The building of “The Lighthouse” eighteen years ago was a labour of both love and necessity. Property sellers Donna & Gordon custom-designed the home to seamlessly blend into the nautical style of the ocean-front community in Pointe-du-Chêne, New Brunswick: a beach hamlet located near the town of Shediac. They were also very mindful of the environmental impact of their materials. The result: a stunning, ocean-front home built to standards that allow those with environmental illnesses or allergies to breathe freely.
The signature red roof and structure reminiscent of a lighthouse (and the the home’s namesake) immediately catches your attention. “We decided to go with a lifetime red steel roof, common to all Canadian lighthouses” explains Gordon. The outside of both the lighthouse and carriage house are covered with 24″ long, B.C. red-cedar shingles stained grey, which contrast nicely with the red steel roofing.
The same attention to detail, warmth, and thematic consistency can be found inside. Immediately upon entering the front door, the Keeper’s Room sets the tone with the utmost in relaxation and gorgeous views. Warm pine on the walls, ceilings, and cabinetry blends into the area style, and an impressive floor-to-ceiling granite stone fireplace provides a central location for cozy family chats. The nautical detailing is also seen in the use of ship’s knees – a knee-shaped, curved piece of wood typically used in boat building but occasionally in timber framing –on the corners where the walls meet the ceiling to complement the naval style.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of this charming home isn’t immediately obvious to most guests. The Lighthouse is an environmental home, built to standards for those with environmental allergies or chemical sensitivities. The property was designed to allow Donna, who suffers from both environmental illness and chemical allergies, to breathe easy within the home. “Every aspect of the home had to be thought through,” explains Gordon. “We chose building materials that had very little chemical or off-gassing, so they wouldn’t irritate breathing. We used insulated concrete forms (ICF) for the frost walls and the outside walls, as well as the 12 ft octagonal walls of the bathroom.”
The ICF forms (dense styrofoam) not only hold the “sandwich” of steel rods and concrete; they also provide insulation and a vapour barrier and they are completely inert. We used low VOC water-based varathane on the pine woodwork inside, and low-VOC paint on all painted surfaces. We opted to use porcelain tile throughout the first floor, as it doesn’t off-gas at all, so it’s healthy, easy-to-clean, and non-porous.” The homeowners also deided to use in-floor hydronic heating, which adds appreciably to the home’s comfort level.
The entire home is designed for inclusivity and comfort; including details like 36 inch access doors for wheelchair access, as well as a high capacity, commercial-grade ERV system (or Energy Recovery Ventilation system) that operates as both an air exchanger and humidity control. Donna and Gordon also designed an apartment above the carriage house with guests in mind, allowing for friends and family to get together in the summer months. There is also a convenient outdoor “surfboard” shower to use after going for a swim!
The Lighthouse is truly a representation of the Shediac Bay area, as the community itself is a beacon that draws in crowds every year. The popular beach, rich history, and vibrant East Coast culture more than doubles the small hamlet’s population in the warm summer months. Cottagers, tourists, and snowbirds flock back to the popular New Brunswick community to take advantage of Parlee Beach, which Gordon notes is “arguably the most famous beach in New Brunswick – and has the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.” The warm water can reach around 77 degrees in the summer and makes the beach and Shediac Bay a hot spot for recreational activities like swimming, waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, paddle-boarding.
The Lighthouse is conveniently located adjacent to the beach, right by the provincial park and has the enviable benefits of over three acres of land, 260 ft of beachfront, a saltwater creek, and ocean views in every room.
The views from outside the property are also magnificent; including a great view of the historically significant wharf at Pointe-du-Chêne; a central fixture and community meeting place. Not only did former Prime Minister Sir John A. McDonald land there; the wharf is also the arrival point for the first trans-Atlantic flight by Italian Marshal Idalo Balbo, who landed there accompanied by an armada of 24 Italian seaplanes in 1933. Pan American Airways also used Pointe-du-Chêne as one of its terminals on their trans-Atlantic air route. At present, the wharf remains a popular destination for tourists and locals alike with restaurants, marina and shops.
While Gordon and Donna have many fond memories of The Lighthouse, they knew it was time to downsize, and have been working to sell their home privately through PropertyGuys.com. “We prefer this way of selling to other alternatives used in the past, having owned properties across Canada as well as in New Brunswick,” says Gordon. “We enjoy taking on a greater role in the sale of our property.” As they sell; their main hope is that they will find a buyer who will love the home and community just as much as they do. We can’t see that being a problem!
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Amy is a communications associate for PropertyGuys.com Durham Region and contributor for Welcome Mat.