It's In The Details

Words By Tony Lebid
Photos By Bluetree Photography
& Artez Photography

A local homebuilder shares his love for West Coast architecture.

Building custom homes in Campbell River and the surrounding area is a gift not every craftsman gets to experience. The landscape around here has much to offer, and the fact that we have access to raw materials and resources derived straight from our island is a privilege. We have some of the world’s most impressive wood sourced from our rainforests, as well as various products like stone and other local building components.

I have been in the building industry my whole working life, beginning when our family moved from the Island to Costa Rica, and lived there for 12 years. As I grew up, I got my start in the construction industry. We did new home construction, as well as land development. In 2002, we moved back to the Island, and I began my business, Twelve Oaks Construction. As well, I met and married my wife Donyne, and now we’re raising our two young boys here.

I have learned a lot about the complexity and ever-changing nature of the building industry over the last 10 years or so. I have seen a large shift towards West Coast contemporary-inspired design, and with this trend comes an increased use of local raw materials. You’ve probably noticed an emphasis on old growth cedar—with featured interior and exterior areas being clear wood. That means wood that does not have knots in it, which is ideal for showcasing the natural beauty of the wood—but not in a rustic way. For other featured details, we create posts, beams, and trusses that are predominantly mature Douglas fir.

At times, I have incorporated reclaimed heritage timber pieces into projects. Some of this wood is over 100 years old and was originally harvested locally. I’ve used components from barns and old industrial buildings, creating a distinction that cannot be recreated without decades of weathering and aging.

For countertops and cabinetry, I sometimes use materials that do not grade as merchantable wood; however, they have unique visual properties such as spalting. This is created by a group of fungi that form in predominantly dead wood, causing it to decay and leaving what looks like a road map of various shaded patterns.

In addition, I have incorporated teredo wood in some homes. This type of wood comes from logs that have been stored in the ocean for some time, and have been inhabited by sea worms. Such beautiful wood can only be sourced from our coast. For a beach house, I converted a large teredo cedar piece into the featured entry door, and it looks spectacular.

Details like these make the biggest difference in West Coast homes.

Twelve Oaks Construction is 20 years old and counting. I feel fortunate to be able to stretch the limits of creativity in my work, and build homes that showcase the beauty of our West Coast.




Category: Volume 5, Who