

Comfort

PAINTER AND FARMER’S DAUGHTER CELEBRATES RETURN TO RURAL ROOTS WITH COLOUR, TEXTURES

52 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


PAINTER S PARA PAINTER’S

A

t first sight the house looks like a rather ordinary faux Tudorstyle cottage, with a private garden behind a high hedge and not much else to set it apart from its neighbours. Yet one glimpse inside and a visitor’s heart starts to beat a little faster. Clearly this home is anything but conventional. It is the creation of a stylish Cowichan Valley painter, furniture maker and upholsterer — a woman who is unafraid of colour and loves velvet as much as cotton canvas. >

THE MOCKTUDOR STYLE HOME WAS BUILT IN 1985 WITH PASSIVE SOLAR GAIN IN MIND, AND SOUTH-FACING WINDOWS.

ARTIST: BONNIE SCHMAUS IN HER STUDIO

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 200188 | 53 53


DISE

SCHMAUS RECOVERED THE ANTIQUE ARMCHAIR IN A FRENCH TOILE THAT HAS FADED FROM RED TO PINK, AND HUNG NATURAL COTTON CANVAS CURTAINS FOR A LOOSE COUNTRY LOOK. SHE OFTEN SITS HERE FOR MORNING TEA AS THE WINDOWS FACE EAST.

AFTER BUYING THE HOUSE, SHE TORE OUT ALL THE SHAG CARPETS AND RE-FLOORED THE ROOMS HERSELF, WITH FIR THAT WAS MILLED DOWN THE ROAD IN DUNCAN. SHE MADE THE SOFA, OTTOMAN, ALL THE BUILT-INS AND UPHOLSTERED EVERYTHING IN THE LIVING ROOM

FAR RIGHT: BONNIE SCHMAUS’ COVERED PATIO BECOMES HER OUTDOOR STUDIO IN THE SUMMER AND SHE SLIDES HER EASEL UNDER THE TABLE WHEN ENTERTAINING. SHE GROWS VEGETABLES IN A GREENHOUSE AND THROUGHOUT HER GARDEN, WHICH IS ALSO HOME TO LLAMAS, SHEEP AND GEESE.

CapitalHOME 54 54| |Capital HOMESPRING SPRING2018 2018

“People say it looks European, but it’s just me … a bit modern, a bit country,” said the soft spoken Bonnie Schmaus, who is dressed in understated head-to-toe lavender-grey and whose home is a refreshing mix of salad greens, with dashes of other colours tossed in. Her small den, for instance, is a cozy cave painted a deep shade of basil, while on the walls are several of her paintings in lighter tones ranging from sage and mint, to pistachio and seaweed. Furnishings include an antique armchair and chaise longue. She made the latter and upholstered both with fabrics in cantaloupe and apricot. She even made the table and topped it with amber leather. “This room is wonderful at night because the walls disappear, and it feels like you’re sitting by a campfire,” said Schmaus, who built a full wall of bookcases on the opposite side with an alcove for a television.

A CLAY HEAD, MADE BY THE OWNER, STANDS ON A


SHE ALSO LIKES TO CURL UP AND READ ON THE PALE-OCEAN COLOURED SOFA THAT SHE MADE, UPHOLSTERED AND CREATED DOWN FILLED CUSHIONS FOR.

In the master bedroom, the owner used a palette of gentle greys, yellows and pale teal. She made all the cushions as well as the bed, complete with a seersuckerupholstered headboard carved in a French style. Her dining room is decorated in nutty shades of brown and toffee, and here she also built and upholstered all the furniture, except armchairs at each end of the table. Schmaus is a woman who has not only has an extraordinary eye, but also an inordinate amount of energy, even at age 74, and she has a vision for her home that goes well beyond the ordinary, although she settled there for practical reasons. “This house was built in 1985 during the oil crisis so it was constructed with passive solar heat in mind,” she explained, pointing to south-facing windows in the living room, positioned opposite a fireplace set into a brick wall that soaks up the sunshine and stores it’s heat all day. The home has a warm and inviting atmosphere, perhaps >

TABLE BY THE SOFA.“IT’S NO ONE I KNOW, TOTALLY IMAGINARY. I LIKE TO PLAY,” Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 55


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PAINTER S PARADISE PAINTER’S

also due to her study of feng shui, the Chinese system of harmonious architecture and interior environments, which she became intrigued with many years ago. Schmaus moved up-Island from Victoria in 2003, having decided to live in the country. “I also looked at the Okanagan and other places because I wanted to have a small acreage.” On her one-hectare property she has two llamas, two sheep, three geese and a dog. She grows most of her own vegetables as well as loads of herbs and a quantity of gourds, which she dries, paints and sells along with her paintings and the furniture she reupholsters. “I was a farmer’s daughter and grew up about 100 miles north of Edmonton in the middle of nowhere,” so she relishes being back on the land after many decades in cities. Her move away from the land began after she left school. She first considered doing a law degree, but realized her true calling lay elsewhere and attended Alberta College of Art for four years, studying mostly painting and furniture design. Drawn to fashion as well, she spent several years making costumes for Powerhouse Theatre in Vernon, then worked as a buyer and window designer for LMW Coutourier in Vancouver as well as Finn’s in Kerrisdale. Those were the days of glamorous ballroom dresses and fabulous velvet evening coats, she recalled. “I’ve always been involved in fashion and I’ve designed and done just about everything including bathing suits.” She eventually moved to Victoria and her career took another direction when she enrolled in Camosun College’s 1.5 -year fine furniture program, where she learned about upholstering and how to construct everything from cabinets to end tables. > THE SPARE BEDROOM HAS A WHITE COVERLET ON AN OLD METAL FRAME BED THAT SHE FOUND IN COWICHAN BAY. THE ANGLED BED MAKES THE ROOM SEEM LARGER

THE EQUESTRIAN OIL OF A LOCAL RIDER AND HORSE — ASHLEY AND ANDY — WAS PAINTED BY THE OWNER. THE HORSE’S LONG, GORGEOUS TAIL IS NOT EXAGGERATED. THE OWNER BUILT A CORNER CUPBOARD TO STORE HER BLUE AND WHITE CHINA.

SHE REMOVED OUT ALL THE MODERN DARK-STAINED KITCHEN CABINETS AND BUILT NEW ONES FROM LIGHTER WOOD TO MAKE IT LOOK LARGER, USING AN OLD “STICK” TECHNIQUE. THE FARMER’S SINK IS AN ANTIQUE.

Capital H HOME O SPRING 2018 | 57


Now You’re Cookin’...

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


PAINTER S PARADISE PAINTER’S

HAZELNUTS GROWN ON THE PROPERTY FILL A HUGE BOWL ON THE DINING TABLE. ABOVE A RED CUSHIONED BANQUETTE SHE MADE, IS A PAINTING OF HER GARDEN’S MOUNTAIN ASH TREE AND BIRDBATH, IN A CHEERFUL COMBINATION OF COLOURS.

