Never buy a house on your smartphone while surfing!
Welcome to the Log Cabin Restoration Series – Part 1.
Just for fun I thought it would be great to document our log home restoration. I posted sometime this winter about the chimney fire and thankfully that wasn’t the final post for this house. The cabin is still standing and now I am going to tell you a little story about it mainly because its evolution is pretty interesting. A little slow on the progress front but it’s interesting and maybe by sharing this, someone out there will come up with some really awesome ideas for us.
So, why would I advise against buying a house on your smartphone while surfing in Tofino!? Because that is exactly what we did in the fall of 2008 from Chesterman Beach and quite literally closed on the deal in the week the world’s financial markets collapsed.
Did I Just Hear a Global ‘Yikes!?
I am going to apologize up front for this one – don’t ask me why would I remember a Pamela Anderson quote but here goes: ‘Never get married on vacation’. Sage advice from an unlikely source but the same can be applied to buying real estate!
The whole idea was to ‘flip’ the house. Needless to say we are not ‘flipping’ anything except our middle finger at the current real estate climate, but I promised not to get into that. The house held great potential (much like fiancés) – and still does!
Here is a little history of this house. The cabin was built in the 80’s by a local Kiwi skier named Stuart Dickenson. He, his wife and nearly one year old son were building a home for themselves that was not yet completed when Stu’s life was tragically truncated by an avalanche. Like so many people in this resort town, he died on the mountain doing what he loved but it left not only his home half completed but his wife and child nearly destitute. There is a memorial in the form of a backcountry cabin at the top of Whistler Mountain and his friends gather yearly to remember him.
Before his death, Stuie (as his friends called him) built this log cabin with the yellow cedar logs, harvested directly from the lot it sits on in Alpine Meadows. He and his wife had purchased a parcel in one of Whistler’s first bare land stratas (look it up – I don’t have time to explain that one!) and were in the process of building a small home for their family as they were just gearing up to celebrate their young son’s first birthday.
Following the tragedy, friends and neighbours pitched in to help finish the home and many brought building materials or simply hands to help. When we bought the home in 2008 we had no idea of its colourful history and it wasn’t until random people came to visit that we realized the strangest things like the cedar shingles on the roof came from the old Whistler Conference Centre, that the decking was actually wood siding from a local A-frame tear down and most of the interior doors came from an old church in Bralorne.
Local potter, neighbour and friend to the Dickenson’s Vincent ‘Binty’ Massey donated a sink and custom made tiles for the kitchen and bathrooms and random people offered help and expertise which only became truly evident when we started dissecting the place.
One of the most interesting facets of the home was an in floor heating system that was hooked up to a working wood stove (now being used as a noble diapering station) but was never tested or implemented. This off-grid central heating is a Y2K’ers doomsday dream! We have since connected this radiant heating to a separate pump and water heater and are able to heat the foundation of the home!
There were nights when we first moved in that I swear I was being visited by a friendly ghost. I always felt a presence but rarely felt spooked. A lot happened in that home. It has truly become a part of local Whistler folklore – now what exactly what were we going to do with it?