Off-the-Grid Island Home | Bedford Corners Real Estate

It was something like 25 degrees below zero one February in Winnipeg, Canada, when Holly McNally picked up the National Post newspaper and flipped to the travel section. A full-page story raved about Sidney Island, part of the Gulf Islands off the coast of Victoria and just south of Vancouver. Everything about it — the remoteness, the scenery — seemed to fit with Holly and her husband, Paul. “We got on a plane within days and went to check it out,” Holly says.

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.

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