As the new year rang in ~ in the middle of a blizzard ~ I took a leap of faith and bought a coastal villa on the Sunshine Coast! A quirky, magical place I’m so excited to make my own the first weekend in March, just as the garden begins to bloom and days get longer.
Only 2 months earlier I was pulling up anchor on my beloved brick and mortar shop sharing my dream of finding a sanctuary-like property, yet even I didn't expect to manifest it so soon!
A place to connect with nature and kindred spirits; host retreats, workshops, collaborations, and photoshoots; paint; cultivate a nature-inspired life in harmony with the natural environment. Doing soulful groundbreaking work with others, encouraging creativity, connection and compassion towards ourselves, each other and all creatures great and small.
I had researched my ideal area for years...waiting for the right spot to fill my wish list, which included being close to the beach, yet not so close I had to worry about rising sea levels!
+ A garden to grow my own food…a green setting for potentially creating a plant-based cookbook as well.
+ A studio/gallery area where I could paint.
+ A setting that felt wild, sacred and alive, yet not so tucked into a forest that it felt dark or brooding. Not so wild that it was problematic to maintain all on my own either!
+ Upper Gibsons area, just a 10 minute drive to the ferry, was my preferred locale. So I could easily connect to my Vancouver friends and family, and others could come to visit for the day on a lovely 40-minute ferry ride up the coast (contrary to common misconception, the Sunshine Coast is not an island—that's Vancouver Island across from it). The ferry crosses Howe Sound Inlet that runs up mainland BC from the Salish Sea. Note how close it is to Vancouver, and even the US Border!
+ The entrepreneur in me knew I needed the right zoning and parcel size of land to expand on my business ideas, such as incorporating aspects of my beloved boutique onto this property, with a holistic nature-inspired product line, apothecary, vintage treasures, art & living elements as well. Treasured clients could choose online, or walk onto the lovely land and hand choose in the way I personally prefer to shop! Experiential, tactile and hands-on! Also, a space that would allow for a B&B, and maybe even a few rescued animals to call their home.
It was a tall order to fill! Yet, in the middle of an arctic chill, I walked upon this property out of simple curiosity, saw its potential and in a very swift decisive act, bought it!!!
Aesthetically, the house itself wasn’t ever what I imagined buying. It's neither a beach house, a rustic cottage nor an old farmhouse with a old barn in a pasture—it’s a sprawling 80's u-shaped rancher!
Yet framed by old brick arches that feel Mediterranean, it reminds me of my own years in France and Italy. Airy woods in the back with majestic tall trees certainly add to its wonder. At the 1-acre properties edge, one can hear the salmon stream of Chaster Creek as it flows down to a little estuary that joins the Salish Sea at Bonniebrook Beach This is one of the best beaches on the Sunshine Coast for beachcombing, swimming, and catching a sunset. At low tide, the sand bar offers a soft shore and the long level Oceanbeach Esplanade offers a lovely seaside walk. One can expect to see seals, sea lions, ravens, eagles, hummingbirds, frogs, gulls, deer, and if lucky, perhaps even a pod of local orcas.
As my sister and I walked the property on the second visit we realized aspects of it reminded us of our childhood home near Whytecliff Park. Plus, with its multiple structures, light-filled garden room, greenhouse, courtyards, terraced areas, and vignettes, I realized it was very Natural Eclectic as well! The beautiful old brick arches, covered in wisteria vines soon would be a wonderful backdrop for photos; the cobblestone terrace divine strung with patio lights for long table dinners. Kindred folk feasting on a 'kind diet' harvested from the land. The double garage with windows overlooking a Belle De Boskoop apple tree—the perfect spot to paint.
So private as well, down a long panhandle driveway. No curb appeal as it's hidden away! Soon I'll be tucked away on this secluded coastal oasis, yet I already feel such a sense of community and connection as I leap into this next adventure.
I'll need to renovate that sprawling rancher to give it my 'natural eclectic' touch, though I do plan a gentle transition, taking time in the garden to discover what wants to push up from the earth once winter thaws and letting myself relax and slow down as I settle into coastal life.
Much like when I closed up shop, I have been so heart warmed by the outpouring of love on social media encouraging me on this new path. Amazing creatives, healers, and teachers also reaching out already wanting to collaborate with me in this beautiful new setting!
Please follow my new Instagram @thecoastalvilla. There's so much to share as I explore this journey and new property, and the garden comes alive.
All along I said I was going to take a ‘leaf of faith’ towards my green path. Look at that, I did it just in time for leap year!
Kindest regards, Heather
PS I'll still have a presence in the City. I'm delighted to share the exciting news—I've been asked to show my work at The Cross & we are curating an exhibit for late spring/early summer!