“I originally had the idea of making big abstract musical instruments as sculptures… but then decided that no one would want them,” she said with a chuckle. But the skills came in handy when she moved to Cowichan and built all the cabinetry and laid the floors in her new house. “I gutted the modern kitchen because it was dark oak, and quite hideous.” She replaced cabinets with lighter ones, and didn’t make them like today’s boxes, but used an old site-built “stick” technique with small boards. She laid all her floors after watching a workman do it for a few hours in her living room. When he had to leave early the first day, she became impatient and finished the job herself, then moved on to all the other rooms. “I really enjoy building things, but am doing mostly painting now,” she said, adding she is delighted with her new sunshine-filled home. The house is very bright, in part because all her curtains are white. She made them from cotton canvas, which turns naturally crinkly after being washed. “This canvas material can take a beating. If I used any synthetic in this house, with all this sunshine, it would be fried in no time,” said the practical Schmaus who added a foot-wide band of fabric, in >

EXCEPT FOR TWO ANTIQUE END-CHAIRS, SCHMAUS MADE ALL THE DINING ROOM FURNITURE INCLUDING THE CABINET AT RIGHT THAT SHE DESIGNED TO DISGUISE A SLOPING ROOFLINE. THE ONE AT LEFT IS OILED TO AN AGED-LOOKING PATINA, WHILE THE ONE AT RIGHT IS UNTREATED, PINKISH TULIPWOOD. SHE CALLS HER FURNITURE “COWICHAN-CRAFT” STYLE.

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 59


“THIS ROOM IS WONDERFUL AT NIGHT BECAUSE THE WALLS DISAPPEAR, AND IT FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SITTING BY A CAMPFIRE,�

             

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60 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

another pattern but complementary colour, to the bottom edge of many curtains. She freely admits she’s a fabric-holic: “I love cottons, linens, velvets. I worked in velvet for many, many years in the fashion industry and always had a lot of fun making furniture too, that I then upholstered in velvet.â€? It’s small wonder that some of her furniture pieces seem almost as glamorous as ball gowns, covered in opulent fabrics and plush cushions, which she always stuffs with feathers for a sumptuous feel. It’s also no surprise she spends many happy hours browsing through fabric departments wherever she ďŹ nds them, and savouring English country, French and Italian home design magazines. “I’m into details — and it’s taken me a long time to arrive here, but I guess you could say this is the home of a woman in love with her life.â€? CH


BONNIE SCHMAUS SPENDS MOST OF HER TIME PAINTING IN HER HOME’S COMPACT LOFT AND DOING UPHOLSTERY PROJECTS IN HER GARAGE. THE OIL AT LEFT IS OF LEEKS IN HER GARDEN.

OVER THE ARTS AND CRAFTS BUREAU IN HER LOFT IS THE OWNER’S PAINTING OF LONG NECKS — ONE ON AN IMAGINARY GIRL AND ONE ON HER LLAMA. A BASKET IS FILLED WITH SHELLS, AND ONE OF HER HOME-GROWN GOURDS STANDS NEARBY.

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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 61


COLOUR OF THE YEAR

MELISSA RAYWORTH

IN THIS WALLPAPER PATTERN BY INTERIOR DESIGNER BRETT BELDOCK, CLASSICAL GRECIAN IMAGERY RENDERED IN CRISP WHITE PROVIDES A CALMING BALANCE FOR THE BOLD VIOLET BACKGROUND. FOR HOMEOWNERS SEEKING TO EMBRACE PANTONE’S CHOICE OF ULTRA VIOLET AS THE COLOR OF THE YEAR FOR 2018, A PATTERN LIKE THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO PAIR TRADITIONAL STYLE WITH A VIVID, MODERN COLOR CHOICE. (BRETT DESIGN

RICH, POWERFUL & CHALLENGING

W

hen the Pantone Color Institute announced its colour of the year for 2018, the vibrant “Ultra Violet,” it might have seemed a natural fit for fashion and cosmetics. “Ultra Violet is a colour that’s almost like a neutral in fashion now,” says interior designer Brett Beldock. “Every newscaster you see is wearing a purple tie.” But this rich violet is more challenging to use well in home decorating. It can easily overpower a room, and needs to be paired carefully with other shades. We’ve ask Beldock and two other interior designers — Abbe Fenimore and Jessica McClendon — for advice on bringing his trendy, bold colour into home decor in ways that won’t quickly go out of style.

62 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

BE WARY OF WALLS If you’re considering painting your walls violet, Beldock suggests testing a large swatch first. McClendon agrees: “Make sure you look at large samples of the paint before committing. Purple is a hard colour, and it straddles a fine line between super-luxurious and cheap. You have to be really thoughtful when choosing a purple paint colour.” Look at the samples in different lights and in different parts of the room. Two ways to moderate violet’s impact on walls: Use it only on a single accent wall, Beldock suggests, or bring it in as part of a wallpaper pattern.

In her own wall covering designs, she has used violet as a solid backdrop covered with images rendered in crisp white, or as a playful accent over a simple white background.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Ultra Violet a statement colour, McClendon says. So even though it’s popular right now, “don’t commit to painting a room or a large piece of furniture unless it works for your true style.” But if you love it, go all in. “I’ve seen rooms that were all purple and amazing,” she says. “Again, it goes back to what your true style is and how you want your space to feel.”


THIS PLAYFUL WALLPAPER PATTERN USES VIOLET BRUSHSTROKES ON A WHITE BACKGROUND. (BRETT DESIGN)

ULTRA VIOLET CAN BRING A TOUCH OF LUXURY TO HOME DECORATING, ESPECIALLY WHEN USED SPARINGLY IN RICH UPHOLSTERY FABRICS AS SEEN IN THIS BEDROOM DESIGNED BY DESIGNER JESSICA MCCLENDON. (GLAMOUR NEST)

CAREFUL PAIRINGS

BEST FOR BEDROOMS McClendon says violet can bring a touch of luxury to bedrooms, especially when used sparingly in rich upholstery fabrics. “Go with a deeper or dustier shade for a more mature look or brighter for a playful, younger vibe,” she says. “If you want a softer, more feminine feel, opt for a less saturated or paler tone.” One key is choosing the right fabric: “If you are thinking about using purple on an upholstered item,

opt for fabrics rich in texture or feel,” McClendon says. “Think silk, velvet, chenille, textured woven or even an interesting print. I’m not a fan of just plain solid purple twill cotton because it ends up feeling flat and looking not high-quality.” Along with fabrics, Fenimore likes using violet for accessories in the bedroom “for a rich and sophisticated feel. Amethyst accents like lamps, picture frames or small accessories stacked on books work well,” she says.

Ultra Violet “can be bold and take over a room quickly if it’s not balanced correctly,” says Fenimore. So use it as a supporting player only. Choose colour combinations that make Ultra Violet feel like a part of the room, instead of taking over, she says. Good partners might be celadon green, lavender and soft pink. That palette, with a touch of Ultra Violet, would be beautiful in a modern wallpaper used in a small space like a powder room. Beldock loves violet with white, heather grey, khaki, olive or camel. And a mix of violet, chocolate brown and white, she says, would have a smartly retro 1970s feel that could look very fresh today. One warning about colour pairings: “I would avoid mixing the colour with red,” says Fenimore. “Together, the two shades will quickly take over a room and create an environment with too much anxiety.” CH

