Since we broke ground for building our Vancouver Cohousing project in July 2013, I’ve been inside my apartment a dozen times or more to follow its progress. Today was the first time I got to see it finished. It was the official walk through with Ravi Jandu, quality control supervisor for Noble Construction Management, our project managers. Another cohousing member, Ian Beaty, who is a contractor himelf, was there helping me look for deficiencies in the work and scoping out a minor reno idea.
Overall I’m very pleased with my place, but at first glance I was shocked. The engineered wood floors were nothing like the sample I had seen. I know that in the context of problems in the world, this is extremely privileged small potatoes. But let me rant a bit. My 510-square-foot place is small and dark; I may put a “Lorne’s Cave” sign on the front door. I knew this when I chose it, but all our one-bedrooms are dark – the common house is bright – and the $320,000 price was as much as I was prepared to spend on a home. I upgraded from laminate floors to hickory because the sample looked uniformly light and I wanted anything that would help relieve the darkness. But the installed flooring is all different shades – see the photos. It chops up the already small space; there’s no visual flow. Whine, whine, whine.
OK, rant done. The kitchen is gorgeous with light-grey Shaker cabinets, quartz countertop, undermount sink, gas range and a dishwasher – goodbye dishpan hands. I’m happy with the bathroom, except the dinky 15-inch-wide mirror. There is hot-water radiant in-floor heating throughout. The bedroom is cosy but doable, and my treadmill desk will be a very tight fit in the in-suite storage room, but at least there’s a place for it.
After Ian and I debriefed over coffee at the bustling Chau Veggie Express at 5052 Victoria Drive, I tried out Kawa Sushi at 5088, the sushi bar closest to cohousing. Business was slow but the service was quick, and you can’t beat the value – $5.95 for 18 pieces (yam, tuna and California rolls) plus miso soup. Not stellar sushi but just fine for a neighbourhood joint.
Victoria Drive between 33rd and 43rd is so diverse, with restaurants featuring the cuisines of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and most recently Turkey. The day may come when there’s a headline “The New Drive” in the Georgia Straight heralding Victoria Drive’s arrival as a newly hip neighbourhood. I may write it myself. Under my own name this time. Back in the late ’60s while I was a reporter for the Vancouver Sun, I wrote and photographed for the Straight about demonstrations and protests under the pseudonym Sheikh Istanli.
Did my daily practice today. They say New Year’s resolutions often don’t last more than a month. I’m hoping that writing these posts will help keep me on the path.
Tomorrow I’m looking forward to getting back to friends who have commented and encouraged me – thank you!
The bedroom, the room people like to darken, is ironically the brightest room in my place.