One retired couple moves across the country for an ocean view only the Island can offer.
By Nessa Pullman | Photos by Joshua Lawrence
When Wendy and Ian Miles were driving back after visiting their daughter at Brentwood Bay Resort, a row of townhomes overlooking the marina caught their eye.
“Looking up at the large windows, I could only imagine how beautiful that view must be,” says Wendy.
The couple, who were living in Ontario at the time, tucked away the thought of living out here one day and being closer to their five children on the West Coast. Fast forward a few years, when they were both retired and ready for a change, and they had never forgotten about that row of townhomes on the marina.
Though they couldn’t find a home for sale in the exact set of townhouses they’d longed for, a complex just up the street had one unit for sale. They jumped at the chance.
“As soon as we walked in, our eyes immediately drew to that view,” says Wendy. “But the rest of the house needed some serious updating.”
True, the pink carpets, mahogany cabinetry and yellow appliances were reason enough to renovate, but the impetus for moving was the view, so they wanted to open the space up to maximize the scenery as much as possible. The Miles reached out to the team at Velocity Projects to make it happen.
“We started with removing the wall that divided the kitchen with the rest of the living area,” says Megan Cortini, interior designer at Velocity Projects.
Because the wall was a vital structural component, the team had to figure out a way to get a new engineered support beam inside the enclosed townhome. They were able to slide it in through the front door — but only barely. Strata restrictions meant the homeowners would have to keep all original exterior doors and windows, so Cortini added numerous pot lights and carried a fresh white paint throughout the home to brighten the place up.
“The Miles wanted a bright and airy coastal home,” says Cortini. “So I chose natural textures and materials with a neutral colour palette.”
Knowing the Miles were planning to purchase entirely new furniture for the space, Cortini wanted to create a warm and inviting backdrop with a lived-in feel for the furniture to blend in without looking staged. To accomplish this, she used a modern foundation with traditional accents in the millwork and fixtures. Shaker-style cabinetry, grainy, white-oak flooring and brushed-gold accents add a worn-in feel against the simple and neutral palette.
In the living room, the vaulted popcorn ceiling was refinished for a clean look that leads up to the floor-to-ceiling arched windows that provide views out to the marina, Brentwood Bay and the Mill Bay ferry crossing the Saanich Inlet. Cortini kept the original gold inlay on the arched windows to create a feeling of transition with the other gold accents throughout the space.
While much of the interior of the unit was gutted, one element that stayed was the arched doorway in the primary suite that leads through to a large, walk-in closet and spa-inspired ensuite. The existing tub and cramped, neo-angle shower were replaced with one large walk-in shower (to support aging in place), situated under a bright skylight to create a relaxing oasis. In the bedroom, glass double doors open up to the deck overlooking the inlet.
Whether they’re planning family gatherings with their five children or cozy nights at home with just the two of them, the Miles finally have the seascape paradise they dreamed of all those years ago.
“Our home flows so efficiently between rooms,” says Wendy. “We finally have one big space that our entire family can be a part of.”
Designer: Megan Cortini
Builders: Velocity Projects
Plumbing and mechanical: West Bay Mechanical
Electrician: Amped Electrical Contracting
Doors and hardware: Windsor Plywood Duncan
Tile: Island Floor Centre
Countertops: Stone Age Marble
Plumbing fixtures: Victoria Speciality Hardware
Flooring: Island Floor Centre
Millwork: Innovative Kitchens & Bath
Closet: Incredible Closets | Incredible Home