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 63


DESIGN ONE – STEVENS INTERIORS –

RESPECTING PROPORTIONS ...& MORE The success of a renovation depends on the details. The details of window proportions, moulding profiles and finish materials look true to form and authentic when the character of the home is considered. Renovating an old home is not simply about copying from the past, but about respecting the proportions, historic shapes and building materials. However, ideas for new designs need to push traditional forms in a new direction. For Rita, interior designer at Design One Stevens, this is where the fun begins. New functions can be integrated into the design by rearranging the pattern of rooms and spaces within. The space can be transformed to provide a more efficient way of living. The essential creature comforts of modern living can be woven into the fabric of an existing house without being obtrusive or overwhelming. Authenticity in design is about how well it is made and whether it is created with a genuine understanding of its form and function. It depends on getting the details right without losing sight of the big picture. This is why Rita insists on working hand in hand with her cabinet maker and carpenter, overseeing every proportion and detail, to ensure that nothing is overlooked. It’s the approach to details that make a design feel “authentic.” It is the care and attention that Rita brings to her design that makes all the difference. >

64 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

DESIGNERS CORNER

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 65


ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

DESIGN ONE – STEVENS INTERIORS –

BEFORE & AFTER Two very different styles of kitchens, two very different clients. In each of these kitchens, Rita manages to bring out the character of both the home and the client. It is her belief that her design should speak to the needs and wants of the client. Through collaboration, these desires become evident. “The greatest compliment a client’s friend gave me was to say that I had made it show their personality; that the kitchen was Joan and Larry’s, not some designer’s.” It is a process that necessitates the blending of the needs of the clients with the integrity of the home itself. By honouring the architecture of the home, Rita manages to transform a space into one that is cohesive with the rest of the home. “A home has to make sense.

BEFORE

66 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

& AFTER...

This is brought about through proper scale, proportion and period detail appropriate to the home, seemingly without effort.” In the first kitchen, the clients wanted a kitchen that was open, but reluctant to take away from the elegance of the rest of their home. Rita convinced them that by opening up the space, the elegance could be brought into the cabinetry and the stone of their countertops. The clients chose a granite specifically to match the stone slab on their feature fireplace. The hardware sparkles like jewelry and the feature wine rack hides the obtrusive and immovable electrical panel behind. Hand detailed paneling hides extra storage for the smaller condo lifestyle. Most of the appliances are hidden from

the view of the dining room. The functional kitchen becomes an elegant feature and the clients can entertain in great style! The next kitchen was transformed from a dark 70s kitchen to an bright, spacious kitchen, with a place for everything! Behind doors and drawers are layers of storage. The clients were worried that, by removing their upper cabinets along the one wall and the original peninsula, they would lose valuable storage space. By using every inch for space-saving devices, Rita managed to create a kitchen that is both functional and fun! The handy built-in storage cart rolls seamlessly under a countertop. The clients can wheel it next to the stove for prepping food or into the middle of the room, as an island, when entertaining. The clients’ delight in colour can be seen in the punches of colour in the cart and the back wall, with the neutral tones of the cabinetry and tiles providing a simple and bright back drop. Light streams in the new windows and doors and the space is a happy space; a far cry from their dark and cumbersome kitchen!


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Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 67


design ENCORE

CHANDELIERS MAKING A STATEMENT

T

he chandelier, once a common and popular fixture in the home, is now making a comeback. Whether for function or aesthetics, chandeliers can help make an instant statement.

ENTRYWAYS The entryway is a common location for a chandelier. The visual impact of placing a chandelier there can help set the tone and introduce guests to what is to come.

AN OVERSIZED, ORNATE CHANDELIER ADDS GLAMOUR TO THIS DINING ROOM (H5 PROPERTY)

DINING AREAS Chandeliers can be used to define rooms, especially dining areas. Often the selection of the dining table as far as its shape, style and even location is dictated by the location and style of the chandelier placed above it. Typically dining areas have an air of formality, and the style of chandelier can reflect this or a more casual feel.

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DO’S AND DONT’S

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68 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

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Do choose a chandelier that is the appropriate size and scale. A chandelier that is too big or too small can look out of place. Do select a chandelier that makes a bold statement. Do pay attention to style and color. A chandelier should complement your decor. Don’t forget that not all chandeliers have to be overly fancy. Consider a chandelier that may be simpler if it fits your lifestyle. Don’t hang your chandelier too high or too low. The bottom of the chandelier should allow for ample headroom, without being too close to the ceiling. The entire chandelier should ideally be visible from the entry point into the space. Don’t purchase a chandelier that is overly trendy. A chandelier should be an investment, kept over time, as opposed to a temporary lighting solution. CH


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3 ~ ~ SENSATIONAL -

SHEET PAN SUPPERS

ENJOY THESE AROMATIC, FLAVOURFUL DINNER SPREADS ANY NIGHT OF THE WEEK

70 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


Eric AK

If

you live in a condo or apartment with limited kitchen space to work in and store equipment and gadgets, or if you simply want to make tasty meals that don’t require you dirty every pot you own — get out one sheet-pan, fill it with a meal and start cooking. That’s exactly what I did with the three recipes featured here that each serve two. They are easy to make, enticingly aromatic, very flavourful and visually appealing. One recipe sees nicely spiced prawns, peppers and onions roasted together and then used to fill tacos. You then adorn the tacos with your desired toppings; quick to get ready items that you can set out in small bowls, such as salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, cilantro sprigs and avocado. These tacos are quite tasty and things get even better if you serve them with margaritas. You can buy the peeled and deveined prawns used in the recipe at many supermarkets. So to make the taco filling all you need to do is cut up some onions and peppers, set them on the sheet-pan, toss with the prawns and flavourings and roast them. My second recipe is Asian-style that sees salmon fillets, three types of vegetables, cubes of pineapple and shitake mushrooms all happily cooked together on a sheetpan. Before setting the pan in the oven, you delightfully drizzle everything with a Thai-style sweet chili sauce, spiked with soy sauce, ginger and citrus juice, and then sprinkle on sesame seeds. To round out the meal, in the recipe introduction I suggest you serve this sheet-pan dinner with steamed rice or Asian-style egg noodles. My last recipe, a rosemary lemon smoked paprika- and garlic-flavoured sheet-pan dinner of roast chicken thighs and vegetables, would make a nice Sunday dinner. Serve it with sliced baguette and a bottle of B.C. wine, perhaps chardonnay or another option your favourite wine seller suggests. You will find sided baking sheets in a range of sizes at hardware and cookware stores. The size I used in all of my recipes was 15 x 10-inches. For easy clean up, before setting on my ingredients I lined the pan with parchment paper. If you are feeding more than two, all of the recipes could be doubled. If you do that, to ensure all the ingredients fit, make these sheet-pan dinners on a larger 18 x > 13-inch or similar sized baking sheet.

3 PLUS YOUR IMAGINATION

1 PRAWN

~~ TACOS

2 ASIAN-STYLE

~~ SALMON

3 ROASTED

~~

CHICKEN & VEGETABLES

YOU ONLY NEED SIMPLE THINGS

~

~

Knife Parchment Paper (Optional)

Sheet-Pan Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 71


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1

~~

PRAWN TACO Sheet-Pan Dinner for Two

peeled and deveined prawns (see Note) ~~ 121/2large, medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced ~ 1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper, thinly sliced ~ 1/2 medium-sized yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced ~ 3 Tbsp olive oil ~ 1/2 tsp chili powder ~ 1/2 tsp ground cumin ~ 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ~ salt to taste ~ 4 half, lime slices, for squeezing ~ taco toppings to taste, ~these could include salsa, fresh 6 (six-inch round) soft corn or flour tortillas

cilantro sprigs, sour cream, hot sauce, queso fresco, sliced jalapeños, diced avocado and/or shredded lettuce

N

icely spiced, roasted prawns, peppers and onions you can stuff into corn or flour tortillas and top, as you like.

