Every so often, a property listing gives me an extra spring in my step. 3037 Grauman is one of those properties. What makes this five-acre parcel so unique is that it is owned by two designers who have poured their experience and passion into the land and its gorgeous buildings.
The heartbeat of Grauman is an incredible woodworking shop that won the Green Building Award at the Canadian Wood Council’s BC Wood Design Awards in 2010. This is home to Nico Spacecraft, a design-and-build studio focused on architectural elements, interiors, furniture, kitchens, sculpture & more. Husband-and-wife design team, Nicolas and Jess Meyer, explore in this creative playground; producing award-winning design work that has received accolades across the globe.
I caught up with Nicolas recently to learn more about how they’ve made it work on The Coast and why they’re listing their property after a decade.
Nicolas and Jess originally moved to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver more than a decade ago, in search of more life balance.
“I guess it was a change in lifestyle, driven by necessity or a choice - what we saw as being necessary,” he says. “We were so busy in the city building the company that we never got to see our kids anymore and we said: ‘that’s not why we had children, when we miss all the firsts.’”
After a long hunt for the perfect live-work property, Jess and Nicolas found their home at Grauman in the artists’ hub of Roberts Creek. Since then, they’ve built a rich life here - and have grown their business while doing it.
“We fell in love with the coast. I always say it’s kind of like cheating - but the good kind. You’re so close to the city and yet you’re in a completely different world here,” he says. “and the property, to me… it’s almost like you’re in the Canadian wilderness, but it’s 10 minutes to IGA or to London Drugs or 20 minutes to the ferry, flat. It’s like you get the best of both worlds. It’s pretty amazing.”
Being self-professed busy bees, it wasn’t long before Jess and Nicolas got to work renovating the Grauman property.
They started with the shop build, which took them four years. This Bauhaus-style design is absolutely stunning, made from reclaimed first-growth timber framing. As it has been used as a woodworking shop, the interior is still raw - and a glorious blank canvas for a lucky new owner, who can transform the space into an Airbnb, a sound studio, yoga studio, or some other kind of creative space.
Once the shop was completed, Jess and Nicolas moved on to re-designing their home, though they were sure to preserve its history, all the while adding their own unique and creative touches.
“When we bought the house, we felt that there were a lot of signs of a rich family life: children and projects started everywhere and a lot of love poured into the house - how it was built,” says Nicolas. “We tried to retain as much as we could going through the original renovation. And one of those things was the decking.”
They used the weathered wood from the original decking to clad the beam work in the house, which added a certain character and patina that only comes through years of usage and can’t be replicated like that. The new deck is shaped like an amphitheatre around an outdoor fire pit - perfect for cozying up over a campfire and telling stories.
One of the focal points of the home interior is its custom kitchen, which features countertops that wrap around the cabinetry. The kitchen cabinets are built from a 100 year old white oak, salvaged from a famous Sunshine Coast tree that had to be cut for safety reasons and was planted by the first skipper in Gibson’s. Community members came from all over to witness the saving of this tree that otherwise would have ended up as firewood. Nicolas and Bill from Mobil Milling in the Creek, milled the white oak and stacked to air-dry on the property so that it could live on in beautiful furniture and home designs for generations to come.
The home is full of these little details - and stories to go along with them. Take, the reclaimed wooden floor from UBC Memorial gym - on which Jimi Hendrix played. Or, the signature ceiling panels that form a tessellating honeycomb like architectural pattern.
Admittedly, Nicolas said he loves the Grauman property and could literally spend all of his time there.
His favourite memories?
“Seeing my kids grow up on that property; bulding projects in the shop, and forts in the woods, climbing trees and playing hide & seek. The property kind of expands past its boarders. You can basically walk off the property and you’re in midst of beautiful hiking trails,” he says of the nearby access to the biking and hiking trail network. ”Every morning we would take the dogs up into the forest on a morning hike, and that became the kids’ playground too. On weekends, we would pack up some food and we would head into the woods and spend the day up in the hills ravelling in the majestic views over the landscape and ocean.”
Alas, every good story has an ending. For Nicolas and Jess, their Roberts Creek story is coming to a close, as they make way for new adventures. They recently purchased a guest house right in the Gulf Coast in the Yucatan in Mexico. They decided to downsize to a more manageable property in BC to be able to focus on their new venture down south on which to direct their creative energies to.
But as this door closes for Nicolas and Jess, a new adventure awaits at Grauman Road for the next lucky buyer! As they have so very well proven, the possibilities for creativity at this property are endless.
Learn more about Nico Spacecraft on Facebook at facebook.com/NicoSpacecraft.