Seaside Homes – Cheeky Art and a Gorgeous Log Home

by Janice Henshaw | photos by Janis Jean Photography – 

A pathway in Patricia Bay is lined with over 200 quirky, cheeky signs attached to a fence that is guaranteed to make passersby smile with delight or break into belly laughs. Artist Anna Trelford, whose fence the signs are posted on, loves hearing their laughter. The signs were her unique way to say, yes, the pandemic was severe and awful, and yes, it has changed our lives forever, but here, take a moment to relax and enjoy some lighthearted fun.

Anna says her Salt Spring friend Michelle “has the best sense of humour ever” and helped provide some of the sayings. A few examples of Anna’s painted signs include: “When all else fails, turn up the music and dance with your dog!”; “I’ve found that if you tuck one pant leg into your sock, people think less of you”; “Did you know that if you hold a glass of wine in each hand, you can’t accidentally touch your face.” More serious signs include “The Four Agreements” and a beautiful painting of hands holding a heart that says “Love and Kindness has no colour.” A bonus is that the intriguing paintings add a lot of character to an aging fence!

Five years ago Anna, a firefighter at Victoria International Airport, and her husband John were looking to downsize when they saw the 1,700-square-foot log house for sale. With a lovely view of Patricia Bay across to Mill Bay, the two-storey, four-bedroom home was a treasure, and it didn’t take them long to make the purchase. Anna calls their home and property “Our little piece of happiness.” Gene Logsdon, an American scholar and farmer, had similar feelings. He wrote: “A log cabin symbolized the embrace between civilization and nature, humans literally wrapping the trees around them as they might draw on a coat and hat.”

Log homes are intriguing and timeless – we can easily see that a 25-year-old house needs an upgrade, but a log house is, well, a robust solid log house of indeterminate age. The logs that it is built with are a renewable resource, turning into compost one long day in the future, and they are a tidy package, forming the outside and inside walls, the roof and the insulation. Cool in the summer, they are warm in winter as the logs radiate heat. These same logs also act to absorb and reduce sound. Although it is challenging to estimate the life expectancy of a log house instead of a conventional platform wood-framed house, it could last for hundreds of years – if it is adequately maintained and prevented from becoming the entrée for carpenter ants and other critters.

Anna says she loves all the woodwork inside because it’s so cozy. The interior cabinets are varnished maple and cherry wood with contrasting black hinges and black granite countertops. Northstar appliances and a new Smeg toaster are very cool because of their retro look; they fit in well with the log interior and oak plank floor. In the dining nook, a black vinyl bench and chairs surround a gorgeous live-edge table built by craftsman Fred Savage of Cortes Island. Fred uses reclaimed wood to construct his unique furniture – salvaged from barns and houses in Ontario or from West Coast beach logs and old-growth timber discarded by the logging industry.

Other notable features inside the home include a magnificent log staircase that leads up to the second floor and its four bedrooms. One bedroom finished in lavish colours is called the “Hobbit Room,” and a second bedroom is used for workouts. Anna’s colourful artwork enlivens every space. Back on the main floor, a “Friendly Giant-sized” front door is crafted from solid four-inch varnished boards and oversized black strap hinges that give it a medieval look. The rest of the front wall is all large, rectangular and triangular windows that align with the sloped shingle roof, ensuring a marvellous view and lots of light in the main living space. The drywalled ceiling adds reflected light. On sunny days in the summer, Anna says they open all the doors to let the sea breeze flow through the home. A handsome custom-built stone heatilator fireplace is a showpiece that heats the whole house. The living room chandelier is a one-of-a-kind light fixture; it has three layers formed by a giant silver teapot on top, lights in teacups below, and finally, hanging spoons and forks.

The main bathroom has a tile floor, frosted window and vintage white clawfoot tub surrounded by white lace curtains. On the wall is Anna’s painting of a waggish donkey entitled “Nice Arse.” Other intriguing paintings include a white plank boat afloat on a stunning sea of blues and greens and a mermaid floating with bubbles on a simple piece of driftwood. At the back door, there is a heartful painting with white letters – “This is an unprecedented time…It’s time for unprecedented kindness.” The door itself is striking because of its beautiful wood, curved top and a round black-trimmed porthole.

Outside, Anna’s favourite tree is the flowering yellow plum tree in the back yard which she says is beautiful when it’s in bloom. The rock fire pit is the centre of outdoor gatherings; roasting hot dogs is a favourite pastime for their grandkids. The double lot also features a huge, tiered rock fishpond with two waterfalls. Interesting sculptures, perennial flowers and shrubs surround it. For a good while, the fish led an idyllic existence, but one day river otters living under a nearby house came to visit, and that was the end of that. Amongst the attractive shrubs and trees, there is also a vegetable garden, but again, inquisitive wildlife, which would be blacktail deer, have found that the kale is a delicious treat to nibble on. Not in the habit of giving up easily, Anna and John have restocked the pond with young fish and continue to garden.

Anna is a self-taught artist who paints almost every day when she is not working. Among her favourite subjects are seascapes and boats but she is currently creating a new Black Sheep series because “They are cheeky and have ‘attitude.’ They crack me up!”

I can say the same for Anna!

Shopping Cart