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 13 to 15 minutes Makes: two servings

Preheat oven 375 F. Line a 15- x 10-inch sided baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and set them aside for now. Place the prawns, onions and bell peppers on the baking sheet. Drizzle and sprinkle them with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Toss the prawns and vegetables and evenly coat them with the oil and seasonings. Spread prawns and vegetables out so that they sit in a single layer. Now roast 13 to 15 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked and vegetables are tender. When the prawns are about halfway cooked, put the package of tortillas in the oven to warm up. When cooked, squeeze lime juice on the prawns and vegetables. Now fill the tortillas with the prawns and vegetables and serve, adorned with your desired toppings. Note: Peeled and deveined prawns are sold frozen at many supermarkets. Thaw and pat dry before using. If you can’t find them, buy shell-on prawns and peel and devein them yourself. To do so, hold the tip of tail of a prawn in one hand. Slip the thumb of your other hand under the shell between its swimmerets (little legs) and pull off the shell. With a small paring knife, make a lengthwise slit along the back of the prawn. Now pull out, or rinse out with cold water, the dark vein. Pat prawn dry and it’s ready to use. >

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 73


S

almon ďŹ llets, three types of vegetables, pineapple and mushrooms and a sweet, sour and chilispiced sauce, all tastily baked together. Serve this sheetPan dinner with steamed rice or Asian-style egg noodles. Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 16 to 18 minutes Makes: two servings

74 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


2 ASIAN-STYLE SALMON Preheat oven 375 F. Line a 15- x 10-inch sided baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set salmon in the centre of the baking sheet, leaving a four-inch space in between each fillet. Surround the fish with the broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, pineapple and snap peas. Now use a small spoon to drizzle the sauce on the fish, vegetables and pineapple, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set pan in the oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked (see Note 2) and vegetables are just tender. Sprinkle with green onions and serve. Note 1: Thai sweet chili sauce is sold in bottles in the Asian foods aisle of most supermarkets. Note 2: When cooked, the flesh of the salmon will become opaque and feel slightly firm, not hard (a sign it’s overcooked) and not soft (a sign it’s not cooked through). When cooked, the fish will also start to separate slightly into flakes and a white protein will seep out from the flakes. Eric options: Instead of fresh pineapple, use 10 to 12 canned chunks of pineapple in this recipe.

~~

Sheet-Pan Dinner for Two

FOR THE SAUCE

~ 1 Tbsp lime juice ~ 1 Tbsp orange juice ~ 1 Tbsp soy sauce ~ 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger ~

1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (see Note 1)

FOR THE SALMON

~ 4 pieces broccolini, stems trimmed ~ 4 to 5 (1/2-inch thick) zucchini slices, each halved ~ 5 to 6 medium fresh shitake mushrooms, tough stems ~ removed, caps halved 10 to 12 (1/2-inch cubes) peeled fresh pineapple ~ (see Eric options) 12 to 14 snap peas ~ 2 tsp sesame seeds ~ 1 green onion, thinly sliced ~ 2 (5- to- 6-oz/140- 170-gram) salmon fillets

> Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 75


3 ROASTED CHICKEN

J ~ ~ & VEGETABLES Dinner for Two

~ 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ~ 1 large garlic clove, minced ~ 2 small to medium carrots with tops ~ 4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs ~ 2 medium beets, each peeled and cut ~ 4 to 6 wedges (see Note) 3 small- to medium-sized yellow-fleshed ~ potatoes, each cut 4 to 6 wedges (see Note) 1/2 large lemon ~ 2 (6-inch) pieces fresh rosemary ~ flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, ~ to taste 1 large green kale leaf, tough centre rib removed, ~ leafy part torn into 3-inch or so pieces 3 Tbsp olive oil

76 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018

uicy chicken thighs roasted with a nice selection of vegetables all deliciously flavoured with olive oil, lemon, rosemary, garlic and other accents.

Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes Makes: two servings

Preheat oven 375 F. Line a 15- x 10-inch sided baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine oil, paprika and garlic in a bowl. Trim the tops off each carrot, leaving about one inch of it in place. Now cut each carrot, lengthwise, in half. Set the chicken, skin-side up, in the centre of the baking sheet, leaving a three-inch. Space in between each piece. Surround the chicken with the carrots, beets and potatoes. Now brush the oil mixture on the chicken and vegetables. Cut the half lemon into 4 or 5 slices, and then squeeze the juice out of those slices overtop the chicken and vegetables. Set the squeezed lemon slices in the pan, too. Cut rosemary into one-inch pieces and set them on and around the chicken and vegetables. Now season everything with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken and vegetables 25 minutes. Now nestle the pieces of kale on the pan. Baste the top of it and the other vegetables with the juices in the pan. Roast 20 to 25 minutes more, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked. Note: The beet and potatoes wedges should be no more than about 1 1/2 inches thick. If thicker than that they might not be cooked through when the chicken is. CH eakis@timescolonist.com Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Times Colonist Wednesday and Sunday.


JEANMARIE BROWNSON

MMM-Mexican! A TRIP TO VERACRUZ BRINGS BACK RECIPES FOR SALSA AND EMPANADAS

T

hey dance on the streets in Veracruz City. A couple of nights a week, locals and visitors dress up in their Sunday best and assemble in the town square to enjoy Veracruz’s famous dance, the danzon. Set to live music, the spectacle of young and old dancing together proves unforgettable. We did our best to keep in step; mostly, we just worked up an appetite. Good thing, as there’s much food to love in Mexico’s state of Veracruz, especially the seafood from the Gulf. In the morning, we stroll along the waterfront on the lookout for the bicycle vendors selling warm fish empanadas from baskets. Flaky pastry stuffed with shredded fish, tomatoes, olives, capers and shot chili, these empanadas fill our dreams. Later, a walk along Veracruz’s beaches justifies our supper of stunningly fresh fish smothered in salsa Veracruzana. Luckily, salsa Veracruzana ranks as one of the easiest sauces to make at home. Ideally, the chunky sauce starts with ripe, fresh tomatoes. But canned tomatoes make an adequate stand-in for garden-fresh. Olives and briny capers, peppered throughout the sauce, confirm the Spanish influence on Mexico’s food. Jalapenos, the ubiquitous fresh chili named after the state’s capital, Jalapa (aka Xalapa), spice the

food ENCORE JEANMARIE BROWNSON

JALAPENO PEPPERS; THE BACKBONE OF MEXICAN CUISINE

sauce just perfectly. Pickled jalapenos pair deliciously with the tangy character of the olives and capers. Be sure to use pickled jalapenos made without added sugar. Nacho slices, for example, would be too sweet. For the olives, I like manzanilla — with or without pimento. Capers prove more palatable when rinsed before using. I always make a large batch of this salsa to use over grilled fish, to eat on chips, to season crab for an empanada, to dollop over scrambled eggs or to tuck into tacos. Snapper a la Veracruzana is beloved throughout Mexico. Back home, I use a variety of fish, always on the lookout for local, sustainable, wild-caught or responsibly farmed. Thick, meaty white fish pairs beautifully with the briny sauce. So does rich, flaky salmon — especially when grilled. When thin fillets, such as tilapia, are on the menu, I use a hot nonstick skillet or the broiler instead of the grill. Sauteed shrimp, smothered in the Veracruz sauce and served over white rice, makes a gorgeous dinner. Don’t think I forgot about those Veracruzana-style empanadas. The recipe that follows makes use of frozen puff pastry, the salsa and some pasteurized lump crab.

