Making It Work On The Coast | S1 E6 “Michel and Mary, 150ft From the Sea”
Location: Bonniebrook Beach
Outdoor: Cliff Gilker Park
Social Recco: Smoke On the Water
Living 150 feet from the ocean is #lifegoals. Vancouverites-turned-coasters Michel and Mary have managed to forge a new path that finds them doing just that (at least part time) on the Sunshine Coast.
The pair have owned their 650-square-foot cottage – nicknamed The Beach Cottage – for just over a year. Mary, a cello instructor at Vancouver Academy of Music; and Michel, owner and operator of his own architect firm Michel Laflamme Architect, split their time between their Kitsilano condo and their seaside paradise tucked away in Bonniebrook Beach. For those who aren’t familiar, Bonniebrook is between Roberts Creek and Gibsons.
Last year, Michel and Mary decided to start planning for their retirement by purchasing the cottage. Its prime location and need for only small aesthetic updates made the cottage the perfect second home. Now, this cozy cottage is an ideal oceanfront getaway.
This gorgeous coastal home brings to life the design sensibilities from both Michel and Mary, with careful attention paid to every nook and cranny of the cottage. The interior has a modern rustic feel. The all-white wooden interior is bright and airy, allowing for statement furniture and signature accent pieces, including an innovative firewood storage solution. Aside from beautiful contemporary furniture and accessories, the cottage boasts signature art pieces designed by friends of Michel and Mary. The space is finished off with a few sentimental family heirlooms like Michel’s dad’s old tool trunk and Mary’s grandfather’s birdwatching binoculars. Coupled with a 200-square-foot deck for lazy summer days and evenings entertaining, this is an absolute gem.
While Michel and Mary try to spend as much time as possible at their second home, they get help with their mortgage by renting it out via Airbnb. The cottage is so popular that they need to book the space for their own personal use well in advance!
And who wouldn’t want this life? Ocean swims, toes in the sand and beach bonfires (outside of fire ban season, of course). Homemade crabcakes made from fresh-caught fish from a neighbour. Delicious patio meals comprised of curated artisan foods from the Gibsons Public Market. Dining out experiences like Smoke On the Water, Nova Kitchen and Smitty’s Oyster House. Eagles soaring overhead and the subtle sound of trees rustling in the breeze. All this and more make up the unique sights and sounds of the Sunshine Coast that we all hold dear.
“I change when I come here. I really do,” says Mary, speaking of that welcome shift we all enjoy, our shoulders dropping with every minute that passes on the ferry. The transition from urban rush to easy going coastal living is a sweet reprieve from fast paced city life.
Michel – a Vancouver resident for 35 years – has been coming to the Sunshine Coast for almost as long. His 3 reasons for moving to the Sunshine coast are simple: the physical and mental distance from the city that the short ferry ride brings, the swimming, and the people.
He recalls the days when the majority of ferry passengers to The Coast were loggers and fishermen. In his opinion, while the demographic makeup of the Sunshine Coast has changed, the thing that has maintained is the warmth, friendliness and down to earth nature of the people in this community.
Michel is so taken by The Coast, that for the first time in his firm’s history he’s paying to advertise on the Sunshine Coast so he can gain more clientele and work closer to the cottage.
So what has blown them away the most since they’ve been spending more time on the Sunshine Coast? Well, it’s really as simple as those lazy summer nights on their large patio deck watching the world go by. But, a close second, says Michel, is sharing all this with friends and family.
And that, my friends, is #lifegoals at its finest.
Are you interested in learning more about making the move to the Sunshine Coast? Contact me a for a consultation.
Each year, the Sunshine Coast welcomes new year-round residents who have unearthed the secret of “going coastal”. In this Making It Work On The Coast blog series, we’ll get to know our new neighbours, who are fast becoming part of the fabric of our community. I’ll discover their inspirations for moving to the Sunshine Coast, and the homes, lifestyles, and careers they’ve built in our amazing neck of the woods.