Posted On February 2, 2018 By In Home & Garden, Regulars With 227 Views

Seaside Homes: A Wish List, a Dragon and a Jaguar

 

story by Janice Henshaw | photos by nuttycake.com – 

“I love our home, I wouldn’t sell it for a hundred million dollars, says Mack. “It has everything I ever wanted.” The 4,000-square-foot, South Pender Island waterfront home is built on a peninsula and has its own boat dock. Sided in Beachwood stained shingles, it blends in serenely with the surrounding fir, cedar, and arbutus trees. The low bank, southwest exposure provides close-up ocean views and blazing sunsets. It’s a glorious place to sit and watch playful sea otters, grazing deer and buzzing hummingbirds.

“Our home and property is a spiritual place,” says Alma. “Honouring the property and giving thanks is something we have always done.” Alma has practiced Holistic Health and Shamanic healing for over 20 years. She often holds a “despacho” ceremony to express gratitude towards the earth and the vital energy of the Universe.

In their search for a Gulf Island retirement home site, Alma and Mack created a wish list and, after three years, found the perfect two-acre property. Their architect Dennis Moore described the building site: “It presented the unique situation of a home with waterfront orientation on three sides. This provided both opportunities and challenges: opportunities for long views outward, to see activity on the water close up, and to gain direct sunlight throughout the day, but also challenges in the planning of the home, to make the spaces both inwardly personal and private but at the same time wide open to the setting.”

A Feng Shui Master was also brought in for consultation. “Feng Shui practitioners believe that building on a point of land can be detrimental. The wind can blow away your health and wealth,” explains Alma. Dragon energy is symbolized by the rock face that starts behind the guest cottage (its tail) and then rolls down in front of it. “The dragon energy protects us as it wraps around the cottage and flows toward the ocean.”

To harness this energy flow, a connecting edging of rock was added along the sides and front of the peninsula. To surround and “contain” the house, the lower exterior walls were faced with hand-split rock. Their pattern creates a flowing sense of timeless energy.

In the front entry, the handsome cedar door contains 10 panels of stained glass and the adjoining door frames a gorgeous stained glass panel that depicts a blue heron and arbutus tree, all created by artist Carol Swann of Synergy Glass.

At the end of the kitchen, there is a dramatic rotunda with huge view windows; it’s an amazing place to eat breakfast or just to sit and think “wow”. As in the entry, the ceiling rises to 30’ but here it is all wood and has cedar encased beams. The walls of windows look over the sea and are supported by boxed peeler posts that are visible on the outside of the house as well.

Also on the main floor are a laundry room, Mack’s den and TV room, guestroom, and two bathrooms. A window above the guest bathtub is etched with sea otters and starfish. Glass tiles built into a curved wall add light. Upstairs, the main bedroom ensuite is accessed through French doors and has a tiled walk-in shower. All dressers are behind closet doors.

At the top of the stairs, an open landing resembles a bridge. To the north side is Alma’s office, her meditation room, and, above the garage, a room in which she carries out her Shamanic healing treatments.

The main bedroom features ocean views on two sides, French doors that open to a private deck, the third fireplace, and high arched windows. It has a sitting area with couches, a fridge and coffee bar. Fresh sea air floats in through the tilting EuroLine windows. A stylish cast iron bathtub shines in the sunlight. The wall colours, rugs from Hong Kong and the the cozy terra cotta quilt all connect with the rich tones of the arbutus trees that grow outside.

The landscaping is largely natural, because Alma and Mack have a deep respect for the land and wanted to disturb it as little as possible. The excavation for the house was made within six inches of the foundation wall. Only their garden is fenced, leaving room for the deer to wander the rest of the property at will. Although they have a well, they collect rainwater in a reservoir in the crawlspace, which is then pumped into a 7,000 gallon collection system and pressurized for all outside watering.

