House of the Week: Big Coin in Qualicum
But you get one of the most singular retreats in the West.
Details: 4,428sq/ft. 6 Beds, 7 Baths
Neighbourhood: Qualicum Beach, BC
The Skinny: I rarely pay attention when flyers arrive in the mail, but last week a rather slick one arrived courtesy of Sotheby’s Realty and it caught my eye: 24 oceanfront acres, several outbuildings and guest houses, same family for almost 50 years. And it had a name (and not one of those terrible nouveau monikers slapped on some monstrosity with gables and pillars everywhere). Twin Gables. And I thought, I’d love to spend summers at Twin Gables. Qualicum used to be the spot for summering back in the day (whisper the address Judge’s Row to anyone over 50 and they’ll be majorly impressed), but with the rise of the Gulf Islands it seems like a tiny bit of glow has dimmed on the property values. Not for Twin Gables mind you.
The Pros: 1/4 acre on the water is standard. 1 acre makes you a big deal. 10, you’re a lumber baron. I have no idea what 24 makes you. But the great thing about this property is that nothing is showy or excessive. It’s been updated very tastefully and appropriately (sweet use of an AGA stove in the kitchen), but it still has the slightly rough-hewn look of a summer place (right down to the Zebra skin hanging over the bannister). It screams old money like few other properties on the market. The guest houses are likewise damn near perfect in their tone. And the beach, while rocky, does lead you to some of the warmest water north of California, very swimmable in July and August, which is rare in BC. But if not, there’s a modern swimming pool. And a tennis court.
The Cons: The $$$. This is the highest priced property in the area by $1,600,000 and that’s something in these parts. There’s also the aforementioned rocky beach (you generally have to head to neighbouring Parksville for sand). And weirdly the size isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—5 acres gives you privacy but when you get into 20+ it needs maintenance, especially if you’re using the home seasonably. There’s also an undeveloped neighbouring parcel of 15 acres available—which could be bought by some yahoo who doesn’t share the restraint practiced at Twin Gables.
The Verdict: This is a lot of money for Qualicum, but if you’ve just sold your software company for some nice change and you want to drop the nouveau from your nouveau riche handle this is one of those rare properties that will aid that transition.
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