VERACRUZ TOMATO OLIVE SALSA Preparation time: 15 minutes Makes: 4 cups Always rinse raw onion before using it to remove any unpleasant odors and aftertaste. s 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced fireroasted tomatoes s 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion, well rinsed, drained s 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives s 2 tablespoons finely chopped drained pickled jalapenos or 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeno

s 2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed, optional s 2 tablespoons each, thinly sliced fresh: parsley, cilantro s 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil s 1/4 teaspoon salt Put tomatoes with their liquid into a food processor or blender and process with 4 on/off turns to roughly chop. Do not puree. Transfer the tomatoes to medium-size bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature. NUTRITION INFORMATION PER CUP: 115 calories, 6 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein, 785 mg sodium, 4 g fiber Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 77


food ENCORE GRILLED SALMON WITH VERACRUZ TOMATO OLIVE SALSA AND POBLANOS Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Makes: 6 servings s2 cups Veracruz tomato olive salsa, see recipe s2 poblano peppers s1 small red bell pepper s2 pounds salmon fillets, each about 1 1/2 inches thick, rinsed, patted dry sOlive oil sSalt, freshly ground black pepper sParsley leaves, for garnish sThinly sliced lime for garnish 1. Make the salsa. 2. Set poblanos and red bell pepper on stove directly

over the gas flame. Cook, turning often, until skin blisters and blackens on all sides, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, roast peppers on the grill or 6 inches from the element of a heated broiler, turning often until skin blisters and blackens, 5 to 8 minutes.) Let peppers cool, then slip off charred skin with your hands. Rinse briefly under cool water. Remove the core and seeds and pat dry. Cut into 1/4-inch strips, then cut strips crosswise into thirds. 3. Preheat a gas grill to medium-hot. Or, prepare a charcoal grill for direct cooking and let coals burn until they are covered with gray ash, then spread coals in an even layer. 4. Heat the salsa in a bowl in the microwave until it is hot, about 2 minutes.

POBLANO PEPPER: (CAPSICUM ANNUUM) IS A MILD CHILI PEPPER ORIGINATING IN THE STATE OF PUEBLA, MEXICO. DRIED, IT IS CALLED ANCHO OR CHILE ANCHO, FROM THE MEXICAN SPANISH NAME ANCHO (“WIDE”) OR CHILE ANCHO (“WIDE CHILE”).

5. Brush fish generously on all sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill fish, skin side up, 6 inches from heat source, until the fish releases easily from the grill grates, about 6 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to gently flip the fish. Grill until the salmon is nearly firm when pressed with a finger, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a large platter. 6. Pour the warm salsa over the fish. Sprinkle with roasted pepper pieces and parsley. Garnish with lime slices and serve. NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: 288 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 96 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 35 g protein, 338 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

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EMPANADAS ARE MADE BY FOLDING DOUGH OVER A STUFFING, WHICH MAY CONSIST OF MEAT, CHEESE, CORN, OR OTHER INGREDIENTS

SPICY CRAB AND TOMATO EMPANADAS Preparation time: 30 minutes Chill: 30 minutes Bake: 30 minutes Makes: 8 large empanadas Cooked, flaked salmon, chopped cooked shrimp or drained canned tuna can be substituted for the crabmeat. The unbaked empanadas can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen increasing the time by 10 to 15 minutes. s1 tablespoon olive oil s1 cup Veracruz tomato olive salsa, see recipe s1/2 pound premium lump crab meat, about 1 1/2 cups, drained s2 tablespoons chopped drained pickled jalapenos sCoarse salt s1 large egg s 1 tablespoon milk s1 package (17 oz.) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the salsa. Boil gently over medium heat, covered with a splatter guard, stirring occasionally until juices are reduced and salsa is quite thick about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. 2. Drain crab and put into a bowl. Gently stir in the cooled salsa and the jalapenos. Season to taste with salt and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes or up to several hours. 3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the egg with the milk in a small bowl. Transfer the crab filling to a strainer to drain off any excess liquid. 4. Unfold 1 sheet of the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the sheet into a 10- by 10-inch square. Use a sharp knife to cut into 4 squares. Repeat with second pastry sheet. 5. Brush some of the egg mixture around the edges of each pastry square. Spoon 1/4 cup of the crab filling into the middle of each pastry square. Fold the pastry over the filling to make a triangle and to completely enclose the

filling. Press the edges to seal. Use the tines of a fork to press the edges together decoratively. Repeat to make 8 empanadas. 6. Transfer empanadas to the prepared baking sheets. Brush tops with some of the egg mixture and sprinkle with salt. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. 7. Heat the oven to 375 degrees convection or 400 degrees conventional. Bake until the empanadas are deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Nutrition information per empanada: 393 calories, 26 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 29 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 10 g protein, 423 mg sodium, 1 g fibre. CH

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A GATHERING OF WITNESSING A FASCINATING FAMILY PICNIC IN THE MOUNTAINS OF RWANDA MISTER MUHOZA, A 450-POUND SILVERBACK MOUNTAIN GORILLA,

IS THE ALPHA MALE OF THE FAMILY WE SAW ON OUR FIRST DAY OF GORILLA TREKKING. ABOVE RIGHT: ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE FAMILY, GNAWING ON A BAMBOO SHOOT. GORILLAS EAT OVER 200 TYPES OF PLANTS AND SPEND MUCH OF THEIR DAY FORAGING FOR FOOD. 80 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


TRAVEL

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, RWANDA —

MOUNTAIN GORILLA

e walk slowly toward a tangled thicket of vines and trees where the Muhoza family of mountain gorillas was recently seen, our guides making low throat-clearing noises. That’s gorilla-speak for “We’re friendly. “ I do the same, albeit inadvertently, out of nervousness and excitement. We’re seconds away from coming face-to-face with the majestic creatures that epitomize wildness (and sometimes really do look like King Kong), yet share 98 per cent of our DNA. We’ve been told that these endangered mountain gorillas are calm and peaceful. But still the gorilla trackers with us, who know these animals like family, carry large rifles. I’m heartened to learn the weapons are used only to scare away predators of the prized gorillas with a shot in the air. Our group of eight gorilla trekkers, from Canada, the U.S. and Britain, are armed with iPhones, small cameras and eager expressions. We’ve left our backpacks, walking sticks and longlensed cameras in a nearby clearing. (The gorillas don’t mind small cameras, but the long lenses make them curious. They’re tempted to check themselves out in the reflection and sometimes poke at the lens.) >

TEXT & PHOTOS T BY: KIM WESTAD

THIS YOUNG FEMALE TAKES A BREAK FROM FORAGING FOR FOOD AND THE AWESTRUCK GAZE OF OUR GROUP, APPEARING TO CONTEMPLATE LIFE.

sTHERE ARE an estimated 880 mountain gorillas in the world, up from a low of 254 in the early 1980s. They are all located in four protected national parks in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. sTHEIR POPULATION has endured years of war, poaching, hunting, habitat destruction and disease — threats so severe that it was once thought the species might be extinct by the end of the twentieth century.

