Real Estate

This 7,000-square-foot Pender Island home looks like a spaceship

Currently listed for $19.8 million, the 104-acre property comes with a winery, a pond and an old-growth forest
Andrea Yu
The exterior of Point House, curving to the shore line

The exterior of Point House, curving to the shore line

On the northern coastline of British Columbia’s Pender Island, there’s a house that looks more like a spaceship than a residence. Designed by the West Vancouver-based architect Bo Helliwell and currently listed at $19.8 million, the mansion features his signature curving rooftops.

When the property’s current owners, an American couple with two daughters, wanted to build a home away from home, they chose Pender Island for its natural beauty. They sought out Helliwell—known for designing the Ucluelet Aquarium and homes across Canada—to create a unique house with the waves and curves characteristic of his prior projects.

The exterior of the home, with a large stone patio and small patio set

In 2011, the owners had already purchased a 104-acre property, part of which was leased out to Sea Star Winery, which maintains vineyards of Ortega, Pinot Noir and Siegerrebe grapes. For the vacation home, Helliwell and the owners chose a swath of land that had previously been used as a sheep meadow, with great views over the water. “This point of land is quite separate from the rest of the property,” Helliwell explains. “It sticks out into the Navy Channel, between two of the gulf islands.” The point has views from northwest to northeast to Mayne Island, and on a clear day, you can even see Mount Baker in Washington state.

The property the home sits, which also includes a winery with view of the ocean. Grape vines stretch into the distance. The ocean sits in the background.

The family gave Helliwell few parameters for the house. It needed three bedrooms for the family, plus two office spaces for the parents and a study space for the children. Two additional bedrooms would be for the family’s staff: nannies and a professional cook.

The architect worked with builder Dave Dandeneau of Gulf Island Artisan Homes to bring the home to life. Executing the home’s fluid shape wasn’t easy. “Curves are always more labour intensive to build,” he says. Instead of bending the wood, they split up segments into facets. “The eye, in the end, has the impression of a curving structure.”

The interior of the 7,000-square-foot home, which is mainly on a single floor, mimics the gentle bend of its exterior. “We liken a hallway to a path through the woods,” says Helliwell. “As you move, it’s always curving away from you, so you can discover different views and ways that the light comes and goes from the interior spaces.”

The inside of the living room has wood ceiling with wide windows looking on the outside.

Helliwell used local wood where possible for the home’s exterior structure and finishes: red cedar shingle siding and Douglas fir roof rafters, decking and window trim. The home’s central focal point is an open living and dining room featuring exposed Douglas fir columns and beams and a granite fireplace with built-in storage for wood.

The primary bedroom has floor-to-ceiling corner windows that look out into the Navy Channel. It also has two walk-in closets and a primary ensuite equipped with a separate soaker tub in another corner window and a rainshower. Next to the primary suite are two bedrooms with a Jack-and-Jill washroom shared between them. In this wing of the home is a gym and a study lounge, both with walkouts to an outdoor terrace.

A bedroom with a large white bed. In the background are large wall to ceiling windows.

There’s also a covered, outdoor cooking area with a barbecue, another wine fridge and another wood-burning fireplace. “The climate here is pretty benign,” Helliwell explains. “The outdoor space can easily be used for three seasons if you want to cook or eat outside.”

An outdoor cooking area with a large stone fireplace

The property has about 15 kilometres of trails that wind through fir, arbutus and maple trees. The new owners will assume the lease with Sea Star Winery. (One of the winery’s owners attended a recent open house for brokers to promote his wine and his relationship with the property.) There’s also a farm with open pasture, if the new owners feel like homesteading.

A gazebo with gym equipment in it, surrounded by trees.

When COVID hit, the owners considered relocating to Pender Island permanently. But their plans changed, and by 2021, when the property was about a year from completion, they decided they would sell the home after it was built. The upper level has been left as one sprawling 538-square-foot office space, instead of two offices as originally planned.

Final landscaping was completed by the spring of 2023, and the home was listed on the market in mid-August. Helliwell feels confident that the next buyers will see the Point House Estate as their new forever home. “The majority of homes we design do not go up for resale very often,” he says. “They become very important as places for families to meet and move through their time together over the years.”