House Beautiful: East meets West Coast at Ten Mile Point

Hans and Vikram Bawa have a brand new, light-filled, open-concept home near the waterfront at Ten Mile Point, with a design based on water, fire and mountains.

These organic themes are evidenced in a two-storey stone feature wall as well as the home’s silver-grey stone chimneys. They are also visible in a massive granite-slab waterfall that covers one wall of the dining room, in three gas fireplaces, in a long tabletop fire pit on the rear patio and in the nearby stream.

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The mountains can be seen in the distance, beyond San Juan Island.

Patriot Homes contractor Aman Gill custom built the 4,800-square-foot home (not including the garage) with high-end touches such as large-format tiles throughout the main floor, a spacious home theatre, a wine room and myriad comfort details, such as a coffee station and mini fridge on the upper landing, handy to the bedrooms.

The owners often fix a cup here before heading up to the rooftop to take in the sunrise, or in the evening to enjoy the end of the day. “In India, too, we often have beds on the roof,” said Vikram, who notes it’s fun and healthy to sleep outside.

Gill explained that the owners were looking for a modern home, but also a unique one that would fit into its Ten-Mile Point landscape. It was a challenge, because while the lot takes advantage of ocean views from upper floors, it also slopes down from the road and required a lot of blasting.

“It was rough because we started in the winter and there was a lot of rainy weather, and getting access to all sides required a lot of co-ordination, planning and working in stages. We had to build a roadway down the side of the house, partly because the basement floor is about 30 feet below the road.”

Gill said he and the owners designed the interiors, with all custom millwork and special touches such as the floating staircase and dining-room waterfall created by custom metalworker Geoff Lyons of NightNDy Projects. A “huge” project, it cost about $10,000.

“We love the house because it is so light and bright,” said Vikram, who was born in India and came here about 17 years ago after he and his wife were formally introduced. Theirs was not exactly an arranged marriage, they both explain with smiles, but somewhat similar, and it has been a very happy one.

Vikram drew upon his Indian heritage when it came to the many architectural influences that inspired this home, from the rooftop sunning deck to the large driveway parking area that holds up to 10 cars, ideal for entertaining a large family and many friends.

The front door opens to reveal a surprising, and vast, expanse of white porcelain heated tiles that stretch as far as the eye can see, throughout the entire hall and living, dining and kitchen great room.

Its mirror-like finish makes the space look like an indoor pool.

“Even now, after 5 p.m. we don’t have to turn any lights on,” Vikram said. “We chose this floor because it has a luxurious-style look — and I don’t like carpet, anyway.”

His wife explained that Vikram, whose work is in the health field, has a “really, really good eye” and selected the interior and exterior colours of black, white and gold.

“None of his creativity is able to come out during the day because of the meticulous kind of work he does, so at night, he wants a contrast,” she said with a chuckle.

Her husband, who loves to pore over design and art books, says gold goes well with black, and black goes well with white. The “golden” hue was added through cabinetry and other wood details.

Kitchen countertops are slabs of black quartz, as is the indoor waterfall, while the contrasting mirror-like floors are softened by a subtle gold streak.

The high-functioning home has energy-efficient heat pumps, LED lighting throughout, a natural gas backup generator for use during power outages, a gas-powered boiler for domestic hot water and “smart” systems that include integrated lighting, audio, security, window shades and more.

Gill, who builds custom residences from entry level to luxury, along with doing a small number of renovations, said a home like this one would cost about $300 a square foot.

The home has five bedrooms, including two master bedrooms with large ensuites, one on the main floor and the other upstairs. Hans said she believes it’s important to always have one large bedroom on the ground level.

They also created an art room for their two daughters, who were encouraged to select the paint colours for their bedrooms: aqua for Meheq, 15, and a paler version for Baani, 9.

The living room’s 84-inch fireplace is one of the largest installed in Victoria and generates so much warmth, the builder had to create a metal mantle to deflect the heat, “and so we wouldn’t melt the television above it.”

Gill said it was a fun and interesting project to work on, especially as the owners brought much of themselves to the project. It includes building materials by Slegg Lumber, tiles from City Tile, as well as lighting and audio visuals by AT-T Electric and Sight and Sound Home theatre. Plumbing was by Macgregor Mechanical.

The three elements of water, fire and mountains “became a thread that ran through the whole project,” said Tim Rodier of Outline Home Design, who created the house plans. “It was reflected in many of the exterior and interior finishing choices.

“Inside, the home feels very bright, airy and connected to nature. We definitely also played with some Eastern influences … in a West Coast way. We blended the two quite nicely.

“It’s a place where young people can live now, but as this couple ages, the house can change with them.”

One of the features he likes best is the large, three-storey column of empty space in the centre of the home, embraced by the suspended staircase.

This is where a future elevator can travel to all levels, but for now, it’s a “neat feature that adds to the feeling of light overall.”

Rodier never wants to “box off” any living areas, preferring to keep spaces connected. “It’s one of the driving forces behind home design.”

One of the rooms where this is strongly evident is the large mudroom that has a door on each of its four walls.

They connect the room to the main hall near the floating staircase, to a bicycle storage room, to the garage and to the front of the house.

Unlike some mudrooms, which are off to the side of a home, this one connects directly to the front drive. “It is an important transition space,” said Rodier.

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