Located in the idyllic community of Nanoose, drive and walking throughways curl around the base of Elangeni like waves against a shoreline and create the appearance of a structure at home in nature – precisely what the homeowners were looking for.
“It was important to us that the home look as though it evolved on the site,” says the homeowner. “And people who come to visit always say it seems like it has always been here.” The lot’s position overlooking the Pacific, generous glazing and a distinct view from every room welcome light into every corner, an element high on the Calgary-based couple’s wish list. They came to Vancouver Island with clear ideas of how they wanted their ‘forever home’ to manifest, beginning with a craftsman-style design in mind.
“Then when we came here and looked around and saw the neighbourhood was an eclectic mix of styles, we wondered, what do we really want to do?” said the homeowner. Realizing the possibilities were limitless they started moving in the direction of a West Coast contemporary style with inspiration form Vancouver designer Brian Hemmingway and custom-home builder Taran Williams, principal with TS Williams Construction Ltd.
“Taran showed us pictures and we had ideas of our own we’d looked at in magazines,” said the homeowner. “It was just a matter of bringing it all together and creating a master theme.” Elangeni’s exterior presents as a butterfly footprint, modified to stand up to west coast oceanside weather and meet stringent neighbourhood height restrictions. Three equivalently pitched roofs are connected by a flat section where the peaked great room roof pops up, appearing to float above a series of perimeter transom windows and creating a view to the water from the front drive and a lantern effect at night. The entry is snug and protected between the outer wings, yet maintains a grand scale announcement with an oversized fir door and generous clear sidelights that welcome the eye to the ocean.
Inside, the palette – neutral in greys and white tones, but warm and sophisticated with splashes of colour and deep exposed beam accent’s – is the perfect inspiration for celebrating nature’s beauty as a backdrop. Fir casings and trim on the windows frame the view and a soft grey tint in the wall paint ties in subtly with the concrete and rock materials that weave throughout the design. The kitchen is a stylish, sleek space with grey painted maple veneer cabinets and marble – patterned quartz countertops. It welcomes a hint of shine from stainless appliances and narrow porcelain backsplash tiles. Leather and metal stools pull up to an oversized island that the homeowner insisted remain a solid surface – encouraging people to gather.
“We do a lot of entertaining,” she said, “and people always end up here in the kitchen, around this island.” Deep crockery drawers tuck essentials neatly away into the island, which also houses a bar fridge and a dishwasher. Ample counter space means the homeowners can separate her space by function – a baking area is nestles into one end of the room while cooking materials are stored at the other. Light flows freely through the main living area where the kitchen, dining space and great room run adjacent, separated and made intimate with exposed ceiling beams at the edge of each space. The great room beckons warm, cozy evenings around the fireplace – housed in a robust pre-cast mantle and hearth made of a durable, lightweight concrete and styrofoam composite material. Rough-cut stone in grey and blue tones to match the palette rises up behind the fireplace, tying into the mantle and hearth’s basalt-style finish. Rich saffron maple flooring, engineered in five-inch planks to match the fir window casings, stretches throughout the living area and frames a stone details in the floor near the entry.
A custom-carved, Coast Salish art piece is mounted on the feature wall between the entry and the great room. It sits away from the wall with a glowing backlight making a beautiful, serene statement in the space and reflecting symbolism that is personal and important to the homeowners. Grey tones and stone materials extend to the master ensuite and guest bath – both of which create clear, open sight lines with frameless, door-less glass shower enclosures and picturesque views. stylish recesses over the soaker tubs are spa-inspired details that demonstrate the design and build teams’ commitment to quality and detail. TS Williams works continuously with the same tradespeople from project to project, bringing a sense of continuity and craftsmanship to each home, which Elangeni’s homeowners say was obvious in the quality of workmanship.
“They were the best of the best,” says the homeowner. “Because they work together so often, they can anticipate what the next trades will need. They really became like family.”