Back on the main floor, in front of the fireplace, you can look up and see the stained glass window that opens from the master bedroom. It is a dreamy representation of Alma and Mack’s retirement home journey, finding the property, and building the house. It includes their wish list, footprint shapes of a jaguar, Alma’s shamanic protector, and the sun, moon and stars; it’s the completion of their story. The morning sun shines through the glass and makes the blue water shimmer as though it were moving.

Walking into the house gives you a luxurious feeling of spaciousness, openness and light. The ceiling soars to 30 feet in the entry. The central fireplace is magnificent, faced in light stone from two quarries. It stretches 13 feet across and 20 feet high. There are three inserts: two on the main floor and one upstairs in the main bedroom.

Don Bastian, a Sidney carver and wood artist, created a beautiful wooden light that hangs on the end of the fireplace, and Coast Salish artist Susan Point created a meditative five-foot wide carved cedar piece mounted above it. Alma explains that “The circle represents the Medicine Wheel and the male and female fish represent the four directions. Yin-yang, a perfect balance.”

In addition to the fireplaces, the house is heated by two outside heat pumps; the crawlspace plenum provides fresh air and circulation for heating and cooling. Because of Feng Shui design, a door didn’t work to provide access to the crawlspace and media panel so, instead, a sliding cabinet was built into the back corner of the chimney.

In the living room, Alma points out how the windows are held back, creating solid wood corners to follow the theme of flow and containment. Only the glass French doors are full-length glass; the windows are placed four feet up from the floor so that they form a picture in themselves.

The main floor is fir, a gorgeous combination of brown and golden honey highlights. Edge-grain fir and varied-grain fir were cut into different widths from one to five inches, and then laid in a repeating pattern. To provide continuity, the slate tile stairs are trimmed in the same fir.

All the corner walls inside the house are rounded to create flow. At the entry to the kitchen, the antique style cabinets were also built in a curve. Their creamy colour matches the light stones of the fireplace. The fridge is concealed behind a cabinet panel and, beside it, a tall cabinet contains large roll-out drawers for easily accessible storage. A roll-up door hides the toaster and other appliances. A large granite island contains slide-out refrigerator drawers. The sink includes a useful compost opening and vegetable drain to the side.

At the end of the kitchen, there is a dramatic rotunda with huge view windows; it’s an amazing place to eat breakfast or just to sit and think “wow.” As in the entry, the ceiling rises to 30 feet but here it is all wood and has cedar-encased beams. The walls of windows look over the sea and are supported by boxed peeler posts that are visible on the outside of the house as well.

Also on the main floor are a laundry room, Mack’s den and TV room, guest room and two bathrooms. A window above the guest bathtub is etched with sea otters and starfish. Glass tiles built into a curved wall add light. Upstairs, the main bedroom ensuite is accessed through French doors and has a tiled walk-in shower. All dressers are behind closet doors.

At the top of the stairs, an open landing resembles a bridge. To the north side is Alma’s office, her meditation room, and, above the garage, a room in which she carries out her Shamanic healing treatments.

The main bedroom features ocean views on two sides, French doors that open to a private deck, the third fireplace, and high arched windows. It has a sitting area with couches, a fridge and coffee bar. Fresh sea air floats in through the tilting EuroLine windows. A stylish cast iron bathtub shines in the sunlight. The wall colours, rugs from Hong Kong and the the cozy terra cotta quilt all connect with the rich tones of the arbutus trees that grow outside.

The landscaping is largely natural, because Alma and Mack have a deep respect for the land and wanted to disturb it as little as possible. The excavation for the house was made within six inches of the foundation wall. Only their garden is fenced, leaving room for the deer to wander the rest of the property at will. Although they have a well, they collect rainwater in a reservoir in the crawlspace, which is then pumped into a 7,000-gallon collection system and pressurized for all outside watering.

Back on the main floor, in front of the fireplace, you can look up and see the stained glass window that opens from the master bedroom. It is a dreamy representation of Alma and Mack’s retirement home journey: finding the property, and building the house. It includes their wish list, footprint shapes of a jaguar, Alma’s shamanic protector, and the sun, moon and stars; it’s the completion of their story.

About

seaside

Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *