The often overstated real estate mantra: location, location, location was justifiably at the heart of the sale of an uninspiring 1980’s home boasting a coveted location on the crest of a hill. Despite the home’s enclosed layout obstructing the expansive vistas of Gonzales Bay, a retired couple could envision the home’s potential with its salty breezes and one of the most beautiful sunset locations on Vancouver Island. Purchasing a major project with good bones, the owners needed an adept spatial thinker to reimagine the layout of the home’s existing 3000-square-feet.
Turning to Principal designer of Zebra Group, Rus Collins to reconfigure the plans, the owner’s goals were to create a contemporary open concept interior that would embrace the views and design main floor living that would allow the couple to age in place. Teaming with Aryze Development and Construction and Interior Designer, Mari O’Meara of Mari Kushino Design, the outcome is an airy open plan that captures the views without overshadowing the home’s unique features.
“One of the most salient changes we made to the home was building a facade with natural materials that would be consistent with the other homes in the area. We replaced the exterior’s dated stucco with stone and cedar siding which really gave it a fresh west coast look,” says Ryan Goodman of Aryze Development. According to Collins, the original design was closed in and very dark so in a head-to-toe renovation the entire home was gutted and Collins rethought room allocation. “It was a challenge to modify the existing layout without adding on to the home, but we managed to use every square inch without any dead space and captured an abundance of natural light throughout the entire home — now even the master bedroom has incredible views,” states Collins.
Although it may sound counterintuitive initially, Collins’ approach to designing homes that boast impressive vistas is to create an eye-catching feature in the entryway to allow people to appreciate the design of the home before introducing the view. “If you reveal the view too soon, it can overshadow the design and the beautiful elements of the home can be overlooked,” says Collins. In this case, he unveils the view only after giving the entryway importance with a modern glass stairwell. Adding to the area’s natural appeal, Aryze built an oak feature wall to display art and set the tone for the home’s cohesive design.
O’Meara adds that the homeowner’s interior goals were to create a contemporary design bordering on modern while still conveying a warm and inviting feel. “We created four bedrooms, two that function strictly as bedrooms and a den and flex room that can play double duty when guests arrive.” O’Meara was given creative license to introduce unique finishes while merging the couple’s personal furnishings and vibrant art collection into the design for an easy-living space focused on comfort and style.
For a pared-down modern look, grey-stained custom cabinets mingle with integrated appliances for a sleek yet functional aesthetic. Cabinetry hardware was kept minimal and limestone tiles adorn the backsplash for a streamlined look. A wine fridge, breakfast bar and concealed storage elevate the practicality of this contemporary styled kitchen.
White oak floors throughout the home keep the vibe cohesive and light. A covert door off the kitchen leads to an adjacent office offering a quiet space to offset the open concept. The hardworking eat-in bar serves as a gathering place comfortably seating three and features a double sink, dishwasher and extra storage.
Maintaining the monochromatic colour scheme consistent with the kitchen, textured porcelain tile in grey on the fireplace creates a focal point in the open plan. When not in use, the television seamlessly slides into a cleverly concealed opening in the custom-built cabinet.
The home’s balance of luxury and comfort is most pronounced in the spa-like master ensuite on the main floor. Drenched in natural light, the serene room is accentuated by the soft white walls and natural materials like the floating walnut vanity, quartz countertops and polished porcelain tiles. Generous floor space leads to the free-standing tub offering a luxurious place to rejuvenate.
A well-lit oak staircase leads to the lower level that closely resembles the original layout and includes a guest bedroom with ensuite, a workout/flex room, generous sized recreation room, full bathroom and storage. Slider doors from the recreation room access an expansive outdoor courtyard enjoying the ocean vistas.