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sABOUT HALF the gorillas live in the Virunga range of extinct volcanic mountains on the borders of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The other half live in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. sMOUNTAIN GORILLAS came to widespread public attention in the 1960s with the work of American primatologist Dian Fossey, who set up a research station in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park to study and help the animals. Her work focused global attention on the plight of gorillas.

MOUNTAIN GORILLA

MEETING THE MUHOZAS We walk single file behind our guides across a clearing toward the dense green foliage. The guides stop, silently motioning for us to do the same. They stare intently into the trees and vines. So do we, not really knowing what we’re looking for but desperate not to miss a thing. Once the gorillas are spotted, you have one hour, and the time limit is strictly adhered to. This is the gorilla’s land, not ours. The bamboo rustles near a tall hagenia tree. Seemingly out of nowhere, a large black gorilla is high above us. His very humanlike feet and hands gracefully grasp the branches and vines as he rappels down from Garry Oak tree-height to the grass in seconds. He lands about three metres from us, a smaller blackback, as the younger males are known. He’s likely around eight years old and about 200 pounds. The gorilla gazes at us, mildly curious. He slowly scratches his ample tummy. Sure, we’re new and maybe of some interest. But more importantly, we’re gathered near a tasty-looking crop of wild thistles.

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THE FAMILY STOPS IN A CLEARING FOR THEIR PORTRAIT.

IT WAS LIKE THEY WERE STRIKING A POSE FOR US!

He turns his large fuzzy back to us and starts munching. We’re all a bit breathless at actually seeing a gorilla so quickly and easily. The guides have told us to stay as quiet as possible, but you can hear whispers of: “Amazing. I can’t believe this!” Okay, maybe that was me. After a couple minutes, it’s as if we have become professional gorilla spotters. It seems like wherever we look in the greenery, we see a patch of darkness that moves and becomes a gorilla. In reality, we’ve just been extraordinarily lucky. We’ve happened upon the Muhoza family at their mid-morning feed in an area that they apparently think is a great buffet. They ignore us as they get on with enjoying the bounty of the area. We are not to get closer than seven metres from the gorillas, but we can be closer if they choose to walk toward us. That can easily happen if you’re standing near a particularly tasty plant that the gorillas want. A mother crawls through the underbrush and stops about two metres in front of us, a baby on her back. The baby, only a few months old, peers at us with bright brown eyes. His mama has work to do, crunching through the eucalyptus and wild celery. Gorillas spend about 30 per cent of their day eating 30 kilograms of vegetation from the countryside and more so when they have a baby. Babies stay with their mothers until they are three years old.

But the youngster wants to play. He hops off the mother’s back, runs up to another female gorilla, who plays with him, rolling through the grass and chittering at each other. The baby scampers up a vine to a canopy of tree branches. He reclines and beats his chest like the big males do, promptly rolling off the branch as he loses his balance. “He’s showing off,” laughs Bernice, one of our guides. One of the four gorilla trackers motions for the group to carry on around the side of the thicket. The vegetation moves and we see a very large, mostly silver creature 10 metres ahead. It is the silverback, so-called because of the smooth silver hair that coats his rippling back. Males develop the distinctive colouring at about 12 years old. He turns slowly, giving us his profile, his head at least three times the size of a large human. He is about 450 pounds. We have been given specific instructions about how to deal with the gorillas, particularly the silverback, the leader and protector of the family. We know to stay together as a group and not to get between any of the gorillas, particularly a baby and the family. We can look at the gorillas, but not stare (just like you wouldn’t stare at a dog; it can be viewed as trying to dominate). We know that while the gorillas are large and seemingly docile, they can move quickly and nimbly in seconds. > Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 83


            

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If a silverback moves toward us, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re never to run but to slowly back away. If we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t back away, we are to act submissive, kneeling or sitting down with our eyes downturned. This can be hard to imagine doing when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re actually facing a silverback, with his bulging muscles packed tightly onto a height of about six feet when standing. His arm span is about eight to nine feet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is Mister Muhoza,â&#x20AC;? whispers Emmanuel, another of the guides. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He is big and gentle and handsome. The ladies appreciate him.â&#x20AC;? Bernice adds that Mister Muhoza is also a â&#x20AC;&#x153;typically bossy boy.â&#x20AC;? The guides, who go through a rigorous selection and training process, know the gorilla families as well as they do their own. The Muhoza family is relatively new, formed in 2016, after Mister Muhoza left his previous family. Gorillas travel in troops or â&#x20AC;&#x153;families,â&#x20AC;? even though not all are related. There can be several silverbacks â&#x20AC;&#x201C; males over 12 years of age â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in one family, but only one leader, generally the oldest silverback. He is the alpha, deciding where the group travels foraging for food. He is the only one who can mate with the females. The alpha silverback in Mr Muhozaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s previous family died, leaving four younger silverbacks to ďŹ ght for leadership. Mister Muhoza lost. Rather than stay as a secondary silverback, he left the group and lived on his own in the wild for three years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a proud guy,â&#x20AC;? said Emmanuel. Solitary life is difďŹ cult for mountain gorillas, who are social creatures. But females from other families broke off and followed him, creating a new family. Now, Mister Muhoza seems like the conďŹ dent king of the jungle. He plucks thick vines wrapped around trees as if they were pieces of thread. He gracefully turns his girth toward us, gazing at us calmly as he fastidiously strips the vine with thick ďŹ ngers to get to the tender shoots inside. >


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MEETING THE MUHOZAS BABIES

ARE AS CUTE AS YOU COULD IMAGINE. THEY NURSE FROM THEIR MOTHERS FOR UP TO THREE YEARS, BUT ARE ALSO TAUGHT HOW TO FORAGE.

KIM

WESTAD USED A COMPACT MIRRORLESS CAMERA WITH A SMALL ZOOM, THE FUJI FILM X20, FOR THE GORILLA ASSIGNMENT.

86 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE He chews slowly, looking at us. It really does seem like those unblinking eyes, so similar to our own, see right into you and know a little more than feels comfortable. He makes a sound like a very large cat purring mixed with “mmmmm.” Emmanuel smiles. “He’s enjoying his lunch.” Mountain gorillas have up to 25 identified vocalizations. The contentment sound, which is often termed singing, can take many different forms, say experts. The sounds are also meant as reassurance to others in the group, a bit like a long-distance humming to the family. All of this has taken place in about 20 minutes, mostly with our iPhones or cameras between us and the gorillas. It’s an amazing experience that we all want to capture. But after 20 minutes or so, you can see people start to put down their cameras and phones and relax into the gorilla’s world. We have been within handshaking distance, admired their babies, felt their hair brush against us as they sashayed by and looked into the eyes of animals that have fascinated humans for centuries. I remind myself to simply appreciate them. As we walk around another portion of the thicket, a blackback sits like a Buddha a few feet in front of us. He watches us for a couple minutes before leaning his head back and gazing at the sky. I’m looking for significance in their every action. “What does this mean?” I ask Emmanuel. “He’s daydreaming,” he smiles. Despite my initial throat-clearing nervousness and excitement, I’m not afraid at all during our time with the gorillas. Neither were others in our group. Maybe it’s because they actually do seem familiar, with their humanlike behavour and physiology. Maybe it’s because none of us wanted to waste this precious hour on fear. And it may be only an hour, but you don’t need much longer than that to fall in love with the animals or this country of a thousand hills. CH

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GORILLA TRACKERS, PARK GUIDES AND PORTERS ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS WHILE TREKKING AND PLAY KEY ROLES IN THE EXPERIENCE. EACH GORILLA FAMILY HAS FOUR DEDICATED TRACKERS, WHO FOLLOW THE GORILLAS EVERY DAY FROM A DISTANCE. THEY ARE IN CONTACT WITH THE PARK GUIDES, WHO LEAD YOU ON THE HIKE UP THE MOUNTAIN. WHEN YOUR GROUP IS ABOUT FIVE MINUTES AWAY FROM THE GORILLA FAMILY, THE TRACKERS COME OUT TO MEET THE GROUP AND LEAD YOU TO THE GORILLAS.

