Marsh Hill Studio 54: Home Sweet Home

Seaforth, Nova Scotia

Moving to Seaforth, Nova Scotia

The best plans back in 2010 were to sell our Vancouver Live/Work loft and to put our ‘stuff’ into Vancouver storage, for we will be rejoicing soon, in our new abode, within a few months of leaving Vancouver. WHO KNEW that our well-thought-out plans could change, leaving us with just our suitcase and me, with only one drawing kit, a year later??? 

Big life changes and a drastic move across Canada have encompassed our lives, going on a year now. We moved from Vancouver, British Columbia (west coast), driving across Canada, in October 2010, to Nova Scotia (east coast). We intended to buy an existing house once we arrived in Nova Scotia

The Workshop Live/work loft studio space Vancouver BC.

The Workshop Live/work loft studio space
Vancouver BC... red dot marks our loft.

Open living and studio space aka 'the lofty palace' with 20 feet high windows

Open living and studio space 

aka 'the lofty palace' with 20 feet high windows. 

Vancouver's city skyline from our loft window view.

Vancouver's city skyline from our loft window view.

View from 'Loft' of downtown Vancouver, BC

View from 'Lofty Palace' of downtown Vancouver, BC

Upon our discovery, purchasing an existing house, left us with the reality, we would have to do some serious renovations, to make it work for 2 creative people who need 'specific' space. My guy, Jim is a working musician and he needs to have a space to practice, write and store all of his equipment. I need a place with lots of light, space, and SPACE…did I say ‘space’ twice? YES, an artist seems to never have enough space to hang paintings or to store everything! It is not that we just needed a house that caters to basic living but it had to have 2 useful ‘specific’ studio spaces, a great soaker bathtub, a view, and the big clincher, to stay within our budget!

We gave in to the auspicious idea of building and designing our own home from scratch within 2 months of home searching every day. For years,  we watched many TV episodes of my hero 'Holmes on Homes', and 'getting it right' is what we wanted to have in our lives and our home. His TV series gave us valuable insight to search for problems in houses and ensured some kind of confidence to go looking for those BAD expensive problems and not get too caught up in any glitz & the sparkle of some very nicely presented homes. 

We owe our heartfelt gratitude to Fred, Jim's friend from years past, who acted as our building inspector and shared with us, the oodles of his experience in home renovation and building sets for the movie industry. Eventually, after months of looking at homes for sale, Fred mentioned, "why don't you build your own, then you know the house is built right.We started to look for land and found a dream come true, view property with a country setting in Seaforth, with horses in fields, views, and access to Gaetz lake and beaches of the Atlantic Ocean

the land clearing for building...ahhh the Seaforth NS view!

Just getting the land cleared...ahhh the Seaforth NS view!
We couldn't believe our luck and timing, connecting with another friend of Jim's from years ago. Joe Murphy is a musician singer & harmonica player who introduced us to some land in Seaforth, Nova Scotia that he knew a fellow surfer friend from the USA, wanted to sell. We could see the potential, although it was very overwhelming to think that we would have to start from scratch. We negotiated a fair price for the land, THEN the next plan of action was to design something for our budget and ‘needs’. 

Started by hand clearing some alders  and burning them late winter.

Started by hand clearing some alders 

and burning them in late winter.

Cleared land in Seaforth NS, just getting started!

Cleared land, just getting started!

Land cleared, dug out, refilled with pit rock  and Armour rock wall

Land cleared, dugout, refilled with pit rock with
Armour rock wall built, 
getting the best view potential. 

'Digger' Wayne calls it a 'Hollywood' view
... were liking it!

Armour rock wall and pit filled  ready for house building.

Armour rock wall and pit filled 

ready for house building.

Clearing and shaping the land was overwhelming.  Before constructing the building, we had to remove an acre of alders, raspberry bushes, etc. to get to the dirt so we could walk around planning where the house was going to sit...then TONS of red clay dirt had to be scooped out, and then refilled with drainage pit rock. HUGE Armour Blue rocks had to be brought in to create a landscaped wall to hold the hillside up and to create a curved shape into the hillside so drainage and our home can be tucked safely away. I nicknamed our CAT driving big rig guy, "Digger" Wayne, who handles his CATS like they are extensions of his arms and legs and I am sure he can scratch a mosquito off the end of his nose with a CAT bucket! 

View of Seaforth NS...ahhhh sweet!

View of Seaforth NS...ahhhh sweet!

Jim with dogs Stick & Stone

Guinness a.k.a 'Stick' and 
Charlie a.k.a 'Stone'

These two dogs belong to our neighbor and they have become our best buddies. Every time we came to the land, they would come to greet us with their favorite collections of sticks and stones. Sadly, without warning, the black lab, Guinness just up and died of old age this summer. Charlie still comes to greet us but suspects he misses his black brother to compete and share whatever spoils they manifest!

John, our building contractor, introduced Sarah Zollinger, a recent graduate from architecture school, to create a style of home and studio we wanted to build. Being a painter is much easier, I can very easily buy mediums, find a surface to paint on and the time to do it, to create my art but an architect needs clients, with money, to express a bit of something that is 'them' but at the same time, filling their client's needs. She had a keen vision of what we wanted and helped us to organize all our wants, styles, and needs into a modern designed house and studio space that is unique, yet functional. We have been further enriched by hiring John Brannen and his crew, Jordan, Jamie, and Ron who are all talented and have also contributed ideas to work out the constant building challenges, keeping our energy-efficient, and on budget. 

ICF Construction walls

ICF Construction walls

Future studio spaces for Jim and Minaz

Future studio spaces for Jim and Minaz 

Minaz Art Studio under construction

Minaz Studio side

Minaz Art Studio under construction ICF

Minaz Art Studio is under construction.

The Seaforth Beach house with  lots of windows!

The Seaforth Beach house with lots of windows!

Currently, the house building is still going on, and with hopes that we move into our new home called 'Marsh Hill Studio 54' by fall 2011, thus rejoicing and joining with our stored ‘stuff’ still in Vancouver.

Be careful about what you wish for...ancient wisdom...modern dreams!... Minaz

1 comment :

D.Martin said...

Really fantastic ' Clicks"

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