It was perfect for them, as well as their two Newfoundland dogs. So they snatched up a building lot and started designing an off-the-grid home with the help of Kim Smith, of Helliwell + Smith | Blue Sky Architecture. The result is a circular layout that captures views of the ocean while creating a sunny courtyard protected from the strong sea winds. It’s a place where Holly can finally garden (lacking this ability on the frozen clay prairies back home had frustrated her), and where Paul can build furniture in his woodshop. Plus, after retiring from the business they founded and ran, McNally Robinson Booksellers —one of the largest independent bookstores in Canada — they can finally kick back and enjoy a few good books. OK, a lot of good books.
Who lives here: Holly and Paul McNally, former owners of McNally Robinson Booksellers
Location: Sidney Island, Canada
Size: 2,000 square feet (222 square meters); 3 bedrooms plus a study, 2 bathrooms
Paul has a thing for curves, which show up in many of the bookstores the couple has designed together, hence the circular nature of the home. But practically speaking, the design serves many functions.
For one, it creates a courtyard that’s protected from the sometimes-harsh winds. Plus, it allows for a garden protected from the feral deer population on the island. Because the deer have no predators, 600 to 800 of them are removed from the island every year to keep the population somewhat in check. A 6-foot-high fence built from milled trees on the property lets Holly have her fruit trees and flowers.