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Luxury by the beach

This custom home with an outdoor living mecca and modern interior brings three generations together to enjoy oceanside living
Living room

For most people, a vacation home and an everyday living space are two very different entities: one for blue sky living and the other for practicality.

But for Nels and Dawna Guloien, marrying an oceanfront dream home with functional daily living spaces became a reality when they teamed up with Christen Luxury Homes and ZED Studio. Together they custom designed a home that combines modern luxury with traditional comforts, topped off with some of the best views in the neighbourhood.

The Guloiens had been living in Port Moody’s Heritage Mountain (a Vancouver suburb) but were eyeing a move that would bring them closer to the water—in this case, to Pleasantside, overlooking the Burrard Inlet.

They settled on a lot on Alderside Road, a long beachside street with an eclectic melange of original structures, contemporary oceanside villas and everything in between. There were two structures set for demolition on the lot they selected—one of the largest lots on the street—and the Guloiens envisioned building a home that could accommodate their love of outdoor entertaining, as well as their hobbies, grandkids and everyday comforts for retirement living.

Their first step: bringing in Tony Barone of Christen Luxury Homes to guide the demolition and new build.

“We got involved initially through a referral that came from a friend of the owners,” Tony says. “We met and got a feel for the site, and then I reached out to building designer Zane Erickson [of ZED Studio] to start the design process.”

The Guloiens inspired Zane as an “incredible family of high achievers,” including daughters who were Olympic athletes, a father and extended family of jazz musicians and accomplished business owners.

“They interviewed me and fell in love,” Zane says. “I design empathetically, so I ask questions, and as we talk, I start to envision the floor plan. This home turned out to be very special—5,600 square feet with five bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms.”

Outdoor living, resort-style

Outdoor living. Photography

With the owners’ penchant for outdoor entertaining and the property’s south-facing backyard overlooking a long stretch of beach, the team set out to create an outdoor living environment reminiscent of a vacation resort.

Pool. Photography

“The swimming pool was a priority,” says Nels. “Dawna had one as a kid and knew that she wanted it for our grandkids.”

But with the tide literally lapping at the yard, the design team had to ensure the pool was placed far enough away from the high-water mark.

“Last winter we had a 19-foot king tide,” Nels says. “So, we also had to raise and restack the seawall with granite on top.”

They also rebuilt the 200-foot-long dock, which extends into the water as a launchpad for floaties and paddleboards and offers ample space for lounging and contemplating sea life.

A raised stretch of lawn proved the perfect space for sunseekers, while the patio surrounding the pool leaves lots of room for summer lounging. Around the corner, a shower room with outdoor access ensures wet feet don’t have to splash through the house to wash off.

But the pièce de resistance might just be the outdoor kitchens (yes, there are two). These coveted entertainment spaces come complete with barbeques, refrigeration, dining space and lounges with mounted outdoor TVs.

With 1,400 square feet of covered outdoor living space spread across the main and lower levels, the Guloiens were able to create mirrored outdoor kitchens on both levels—for both poolside and main-floor entertaining.

“It makes it easier, so we don’t have to carry things upstairs or downstairs, depending on where people are hanging out,” Dawna says.

Makings of a dream home

Kitchen. Photography

The inside of the home, designed collaboratively by Christen Luxury Homes and Dawna, is just as stunning as the view beyond—modern in design with traditional touches. Neutral tones keep the focus on the stunning view, which is amplified by the retractable floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors in the large open-concept great room.

At one end, a stone wall anchors the fireplace and entertainment centre; at the other, a sparkling white and black kitchen offers space for informal long-table lingering. An oversized island with black millwork contrasts white surrounding cabinets, while black and white marble countertops unify the design. A concealed prep kitchen offers additional space for large-scale cooking.

Near the front entrance, a formal dining room is set apart from the great room, adjacent to the front-yard garden.

“The family wanted a garden-inspired dining room that was separate from the main living area,” Tony says. “So, when the family comes for dinner, they can be away from distractions for that time.”

An office space and elevator round out the main floor.

Upstairs, a large master bedroom plus three guest bedrooms offer ample space for family, while downstairs, a family room and additional guest room provide cosy quarters for guests and grandkids.

“The master suite has a spectacular view down Burrard Inlet, and some of the guest rooms look out across the pool,” Zane says.

Sounds like home

There was one additional request from the Guloiens in designing their dream home: a soundproof studio for Nels. An accomplished jazz drummer, he was looking for a separate space to keep the noise confined during rehearsals.

“Dawna felt it was important to give him an area that was private,” Tony says. “So, we suspended the garage slab in their detached garage, and built a private music room. It’s separate from the house and has its own entrance, so he can bring his band over to practice.”

The rehearsal room also serves as a musical archive for his family of jazz musicians, including famous father Paul Perry, and brother PJ Perry. It caps off a one-of-a-kind build in a truly breathtaking location.

“This home captures both a permanent residence and a vacation home all in one,” says Tony. “And it was so rewarding for us to fulfill the client’s dream.”

Exterior. Photography