Like many people looking to escape the blistering cold winters in Canada, Charron Hamilton and Patrick Haney came to Victoria from Manitoba searching for an ideal winter getaway. In an effort to be closer to their son and his family, they required a low-maintenance, self-contained home that embraced the natural west coast beauty and culture. Retaining their condo on the Red River in downtown Winnipeg, the jet-setting couple needed a space with the comforts of home for a few months of the year. Overlooking the San Juan islands, they discovered a sizeable three-story, seaside townhouse in Cordova Bay. With three floors of single family home comforts, the property surpassed their expectations and is miles away from the subzero winter temperatures of Winnipeg. “Our view really is breathtaking, we are a short walk to Mount Douglas Park, and we can easily access Lochside trail to bike into the city or out to Sidney,” says Hamilton.
“Built in the 1980’s, the property must have been quite avant-garde for the time, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a generous ceiling height, and angular architecture, it was unlike any other townhouse on the market. However, when we bought it in March, 2013, the interior was dated and tired,” says Hamilton. Captivated by its lush location, the couple could envision the unit’s infinite potential and were prepared to take on the extensive renovation. With a home in Winnipeg, the couple had the luxury of time on their side to gut the entire home and give the townhouse a complete upgrade.
“Our main reservation that we expressed to our real estate agent, Scott Piercy, was finding the right builder that we could trust. Of course, embarking on a long-distance renovation means you must have absolute trust in your contractor,” says Hamilton. After doing the research, Hamilton and Haney, found a trusted builder and project manager in Matthew Jardine and Ryan Goodman at ARYZE Developments.
Piercy highly recommended ARYZE based on their design and building expertise, custom millwork specialization, and reliability. “He was absolutely right, there was definitely an ease in the working relationship with Jardine and Goodman. The home was completely gutted and renovated in six months with relatively few obstacles. Jardine brought a strong design sense to the process which was very helpful when we were making most of our decisions from Manitoba.”
Hamilton and Haney knew they wanted a contemporary west coast aesthetic to echo the natural surroundings of the area and embrace the expansive views from each room. Their primary design goal was to customize the interior with the warmth of natural woods and marble and to capitalize on the ocean views with minimal obstructions. Their vision embodied the quintessential west coast contemporary aesthetic that strikes the delicate balance between clean and uncluttered and warm and inviting.
Working with interior designer, Sara Gillespie, owner of Live by Design, in Vancouver, they knew immediately they wanted to use luxurious, natural materials, including white oak, walnut, and serpeggiante marble to mimic the flora outside and tie the home into its stunning natural environment. The challenge was to design the entire interior to take full advantage of the views,” says Jardine of ARYZE. Together with Gillespie, ARYZE created a layout that had unabated access to the expansive vistas.
Embracing the age-old adage that the kitchen is the heart of the home, it was important to Hamilton to create an alluring, yet hard-working kitchen. Anchored by a white quartz island, the entertainment-oriented kitchen is equipped with a sleek flat cook-top and paired with countertops of the same smooth stone finish, Built entirely out of walnut, the wavy, vertical grain of the cabinets simulates the organic lines of the home’s natural surroundings.
The walnut-panelled fridge streamlines the kitchen’s wall of walnut cabinetry and frosted-glass cabinets reflect light and contribute to the warm atmosphere. Adding to the functionality, the custom built-in wine rack and open shelving personalizes the space to create an open, homey feel. Glass shades on the light fixtures maintains open sight lines and ensures unobstructed sweeping views. “The result is a bright, functional, hard-working kitchen with a delightful breakfast nook to soak in our beautiful view,” says Hamilton.
The couple requested an open-plan for entertainment ease in the dining and living area and wanted the design to continue to focus on the views. Removing the dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room, a bold wall of walnut-framed mirrors was installed beside the dining table to offer guests unobstructed views of the ocean. Reflecting light from the sizeable windows, the earthy hues of the wooden marble clad fireplace set the tone for a modern aesthetic and becomes a subtle focal point in the living area. The understated linear fireplace allows the eye to continue to the windows to enhance the view yet casts a warm glow over the room on rainy evenings.
Visually connecting the living room to the kitchen and seamlessly built alongside the fireplace, the custom-built walnut bookshelf and hearth add an inviting west coast lodge feel and a place to personalize the living area. For a natural, contemporary appeal, sun-bleached, white-oak hardwood flooring keeps the aesthetic light and a slight grey tint mimics the natural tones of the rock in the area.
A four-flight, white oak sculptural staircase leading from the lower entrance to the upper floor provides a distinctively modern feature of the home. Clean edges, elegantly crafted wood handrail, and glass railings display an elite level of craftsmanship and specialized skill. “Working with the clients we used white oak on the staircase to create a continuity throughout the home and to soften the home’s interior,” Jardine says. Showcasing their carpentry acumen, the staircase was built using custom-milled wood, rake angle risers, and timeless joinery techniques that add to the enduring design and architectural strength.
From flooring to the shower walls, Gillespie trimmed the ensuite in cool grey, Italian, serpeggiante marble. Providing a designated space for rejuvenation, infused with natural light, the ensuite includes a luxurious soaker tub at window height optimizing the sweeping views of the ocean.
With ARYZE at the helm, the adventurous couple created a coastal getaway that is the perfect lens through which to enjoy the spectacular views. “Whether we are having coffee in the kitchen, reading in front of the fire or enjoying a relaxing bath, ARYZE created a design that never competes with the main focal point, the view. We now consider this our primary home and Winnipeg our vacation residence,” smiles Hamilton. ARYZE didn’t just meet our expectations, they surpassed them. Every renovation has unforeseen problems and every one of our issues was handled cheerfully and efficiently. Each a craftsman, the ARYZE team was a pleasure to have around, even their sub-trades were highly-skilled, pleasant people. It almost makes us want to take on another project!”