House Beautiful: Unique mid-century rancher ‘like living in a resort’

Looking for privacy and some peace and quiet, couple built their dream home in North Saanich.

Six months after buying a new house in North Saanich, Veronica and John Mustoe realized while it was a perfectly “fine” house, they weren’t happy.

It lacked privacy, and construction noise didn’t give them the peace and quiet they wanted at home.

“I thought we’d have to stick it out but John started looking and kept driving by this lot (also in North Saanich),” says Veronica.

They were already familiar with White Wolf Homes, which was building the spec house. John had previously talked to White Wolf Homes owner Kyle Velikovsky about whether he had any homes coming up for sale and now here was one going up in the perfect location, surrounded by mature trees.

The company, which was started two years ago, builds about four to five custom homes for clients annually and does 12 to 15 residential homes on spec.

Even though framing hadn’t even begun, John was convinced the house would be ideal for them since he knew other homes designed by White Wolf Homes were in keeping with their style and the level lot, on one acre, offered seclusion.

Still, Veronica wasn’t sure about even considering buying another house so soon after their recent purchase, but she did agree to go with John to walk the property.

By then the house was framed, but there were no doors or roof on it and it would be hard to envision the backyard construction site as a future pool oasis. Still, John was determined and the couple took the risk of buying before even selling their recently acquired house.

“I had such a good feeling about this house,” said John, of the mid-century rancher under construction.

“I looked up at the windows and said this house is going to be unbelievable.”

Standing in the now-completed house and looking up toward the 16-foot ceilings with rake windows framing the pool, deck and separate guest house, it’s obvious John and Veronica’s foresight paid off. They moved in February 2021 and have loved living there every minute since.

“I can’t believe how lucky we are to have this house,” John says of the finished product, which makes the couple feel like they are living in a resort thanks to its amenities and high-end finishes.

In fact, when Veronica was asked if she still wanted to go out of town for her birthday this year, she opted to stay home because the house has everything a luxury vacation home would provide.

And while the house is a spec house all of the choices made by White Wolf Homes were ones the couple say they would have made themselves.

“If John and I were to design a house this would be it…We felt this was a custom home for us,” says Veronica, who has expertly decorated the home and added her own design touches to the house.

For instance the couple added wave pattern tiles to add interest at the end of a long white hallway. They also have plans to bring color to the dining room by adding wallpaper and warm up the space with a new rug.

Light coloured, wide-plank wood flooring runs throughout the home including the kitchen and entry but large porcelain tile is used in the master ensuite, pantry and laundry room. A smaller, dark tile is used in one of the bathroom floors with a lighter, geometric patterned tile going from floor to ceiling.

The three-bedroom house is 3,200 square feet and has an additional 1,000-sqaure-foot cottage, so there’s plenty of room for themselves, visitors and their three dogs — six-year-old Stella and seven-month-old Maverick, both French Mastiffs. They also have a bulldog named Angus who wants to be in the pool constantly.

“The dogs are living their best life,” she says.

A fully tiled bathroom, located in one wing of the house near the pool, also provides the ideal place to hose down the dogs after an outing. The dogs get dried with heated towels and enjoy a heated tiled floor there. The functional bathroom is much better than any outdoor dog shower the couple could have ever dreamed of for their pets.

The couple’s adult children and three grandchildren, ages four, two and one, are regular visitors.

“They have the best time coming here and the kids have their own little floaties. This is a great entertaining space where everyone can be together easily in the same space,” says Veronica, adding they also have seven siblings who like to visit.

There’s also lots of room indoors for the family clan to gather thanks to the open concept and airy living room, dining room and kitchen.

The sense of spaciousness is created by the butterfly roof that starts out at 10 feet by the kitchen and dining area but is vaulted to 14 feet at the peak, where the fireplace makes a dramatic focal point. The feature wall surrounding the modern fireplace has a combination of walnut and white tiling as well as an elevated marble hearth with under lighting. Between that and the view to the outdoor pool, visible at the entryway, stepping inside this home definitely provides its wow moments.

Developer Velikovsky says this house is one of his favourites.

“I feel a lot of people like mid-century modern homes and the modern look overall,” he says.

“We had this vision for the property to be a rancher with a swimming pool surrounded by nature in a U-shape. In the past we’ve built a lot of modern farmhouses but this was different and very unique. A one acre flat lot in North Saanich is very rare so we wanted to build something special.

“Normally, when I finish a home I’d think I’d change this or that but with John and Veronica’s house there’s nothing I’d do differently,” he says.

The couple find the home offers them everything they need from their own separate office spaces to a primary bedroom in a separate wing of the house. The primary bedroom also has a solid walnut paneled feature wall and an ensuite with a stand alone tub and huge glass shower wall panels under a skylight.

John notes the workers installing the shower told him they were the largest pieces of glass panels they’ve ever put in a shower.

“There are so many quality features like this throughout the home,” he says.

Veronica points out the baseboards and the oversized doors are all solid wood, the kitchen has high-end appliances and the builder opted to put in expensive accordion patio doors to the outside instead of going with less expensive sliding glass doors. And the pool has an automatic, retractable cover to name just a few of the many perks in the house.

And while the Mustoes are thrilled with their home, Velikovsky says his challenge now is finding suitable lots since he’s getting so many requests from other potential clients wanting something similar.

kpemberton@shaw.ca

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