Open your window. If you can hear jackhammers drilling and dump trucks rumbling, count yourself lucky. Construction activity is known to be one of the most accurate measures of economic health. Here in Atlantic Canada, $14.3 billion is being spent this year on megaprojects alone. And that’s just part of the story. Smaller scale commercial and residential construction is also on the rise. In this, our first-ever salute to bricks and mortar, we highlight some of the region’s most interesting and attractive construction projects. Why? Because he who has the most cranes wins (prosperity, that is).
A seasoned sea captain has found safe harbour in a snug 1,500 sq.-ft. condominium in a converted warehouse near the Charlottetown, P.E.I. waterfront. He’ll be surrounded by unique reminders of life at sea in his new home, which he co-designed with architect Chris Jette of architecture 360 inc. Features include special niches for reading and eating, constellations, secret passageways and scenes of the sea. “The place is intricately designed and detailed, with fabulous materials and craftsmanship,” says Jette. “Because of the quality of the workmanship, it’s like living in a piece of furniture.”
The fireplace is “a masterpiece of craftsmanship,” says Jette. The copper hood with its sand dollar motif was hand hammered and shaped by sheet metal worker/ artist Tony Morrison. The backlit alabaster and amber art glass and stained glass sea-related vignettes were designed and created by Jette and his Canoe Cove Studio partner Shelley Beckett. The curved woodwork was created by Raeford Waite of RW Woodworking and Custom Milling in Hunter River.
The spiral staircase that winds up to the balcony features hand-forged silver steel balusters that resemble the rope cables so necessary to life at sea. Fanciful foliage also made of steel composes the front balcony grill and, if viewed at the right angle, spells out the owner’s name.
LEFT: Invoking memories of Narnia or Harry Potter’s castle/school, the moveable bookcase provides secret passage to another room—or maybe another world? The bookcases are made of lacquered and stained birch and maple wood and crafted by several Island cabinetmakers and carpenters. A ladder and rail system allows access to every book in an extensive collection.
RIGHT: This comfortable reading nook provides a cozy hideaway to read or dream away a stormy winter afternoon. The condo features a breakfast nook, as well, and a saltwater fish tank integrated into a bookshelf. “[The owner] can look out like Captain Nemo and imagine he is on the ocean still,” says Jette.
The dropped wooden ceiling in the dining room is a scaled down replica of that found in Charlottetown’s Province House. Fibre optic lights set into the ceiling create the appearance of glowing constellations, traditionally used by mariners for night-time navigation. “[The installation piece] is perfectly true to the northern sky,” says Jette.