Designed by Canadian architect, James K.M. Cheng, Shutters Spa and Residences is one of Victoria’s most sophisticated luxury developments. Fusing a resort lifestyle with contemporary residential condominiums, the two curvilinear buildings are one of Victoria’s architectural landmarks. Boasting a two-storey waterfall, porte-cochere, exposed elevators and spa amenities, the six and nine storey buildings overlook the city’s active inner harbour.
At almost 3000-square-feet of interior living space with a vast 1200-square-feet of curved terrace, keen investors saw potential in the unfinished penthouse and began the transformation.
Starting from bare concrete, with only mechanical services in place, the result is a slick, ultra-modern home in the sky with unobstructed panoramic views of the harbour from the Empress hotel to the Olympic mountain range.
“We completed the entire build from framing to millwork and finishing,” says developer, Sean Price of Westwater Property Consultants Inc. The design brief required echoing the overall concept of the building by incorporating gentle curves into a sleek modern kitchen with high-quality finishes that would not obstruct the views.
“We always work with Giovanni La Fauci from Beyond Surfaces and he was very excited about the new porcelain stoneware, neolith. He showed us physical samples and photos of it used in some of his installations. We liked the thin profile, durability and range of colours available.”
High contrast hues in this modern kitchen strike a balance between creating a modern look, while avoiding a cold, stark feel. Given the expansive size of the kitchen, the owners knew that the countertop and backsplash surfaces would be key to the overall look and feel of the space. Requiring high-end quality finishes that would impact the resale value of the penthouse, the owners were interested in neolith for its durability and subtle sophistication.
Resembling Calacatta marble in appearance, Estatuario Classtone neolith for the backsplash and countertops is made from 100% natural materials and is completely non-porous. A forgiving kitchen material, neolith is heat, stain and scratch-resistant and never requires sealing. With no grout lines and a matte finish, neolith fits with the home’s refined design scheme.
“The pure white matte finish complements the modern vibe of the penthouse while its non-porous surface allows red wine to be wiped away with ease. Using a light, slim finish on the island, the curve echoes the detail in the curvature of the large window. Neolith can be any size in length or thickness, starting at 3mm for a thin silhouette; anything is possible with this product,” says La Fauci.
Providing texture and warmth, the rustic charm of iron grey neolith on the fireplace anchors the space and creates an inviting feel for the living area. La Fauci adds that the “iron grey provides an authentic patina that will never fade or damage. Because neolith is made using heat, the porcelain is ideal for fireplaces as it absorbs and disperses heat naturally.”
With such a lightweight material, the installers were able to suspend the 18-foot fireplace facade about 20 inches from the floor without an additional mechanical installation. A dynamic material for the living area, neolith becomes the focal point providing an ever-changing hue depending on how the sun hits the surface.
“Our clients loved the end result so much that we have subsequently used the unit as an example to show other clients the multiple applications of neolith; they have all been sold on the product as soon as they’ve seen it,” says Price.
Designers are falling in love with the versatility of neolith. From stair treads to outdoor fireplaces and exterior facades, neolith is an innately adaptable material. “Neolith opens up a new avenue in a modern era of cladding,” says La Fauci. Resistant to harsh elements like sun, snow, and salt, neolith is a low-maintenance product and will look the same in twenty years.