Friday, April 30, 2010

We have found our home!

This is our new home!!

We have found our place on Vancouver Island! We're still pinching ourselves to see if we're dreaming. We had a very complex list of things we were hoping for: a view of the water, comfortable space for Dad, offices for Cori & Alice, a guest room, a studio for Cori, enough sun, a place to grow things....... and this house makes all this possible.

It is in a little enclave called Criagdarroch Beach in Union Bay, about 8 minutes south of Courtney. It is on Baynes Sound, looking out at Denman Island and it's northern tip - Tree Island, and further across the Straight to Texada Island, with glimpses of Powell River and of course the very dramatic mountains on the mainland coast. We are a spit to one of the most prolific oyster beds in the country (Fanny Bay oysters), and a spit and a half to the ferry to Denman & Hornby.

We face east, and are across a street from houses that are on the water front. But the presence of the ocean is very big - bigger than can be captured in pics - and we think that these houses will disappear from our conscious view pretty quickly. The waterfront is a long, shallow rock beach with lots of water birds, herons, eagles and some seals. We have already spoken with a neighbour who says there are not many deer, and the occasional cougar!! There is public access to the beach about half a block from us, although it requires a bit of climbing, and there is walk-on access a km down the road (a very quiet, local road with neighbours walking their dogs). The plan is to post tide charts in the kitchen, and to explore the characteristics of different tides by walking down daily.

The house is on 1/3 acre, and has a delightful, small forest in the back, just behind a separate deck & hot tub. There are raised beds for veggies on the left side of the house (photo above), and a closed (from the deer) garden with fruit trees (as yet unknown) on the other side. The front has far too much lawn, and we will likely add several of the abundant shrubs that grow here .... Alice has always envied Hornby friends' fig trees, kiwi vines, pear trees, etc. so we will see what can be done in this space. And, of course, we are the proud owners of our first septic system, with a field in the back.

The main living area of the house is on the 2nd level. This is going to work for all of us into the future because we are going to install a lift. This has been the source of considerable discussion, and we've found a supplier and contractors who are able to do it. And we like that there are 3 doors to get onto decks on the 2nd floor, and another 3 doors on the 1st floor, so neither level feels enclosed. The living/dining room looks towards the water, the kitchen/family room looks to the back wood and the trees - both are very calm spaces. Offices will be on the first floor, and Cori will be using the garage for her pottery studio/workshop.

We blogged a couple of weeks ago about concerns about the exterior of the house, specifically too much moisture in the stucco finish, which slowed us down a bit after the first home inspection. But after a bunch of consultations and the lack of visual evidence of really big problems either inside or on the exterior, we decided to take on the risk that there might be damage under the stucco. So, one of the first things that needs to be done this summer is to confirm that there isn't damage (fingers crossed) and then re-seal and paint the exterior.

It's ours at the beginning of July, or at least ours and the contractors who will be putting in the lift and working on the exterior. It's all VERY exciting.

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