House Diary #6: Many Meetings

I haven’t written about the process of building our house on Pender Island for a while. That’s mostly because not a lot has happened. Our architect is about two weeks away from having the final drawings complete, so that’s good news.

Yesterday, we met with our builder, architect and interior designer–the latter for the first time. We gave her a copy of our lengthy responses to the architect’s questionnaire, and chatted about the kind of interior finishes we wanted. In broad terms, we’re looking for simple and sparse. For example, most of the floors will probably be concrete, with some bamboo flooring on the stairs and the like.

In terms of working with the interior designer, I had two notions:

  • I view her as an expert human filter. There are, for example, a zillion possible shower heads out there to choose from. After she hears our general functional and aesthetic specifications, her job is to go forth and bring us back five likely candidates from which to choose. I have zero interest in visiting warehouses chock-a-block with fixtures or home shows that cover acres of space inside BC Place.
  • In the past decade, we’ve lived in seven different homes, six of which have been furnished by other people. The experience impressed upon me the fact that, at the end of the day, all this stuff doesn’t matter very much. You live with whatever you have. We’re not the sort of people who, a year after finishing the house, will stare mournfully at the bathroom floor and moan about choosing the wrong hue of gray tile. On the scale of Things That Matter, fixtures and finishing are down there with, say, Mylie Cyrus’s career.

Once we’ve got the final drawings and a budget from our builder, then we go to the bank. That shouldn’t be a problem, right? I mean, at least this is period of bedrock stability in the financial sector, right? Right?


  1. I enjoyed reading about your design process. We have an ocean front lot on Pender Island. I wonder if you would recommend John Gower? We have considered pre-fab log homes but think the plans are too restrictive to maximize our beautiful view!

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