A TYPICAL GORILLA-

s The day starts at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters in the village of Musanze. You need a photocopy of your passport and your gorilla trekking permit number. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re with a safari or a guide, they generally look after this for you. s Show up at 7 a.m. in your hiking gear. There is coffee and tea available at the headquarters, but no potable water. Be sure to have enough water for the hike. There are also bathrooms.

OUR TWO PARK GUIDES, AS WELL AS THE PORTERS (IN BLUE). THE PORTERS ARE AN INCREDIBLE HELP AS YOU MAKE YOUR WAY UP AND DOWN THE MOUNTAIN. THE HIKE UP CAN BE DIFFICULT, AND A PORTER CARRYING YOUR PACK AND HELPING AS YOU SLIP THROUGH MUD AND FIND YOUR WAY THROUGH OFTEN THICK JUNGLE CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOUGH BUT DOABLE HIKE TO SOMETHING MUCH LESS ENJOYABLE. PORTERS ARE FROM THE LOCAL VILLAGES AND WORK TOGETHER AS A CO-OPERATIVE. THEY CHARGE $10 US A DAY. THE GORILLA TRACKERS ARE ALSO LOCALS, AND MANY HAVE KNOW THE GORILLAS THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. THEY CARRY GUNS TO SCARE AWAY OTHER ANIMALS WHO COULD HURT THE GORILLAS. SHOTS ARE FIRED IN THE AIR.


TREKKING WITH GORILLAS

s Let the people dividing the trekkers into groups know what your hiking abilities are. Be truthful. The length of walk depends on which gorilla family you are assigned to. Some families tend to eat and sleep lower on the mountains and some higher, so the hikes vary dramatically. The terrain ranges from a nice walk up a terraced volcano and then through some light jungle, to several hour hikes up the equivalent of Mount Finlayson if it was covered in jungle that a guide has to cut with a machete so you can walk. s Do some hiking before you go to get into shape. It will make your day that much more enjoyable. The hike itself is spectacular. You might run into some chatty golden monkeys or see some of the parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s native birds such as the African Green Broadbill or Kivu Ground Thrush, as you walk through dappled bamboo forests. s Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll meet with a park guide and a gorilla guide after the groups have been divvied up. The guides are experienced and rigorously trained. They range from Francois Bigirimana, one of Dian Fosseyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oringial porters, who has worked at the park since 1978, to young women like Bernice Iwacu, an environmental studies graduate who is one of a growing number of female guides. s Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll explain the doâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ts of gorilla etiquette (for example, if you have to cough, move away from the gorillas; they are very susceptible to our germs. If you have facial hair, keep it covered as much as possible; the silverbacks donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like it.)

s Your guides are in contact with the gorilla trackers. Each gorilla family has its own dedicated group of trackers, who locate their family every morning at sunrise. s When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re about ďŹ ve minutes from gorilla family, the trackers meet you. They are a welcome sight because it means you are very close! CH

MOUNTAIN GORILLA

s Wear good hiking boots. The trails are often muddy. Wear long pants and sleeves. The jungle can be prickly, and there are poisonous plants. Garden gloves are also handy to protect your hands. s Permit-holders are divided into 12 groups of eight trekkers. There are 12 gorilla families. A maximum of eight people are allowed per trek for a maximum of 96 visitors per day.

GORILLA TREKKING HAS A LARGE HUMAN INFRASTRUCTURE, MADE UP OF MOSTLY PEOPLE FROM LOCAL VILLAGES, MANY OF WHOM WERE EITHER FORMER POACHERS OR THE CHILDREN OF POACHERS. RWANDA HAS DONE A GREAT JOB OF ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN GORILLA TREKKING, WHICH IS A KEY COMPONENT OF THEIR TOURISM. 10 PER CENT OF THE GORILLA TREKKING PERMIT GOES BACK TO LOCAL VILLAGES FOR INFRASTRUCTURE - MOSTLY SCHOOLS AND HEALTH CENTRES.

s-/5.4!).'/2),,!3 live in forests high in the mountains, up to about, 3,000 metres. s3).#%4(%,!4%s, extensive conservation efforts by Rwanda, Uganda and DRC have helped save the gorilla population, say wildlife organizations. The countries have focused on active protection against poaching, combined with responsible tourism. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The dedication of park staff in the three countries is the chief reason why mountain gorillas are thriving today,â&#x20AC;? according to the World Wildlife Federation.

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ON THE SLOPES OF MOUNT UN T S SABYINYO ABYINYO

WALKING BACK DOWN FROM THE VOLCANO, LOCALS CARRYING POTATOES TO THEIR FARM. FARMING IS A HUGE PART OF LIFE IN RWANDA, WITH TERRACES ALL ALONG THE VOLCANO SIDES.

IT TAKES A

90 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


MOUNTAIN GORILLA

mmanuel, one of our gorilla trekking guides, grew up in the small village that we are walking through en route to see the prized mountain gorillas on Mount Bisoke. The effervescent 28-year-old, who can spiel off gorilla facts and figures, Rwandan history and the lyrics to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses when we enter the jungle, stops to greet most people we pass by. Many are tending long rows of sweet potatoes, beans and peas. Others are creating valuable and needed charcoal by burning eucalyptus wood. Their work seems unending. Emmanuel’s neighbours have grown used to the tourists who have become a daily part of their lives. “They know it is good for the community and hopefully for their children,” Emmanuel says, high-fiving kids who come running when they see us. He has what is viewed as a plum job as a Volcanoes National Park tour guide. His English is excellent, learned in school and honed talking to the tourists he’s met since he was one of the children running out to greet passersby. Emmanuel has known the mountain gorillas since he was a child. Still, he never tires of them. “They are always doing something new, something interesting. I love them.” >

s./47/'/2),,!3have the same nose print. They are like gorilla fingerprints. s-/5.4!).'/2),,!3 have not survived in zoos. In the 1960s and 70s, numerous attempts were made to capture live mountain gorillas and start a captive population. Many adult gorillas were killed to obtain live babies, none of which survived in captivity. The reason why they failed to survive is unclear, since lowland gorillas have been kept and even bred successfully in captivity.

Capital HOME SPRING 2018 | 91


CHARCOL IS PRODUCED BY VILLAGERS FROM EUCALYPTUS WOOD, A PROCESS

s-/5.4!).'/2),,!3 are nomadic, and wander a home range of about 40 square kilometres. They are not territorial (except about mating) and their paths can easily cross that of another family. s4(%'/2),,!3 make new nests every night. Lighter gorillas nest in trees, making beds of bent branches. The heavier gorillas may nest in grasses on the ground. Mountain gorilla infants snuggle with their mothers for the night.

