by Janice Henshaw | photos by Vince Klassen –
A gravel path leads to the beach, and halfway down there is a sitting area where the path widens out with a rock wall built into the sloping hill. When this property was for sale in 2018, homeowner-to-be Debra saw this magical spot and imagined enjoying a cocktail here while watching the ever-changing sea and the glorious sunsets over the coastal mountains. At that moment, the purchase moved from a dream to reality.
Due to the complexities of building on an oceanfront lot with a creek flowing along one side of the property, it took a year before shovels hit the ground. The property was surveyed, and permits applied for archaeological, biological and environmental studies. A self-contained water treatment plant had to be built; apparently, the exit water is so clean it’s drinkable! Tidman Construction Ltd. began building the house in 2019, and Debra and Gerry moved into their new home in time for Christmas 2020.
The two-storey, 3,200-square-foot house has gray Hardie Board shingles on the exterior walls and large, white-trimmed windows that reflect an elegant and timeless East Coast style. The shingles were painstakingly matched on the corners rather than covered by a vertical trim board. A round window on the second floor adds a whimsical nautical touch. On the entry side of the house, there is a three-car garage with a 600-square-foot suite built above it to provide accommodation for future home help if needed.
Debra and Gerry designed their three-bedroom, three-bathroom beachfront house, incorporating the features they liked best from a house they had built four years ago in Langley. Ryan Hoyt of Hoyt Design Co. drew up their plans. The ceiling height gives the whole home an airy feel; it is a lofty 11 feet on the main floor and 10 feet on the upper floor, enhanced by the elegant crown and floor mouldings.
The Buxton blue entry door is beautiful, with windows in it and all around the door. Two candlelight chandeliers add an old-world feel to the Cloud White walls. The oak hardwood floor has a light, wired-brush matte finish. In the living area, the wall of windows offers a sweeping view of the ocean. Adding an element of coziness is the Napoleon gas fireplace framed in blocks of grey rock beneath a live edge wood mantle. Pot lights, white linen slip-covered couches, a soft rug, and floor-to-ceiling drapes create a warm and inviting space.
Deep Cove Customs, whom Debra and Gerry found keen to work with, built the all-wood, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets – no melamine was used. All the major appliances are Miele, chosen not only for their high quality but also because they have the longest extended warranty, Gerry says, but still, it’s only for five years! The three- by six-foot kitchen island has a base made from reclaimed barn wood, and its countertop is white, gray-streaked marble from the 1800s. Debra says she loves marble but doesn’t have the time to look after it. “You can do anything to this one; it’s beat, scratched, and pitted – we love it.” The off-white Montauk quartz countertops have thicker edges to match the marble slab. White hand-pressed subway tiles add texture and a stylish finish to the backsplash and around the window.
In their initial plans, a pantry was to be built right off the kitchen, but Andrew Tidman suggested putting in a window and making it a pantry work area – this has turned out great, says Gerry. It has a sink, second dishwasher and slide-out shelving with woven baskets, which adds storage space and texture, thus avoiding the cold look of too many cabinet doors. Next to it is the mud room, which houses an upright freezer, custom-built grey cabinets, a seating bench, and a deluxe shower area for Henry, their adorable bernedoodle. Wall tiles were added in anticipation of Henry doing his part to dry off. Heated floor tiles give an instant feeling of comfort when you come in from outside.
Many of the antique items in the house, including the chandeliers, were purchased from Scott Landon Antiques in Surrey. The light fixtures weigh a ton, says Debra, and all of them needed extra support built into the ceiling to support them. Gerry noted that almost every door in their home has a history; some are from factories torn down in the 1930s. The office door with its observation window is from an old hospital in Upper New York. The office is pre-wired and prepped to house an elevator.
A room to the side of the entry was designed as a bedroom with an ensuite, but it now functions as an entertainment area. The double doors were salvaged from an 1800s Quebec country cottage. A “Wow” feature is the unique bar made from airplane and helicopter parts. On its live edge bar top is an antique bench-style wine corker/uncorker; the original model won a prize for design at the 1898 Chicago World’s Fair.
The main floor bathroom features gray-panelled walls, an antique brass mirror and brass in-wall faucets above a white vessel sink mounted on yew wood. Next to it is the library, which is entered through two solid brass doors from a New York City hotel bar. They are so heavy that Dan Carrier, Tidman’s innovative project manager, couldn’t find hinges to support them, so he pinned them in a custom-built frame. Debra says that any other builder probably would have told them to forget the doors, but Tidman Construction took on every challenge they gave them. The wall paint in the cozy library is Gentlemen’s Gray, a balanced teal blue.
Upstairs, the spacious main bedroom has a coffered ceiling, French doors and large windows. The view of arbutus trees and the ocean is breathtaking, while inside, the room is serene with neutral textures, walls painted in Hushed Hue, and a gas fireplace framed in white marble. The ensuite has a frameless glass walk-in shower with a rain shower head. A white free-standing bathtub sits in front of the window. Large white tiles with grey streaks line the floor and shower wall, giving the bathroom a sleek and luxurious spa look.
This is indeed a magnificent forever home, beautifully designed and furnished with a view that never stays the same; it offers Nature’s gifts of peaceful beauty, stormy seas – and renewal.