Originally from Montreal, a recently retired couple moved to the west coast via Calgary. After living on Salt Spring Island for five years, the couple was drawn to the natural beauty and recreational amenities of the Saanich Peninsula. Armed with a discerning wish list, the couple found that a 3200-square-foot open-plan contemporary house hit all the marks. Built in 2010 by Christopher Walker of Christopher Developments, the flat-roofed home enjoys an airy, gallery feel with an expansive view overlooking the Haro Strait. A collaborative design project by Walker and Rus Collins of Zebra Group, the design brief was simple: capture the ocean vistas, let the outdoors in and create display space to house the owner’s vast art collection.
Looking for a unique design with an abundance of natural light, one of the buyer’s main requirements was “seamless indoor/outdoor living with a sense of letting the outside in,” say the owners. With ocean views at the top of their wish list, the couple wanted something contemporary, peaceful and a bit indulgent.
After meeting with the new owners, Walker reports that “they fell in love with the house and emphasized that this home is as close as they could get to what they would have designed for themselves.” After purchasing the three-bedroom, three bathroom home, Walker helped them finish a room in the basement, made a few changes in the ensuite bathroom and provided design advice throughout their process.
“Their art collection was the major driver of this project so we created nine-to-twelve feet high ceilings with gallery white walls and display space for their pieces. With orientation central to the home’s design, we preserved the owner’s privacy and created a seamless transition to outdoor living spaces to capture the panoramic water views,” states Walker.
A nod to modernism, Walker installed a wall of both oversized and clerestory windows to allow light to flood the home and to create unobstructed views of the inviting landscape. French doors off the main living area open into a private terrace enhanced by the soothing sounds of a Japanese-inspired water feature.
“With unique architectural features, we wanted to ensure that both the east and west facing sides of the home were equally livable spaces. We aimed to capture both the ocean views and the western light in the courtyard in the back,” says Walker. A detached garage enabled Walker to create space for an inner courtyard and a welcoming statement entrance.
Horizontally grained bamboo cabinets and an eat-in island anchor the kitchen in the expansive space. “The large island with hard-wearing granite countertops is perfect for cooking and entertaining,” says the homeowner. Functionality is hard at work with a built-in wine rack, deep cabinet drawers and energy efficient appliances.
One of the most durable of the exotic hardwoods, luxurious Jatoba (Brazilian cherry) wood flooring grounds the main floor while boosting the home’s effortless flow.
Artwork from the owner’s travels to Southeast Asia provides a splash of vivid colour to the expansive passageway.
Adorned in white porcelain tile, the prized feature of the main floor is the great room’s double-sided gas fireplace. Acting as a visual divider between the dining area and great room, the sleek fireplace keeps sight lines to the gardens unobstructed. Clerestory windows above the great room and dining area maximize natural light to ensure the house is illuminated through all seasons.
Airy passageways maintain the home’s indulgent gallery feel.
Creating a zen-like atmosphere in the master bedroom, black-framed french doors lead onto the home’s third private garden terrace.
Luxury amenities in this spa-like retreat include a floating vanity, porcelain soaker tub, in-floor heated tile and programmable lighting systems that can change the mood with the press of a button.