Designing and building quality custom homes is something that Chris Walker of Christopher Developments has been happily doing for over 20 years. And, though he’s no stranger to receiving accolades and awards, the development of Anya Lane II was a testament to the impact that Walker’s designs have on his clients. So much so, that the design of this project was completely inspired by Anya Lane.
In 2004, Anya Lane, the street, was named after Walker’s daughter as he was in the midst of developing homes in that neighbourhood. The first home, aptly named Anya Lane, was a custom-built home for a Victoria client. It went up for sale in 2009 and two couples competed for the property: one from Toronto and one from Victoria. Although it sold to the Victoria couple, coincidentally, the lot next door came up for resale and the other couple contacted Walker to design and build them a house.
They liked the original concept so much that they asked if Walker would design their home as a mirror image of Anya Lane. Although there were modifications to the original plan, most noticeably on the exterior, Walker fulfilled their request and Anya Lane II was built. Like most of Walker’s clients, they trusted his ability to design their home and, subsequently, Anya Lane II won best single family home in the Care Awards that year.
The west coast lifestyle brought Walker’s clients to Victoria, and a liveable outdoor space was high on their list of priorities. The home sits on a tidal estuary off the Esquimalt Harbour where there is an abundance of nature. From their deck, it’s possible to see salmon running upstream and seals chasing them up the water. With such dramatic scenery at their doorstep, it was important to maximize the deck area to bring the outside in. By designing a (literally) triangular shaped deck, Walker was able to provide his clients with an ample sized, outdoor living space.
The interior of Anya Lane II reveals a west coast contemporary aesthetic that transitions effortlessly from the exterior. Vaulted ceilings paired with floor-to-ceiling windows provide a clear vantage point for spotting nesting eagles, herons, otters and other wildlife.
“The focus of the design was primarily around the kitchen,” notes Walker. “The owner is a fantastic cook. She’s Italian. She comes from a long lineage of cooks and it’s all about the kitchen. That’s one of the first things she told me when we were going to build them the house.”
The open concept, custom kitchen/dining area is flooded with natural light from the skylights and windows. Oversized, concrete-looking encaustic tiles, imported from Europe, add an unexpected and interesting look which is carries through the entire home. The large, working island is equipped with two sinks, extra storage space and plenty of seating for friends and family who want to get close to the action.
Stairs and railings were engineered with horizontal stainless rails which creates an inviting and open feel. From the main entry this treatment offers an enticing view of the downstairs. The wine room is unique in the respect that it has been designed to incorporate the exposed foundation wall. This simple, yet clever, design results in a natural cooling mechanism without adding a chiller. The custom stump table was built by Walker, clear coated, and mounted with a glass table top.
As the client is an avid photographer, he requested built-in, exposed shelves downstairs which display his camera collection. This is one of many custom millwork features that can be found throughout the house.