Most people would have taken one look at this damp and dark 1940’s seaside cottage and left it for dead, but this tech entrepreneur had a revivalist vision that couldn’t be subdued. “My client saw the value in renovating the midcentury cottage and wanted to honour its history and proximity to the Saanich Inlet,” states Dylan Conrad of Conrad Construction. The shingle-clad cottage was carefully renovated in collaboration with architectural designer Randall Recinos and Seattle interior designer Brian Paquette. Sensitively restored to respect the property’s delicate ecosystem on a steep slope overlooking the ocean, the 1700 square-foot ‘fishing shack’ redefines open concept living where luxury translates into a minimalist, no-frills approach.
- Conrad adds that “the goal was to restore the west coast fishing shack with careful consideration of the property’s centuries old fir and cedar trees. However, ‘shack’ is a drastic understatement when you consider how involved the project became; we couldn’t have predicted the structural requirements necessary to finish this project. It took nearly three years to complete with countless engineering obstacles,” says Conrad. The project required multiple development variance permits and underwent a massive restructuring overhaul that included digging out and finishing the lower floor, removing walls and adding swaths of glazing to connect the home to its natural surroundings.
It was important to the owner to retain the original cedar shingle-clad exterior while incorporating an open concept experience on the interior. “Ideally, we would have left more original features but the structure was just too dilapidated to do so. For a rustic west coast aesthetic, the owner wanted to incorporate organic materials like poured concrete and industrial metal accents to pair with the existing cedar paneling.” Conrad used durable sprinkler piping for the railings on the deck, which is made of Ipe from West Wind Hardwood. Ipe decking inherits the tree’s natural properties to make it the toughest, longest-lasting decking material available.
Custom sliding doors by Oakridge Windows and Doors identify the cottage’s purpose: a place to decompress and immerse yourself in the surrounding beauty. The dining table was designed by Paquette and built by Conrad Contracting. On the outdoor deck sling chairs by Garza Marfa pair with a Made Goods concrete table. For design cohesion, Conrad collaborated closely with Paquette to repeat materials throughout the design. The steel piping on the outdoor railings were echoed on the legs of the custom dining room table while its raw-edge table top reflects the headboard of the master bedroom’s built-in bed.
A nod to the clever small space storage of a ship’s kitchen, Conrad ensured the kitchen had a place for everything and everything in its place. He even went so far as to build custom storage for each plate, mug and fork to have its own individual compartment.
Concrete countertops echo the fireplace panels and merge with the custom built-ins to create a functional work space. Bertazzoni propane range (not in photo) and brass pendant lights by Workstead.
Originally destined to be clad in river rock, the fireplace was eventually adorned in glass fiber–reinforced concrete panels by Wiersma Masonry. “The homeowner liked the concrete panels so much we used it again in the bathroom and kitchen,” says Conrad. Griffin lounge chairs by Lawson-Fenning paired with a vintage rug offer a cozy seating area near the fireplace. Paquette incorporated items from brands like Lawson-Fenning, Workstead and Zak+Fox.
“We were able to salvage some of the original materials from demolition but much of the wall paneling had to be custom run cedar to match the existing pan abode. The wood paneling was resawn and scuffed with fine sandpaper before being re-coated,” states Conrad.
Conrad custom built a captains bed with built-in storage in the master bedroom, eliminating the need for a chest of drawers. Flowing effortlessly into the living area, the bedroom shares the main floor’s connection to the outdoors through the floor to ceiling sliding doors. Bedside lighting and overhead lighting is by Workstead.
The bathroom acknowledges the cottage’s minimalist approach and the sense that you don’t come to this seaside getaway with your oversized luggage. Conrad built the mirrored shelving with the toothbrush and toiletries holder. Fiber–reinforced concrete panels on the flooring and open shower keep the space easy to maintain and clutter-free. “I think the homeowner was very pleased with the outcome. Many structural factors impeded some of the his wishes but the final product is truly an original work of art.”