MOUNTAIN GORILLA

THAT TAKES SEVERAL DAYS. CHARCOAL IS USED BY LOCALS TO COOK OVER AND IS ALSO A VALUABLE RESOURCE TO SELL AT LOCAL MARKETS.

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A NEW ECONOMY PORTERS JOSEE AND HOPE ARE VILLAGERS WHO ARE

NOW A KEY PART OF THE TOURISM ECONOMY.

PARK GUIDES

ARE ASSIGNED TO YOUR GROUP AT THE PARK HEADQUARTERS. MANY GREW UP IN LOCAL VILLAGES, STARTED AS PORTERS AND EVENTUALLY BECAME GUIDES. THEY ARE TREASURE TROVES OF INFORMATION AND PERSPECTIVE ABOUT THE GORILLAS AND THE COMMUNITY.

VILLAGERS

ARE USED TO TOURISTS. THESE YOUNGSTERS TAUGHT SOME VISITORS A FEW DANCE MOVES.

He’s also seen the changes over the years, from the days when poaching was the norm to now, when people from around the world pay $1,500 US a day for a permit . Villagers are part of that new economy. Gorilla tourism emphasizes local involvement, with 10 per cent of the fees collected at Volcanoes National Park going toward village infrastructure. That translates to things such as new schools, health centres and water-treatment centres. Many local people have been hired and trained in steadily ascending positions in tourism and guiding. Emmanuel started working at the local community centre before becoming a tracker and then a guide at the park. It is a coveted job in the community, and one that still allows him to help at his family’s farm on his days off. Some local villagers or their parents once supported their families by animal poaching. The aim is to involve those families in a new economy

that involves celebrating the gorillas and other mountain animals, rather than poaching them. For example, there is a porter’s co-operative, where local men and women buy in and are trained to help visitors up the often steep mountainside. You might think you don’t need someone to carry your pack or help as you scramble through snakelike vines in the jungle, but trust me - it will be the best $10 US (the minimum payment, although you can tip on top of that) you’ve spent. My guide Hope, a 20-year-old villager, is studying to become a tour guide. He made all the difference in my day, helping me make my way through ankle-deep mud after a flash rain left the ground slick as a skating rink. It’s also a great opportunity to talk to a local person and learn about the communities you’re walking through. CH

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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO MOUNTAIN GORILLA s4(%%#/3934%- in Volcanoes National Park has more than 200 plants that the gorillas feed on. They also sometimes eat ants.

Visiting the mountain gorillas is not for the faint of heart ... or wallet s The necessary permit to go on a one-day gorilla trek increased from $750 to $1,500 US in 2017. Gorilla permits can be booked at the Rwanda Development Board Tourism and Conservation Reservation Office in person, by telephone (252 57 65 14) or via email: reservation@rwandatourism.com. They should be bought in advance.

s4(%0/05,!4)/. growth of mountain gorillas is slow. The gestation period is about nine months. The babies stay with their mother until age three and have a very close bond. The females generally have one baby every four years or so.

s The Rwandan Development Board is positioning the gorilla tourism market as a “high-end, low-volume destination as a measure of protecting the endangered mountain gorilla species in its habitat.”

s'/2),,!42//03 or families can have up to 30 members, although on average, they have about 20 to 25 members.

s There are only 96 permits per day to visit the gorillas for one very strictly regulated hour. That is to protect the gorilla habitat; too many people tromping through the jungle would

destroy the very ecosystem the gorillas need to survive. As well, the goal is to keep the gorillas as undisturbed as possible, while still sharing them with the world. s In 2016, Rwandan park revenues (the country has three national parks) were $17.8 million US. Volcanoes National Park accounted for 92 per cent of that. Some 81 per cent of Volcanoes National Park revenue came from gorilla trekking. s In 2017, 22,708 tourists visited Volcanoes National Park. In 1999, there were 417. s Revenues are primarily used to fund the conservation in all three of Rwanda’s national parks. CH

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AS YOU CAN SEE, SOME OF THE TROOP ENJOY THE ATTENTION

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HOW TO GET THERE VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, RWANDA Rwanda is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen

R W A N D A

AFRICA

s Rwanda is popular for gorilla trekking because of its safety and the ease of getting to Volcanoes National Park from the capital city of Kigali. s We flew into Kigali, a city of just over one million people, with a large international airport. Kigali is about a two-hour drive from the park. Like all of Rwanda, known as the country of a thousand hills, Kigali is spread over hillsides amid the incredibly lush greenery that is also typical of the country. Rwanda is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, with rich red earth, terraced greenery along the mountains and a fine mist that gives it all an air of mystery.

more than one million Rwandans killed in the 1994 genocide. In 100 days in 1994, Hutu extremists targeted Tutsi and moderate Hutus in mass killings.

s Kigali is worth at least a day’s visit, particularly to visit the Genocide Memorial Centre. It is the resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the genocide against the Tutsi people of Rwanda. Its aim is to honour, through education and peace-building, the memory of the

s The situation has complicated political and historical roots that were largely ignored by the rest of the world until it was too late. Canadians often know it by its shattering impact on General Romeo Dallaire, leader of United Nations peacekeepers in Rwanda.

s The genocide that all but destroyed the country is living history in modern Rwanda, with memorials throughout the country. Almost everyone there has been somehow impacted, whether by living through it or having their family experience it. Now, Rwandans do not identify themselves at Hutu or Tutsi. The most common refrain is: “One Rwanda. We are all Rwandan.” CH

VICTORIA-BASED KIM WESTAD is a serial traveler who has visited more than 16 countries around the globe over the past two decades. Her natural curiosity of cultures, historic sites and dining have taken her from Myanmar to Nunavut and points between. Her most recent dispatches for Capital Home were from Paris, New Orleans and Oakland, California. She brings a local perspective to her travel diaries and an inside knowledge on what to see, when to see it and how best to enjoy your trip. KIM WESTAD WITH PORTER HOPE MANISHIMWE. THE PORTERS ARE INVALUABLE IN HELPING YOU UP AND DOWN THE MOUNTAINSIDE. THEY ARE LOCALS FROM AREA VILLAGES, WHICH HAVE BECOME HIGHLY INVOLVED IN GORILLA TOURISM. A PORTER’S SERVICES ARE $10 US A DAY AND WORTH EVERY CENT. 96 | Capital HOME SPRING 2018


BABIES CAN NURSE UNTIL AGE THREE. THEY ARE VERY ATTACHED TO THEIR MOTHER BUT OTHER GORILLAS IN THE FAMILY WILL PLAY WITH AND ALSO HELP CARE FOR THE YOUNG ONES. BABIES ARE CELEBRATED IN AN ANNUAL KWITA IZINA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A GORILLA NAMING CEREMONY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; EVERY SEPTEMBER. THE CEREMONY IS INSPIRED BY THE ANCIENT RWANDAN TRADITION OF NAMING BABIES SOON AFTER THEY ARE BORN. THE BABIES ARE NOT THERE, BUT IT IS A LARGE COMMUNITY CELEBRATION.

          

   

     

   

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NEXT ISSUE OF CAPITAL HOME

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oin us for the next edition of Capital Home in June when we explore the glorious season of summer, water and fun. We will take you through some beautiful homes and outdoor spaces, where innovative designs expand our living areas to the great outdoors. Soak up the latest in product designs to help you get more out of life during the summer season. We’ll also bring you delicious dining ideas and take you to some of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places. Watch for it in June.

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