After putting his trained eye on potential properties to renovate, this building technologist jumped at the chance to custom build a home when a lot with coveted views came on the market. “Location, location, location. It’s not every day a vacant lot with such an amazing view of the Olympic Mountains across the Juan de Fuca Strait comes available,” says the homeowner. As a building technologist working between Victoria and Vancouver, the owner knew exactly what he wanted and designed the home himself. Following consults with several local builders, he turned to Martin Whitehead at Zebra Construction to bring his modern vision to life. Connection a major theme of the design, frameless walls of glass connect open concept spaces to maximize the home’s ocean views from multiple vantage points. The result is an impeccably planned 3000-square-feet boasting three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a private outdoor area and hobby wine room.
“My partner is a realtor and had been helping the couple search for the right home to renovate,” says Whitehead from Zebra Construction. Together, Whitehead and the owner put their collective industry knowledge on each property and couldn’t find the ideal home. Once they found this waterfront lot, Whitehead put together a thorough building proposal to provide a snapshot of what to expect in terms of costs and deadlines. “The owner was appreciative of my comprehensive outline and the research I had done. I took him through some of my other construction projects as well so that helped provide an idea of the quality of work that we do. He also liked the fact that we have a Zebra Construction employee on site every day.”
Cedar and stucco pair on the exterior to give the home a textural west coast contemporary look. “It was refreshing to work with the owner — he was familiar with all the moving parts of the build process and how to make them all come together. It was critical to his process to know how the house will function as a complete system,” states Whitehead. “Not as glamorous or perhaps noteworthy as the more visible features, but given the home’s oceanfront location, it was critical to design a high-performance building envelope that would exceed all BC Building Code minimum performance standards and use products that were in line with these targets,” adds the owner.
Working with Interior Designer Nhan Pham from Vancouver, the owners selected a palette that, “although minimal and subdued, would be very clean, elegant and remain relevant beyond current trends. Our inspiration was to maximize the views towards the south, over the strong horizontal lines of Dallas road, the path and fence of the dog-park, the shoreline on the Washington state side, yet keep a strong sense of privacy from the key viewing areas,” says the owner.
White oak flooring was used throughout the home to create a warm and cohesive aesthetic. All millwork was done in a rift cut white oak to tie the home’s natural aesthetic together. Standing up to wine and coffee spills, white quartz on the countertops and backsplash create a neutral canvas to allow the millwork to take centre stage.
“Generous custom millwork was pursued at every opportunity to provide built-in storage and millwork design elements, both for the practicality and cohesive aesthetic,” states the owner. Frameless walls of glass on the staircase connect the upper and lower floors and keep the space saturated in natural light while capitalizing on the stunning waterfront views.
A nod to the owner’s appetite for midcentury modern design, the George Nelson Bubble Lamp in the dining area pairs beautifully with the built-in floating white oak buffet and vintage L’Instant Taittinger artwork.
Providing a sense of weightlessness to the breezy open plan, the carefully engineered topless glass staircase becomes the main floor’s focal point. Allowing natural light to infuse both the main and upper levels, the two floors connect with a natural sense of flow. “Taking on a quality of its own, like jewellery, the staircase really brought the ambience to the house,” says Whitehead.
The second-floor outdoor living area off of the master bedroom was a primary driver of the layout and the home’s strong connection to the outdoors. The owner concludes that “I’m incredibly pleased with the finished project. The spaces feel and flow as anticipated during the design process and Zebra Construction and their sub-trades executed the project with incredible professionalism, cooperation and efficiency.”