digs fetch ? million
custom home builders Andy and Bonnie Munster searched nearly three
months for the 428-year old, 50-foot cedar log that would serve
as the centerpiece for there latest creation, a 5,000-square-foot
house with panoramic views of Whistler Village, Whistler Golf Course
and surrounding mountain ranges.
home, known as Akasha, sold to a 40-something U.S. computer executive
in February for the staggering list price of ? million, marking
it the highest marking property ever sold in the resort town. Until
then, the most expensive residential deal in Whistler was in the
mid-$3 million range.
Up-market: Home sale sets standard
But what sets the exclusive property apart, other than details such
as 24-elk-antler chandeliers and a 22-karat gold and glass border
outlining the stone splash indoor pool, is the fact that the multi-million-dollar
home was built without a buyer already lined up.
Munster of Munster & Sons Developments Ltd. said that she knew it
was a risky project, but she had confidence in the market.
are lots of people out there who just don't have time, and don't
want to build their own home. Whistler wasn't offering anything
for those people who want something special," said Munster, whose
company served as the construction manager on the project and was
involved in the design and marketing of the home.
When Andy Munster
first began sketching designs for Akasha, he envisioned an oversized
fireplace as the focal point. Then, Munster changed his mind and
began scouring the province for an old-growth cedar log that would
extend up through the center of the home. The building team struggled
to find a piece of wood large enough and strong enough to anchor
the building. Eventually one was located in the Fraser River.
The rest of
the design radiated out from the cedar, which is surrounded by a
spiral staircase and extends up into a cupola with views of the
village and surrounding mountains. ( In Shaman folklore, a red cedar
is the gateway to Akasha, or heaven.)
other unique features include: hand-split basalt stone walls, a
resawn red cedar shake roof, heated stone pavers on the drive and
walkways, hand-carved totem poles and a pool connected to a stream
that cascades over sculptured rock. A curved red and yellow ceiling
is designed to replicate the ribs of an over sized canoe.